Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council moves to redefine neighborhood council participation

City Council Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar is leading efforts to redefine participation on the city's 95 neighborhood councils.

The City of Los Angeles took another step Tuesday toward redefining who can participate in the city's 95 neighborhood councils. 

With a unanimous vote, the Los Angeles City Council asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would allow anyone with a "substantial and ongoing" stake in a community to participate in a neighborhood council. This would open membership behind a neighborhood's residents, but also limit participation by Angelenos who try to improperly influence councils. 

"It's a thousand times better than the original definition," said Councilman Jose Huizar, who got involved after medical marijuana clinic owners tried to get their customers to influence the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council election. 

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"It gives some flexibility to the local neighborhood council so they still have that local autonomy to get even more precise as to how they want to define [eligibility]," he said.

It's unclear how "substantial and ongoing" will be legally defined once the City Attorney's Office brings the law back for a vote. The new ordinance is expected to be in place in time for next spring's neighborhood council board elections. 

The neighborhood council system was created more than a decade ago during charter reform. 

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