The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to change the rules on who can serve on a neighborhood council.
Neighborhood councils were created to encourage civic involvement by average citizens in Los Angeles. City Hall is hoping for more robust participation with the groups now that the definition of who can join a board has been changed.
The old rules for a "factual basis stakeholder" allowed anyone with an interest in a community to participate in elections. That meant outsiders who did as little as buy a cup of coffee in a particular neighborhood could vote.
Now, stakeholders will have to show a substantial and ongoing relationship with the community. That could include belonging to a religious group or volunteering at a nonprofit in the area.
"This is significant legislation that will help our Neighborhood Councils now and in the future," said Councilman Jose Huizar, who led the effort to redefine participation on the councils.
There are currently 95 neighborhood councils in Los Angeles.