Elections for Los Angeles’ 90 neighborhood councils have moved closer to the neighborhood level. The LA City Council’s voted today to transfer authority for those elections from the city clerk to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.
The whole point of the neighborhood councils is to concentrate power over local issues closer to home. In that regard, switching oversight for those hyper-local elections to the neighborhood empowerment department makes sense.
Now that the City Council's voted, the L.A. City Attorney’s Office will draft the ordinance that makes the transfer official, but there’s a catch. The city’s administrative officer warns that L.A., facing a $72 million deficit, doesn’t have the money to run the elections — no matter which agency supervises them.
That concern led some officials to consider postponing the biennial neighborhood council balloting for another couple of years, but others contended that doing so would kill the councils.
The general manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment has pledged to handle the 90 elections for less than $700,000. They’re scheduled to take place between April and June.