September 6, 2013
Empower LA Newsletter header

General Manager's Update 


I hope this newsletter finds you well. While I'm out this week, the Co-Chairs of the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates, Jay Handal and Marcello Robinson, accepted my offer to write the GM Message. Even when they've been busy with their own Neighborhood Councils, Jay and Marcello have invested hundreds of hours in the City's budget process, including the recent LADWP labor contract negotiations. We're so lucky to have them and the Budget Advocates stepping up for Neighborhood Councils and the stakeholders, and I thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts with you today.


Have a great weekend!



Grayce Liu,

General Manager

Department of Neighborhood Empowerment  


Empower Yourself.

Empower Your Community.

Empower LA.


The Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates have worked really really hard over the years to ensure that Neighborhood Councils (NCs) have a loud voice at City Hall. In these last few years, the NC Budget Advocates have been extremely effective and have slowly been integrated into the budget system by the elected officials, giving NCs a closer seat to the table, although not yet fully at the table.


The goal of the NC Budget Advocates is to continue to work with the City electeds to ensure that our money is spent wisely, our services are protected, and our employees are treated fairly. This last year, the NC Budget Advocates worked to secure additional funding for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to preserve the existing staff as well as get additional staff. The NC Budget Advocates have also had a great start working with the new Mayor.


Last month, Mayor Garcetti made a surprise appearance at a major meeting that the NC Budget Advocates held to discuss the Department of Water and Power contract proposal. The Mayor laid out his platform, which mirrored the NC Budget Advocates' platform.


We encourage all Neighborhood Council members to get involved, come to the meetings, and have your voice be heard. In years past, being an NC Budget Advocate was a 4-month commitment, but because the budget has been so fluid due to the country's economic circumstances, the position has evolved into a 12-month opportunity to weigh in on budget issues. Be sure to visit us at the Congress during the budget session to learn more about us and how you can help.


As in years past, there will be a Budget Day this fall where new NC Budget Advocates will be elected. In order to elect the NC Budget Advocates, we need every Neighborhood Council to designate two Budget Representatives that will attend Budget Day and vote for their region's NC Budget Advocates. Watch for the exact date and location to be announced soon. It'll be a half day session discussing the City's entire budget. (And there will be food!) Historically, Budget Day has been a cooperative effort with the Mayor's office.


If you have any questions or comments, you can always contact us at

We look forward to seeing you at the Congress and then at Budget Day later this fall!

Your NC Budget Advocate Co-Chairs,
Jay Handal and Marcello Robinson



As LA turned 232 years young this past week, Mayor Garcetti marked the occasion by announcing the first winner in the "Portrait of Los Angeles Project" contest. In the last two weeks, hundreds of people have submitted ideas for L.A. locations that should be featured on welcome signs at LAX. The first winner...


>>> continue reading 


President Obama declared this "National Preparedness Month, stating "While my Administration is working tirelessly to avert national tragedies, it is every American's responsibility to be prepared." Neighborhood Councils in the Valley were already in action, preparing for the 6th Annual Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair on Saturday, October 5th, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The first 500 families to check in at the Fair will receive a free Preparedness Kit containing essential supplies...


>>> continue reading 


The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment says "Thank You!" to all of the Neighborhood Councils that have submitted their budgets, board rosters, strategic plans and outreach surveys, and now that that huge amount of paperwork is in the queue, it's time to say "Thank You!" for your patience as we work furiously to update your files, rosters, and records. Let the record reflect the great work of the Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council, the first council to reach 100% compliance for ethics and funding certification!...


>>> continue reading 


Earlier this year, the Mayor and City Council approved the creation of a new development services department to deliver all services currently provided by the Departments of City Planning and Building and Safety. The new department is scheduled to become effective January 1, 2014. Now is the time for  

Neighborhood Councils to speak up on the consolidation and to engage in the process of shaping the development and implementation of the consolidation...


>>> continue reading 


Government Technology is an award winning magazine that covers information technology's role in state and local governments. This past week, they held their Digital Government Summit in Los Angeles, an event that opened with comments from LA's own Steve Reneker, General Manager of LA's IT Department and its Chief Information Officer....


>>> continue reading 

UCLA's Department of Urban Planning in the Luskin School of Public Affairs wants to partner with eight Neighborhood Councils as part of a project to develop neighborhood profiles that will use the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census to reveal insight into your Neighborhood Council area. If this opportunity interests you, speak up...

 >>>continue reading 

In Roman times, small bits of information for travelers were posted at kiosks located at the junctions of roads with the best information found at the meeting place of three roads, hence the term three roads or "trivia" which is now applied to small bits of information. Social media has come a long way since those days but the need for local information is now greater than ever and the tools for delivering that information and connecting with neighbors are getting better every day...

 >>>continue reading 

Need help bridging the gap between yourself and City Hall? I know the perfect event for you to attend! The Neighborhood Council Congress hosted by the City's 95 Neighborhood Councils will help bring government closer to the people. This one-day Congress set for Saturday, September 28 will include an opening session with dignitaries from the City, workshops, education and networking with a chance to mingle with your City officials and local leaders...

 >>>continue reading 

LA's City Maven, Alice Walton, put the spotlight on Neighborhood Councils at KPCC with her insightful article Neighborhood Councils: Where government and community meet, another installment in the #ProjectCitizen series which looks at "the rights, responsibilities, traditions and privileges that come along with being a citizen..."

 >>>continue reading 

Sometimes this volunteer service feels like an invitation to non-stop excruciating discussions about bylaw clauses and budget line items and plenty of the things that probably weren't the reasons that compelled us all to step up and decide to be a part of improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. It sure is nice to get a really great reminder of those things that make it so worth it to stand up and ask to serve in your own community...

 >>>continue reading 

The Office of Finance is offering a tax penalty waiver for the following taxes, creating an opportunity for taxpayers to bring their accounts current without incurring any penalties. Taxpayers have until December 2, 2013 to claim amnesty on their Business, Utility Users Taxes (telephone, electricity, gas), Commercial Tenant's Occupancy, Transient Occupancy, and Parking Occupancy Taxes. The Tax Amnesty program provides an opportunity to pay taxes due and have all penalties waived for a limited time only...

 >>>continue reading 

Treasurers and Signers should be working together to prepare a monthly expenditure report. This report, available on our website, should list all expenditures made for the month, including Demand Warrants, NPG's, and Auto-Deducts paid out, as well as all P-Card transactions. The completed August report should be presented to your Board this month at your regular September meeting, and once approved, forwarded to the Department with the relevant documentation. Although you may scan and either fax or email a copy to meet the deadline, the Department will not consider your submission complete until the original documentation (original invoices, receipts, etc.) is received by the Department...

 >>>continue reading 


I would like to wish a farewell to a member of the field team. Amelia Herrera-Robles, who has been on leave for the last few weeks, is moving on to greener pastures. The Department is sad to see her go, but we wish her much success in her new role and position with Blue Shield of California. Amelia's contributions to the Department and the Neighborhood Council system have been invaluable and she will be sorely missed. As announced previously, Melvin Caņas is now assigned to work in the North East and North West Valley so for those NCs, please follow up with Mr. Caņas on any issue(s)...


>>>continue reading 

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10 days after your September NC Board Meeting
August Monthly Expenditure Reports due





FY 2012-13 Review 

Provide your feedback about how you think we did this past year



Register now for the Congress of Neighborhoods  

  Saturday, September 28 at City Hall. 




Neighborhood Council Parking Passes


DWP Advocacy Committee


Sat, Sept. 7

Time 8:45-10:00 am


Hollywood Constituent Center

6501 Fountain Ave.

Los Angeles 90028


LA NC Coalition (LANCC) Meeting


Sat, Sept. 7

Time 10 am-1 pm


Hollywood Constituent Center

6501 Fountain Ave.

Los Angeles 90028



Board of Neighborhood Commissioners Special Meeting

Mon, Sept. 9

Time 6 pm


Granada Hills Charter High School

10535 Zelzah Ave.

Granada Hills 91344



NC Budget Advocates


Mon, Sept. 9

Time 7 pm

West L.A. NC Office
1645 Corinth Avenue
Los Angeles 90025


Valley Alliance of NCs (VANC) Meeting


Thurs, Sept. 12

Time 6:30 - 9 pm  


Sherman Oaks Hospital Doctor's Conference Room

4929 Van Nuys Bl.

Sherman Oaks 91403



PlanCheckNC Workshop - Reorganization of Building & Safety and the Planning Department - New Development Services Department


Sat, Sept. 14

Time 10 am - 12 noon


 North Valley City Hall

7747 Foothill Blvd. Tujunga 91042




Email City Hall at
Council File
Hot Sheet


Active Council Files that affect Neighborhood Councils citywide, which your Neighborhood Council may want to weigh in on:


Neighborhood Council System:

13-1050 Reappointment of Karen Mack to Board of Neighborhood Commissioners Central Area

Confirmed by City Council 9/4


13-0988 Appointment of Victor Medina to Board of Neighborhood Commissioners Harbor Area

Confirmed by City Council 9/4


12-1682-S1 New Neighborhood Council Stakeholder Definition

Pending in Education and Neighborhoods Committee  



12-1682 - Neighborhood

Report from E&N Committee; Scheduled in City Council 9/24 


Report back to Education and Neighborhoods Committee 90 days from 8/20

Scheduled in City Council 9/13  


Pending in Education and Neighborhoods Committee

11-1018  Neighborhood Council Grievance Policy and Process
Pending in Education and Neighborhoods Committee

 Citywide Issues:



13-1300-S1  Street Repair and Safety General Obligation Bond Program 

 24 recommendations approved by City Council 8/21   


13-0600-S135  2013-2014 Appropriation Limit

CAO report dated 8/2; approved by Budget and Finance Committee 8/12  


13-0953 Citywide Municipal WiFi Initiative

Pending in Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee


 13-0941  Sidewalk Repair Adjoining Property Owner  Fee Elimination  

 9/4 Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee continued for 30 days   


13-0909  DWP Unlimited
Sick Pay Policy

Referred to Energy and Environment Committee  7/26


13-0650 Removal of Obstructions in the Street or Sidewalk Penalties 

Pending in Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee   


09-2645 - Cell Tower (AGF) Regulations in Public
Right of Way

City Attorney draft ordinances referred to Planning and Land Use and Public Works Committees 


 12-0460 - Comprehensive Zoning Code Revision

Five year effort underway; updates at


 13-0658 - Sidewalk Dining / Storefront Furniture / Temporary Permit Process

Scheduled in Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee 8/21 


11-0923  Regulation of
Art Murals

   Approved by City Council 9/4 and sent to Mayor (last day 9/16); related motions referred to Arts, Parks Health, Aging, and River Committee and the Planning and Land Use Management Committee 8/28

11-0262 - State Licensed Facilities/Community Care Facilities

Referred to Ad Hoc Committee on Community Care Facilities on 1/30

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City Clerk's Referral Memoranda


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