Dear Neighborhood Council Leader,


Happy New Year to you and your community!

The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners has been hard at work as your advocate in City Hall and with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. We were excited to welcome the newest member to the neighborhood council family last week - Zapata King Neighborhood Council.

We have some more exciting announcements below, but first, please take a moment and click here to review and sign the Neighborhood Council Code of Conduct. We extended the deadline to April 3rd, 2015, so that every Neighborhood Council leader has an opportunity to review and sign the new policy. We heard from so many stakeholders over a series of town halls in the summer of 2014 about the importance of this Code, and we continue to hear from you at our regular meetings. 




Karen Mack


Board of Neighborhood Commissioners 



Empower Yourself - Empower Your Community - Empower LA! 

Exciting Leadership Training with the Prestigious Pat Brown Institute

The Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State L.A., the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners are collaborating to present the Civic University (CU) for Neighborhood Councils of the City of Los Angeles. With funding from the Department and AT&T, the CU is a tailored program that will provide NC board members with a deeper familiarity with how Los Angeles City government works and how to influence it. The 4 week course will take place one night each week in March and April, 2015, at Cal State LA. All participants who complete the program will receive certificates signed and presented by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Cal State L.A. President Bill Covino. Every neighborhood council will have the opportunity to nominate by board vote a male and a female to participate.  


The Neighborhood Council Outreach Task Force held its first meeting, convened by Commissioner Joy Atkinson, with Neighborhood Council outreach leaders from across the City. The goal of the task force is to look at effective outreach strategies from across the Neighborhood Council system and come up with a template that neighborhood councils can use to develop stronger outreach plans. 

Outreach is not such a simple task - is it to increase participation in the election process? Is it to get more people involved in the business of neighborhood councils? Is it contributing financial resources to worthy organizations in the community? Or is it all of the above? 

If you want to submit your ideas or give feedback on the template- which will be required for neighborhood councils to use- please contact Commissioner Joy Atkinson.

The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners has been working with the City Attorney to develop a uniform, regional grievance procedure that combines grievances and complaints under one process. The proposed ordinance (which can be read here):

  • Clearly defines under what circumstances a grievance may be filed

  • Offers protections for both the grievant and the neighborhood councils

  • Specifies a time period when a grievance has to be filed and must heard by the neighborhood council

  • Specifies that grievances may be filed against a board only (and not against an individual)

  • Allows decisions of the regional panels to be reviewed by the Department to help ensure they are fair and equitable

  • Addresses the serial griever by limiting the number that can be filed by an individual in any one year

  • Gives the Commission, after exhaustive efforts have failed, the ability to remove one or more board members as an alternative to decertification of the neighborhood council

  • Gives board members, for the first time, the ability to file a grievance against their own board

This proposed ordinance should help solve some of the problems that have plagued neighborhood councils for a number of years. If you would like to give feedback on the proposed ordinance, please attend the Los Angeles City Council Education and Neighborhood Committee meeting on Tuesday February 17th at 1:30pm at L.A. City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles (10th Floor).


We hope you will join us at our next Special Commission meeting on Thursday, February 12th at 1:30pm at L.A. City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles (10th Floor) to give feedback on these important and upcoming projects. Click here to view the agenda for this meeting. Thank you for all you do to Empower LA!


The Commission

The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners


Karen Mack - Central Los Angeles

Karen Mack - Central Los Angeles - Board President  

Karen is founder and Executive Director of LA Commons, an organization dedicated to promoting Los Angeles' diverse neighborhoods through locally based, interactive, artistic and cultural programming. 


LA Commons has implemented community art projects, tours and classes in communities throughout LA and in partnership with organizations such as the Central American Resource Center, the South Asian Network, Thai Community Development Center and UCLA.  


Len Shaffer - South Valley

Len Shaffer - South Valley - Vice President 

Since becoming a resident of the San Fernando Valley in 1971 Leonard Shaffer has volunteered in many capacities. His participation in neighborhood organizations began in 1972 when he first joined the Tarzana Property Owners Association and he has continued to be an active member of the Board of Directors. 


He became interested in the idea of neighborhood councils after attending a series of conferences sponsored by the USC Public Participation Project prior to the passage of the 1999 Charter.


Victor Medina - Harbor Victor Medina - Harbor - Commissioner

For over six years, Victor Medina has contributed to the Gang Alternatives Program's (GAP) vision, "To prevent young people from joining gangs." Victor is currently in the Public & Governmental Affairs Department as Community Outreach Coordinator for GAP. His responsibilities include coordinating the company's community outreach and stakeholder management activities, with a focus on maintaining essential relationships with various community leaders and businesses. 




Lydia Grant - North Valley

Lydia Grant - North Valley - Commissioner

Lydia Grant is a Board Member on the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council and has been active on land use and educational issues citywide, countywide, and even statewide as a Board Member for Parent Revolution which advocates for expansion of the Parent Trigger laws across the country.


Lydia has fought for safety issues at local schools and has worked to organize communities and to empower them with information and training on how to advocate on behalf of their children and their schools. 



Eli Lipmen - West Los AngelesEli Lipmen - West Los Angeles - Commissioner

Eli is the past President of the Palms Neighborhood Council and previously served as its Secretary. While on the board, he oversaw a neighborhood clean up and outreach program, a mural and beautification project, and the re-development of Woodbine Park in Palms.


"My experience serving on the Palms Neighborhood Council has been so empowering," said Eli, "and as a Commissioner, I want to improve engagement and effectiveness for neighborhood councils throughout the City." 


Olivia Rubio - East Los AngelesOlivia Rubio - East Los Angeles - Commissioner 

My fellow Angelinos, it is with deep humility that I wish to express my gratitude to our Mayor and his staff for the nomination to serve you in the capacity of Commissioner for the Board of Neighborhood Councils.


It is not long ago that I decided that the best way to serve my community was joining the neighborhood councils. 




Joy Atkinson - South Los AngelesJoy Atkinson - South Los Angeles - Commissioner

Joy Atkinson is a private consultant specializing in developing and implementing community outreach programs.  She served as a consultant for California Speaker Karen Bass, specializing in outreach to the African American press, the community at large, and with The Speaker's Clergy Alliance. 



>>> read more here

Empower Yourself. Empower Your Community. Empower LA.

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Department of Neighborhood Empowerment
200 North Spring Street, Suite 2005
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel - (213) 978-1551
Fax - (213) 978-1751