Huizar ordinance change on Neighborhood Councils factual basis stakeholders incorporates suggestions from Neighborhood Council Panel & Board of Neighborhood Councils
(LOS ANGELES) Dec. 18, 2013 – After more than a year of input from Neighborhood Councils, the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners and City departments, the City Council voted 12-0 in favor of an ordinance amendment proposed by Councilmember José Huizar to remove the Neighborhood Council’s “factual basis stakeholder” seat and definition for a more robustly defined “community interest stakeholder.”
Under the legislation, for Neighborhood Councils that would like participation to be open to more than just those who “live, work or own property” per the City’s Charter, Huizar’s legislation replaces factual basis stakeholders with “community interest stakeholders,” defined as those with substantial and ongoing participation in a neighborhood. It also removes the need for Neighborhood Councils to even include such voters or candidates as long as one At-large seat is available to them.
“This is significant legislation that will help our Neighborhood Councils now and in the future,” said Councilmember Huizar. “With the Neighborhood Councils leading the way, and the support of DONE, the City Attorney and BONC, we’ve eliminated the factual basis stakeholder requirement and definition , while protecting the autonomy of our 95 neighborhood councils and promoting more robust participation through ‘community interest’ voters and office seekers for those with a substantial and ongoing relationship to each specific community.”
In October 2012, Councilmember submitted a motion on Neighborhood Council elections (seconded by Councilmember Parks), which came about after so-called “Starbucks stakeholders” with little to no community connection attempted to overtake the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council election by using the loosely defined factual basic stakeholder clause, which states a voter only has to “declare a stake in a neighborhood and affirm the factual basis for it.”
The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (BONC) recommended the latest language changes based off of Neighborhood Council feedback, which Councilmember Huizar officially submitted as a second motion in July 2013.
Ordinance change highlights:
- Eliminates Factual Basic Stakeholder and its vague definition, allows specifically identified “community interest stakeholders” as voters or candidates with a substantial and ongoing relationship to communities such as, but not limited to, members of educational, nonprofit, and/or religious groups.
- Allows Neighborhood Councils to eliminate the need to include community interest stakeholder seats as long as at least one at large seat is available, and open to all stakeholders.
- Allows Neighborhood Councils to determine the number of governing board seats that will be allocated to community interest stakeholders.
- Requires that the affirmation of those community interest stakeholders proposed in the Neighborhood Council by-laws be consistent with and equal to those administered for those who live, work or own property.
- Adjusts the City’s Administrative Code to define “own property” as meaning real (estate) property.
By the terms of the community interest stakeholder definition, a voter or candidate with a receipt who claims a “community interest stakeholder” stake in a community will not be allowed to participate. Language explicitly banning such participation is stated in DONE’s updated Neighborhood Council Election guidelines: “Receipts from businesses in the neighborhood will not be accepted.”
The election guidelines also states other restrictions might be applied by the Neighborhood Councils themselves:
“Some neighborhood Councils may require the community based, senior, youth, environmental, service or volunteer organization or group to meet at least a predetermined number of times within a predefined period of time.”
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