Are Neighborhood Councils Obsolete?
Updated: Apr 29, 2021
First, some background on the current neighborhood council election. The Silver Lake
Neighborhood Council is divided into eight categories, comprised of seven regions with
two board seats in each region, and seven at-large seats – totaling 21 seats. This year
only 27 candidates are running for these 21 seats, and in four of the regions (3, 4, 6 and
7), only two candidates are running. In other words, results in these regions are already
determined, making 57.7% of the slots a fait accompli. And with only nine candidates
running for the seven at-large seats... well, you do the math.
To put this in perspective: the 2014 SLNC election attracted over 60 candidates vying for
21 seats. In 2016 there were 47, and in 2019, 35 candidates. This year, just 27. Could it be
that neighborhood councils, which were created in the late ‘90s, have become obsolete?
What is most troubling is the intentional negligence of the city agencies assigned to
oversee and regulate the 99 neighborhood councils throughout Los Angeles. Personal
pet projects and agendas, and not the larger concerns of neighborhoods, have become
commonplace within many neighborhood councils. Monthly attendance of city and state
representatives and city agencies has become extremely irregular. Complaints and legitimate
grievances have been ignored with impunity by those we pay to ensure neighborhood
councils are adhering to not only state law, but at a minimum, their respective
bylaws and standing rules.
Moreover, it is difficult to understand the positions of local candidates in this election. As
far as we can tell, there has been little outreach or community engagement – surprising
in the current world of ZOOM – and many potential voters tell us they do not know how
Based on these and other concerns, Silver Lake Together will not endorse any candidates
in the 2021 SLNC elections.
Fortunately there are other ways to stay involved with our neighborhoods. For those
who are interested in giving of your time, we strongly recommend volunteering with one
of Silver Lake’s many community organizations, including the Griffith Park Adult Com-munity
Center, Silver Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, Silver Lake Improvement Association,
SELAH, Bellevue and Silver Lake Recreation Centers, local schools and Neighborhood
Watch, to name a few.