Ordained in 1999, the Neighborhood Council system (NC) was created to assuage the anger of residents in the San Fernando Valley who were threatening to secede from the City of Los Angeles. The idea was to give constituents more “say” in their communities and by 2020, the citywide system included 99 neighborhood councils, each with a governing board and subcommittees.
This May, only 70 stakeholders bothered to vote in the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council election, a pattern that was seen across the city. And with only 24 candidates running for 21 open seats, the majority of regional seats were uncontested (five out of eight), which demonstrates a lack of interest. However, EmpowerLA, the Neighborhood Councils' department, submitted a proposed budget of $3,463,997 for fiscal years 2022-23. This is money we think could be better spent on expanding the L.A. City Council and programs like affordable housing options, street repairs and crime abatement.