About Neighborhood Councils
In 1999 Los Angles re-wrote its City Charter, and included the creation of Neighborhood Councils to provide better access to City Government. As of today, there are 99 Neighborhood Councils. More are being planned. A Neighborhood Council Board is made up of volunteers, who live, work, own property, or otherwise express an interest, a “stake,” in the neighborhood. They are elected by the neighborhood, and work with their neighbors to improve, and beautify their part of the City, as well as create a bridge to elected officials.
Each Certified Neighborhood Council is subject to rules and laws governing the City. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) oversees the Neighborhood Councils. Each Council is given a budget by the City to pay for the expenses of the NC, and to offer small support grants to community LAUSD schools and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Neighborhood Councils may not raise funds. Within the overall requirements of DONE, and the City, Neighborhood Councils have some flexibility about how they accomplish their mandates. Each NC has a different number of Board members, and different ways of representing their communities.
About Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council
The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council (HHPNC) was established in 2002. It serves a diverse community of over 60,000 stakeholders who reside, own property, or conduct business in the neighborhood of Highland Park. Broadly speaking, our role as a council is to amplify our community voices to the LA City Council. This includes writing “CIS” letters or Community Impact Statements, advising our support or non support of matters coming before the City Council. Past CIS letters have been sent on a variety of issues including supporting the Green New Deal, supporting or non-supporting various local land use/development projects (along with specific reasons for this), support for an Anti-Tenant Harassment Ordinance, support for the Department of Water and Power to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030, and many many more.
Additionally, we have an annual budget, and utilize our funding to provide support to a number of local organizations through “NPG’s”or Neighborhood Purpose Grants. This has included clean-up/beautification efforts, food assistance as part of meal giveaway programs, support to a local film festival, and other events including the Northeast Los Angeles Christmas Parade, the Loomis festival and El Mercado Art & Craft Festival among others. We have held a “Day of Compassion” for our homeless neighbors, providing clothing and housing resources, co-hosted a candidate forum for the recent Council District 14 election, hosted a series of workshops on resources for handling student loan debt, and held a Town Hall with various city officials on the Liquor License approval process to better inform community members.
As elected officials, we are required to follow the Brown Act, which covers how and when to post agendas, defines what we can/cannot discuss at meetings, and outlines what is and what is not allowed for internal board discussions, all in order to support open and transparent public meetings. Also, the HHPNC operates under Robert’s Rules of Order in terms of meeting protocol.
Our work is done on three levels:
– Monthly Board Meetings (generally held the first Thursday of the month, currently being held virtually due to the pandemic)
– Committee Meetings (again, held virtually) – Committees are both standing (persistent) or ad hoc (temporary to cover a specific matter like HHPNC Elections)
– Attendance at various liaison and alliance meetings
Committees serve as the vehicle to really “do the work” for the HHPNC – in terms of researching an event or topic, hearing from stakeholders, planning events, determining budgets and then ultimately, providing the committee point of view (i.e. whether they support or are against something) to the general board at the monthly board meeting. At that point, the full board hears the details and votes to approve/disapprove sending the CIS, supporting a given NPG request etc. Stakeholders may suggest agenda items for the full board, but they should be directed to a committee to hear/vet it before it comes before the full board for a vote.
Liaison and Alliance meetings are an important way for board members and volunteers to gather more information to present back to the board on items including Public Works issues, Homelessness concerns and updates, LA City budget issues, LGBT issues, issues surrounding sustainability and more. A full list of liaisons and alliances can be found on here.
Role of Board Members
There are two types of roles on the HHPNC: Director at Large positions and Executive Committee members (President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary). We currently have a total of 19 members – 14 Directors and 5 Exec Committee members. Specific details are listed in our Bylaws. Please note: there will be a structural change to the Director roles which will take place with the new terms in 2021.
Per the HHPNC Bylaws, The Board requires each council member to participate in a committee and/or liaisons. Current committees include Budget + Finance, Rules, Land Use, Outreach, Public Safety and Sustainability. Past committees have included an Arts Committee, Beautification Committee, Culture & Equality Committee, Housing, Renters + Homelessness Committee, Local Business & Economy Committee, and Youth, Family & Education Committee. We have also established “ad hoc” committees for a short-term specific issue, such as supporting neighborhood council elections.
Additionally, anyone serving on the Executive Committee will attend an Executive Committee meeting each month prior to the regular Board meeting, with the primary purpose being of reviewing and setting the Board meeting agenda.
Per our Bylaws, we have an attendance policy for board members: any Board Member who misses (3) regularly scheduled consecutive Neighborhood Council Governing Board Meetings or four (4) total Governing Board meetings during any twelve (12) month period may be at risk for removal from the Board through Board action.
For any elected candidate, the term on the HHPNC will run through the end of May 2021. Elections will take place next spring. At that time, all board positions will then be open for candidates.
For the candidate process, candidates will have an opportunity to give a 1-2 minute presentation at the next board meeting after their application is received. Both current Board members and the general public attending the meeting are given the opportunity to ask the candidate questions and a vote is then held by Board members.
Are you a Stakeholder in the Historic Highlands Park Neighborhood Council?
A stakeholder is anyone who lives, works, owns property or has a substantial community interest within the boundaries of the Historic Highlands Park Neighborhood Council. See the map of our boundaries here.