Commission passes motion recommending to City Council
that “factual basis” be replaced with “community interest” stakeholder.
At its June 17 regular meeting, the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners passed a motion recommending to City Council that the current definition of “factual basis” stakeholder be removed from the City’s Administrative Code and replaced with “community interest stakeholders, defined as persons who affirm a substantial and ongoing participation within the Neighborhood Council boundaries and who may be in a community organization such as, but not limited to, educational, nonprofit, and religious.” The recommendation has been introduced to the City Council’s Education and Neighborhoods Committee and may soon be considered by the full City Council. If any new policies are adopted by the City Council, Neighborhood Councils will be notified and asked to make adjustments accordingly in their Election Procedures Stipulation Worksheets for the Spring 2014 NC elections.
The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (Commission) voted to recommend the “community interest stakeholder” amendment to the Administrative Code after holding many meetings over numerous months and receiving significant input from Neighborhood Councils. Based on the feedback, the Commission decided to recommend removing the current definition of factual basis stakeholder. And, rather than recommending that each Neighborhood Council be allowed to adopt its own definition (as it was originally considering), the Commission accepted the “community interest stakeholder” definition that was provided by its NC Plan Review committees.
The process leading to the vote began on October 23, 2012 when Councilmember Huizar introduced a motion instructing the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, with the assistance of the City Attorney, and with input from the Neighborhood Councils, to prepare and present a comprehensive review of the definition and processes for qualifying a Neighborhood Council stakeholder, including issues related to “factual basis stakeholders.” As it currently stands, a stakeholder in the Neighborhood Council system is defined as a person who “lives, works, or owns property in the neighborhood and any individual who declares a stake in the neighborhood and affirms the factual basis for it.” –Los Angeles Administrative Code Section 22.811 (a) (2)
In December 2012, the Department began its comprehensive review of the stakeholder definition by coordinating efforts with the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners. The Commission proceeded by establishing three standing regional committees to conduct a thorough review of the Neighborhood Council Plan. In February 2013, the three committees, comprised of both seasoned and newer leaders representing 40 Neighborhood Councils from throughout the City, reviewed the current regulations regarding stakeholders and developed recommendations for the Commission.
In March 2013, the Commission considered its committees’ recommendations and developed a motion unifying the suggested changes to the stakeholder definition. However, the Commission decided to postpone voting on the motion for two months to give Neighborhood Councils the time necessary to comment on the proposal. During the two months, Neighborhood Councils expressed their views both collectively through issuing board resolutions, and individually through sending emails and completing a Department-issued survey.
Considering the input from the Neighborhood Councils, the Commission revisited the issue in May, but again decided it required further input, this time from a jointly assembled meeting of its regional committees. After receiving the additional input, and drawing from their exhaustive review process which has extended over numerous months, the Commission finally voted unanimously to recommend amending the Los Angeles Administrative Code Section 22.811 (a) (2).
The full text of the recommendation reads:
“Remove current definition of factual basis stakeholder and substitute with ‘community interest’ stakeholder, defined as a person who affirms a substantial and ongoing participation within the neighborhood council boundaries and who may be in a community organization such as, but not limited to, educational, nonprofit, and religious.”
Finally, while the Commission passed this motion on the factual basis issue, it decided to postpone voting on another issue also related to the definition of stakeholders. The Commission’s NC Plan Review committees have proposed that the Commission recommend a further defining of the “lives, works or owns property” definition provided in the City Charter Sec. 906 (a) (2). The committees recommend that “Neighborhood Council stakeholders shall be those who live (referring to the primary residence), work (which may include volunteer work) or own property (which shall be defined as real property) in the area.” The Commission will wait to vote until it can receive an opinion on the matter from the City Attorney’s office.