“….opportunity to provide input before decisions are made.”
– L.A. City Charter Sec. 907
Community Impact Statements are official statements or positions adopted by a Neighborhood Council on issues pending before the City’s decision makers. The Community Impact Statement process was created specifically for Neighborhood Councils so they can publically express their support, opposition, or suggestions about any matter pending before the City Council, its committees, or City commissions. A Community Impact Statement (CIS) is an official statement used to express the position of a Neighborhood Council (NC) as a whole, and is not to be used to express personal opinions.
TIP: While the CIS allows your NC to communicate collectively, your board members and stakeholders can continue to communicate their views individually. In fact, letters submitted to the City Clerk with an identifiable Council File (CF) number are also included in Council files, just as are CISs.
Creating and submitting a CIS requires the following steps:
STEP 1: Identify the Council File.
Every issue pending before the City Council and its committees is assigned a unique Council File number. (Sometimes new numbers and/or supplemental numbers are assigned as an issue progresses through the legislative process.)
To identify new items which have been introduced in City Council, subscribe to “New Council Items (Referrals)” at lacity.org/government/Subscriptions/counciladhoc. To identify existing items, visit LAcouncilfile.com and conduct a search in the Council File Management System. To track a Council File, you can subscribe for update notifications by clicking on the email icon or RSS icon at the top center of the Council File page.
TIP: On any given week, numerous issues get introduced or acted upon in City Council and its committees. You and your NC may find it helpful to create a strategy for identifying and tracking issues that are most important to you. You may choose to focus on issues in your geographically defined neighborhood, in your Council District, or citywide.
STEP 2: Establish a Community Impact Statement process.
The City Clerk will accept statements only from Neighborhood Councils that have governing boards in place, and have voted in a public meeting in accord with the Brown Act to a) approve a particular CIS, or b) authorize the President or other board members to write and submit CISs expressing the board’s previously voted upon positions. Either way, the CIS must be a statement which expresses a position that has been voted upon by a full Neighborhood Council board.
TIP: A clear advantage to requiring full board votes for a particularly worded CIS is that it generates more engagement. On the other hand, some issues move through City Council within days or weeks, not giving a Neighborhood Council the opportunity to take a full board vote. For that reason, NCs may want to form generic statements on a range of topics, in the event there is little time before the item is before City Council.
STEP 3: Write a Community Impact Statement.
An NC may submit a CIS on any Council File.
A CIS MUST contain a Council File number in order to be submitted to City Council; otherwise the City Clerk will not know where to place it.
A CIS can be any length, though the more concise, the better. (See template at end of document.)
A CIS needs to clearly communicate whether the Neighborhood Council is FOR the proposal, AGAINST the proposal, or is making general comments, so that the City Clerk can accurately print the NC’s position on the agenda. Otherwise it will be listed as general comments.
A CIS should include information about how the CIS was approved by the NC. Was it voted on by the entire NC board, or was it written by an officer authorized by the board to express its previously voted upon position? Include the vote count.
An NC may use its statement to request a delay of a vote. However, such a request cannot prevent the City Council from taking an action.
A new CIS must be submitted after each Council action. The original position taken by your NC may not be the same position after the Council has acted.
TIP: Clear and concise statements are effective. For issues that require lengthier statements, a brief summary at the beginning is useful. If the vote was divided, what were the divisions? Were stakeholders also engaged on this issue through surveys or other means? Providing such detail will give decision-makers additional insight into your community’s views and values.
STEP 4: Submit a Community Impact Statement.
There are several ways that a board appointed NC representative can submit Community Impact Statements to the City Clerk. They can:
FILE ONLINE WEB FORM at http://cityclerk.lacity.org/cis/.
The best way to submit a CIS is through this online web form which was developed specifically to facilitate the accurate and timely receipt of CISs. To set up your access (or login), a Neighborhood Council submits a board resolution to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment which indicates that it has appointed up to five representatives who are authorized to submit its statements.
(See template at end of document.) The NC also provides the representatives’ name, email address and phone number to NCsupport@lacity.org or by fax to (213) 978-1751. Representatives will then be sent instructions on how to login and use the system. OR
EMAIL to the assigned Committee Clerk, OR
FAX a signed statement to the City Clerk at (213) 978-1079, OR
MAIL or HAND-DELIVER to the City Clerk at 200 North Spring Street, City Hall, Room 395, Los Angeles 90012.
The City Clerk will not edit statements except in accordance with City Council rules.
STEP 5: Follow up on the Community Impact Statement.
If the statement is received in time to be processed prior to the posting of the agenda, the NC’s position of “FOR, AGAINST, or GENERAL COMMENTS” will be printed on the agenda. The full statement and any attachments will be placed in the Council File, and also scanned into the Council File Management System so that it can be retrieved by the public through the Internet.
TIP: If your NC has gone through the process of identifying an issue, understanding it, and reaching some type of consensus, then your NC has invested a lot of energy into its Community Impact Statement. Consider it a living document. Share it with others. Resubmit it as the issue goes through the legislative process, so it will reappear on subsequent agendas. The Community Impact Statement can be a valuable tool to help your Neighborhood Council fulfill its purpose “to promote more citizen participation in government and make government more responsive to local needs.” -LA City Charter Sec. 900.
Authorization to submit Community Impact Statements
President Name) and
Officer Name), declare that we are
the President and ___________________, respectively of the
____________________________Neighborhood Council (NC) and that on
(date adopted), a Brown Act noticed public meeting was held by
this NC with a quorum of _____ (
number) board members present and that by a vote of
number) yes, _____ (number) no, and ______(number) abstentions the
_____________________________ NC adopted the following resolution:
Whereas, a Community Impact Statement is an official statement adopted by a Neighborhood Council on issues pending before the City Council, its committees, or City commissions,
Whereas, up to five board members can be authorized through a board resolution to write and submit Community Impact Statements through the City Clerk’s online web system at http://cityclerk.lacity.org/cis.
Therefore, be it resolved, that the ________________________________Neighborhood Council authorizes the following board member(s) to SUBMIT Community Impact Statements which have been passed by a vote of the full board:
Be it further resolved, in cases where an issue is moving quickly through the legislative process and a promptly issued statement is beneficial, the aforementioned board members are authorized to also WRITE and SUBMIT Community Impact Statements which express positions previously voted upon by the full board.
IN WITNESS of the above action, the undersigned has executed and delivered this certificate in the name and on behalf of the __________________________
(NC name) and as of the date set forth below.
Signature of President Date
Print Name: ___________________________
Signature of Board Officer Date