A standing room only crowd from 26 of the Neighborhood Councils in the San Fernando Valley on Thursday heard mayoral candidate and City Councilmember Eric Garcetti outline his five point plan for improving the City. His appearance marked the last in a series of one-on-one dialogues which featured five mayoral candidates during the past year hosted by the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC). VANC is hosting a Citywide Candidate Forum for Mayor and City Controller on Saturday, February 23 from 9:30 a.m. until 12 noon at Los Angeles Valley College Monarch Hall. More details to be announced.

The group then debated several controversial issues including Measure A, the half-cent City sales tax increase on the March 5 ballot, and the $3 billon City street repair bond measure proposed for the May 21 runoff ballot. A motion for VANC to oppose the sales tax increase passed by a 24-1-0 vote and a motion supporting a 60 day delay on the street repair bond to allow time for NCs to consider the proposal passed by a 25-1-0 vote.

Several Valley NCs are jointly sponsoring a Measure A Sales Tax Increase Town Hall Forum on Tuesday, February 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Cleveland High School Multipurpose Room, 8140 Vanalden Avenue, Reseda. For more information contact Kevin at ktaylor@resedacouncil.org.

Grayce Liu, Interim General Manager of EmppowerLA, described improvements in the Department’s funding program but warned that there may be reductions in the amount of funds available for NCs and the Department next fiscal year. The next NC election cycle is planned for April through June 2014 and the process will begin later this year. Any requested Bylaw amendments must be submitted by June 30, 2013.

VANC is the oldest and largest regional alliance of NCs in the City and will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at a mixer to be held on Thursday, March 14 in Studio City. For more information on this and the monthly VANC meetings, contact Chair Jill Banks Barad at VANC@EmpowerLA.org.