L.A. neighborhood councils were launched as a way to get grass-roots participation in City Hall's decisions. They're an official part of L.A.'s governing process, and in many cases they occupy taxpayer-funded offices.

But one “NC,” Northeast L.A.'s “32,” was recently kicked out of office space, the El Sereno Constituent Center, controlled by area city Councilman Jose Huizar.

On Aug. 5, Huizar's office gave it 30 days to get out, which means the holiday weekend. NC 32's executive committee is pissed. It issued this statement last week:

… the NC is ordered to vacate and remove all their belongings by Sunday, September 4th during the Labor Day Holiday weekend.

The timing of both the Eviction Notice (August 3) and the “Vacate-by” date (September 4) fit perfectly between the LA-32 NC's General Board Meeting schedule of August 3 and September 7, so that the Board will have no opportunity to discuss, consider, or take action on this matter. This also leaves the Board no opportunity to enter into discussions to procure alternative space.

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The executive committee wonders aloud why Huizar would kick them out of one space only to have them use taxpayer funds, in times of relentless red ink at City Hall, to rent another.

The statement goes on to note that the space will be used for a “non-city entity,” which Huizar's office confirmed to the Weekly today:

We share the El Sereno Constituent Center with Barrio Action, an El Sereno non-profit social service organization that serves thousands of local children and families. They let us know that they needed additional space in order to expand services for kids in educational programs and other services.

In order to accommodate the non-profit, our office gave up space and we also had to ask Hollenbeck PAL [Police Activities League] and the Neighborhood Council to vacate space they had.

At least one NC 32 “general” board member, Scott Johnson, indicates at Mayor Sam's Sister City the boot might be related to his “outspoken opinions regarding Councilman Huizar.”

Whatever the reason, it does make you wonder why an official city body (not to mention the Hollenbeck PAL) would be kicked out of an official city venue in favor of an erstwhile off-campus organization, especially in this time of need.


LA Weekly