- Written by Jay Handal
02 Oct 2012
VOICES - On Friday at 2 p.m. the Education & Neighborhoods Committee met with just one agenda item:
Motion (Parks – Perry) relative to a request to the Neighborhood Councils to report on their process for community outreach efforts as well as on the status of their understanding and awareness of major, key issues pending before the City Council, such as proposals to establish eleven waste-sheds in their neighborhoods to serve as temporary repositories for waste separation of recyclable materials.
The lobbyists, trash haulers, and apartment owners associations were all there. Why? Because Councilman Parks knowingly and willfully violated the Brown Act by turning the meeting into a hearing about the Franchise Trash proposal.
After an hour of hearing the City’s CLA, CAO, Department of Sanitation all refer to reports and figures, I passed a note to ACA Carmen Hawkins advising her of the Brown Act violation.
She immediately huddled with 4 others for 5 minutes, then they all returned to their seats and continued the violation.
When Councilman Parks finally opened the public hearing, ( one hour and 25 minutes into the meeting, with no mention of NC outreach) giving us 2 minutes each to speak, I was called first.
I advised the entire group that I was filing a Brown Act violation for not adhering to the agenda, and additional counts for not providing any of the reports referred to in the meeting, for the public to view.
The councilman stopped me with 1:18 left of my 2 minutes so he could attempt to link some nonsense to the agenda and avoid what I am told the city attorney advised him, that he was violating the Brown Act, as well as to tell me how to better use my time!
I told him I did not want to be interrupted but he continued his illegal behavior.
The true purpose of the meeting was to find out why NC's don't weigh in and come to meetings. What happened Friday was a perfect example of LA’s elected official’s mentality towards NC members, most of whom are working people without pensions and crazy salaries, and most of whom abide by the laws given to us.
Mr. Parks owes everyone from the NC system an apology and hopefully a $10,000 fine for his egregious behavior.
And to the CLA, yes, NC's will make noise when these things happen to us, and we know your attitude of revenge towards us. NEVER threaten volunteers … I promise, it will come back to bite you and hurt the City you are employed by.
(Jay Handal is chair of the West LA Neighborhood Council and Co-Chair of the NC Budget Advocates Committee. His views are his own.)
Vol 10 Issue 79
Pub: Oct 2, 2012