Wed, Aug

‘Different’ NC Congress Takes a Stand

CITYWATCH - Some 600-plus gathered at City Hall Saturday for a somewhat different 2011 Congress of Neighborhoods.

Unlike previous efforts, this Congress was planned and run by Neighborhood Council participants and board members. The gathering was more diverse and younger than Congresses of recent years and offered an Issues Action Session more in line with what framers envisioned for the NC Congress.

The 2011 program was a bit heavy with training sessions but most of the forums played to standing room only and 130 or so hung on to the end to participate in the Action Session. Participants and critics alike generally gave the event high marks. Many felt it was the best of the various Congress incarnations. Certainly since the early days of the NC movement.

The Action Session produced straw polls and resolutions including a unanimous call for Neighborhood Council elections in 2012 … even if they come in the form of ‘town hall’ type selections. Town halls where candidates are heard and voted on the same day by either signed ballot or show of hands.

One motion called for citywide same-day NC elections where Councils pay for outreach and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment pays for the elections.

Other issues at the Action Session included medical marijuana, transportation and emergency preparedness. But the push back from neighborhood councils on City Hall toying with their elections generated the most heat.

Another difference in this Congress was the modest budget and the source of funding. A number of Neighborhood Councils contributed financial support for the event.

Numerous people and organizations … including the DONE … participated in the planning and implementation of the 2011 NC Congress sheparded and directed by Cindy Cleghorn from Sunland Tujunga.

What remains now is transparent and informed follow-up on the Action Resolutions, an objective debriefing so that what did not work will not be repeated and picking a date for the 2012 Congress of Neighborhoods.

Photo report on the Congress (Ken Draper is the editor of CityWatch. He can be reached at [email protected]) -cw

Tags: neighborhood councils, NC Congress, Congress of Neighborhoods, City Hall, elections, NC elections

Vol 9 Issue 77
Pub: Sept 27, 2011