Done with DONE and the City Attorney

GUEST COMMENTARY-Every Neighborhood Council has experienced it: Bad advice from the City Attorney. Conflicting advice from the City Attorney. No training from DONE. Scolding from DONE.

Well, enough is enough.

The charter and plan say that the job of DONE is to SUPPORT neighborhood councils. And yet, that is exactly what has been missing. 

How many councils have been placed into Exhaustive Efforts? How many meetings have been cancelled due to DONE determining that an agenda was not posted on time? 

Well guess what? Here is the latest from the City Attorney: 

If your bylaws do not state that a committee must have a certain quorum to act, then one person can hold the meeting! 

The CA has determined that committees are not subject to the Brown Act, only the board. Yet, the Brown Act states that committees appointed by the board are subject to the Brown Act. When we confronted the lead CA, he went silent. His conflicting information finally caught up with him. 

Now, let's look at the West LA situation: 

Placed in Exhaustive Efforts for holding a meeting in a city building that the CA and DONE determined not be ADA compliant, the West LA NC has now been in this situation for seventeen months -- unable to do the work members were elected to perform. 

Now, seventeen months later, the new citywide ADA compliance officer has determined that the past officer erred, and that, in fact, the West LA council’s office is compliant. He wrote a letter to the CA and advised him the WLANC canmeet in the office; and that while there are some things that can be done to make it better, the building is currently compliant. 

Then what did the CA do? He wrote the NC a letter stating the NC must make the changes before it can meet in the building. 

When confronted, the CA went silent yet again -- caught in his own deception and cover up. Enter the hero: Councilmember Mike Bonin and his staff. 

Recognizing the nonsense, Bonin stepped in and finally, the NC has been allowed to go back to its hearing room, in the city building! 

And what did the GM at DONE say? “I was only following the City Attorney instructions!” 

Time for change, wouldn’t you say?

 

(Jay Handal is Co-Chair of the NC Budget Advocates, treasurer of the West Los Angeles NC and Los Angeles Police Commission Hearing Examiner. He is also a consultant to the cannabis industry. Mr. Handal’s views are his own.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.