Los Angeles' Experiment With Neighborhood Councils

A report on the city's vast experiment with neighborhood councils shows mixed results, and how messy democracy can be.
May 17, 2004, 9am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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The heartache in Van Nuys and the cheerful efficiency of Mid-Wilshire are all part of the city's massive, groundbreaking effort to empower Los Angeles communities — and quell their secessionist impulses — by creating 100 neighborhood councils, one for every corner of this vast, disparate metropolis... The push for the panels began a decade ago but picked up steam in the face of breakaway movements in the San Fernando Valley and elsewhere. Civic leaders pinned their hopes on the councils as a way to knit the city back together. Though many cities across the country have some kind of system of neighborhood panels, none has ever tried to create them so quickly or give them so much money, officials say. More than 3 million of the city's 3.8 million residents are now represented by councils.

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Sunday, May 16, 2004 in The Los Angeles Times
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