GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Monday, September 26, 2011

Congress of Neighborhoods Invades City Hall

John F John Jr

NC System Throws a 10th Year Birthday Party

From every corner
From every background
From every walk of life
They gather in peace with a common hope for a better future
The City of Angels shines down upon this day ~1913

On Saturday September 24th volunteers from all corners of Los Angeles gathered at City Hall for the 2011 Congress of Neighborhoods. It was standing room only inside the historical John Ferraro Council Chambers as a crowd of of nearly 600 crammed together for opening ceremonies. The Pledge of Allegiance was followed by greeting from Cindy Cleghorn who chaired the volunteer committee that organized the event.

Mayor Atnonio Villaraigosa
proclaimed that Neighborhood Councils are here to stay and proceeded with a series of softball remarks that made solid commitments to nothing. BH Kim, the General Manager of DONE gave what could be labeled his most inspiring speech to date. He comfortably addresses the room of savvy community activists many he knows on a first name basis. Mr. Kim pointed out specific projects that different NCs had accomplished to engage stakeholders, like The East Hollywood NC ArtCycle he attended the prior weekend. When each NC was mentioned a variety of shouts and clapping could be heard from the different camps throughout the room. Then he offered a call to action and encouraged further regional organization and for NCs to take positions on the Krekorian motions that will be up for Council vote later in the year.

The day then broke into a series of workshops and panel discussions. From broken side walk to pension reform, and from conflict of interest to social media, Los Angels neighbors talked, listened and exchanged ideas.

Throughout the event GGPNC Public Safety Chair
Andrea Laderosa mingled with fellow community leaders and spoke of how important it is for Los Feliz residents to be represented. It is clear that she is serious about this philosophy as she can be seen volunteering for nearly every community event in and around Los Feliz and now making her presence city wide. She easily exemplifies the best of Los Feliz and the type of positive change one person can bring to a neighborhood.

The event was a huge success not because it solved any of the problems facing Los Angeles, clearly it did not. What it did do was give credence to the ten year old Neighborhood Council system. There was a sense that BH Kim was addressing an emerging giant. The mechanism for regional collaboration on united causes is now in place. And at long last the voice of the common citizen may become louder than whoever has the fattest wallet on any given day