Neighborhood councils face changes

The City of Los Angeles may be shaving $2 million off its annual budget by terminating the department that oversees the neighborhood council networks.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa plans to move the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to the Community Development Department, which oversees grant funds. According to the Los Angeles Times this merger would eliminate 27 jobs, but put the neighborhood councils into a “more efficient agency.”

This merger is one of several in an effort to eliminate a $484 million gap starting July 1. Other departments, including the Environmental Affairs and Human Services are also being merged into other city departments.

“This could be a tremendous evolution of the sytem,” Al Abrams, a member of the city commission that oversees the neighborhood councils, told the L.A. Times.

He said he believes it is a good idea to put the neighborhood councils in an agency that works closely with non-profits, but the city might lack support from upcoming neighborhood council elections.

The article in the Los Angeles Times stated that this plan may bring challenges from backers of the neighborhood councils.

Head of neighborhood council BongHwan Kim said he will resign by June 30, and Richard Benbow will run the newly named Department of Community Development and Neighborhood Empowerment.