A Neighborhood Council is a city-certified local group made up of residents living within a specific neighborhood. Neighborhood Councils are governed by neighborhood Board Members, who are elected by the community. Their primary purpose is to improve the neighborhood. The Neighborhood Council meets monthly to plan events, make recommendations, and provide other community services.
Neighborhood Councils work closely with the city’s Mayor to ensure that residents’ voices are heard in local matters. They receive advance notice of issues, make recommendations to City Council members, and work toward resolving issues in their area. Neighborhood Councils represent neighborhoods with a minimum population of 20,000 residents. LA has 96 Neighborhood Councils, and each council must have its own bylaws and go through a certification process.
Neighborhood Councils have been around for a while, but the City of Los Angeles has recently incorporated them as a formal entity with dedicated staff. Neighborhood Councils are the only community organizations in Los Angeles with the ability to formally weigh in on issues before the City Council. They can issue Community Impact Statements, which are printed on City Council agendas.
The Neighborhood Councils represent a unique form of participatory democracy. In addition to residents, business owners, religious leaders, and other stakeholders are included in the neighborhood’s governance. In this way, these groups can foster better business relations within the neighborhood.