Our About page explains, "Neighborhood Council board members are entrusted to represent Mid City's interests to the Mayor, City Council and all City government departments and agencies and are tasked by the City Charter with “assisting in the delivery of city services” and “bringing government closer to the people” by holding public meetings within neighborhood council official boundaries and hearing the public’s opinion on matters of concern." But what exactly does that mean, and how is that accomplished?
As will be discussed in other blog posts under this "Process & Behind the Scenes" category, there are several aspects to what neighborhood councils do, and what MINC in particular pursues:
advocacy for Mid-City residents to government departments,
spreading the word about opportunities for our stakeholders,
giving an opportunity for government agencies to update our stakeholders directly
Stakeholder input is critical for each of these. In this post, we talk about a few methods that the neighborhood council can use to advocate for our residents. We discuss details below, and you can see an example in our November Statements round-up here.
Community Impact Statements (CIS)
Community Impact Statements are official letters that can be issued by neighborhood councils. They state the position that the board has taken on a particular issue, done by vote during a public meeting. CISs are one of the more noteworthy means that a neighborhood council can use to make their voice heard in City government.
First and foremost, a CIS includes a position on an issue in front of the City Council or city commissions. These positions can include
support if amended,
opposition unless amended, or
A CIS is also an opportunity to provide a nuanced opinion on a particular subject matter and make the voice of the community heard.
Matters before the City Council are assigned a “Council File Number” (CF) and can be accessed on the City Clerk’s Council File Management System (CFMS). CIS letters on City Council motions are included in the file and are publicly available.
A CIS is drafted and proposed by neighborhood council board members, but can be proposed by stakeholders as well. To submit a CIS for consideration, a request should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the relevant committee. Information that should be included is:
the relevant council file number,
a position on the issue,
preferably a draft CIS.
The request is considered by the appropriate committee. If approved by them, the CIS draft moves forward for consideration by the full Board of the neighborhood council. If approved by the full Board, the CIS will become the Board’s position on the issue and will be sent to the City for posting to the Council File.
MINC board members try to keep an eye on relevant city council motions and filings via tools like the LA City Clerk Connect, by talking with other neighborhood councils, and via stakeholders like you.
Requests for Action (RFA)
A Request for Action is a letter submitted by the neighborhood council to an elected representative or a governmental agency to advocate for action or a position on a certain issue. If there is an issue which concerns you, please ask us to send a RFA to the appropriate elected individual or agency in order to address the issue.
A RFA letter provides the full authority of the neighborhood council to your request and may be more effective than an individual inquiry in effecting corrective actions. A RFA may be requested from the Executive Committee through public comment (during a meeting), contact request on the website, or email (email@example.com). Requests should include as much pertinent contextual information as possible.
Letters of Support
The neighborhood council is often partnering with local, city, or county organizations on projects we hope will improve the lives of our stakeholders. We occasionally provide letters of support to other initiatives to put our weight behind projects being driven by other institutions.