When the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council holds its next full meeting this month, more than one-third of the faces around the table will be new. That’s because a recent election brought 11 first-time members to the fold.
On June 20, Downtown residents and workers voted for a slate of representatives to serve a two-year term on the volunteer community panel. The official count had not been released by press time, but a preliminary count from the City Clerk’s office’s the day after the election showed many current members were re-elected, including DLANC President Patti Berman.
A total of 42 people were on the ballot, wrangling for one of the 28 spots. Elections were open to people who live, work or own property within the council’s boundaries. The vote was organized by the city Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.
Like all neighborhood councils, DLANC lacks formal power, but developers and others with major deals proposed for the community often seek to earn support from the panels, knowing that they can reflect the sentiment of a neighborhood.
DLANC also has a number of committees, including ones for Planning and Land Use, Budget and Finance, and Livability.
Many members are elected to specific seats; for example, the Civic Center/Financial Core and Fashion District each have one resident representative, while the Historic Core and South Park have three. The board includes two area-wide representatives and two Center City East residents.
Speaking by phone to Los Angeles Downtown News last week, Berman said the new board, including the incoming members, are acutely aware that many local residents and workers have voiced concerns about issues of livability and public safety. That has frequently been vocalized at past meetings.
“Everyone understands how bad it’s getting, and we intend to be a voice for Downtown, but people need to understand we’re a neighborhood council, we don’t implement or make policy. We just make recommendations,” Berman said. “When you have a new board, there’s a big anticipation that someone’s brought a magic wand.”
The new board will meet on Tuesday, July 9, at the Palace Theatre (630 S. Broadway), where it will select five officers for the next term.
The full list of winners can be found at empowerla.org/elections.