Friday, January 29, 2010

OPINION: Neighborhood Council Funding Threatened; Budget of $0 Proposed

By Doug Epperhart

The city’s chief administrative officer has issued a report recommending that neighborhood councils not be funded for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Instead of the $45,000 allocated to each council in 2009, they’d get zero. And any money left over from this fiscal year would also be taken.

What would that mean for San Pedro?

  • No more money for beautification along North Gaffey.
  • No more money for trees in Central San Pedro.

  • No more money for programs and projects at Point Fermin, 15th Street, Taper Avenue, San Pedro High, and other schools.

  • No more money for Shakespeare by the Sea, Little Fish Theatre, Warner Grand movies, Music by the Sea, or any other community events and groups.

  • No more Coastal Currents or Northwest Advocate newsletters.

But, it also means those of us who have given years of volunteer time to neighborhood councils will not just fade from the scene or go away. We will still be here, fighting for our families and our neighbors and our community.

It’s true the city of Los Angeles is on the verge of bankruptcy. Revenues continue to decline faster than the city can cut its expenses. This is why the mayor proposes selling off parking meters and structures to a private operator, something many of us neighborhood council activists oppose. One likened the short-term gain to selling off grandma’s good silver to buy a bottle of scotch.

If you want to get a handle on what will happen at City Hall next week, go to, a website created by L.A.’s neighborhood councils.

Meanwhile, call Councilwoman Janice Hahn, (310) 732-4515, and Mayor Villaraigosa’s Harbor Area representative, Ricardo Hong, (310) 732-4632, and let them know how you feel about this attempt to kill neighborhood councils. Or email and

By the way, the report doesn’t recommend touching the councilmembers’ $179,000 salaries or their office budgets or slush funds. You might want to offer an opinion about that, too.
Doug Epperhart is a San Pedro business owner, community leader and member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

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