The Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council (ASNC) voted on Monday evening to submit a community impact statement opposing a motion drafted by Councilman José Huizar that would establish a procedure though which neighborhood councils could be subdivided.
The motion to submit the community impact statement--written by ASNC member Jack Fong--passed by a vote of 10 to five with two abstentions.
Huizar's motion, which has been referred to the City Council's education and neighborhoods committee, appears to open the door for Hermon to form its own neighborhood council distinct from the ASNC. Members of that community have been pushing for such a subdivision for more than a year.
The ASNC currently represents five communities: Hermon, Mount Washington, Sycamore Grove, Montecito Heights and Monterey Hills. Supporters of the Hermon subdvision say that their community has outgrown the ASNC and is in need of more local representation.
ASNC President Martha Benedict said she was in favor of submitting a community impact statement that opposed Huizar's motion, becuase she feels the neighborhood council system is most effective when communities work together instead of splintering.
"I voted for [Jack Fong's] motion because I see no value in separating Hermon from ASNC. Every neighborhood probably has a faction who feel they aren’t getting their way. If each of them were to get their own neighborhood council, the neighborhood council system would collapse," she said. "The goal of neighborhood councils is to find consensus within divergent views. The neighborhood councils are organized around representative democracy. We will never all agree, but our neighborhoods will be strengthened if we make the effort to work together. It is very hard to build unity and very easy to tear it down."
Joseph Riser, a Hermon resident and the Sycamore Grove geographical representative on the ASNC, voted against Fong's motion. He said it does not take into considering the overwhelming desires of the Hermon community, or the ASNC at large.
"Outside of separate meetings in Hermon--where many hundreds of people have been informed--there's been no attempt to inform the vast majority of ASNC stakeholders of the issues surrounding Hermon's overwhelming desire to leave the ASNC structure, or to see if they would support it, oppose it, or just not care either way," Riser said.