A motion drafted by the Los Angeles City Attorney's office to delay Neighborhood Council elections until 2014 has been submitted to the City Clerk.
According to a correspondence from Chief Assistant City Attorney Pedro B. Echeverria to the city council, the motion would "postpone elections and grant the City Clerk the authority to extend board member terms for two years."
The motion would not prohibit neighborhood councils from selecting new members to fill vacant slots, which the administrative code allows.
The motion has not been placed on the city council's agenda yet, but in an e-mail to stakeholders, Jay Handal of the West L.A. Neighborhood Council said the item could be considered before Thanksgiving.
Currently, the city's administrative code calls for Neighborhood Council elections to be held in April, May and June of even-numbered years. However, with the city reporting a $457 million deficit in the 2011/2012 Fiscal Year, the elections have been targeted for cuts.
According Jennifer Solis of the Westlake Neighborhood Council, the 2010 elections cost the City Clerk's office more than $1 million.
While the motion makes its way to the City Council, a task force of Neighborhood Council members and stakeholders have been holding meetings over the last two months in an attempt to create a new, cost effective election process.
Among the changes recommended by the task force is to shift the responsibility for neighborhood council elections from the City Clerk's office to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE), and to have the votes collected and tallied by trained volunteers.
Rick Marquez, of the , said that, while he preferred not to have elections delayed for two years, he also had concerns about DONE running the show.
Marquez said that, prior to the 2010 elections, DONE was responsible for overseeing the elections, which "left a lot of loopholes for mismanagement."
"I like the way they did last time when the city clerk ran it, there was no goofing around," Marquez said.
The motion has been scheduled to be before the City Council's Arts, Parks, & Neighborhoods committee on Wednesday at 3 p.m. on Nov. 30.
Paul Krekorian, chairman of the Arts, Parks, & Neighborhoods committee, released the following statement, expressing his disapproval of the proposed motion.
“I oppose this draft ordinance because it is clearly contrary to the spirit of democracy that our neighborhood councils represent. Extending neighborhood council board member terms until 2014 is unacceptable and it continues to be my goal to find a mechanism that allows residents to have a democratic process to select their representation on their neighborhood councils in 2012. I will work with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, the neighborhood councils, the Mayor's office, the City Clerk and every other interested party to resolve this issue swiftly, transparently and responsibly.”