1. What is the purpose of neighborhood councils? Neighborhood councils will promote more public participation in government, making government more responsive to neighborhood needs.

2. How are neighborhood councils formed? Communities will decide for themselves how their neighborhood councils will be structured and then petition the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment for certification. AVNC has already completed this process and was officially certified February 11th, 2003, file #: 02-074.

3. What does AVNC do? All neighborhood councils, including AVNC, will be like "neighborhood lobbyists" and organizers. They will communicate directly with City departments and elected officials and establish local spending priorities.

4. Who is eligible to be a member of AVNC? Membership in the AVNC shall be open to all Community Stakeholders.

5. What or who is a Community Stakeholder? The term "stakeholder" means anyone who lives, works, owns property, or is a member of a volunteer or religious organization within the recognized boundaries of the AVNC.

6. What are the boundaries of the AVNC? The AVNC will include the geographic area described as follows and as shown on the boundary map:

North: 134 Freeway including Griffith Park
East: Railroad tracks (Los Angeles/Glendale boundary) south to Perlita Avenue and the Los Angeles River
South: Casitas Avenue south of the 2 Freeway to the Los Angeles River
West: 5 Freeway including the Los Angeles River and Griffith Park

7. How do I join AVNC? Fill out the Stakeholder Registration Form online here or contact our hotline at 323-634-2862.

8. I'm a member of a homeowners association or community group within the boundaries of the AVNC. Do I still need to become involved with the Council? Neighborhood councils are a new form of government, so the relationship with the councils and pre-exisitng groups will develop over time. Certain very localized issues will continue to be addressed by local associations as well as the AVNC.

9. How is the AVNC governed? The Board of Governors of the AVNC shall consist of seventeen (17) community stakeholders made up of:
    • 6 residents: 2 from North Atwater, 2 from Central Atwater, 2 from South Atwater, as defined in Article V of these bylaws).
    • 2 business representatives (representing businesses operating within the AVNC boundaries).
    • 2 community groups/non-profit representatives (representing community groups or non-profit organizations operating within the AVNC boundaries or including Atwater Village in its service area).
    • 2 church/religion representatives (representing churches or religious groups operating within the AVNC boundaries).
    • 1 school representative (representing schools within the AVNC boundaries).
    • 1 parks and recreation representative (representing parks and recreation within the AVNC boundaries).
    • 3 special interest representatives.

10. Is there a City Department responsible for Neighborhood Councils? The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) will assist neighborhoods in forming neighborhood councils by providing organizing advice, training, and printing services for the distribution of flyers. City Council offices can be very helpful in connecting individuals with neighborhood council activity in their area. Many community-based and neighborhood organizations such as residents associations, chambers of commerce, and neighborhood watch groups are also involved in organizing neighborhood councils. To contact DONE please visit www.lacityneighborhoods.com

11. How can we contact AVNC? Either use the contact email form on the Contact page, mail or call: 3371 Glendale Blvd. Unit 105, Los Angeles, CA 90039. (323) 634-2862

12. When are the regular Council Meetings held? The Atwater Village Neighborhood Council holds its regular meetings on the second Thursday of each month and may also call any additional required special meetings in accordance with its By-Laws and the Brown Act. The Agenda is posted for public review at www.atwatervillage.org and at: Chevy Chase Rec. Center (4165 Chevy Chase Dr), Atwater Village Branch Library (3379 Glendale Blvd), Coin Laundromat (Glendale & Perlita Ave), Vince’s Market (Atwater Ave & Silver Lake Blvd), Giamella’s (3178 Los Feliz Blvd), Proof Bakery (3156 Glendale Blvd).

13. Can I speak at a Council Meeting? The public may comment on a specific item listed on this agenda when the Board considers that item. When the Board considers the agenda item entitled “Public Comments,” the public has the right to comment on any matter that is within the Board’s jurisdiction. In addition, the members of the public may request and receive copies without undue delay of any documents that are distributed to the Board, by contacting the AVNC Co-chairs at Co-Chairs@atwatervillage.org unless there is a specific exemption under the Public Records Act that prevents the disclosure of the record (Govt. Code § 54957.5).

14. How do I file a grevience? Any grievance by a Stakeholder must be submitted in writing to the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors shall then refer the matter to an ad hoc grievance panel comprised of 5 Stakeholders who are randomly selected by the Council secretary from a list of Stakeholders who have previously expressed an interest in serving from time-to-time on such a grievance panel. The Secretary will coordinate a time and a place for the panel to meet with the person(s) submitting a grievance and to discuss ways in which the dispute may be resolved. Thereafter, a panel member shall prepare and submit a written report to the Board out lining the panel's collective recommendations for resolving the grievance, no later than two weeks after it has met with the person submitting the grievance. The Board of Governors may receive a copy of the panel's report and recommendations prior to any meeting by the Board, but the matter shall not be discussed among the Board members until the matter is heard at the next regular meeting of the Board pursuant to the Ralph M. Brown Act.

This formal grievance process is not intended to apply to Stakeholders who simply disagree with a position or action taken by the Board at one of its meetings. Those grievances can be aired at Board meetings. This grievance process is intended to address matters involving procedural disputes, e.g., the Board's failure to comply with Board Rules or these Bylaws, or its failure to comply with the City's Charter, the Plan, local ordinances, and/or state and federal law.

In the event that a grievance cannot be resolved through this grievance process, then the matter may be referred to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment for consideration or dispute resolution.

15. What is the process for Reconsideration? An official vote or action of the Board may be reconsidered upon request as follow: a.) Reconsideration may take place immediately following the original action or at the next regular meeting. A member of the Board, at either of the meetings shall make a motion to reconsider the action or decision. If approved by majority vote of the Board, the Board may immediately rehear the matter and take action. b.) A motion for reconsideration may only be made by a Board member who previously voted on the prevailing side of the original action or decision taken.



1. Does the Brown Act apply to Neighborhood Councils?

YES, because the City Charter created Neighborhood Councils, Neighborhood Councils will be subject to the provisions of the Brown Act. The Brown Act is applicable to “a commission, committee, board, or other body of a local agency, whether permanent or temporary, decision making or advisory, created by charter, ordinance, resolution or formal action of a legislative body.“ § 54952 (b) (Emphasis added).

2. What are the major components of the Brown Act that will apply to Neighborhood Councils?

The Brown Act will generally apply* when there is a quorum or majority of the governing body of a Neighborhood Council present. The essential provisions that should be complied with include: meetings must be open (§ 54953.3); agendas of meetings must be posted 72 hours in advance for regular meetings and 24 hours in advance for special meetings (§ 54954.2 and § 54956); at the meeting the legislative body is limited to acting on the matters on the agenda (§ 54954.2); members of the public must be given an opportunity to speak to the legislative body on agenda items and non-agenda items within the jurisdiction of the Neighborhood Council ballots or deliberations are permitted (§ 54953); and agendas of public meetings and any other distributed writings are public records and shall be made available upon request without delay (§ 54957.5).

*There are some statutory exceptions that allow for a majority of the governing board to meet without compliance with these provisions depending upon the circumstances.

3. Does the Brown Act apply to Neighborhood Council committees?

YES, if the committee has an ongoing jurisdiction over a specific matter, it is considered a standing committee and would be covered under the Brown Act. However, if a Neighborhood Council establishes a temporary committee to review and make recommendations on a specific task or issue, the Brown Act does not apply because after the committee finishes its review and has given recommendations to the full governing body of the Neighborhood Council, the committee would be disbanded and thus no longer has jurisdiction over that matter. However, the temporary committee must comprise less than a quorum of the governing body, or else the Brown Act will apply since its provisions govern “meetings” of a legislative body at which a majority of the members are present. (Ralph M. Brown Act § 54952(b))

For example: The Board of Neighborhood Commissioner’s (BONC) Ad Hoc Committee on Certification Application was not subject to the Brown Act, because it was a temporary committee, had a specific assignment to contend with, and comprised less than a quorum of its members.

For more infomation including amendments to the Brown Act, visit the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment website and do a search on Brown Act.
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