Monday, January 26, 2009

Alliance of Neighborhood Councils

The Alliance of Neighborhood Councils met this weekend at Los Angeles City College in my district. Dozens of representative from communities across Los Angeles came together to talk about issues important to our city.

I shared with the group some ideas on how Neighborhood Councils can help our city. I thought I'd list some of them here:

1. Organize for change. Change begins with the strength of your network and the numbers of people that you have regularly involved in initiatives. The Obama campaign showed the ability of community organizing techniques to have a huge impact. Hold house parties, neighborhood coffees with representatives, and do regular door-to-door canvassing. Hold a “Neighborhood Organizing Camp” with stakeholders from the business, residential, faith, and labor communities in your neighborhood.

2. Embrace Web 2.0 and preserve public access to information. Changes to state law have taken away municipal jurisdiction over cable networks, but we have new tools to reach even more Angelenos than ever. Build your own Neighborhood Council YouTube channel, help the city build a new YouTube-like network, and embrace Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social networking sites that help bring new people into your neighborhood council network and keep them feeling connected on a daily basis to your work!

3. Build a Neighborhood Green Team. The city has programs to green Los Angeles, from free recycling for apartment buildings to free light bulbs from DWP. Recruit and develop a team of youth who can work after school or during the summer for your neighborhood, going door-to-door to help get businesses to go green with the city’s new green business initiative, and let tenants and homeowners know about free trees, recycling, and energy efficiency programs that can help them save money and beautify the neighborhood.

4. Make LA Safer by building a Watch 2.0 newsletter. Watch 2.0 is a powerful tool to help connect neighborhoods to crucial public safety information to avoid and prevent criminal activity in their area. Building a newsletter also helps neighbors get to know one another, building a powerful network to keep crime away. Contact Jeff Berk ( for more information.

You can see the complete list here.