Mayor tries to quell tensions on neighborhood councils

first_imgThere’s a rebellion brewing across the city targeting Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the City Council and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. Fear and paranoia in the community threatens to result in a boycott of the Conference of Neighborhood Councils, scheduled for June 17. And a number of the original neighborhood councils that were considered models of the system are being torn apart in internal battles. All this is coming even before the scheduled April 21 retirement of DONE General Manager Greg Nelson and the uncertainty over how his successor will be selected. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventVillaraigosa is trying to quell the tensions with assurances of his support for neighborhood councils – which still remain wary of how much support they have from the mayor. “The mayor does support neighborhood councils and he believes a lot of the concerns neighborhood councils have will be answered soon,” spokesman Darryl Ryan said. Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who has been one of the biggest boosters of the councils, said she also has been urging them to remain calm. “I know they are concerned because Greg Nelson is leaving and there’s some uncertainty,” Hahn said. “I think once we have a new general manager in place, that will remove a lot of the angst.” Also upsetting some of the groups is an increase in sparring among some of the neighborhood councils – from Encino to Valley Glen – over who can serve on the various boards. DONE officials worry the internal disputes are keeping residents from getting involved and hampering the development of broader issues. As he pursues his bid to become California attorney general, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown is fashioning himself as someone who could become the elder statesman among Sacramento pols and bring a sense of civility back to the place. “Why not me?” Brown said in a recent interview. “I worked up there with all sorts of Republicans. We had to, in order to get things done. I think I can become a voice of reason and wisdom in Sacramento.” To many, it is hard to believe that Brown – used by the Republicans over the years to raise money to run against Democrats – could be interested in playing such a role. But, he insists, he can do it – particularly with his past seven years working at the local level with nonpartisan politics. “You look at this partisanship where people are taking positions solely on party labels and it has taken partisanship to a high level of dysfunctionality,” Brown said. “Someone has got to talk some sense into these guys.” The meeting last week between Villaraigosa and China’s Vice Premier Wu Yi is just the first step of an effort by the mayor to lure business from Asia. Wu Yi was in Los Angeles as part of an expected $15 billion trade deal for a variety of U.S. products over the coming years. Villaraigosa hopes soon to announce the details of his own trip to Asia, one he has long been hoping to pull together as his first official trade mission outside the United States. An announcement could come shortly after the mayor’s scheduled meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao expected later this month. It’s Las Vegas, baby, for Supervisor Gloria Molina, honored as Woman of the Year by Hispanic Business magazine. Molina, long a power in local and national politics as a member of the Democratic National Committee, was selected for her work over the years, beginning with her election to the state Assembly, Los Angeles City Council and county Board of Supervisors. “For two decades, she has promoted Hispanic political participation by example and advocacy,” said Jesus Chavarria, editor and publisher of the monthly magazine. Molina and 19 other Latina leaders from business and government will be honored at Caesar’s Palace on May 4. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img