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71 LOCAL COUNCILS PROPOSED; 21 NEIGHBORHOODS ID'D IN THE VALLEY.

Byline: Patrick McGreevy Daily News Staff Writer

The city's chief analyst on Wednesday recommended creating as many as 71 neighborhood councils - perhaps 21 in the Valley - to advise Los Angeles City Council members.

While not committing to the number 71, which corresponds to the number of city library branches, the council's Government Efficiency Committee was interested enough in the concept to ask Chief Legislative Analyst Ron Deaton to develop it further.

Members asked Deaton to draft a funding plan, alternative schemes with different numbers of councils, guidelines for drawing boundaries and selecting members.

The panel asked Deaton to expedite the work so it can be budgeted in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

``The real issue is whether there is a commitment in this City Council to share the power and provide the funding for a meaningful system of neighborhood councils,'' said Councilman Joel Wachs, chairman of the panel.

Deaton promised to draft more detailed proposals by next month, including a plan for creating an Office of Neighborhoods, which would help set up the neighborhood councils and assist residents in gaining easier access to city services.

The analyst said he initially proposed one neighborhood council for each of the city's 71 library services areas, because the groups will need identifiable meeting places and libraries serve that purpose.

There are 21 libraries in the San Fernando Valley, with 15,000 to 100,000 residents in each service area.

However, the council asked Deaton to develop a list of other options - from one neighborhood council for each of the 15 council districts, to about 150 councils so that each would serve 25,000 residents or fewer.

Deaton was also asked to develop staff and budget plans for each option.

If two staff people costing $60,000 are assigned to each of 71 neighborhood councils, the program could cost the city $4.26 million a year.

``There is a price to this,'' Wachs said. ``But I just believe it's one of the things people would most like to see for their money.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 19, 1998
Words:341
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