HAHN CALLS FOR CHARTER OVERHAUL.
Los Angeles City Attorney James Hahn called Thursday for a massive overhaul of the City Charter, creating 20 elected neighborhood councils and equalizing power between the mayor and City Council.
Hahn, speaking to members of the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce, said a poll of residents released this week should serve as a wake-up call for city officials because it showed overwhelming support for a new San Fernando Valley city apart from Los Angeles.
``What the poll and the significant movement toward secession say to me is that the people who run city government better wake up to the fact that the concerns of the Valley and other parts of the city should be heard and addressed,'' Hahn said.
But he added that he remains opposed to secession.
``People must become reconnected to city government. People must be given a real voice in how this city is run and the direction the city will take in the years ahead,'' Hahn said.
``We need charter reform because L.A. city government, designed over 100 years ago, is incapable of adapting to today's needs,'' Hahn said. ``City Hall is broken, is in need of repair, and the neighborhoods of this city know it.''
On his neighborhood council proposal, Hahn said he envisions five-member panels of unpaid people who are elected from districts that would be drawn based on community of interest rather than political boundaries.
Hahn said the panels would have first authority over planning and land use in many cases, with the exception of projects so major as to be considered of citywide significance.
The neighborhood councils would work with police and fire officials on local public safety concerns.
The councils also would administer issues of local interest such as providing permit and fee waivers for special events and spending of funds on parks and municipal arts programs.
Hahn said he would create a new Office of Neighborhoods to coordinate the activities of the different panels.