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CIVIC GROUP TO PUSH FOR COMMUNITY PANELS.

Byline: Patrick McGreevy Daily News Staff Writer

A plan by a group of business, homeowner and labor leaders for creating elected community councils with decision-making power drew support from some City Council members and others Tuesday, but will face some opposition when it is taken up Monday by the elected Charter Reform Commission.

The group, called The Coalition and representing 250,000 Los Angeles residents, formally announced its plan for community councils at City Hall on Tuesday.

Under the proposal, nine community panel members would be elected from each of the 15 current council districts, and would be able to make decisions on local planning, budget, taxes and services. Decisions by the panels would be appealable to the City Council.

``We don't need . . . downtown to tell us how to live our lives,'' said Bill Powers of the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley.

Benetta Johnson, who heads a South Central Los Angeles group called the Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition, said residents in her area are tired of getting short shrift from City Hall.

``Inner-city people are intelligent. They are civic-minded. They would like to take control and make sure things are done in our community,'' she said.

The Coalition proposal won praise Tuesday from council members Joel Wachs and Jackie Goldberg.

``I'm really excited about it,'' Wachs said. ``It's an excellent suggestion.''

He said it might be enhanced by creating another level of advisory panels for each of the nine community council members in each district.

``It sounds like a good plan to me,'' Goldberg said.

State Sen. Tom Hayden, D-Los Angeles, attended The Coalition's news conference to voice his support and to urge the elected Charter Reform Commission to consider the plan Monday when the panel will weigh creating a system of elected neighborhood councils.

However, elected charter Commissioner Rob Glushon of Encino said he opposes The Coalition's proposal.

``I have some serious concerns about whether or not that would be workable given that there is no model like it anywhere else in the country,'' Glushon said.

Instead, Glushon said he will ask his fellow commissioners Monday to consider a proposal that would have the current 15-member City Council create regional subpanels of council members that would meet on local issues.

For instance, the City Council members from the San Fernando Valley would meet as a committee on Valley issues and make recommendations to the full council.

``It really engages the local citizens without creating another level of bureaucracy,'' Glushon said.

Sam Bell of the Los Angeles Business Advisors also said he will be at next week's meeting to oppose The Coalition's proposal.

``We still feel that elected councils with decision-making power is a bad thing,'' Bell said.

However, The Coalition member David Fleming, who heads the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, said the group of labor, homeowner and business leaders will present a strong campaign for its proposal Monday and in the April 1999 election if it makes it onto the ballot.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 14, 1998
Words:499
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