The Westwood Neighborhood Council wants a Los Angeles City council member to veto the decision on the official borders of a new neighborhood council.
The WWNC created a motion Aug. 8 requesting Councilmember Paul Koretz of District 5 to veto a motion on the decision of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners hearing Monday. The BONC, which oversees neighborhood councils in Los Angeles, will hear prospective bylaws from the North Westwood Neighborhood Council and decide the final borders of the subdivision of Westwood.
The NWWNC was approved following a May 22 vote to subdivide the area currently overseen by the WWNC. The borders of the new council would include UCLA, Westwood Village and the North Village.
Code 245 in the LA City Charter allows council members to veto decisions made by any board of commissioners if the decision receives a two-thirds majority approval from the city council. If passed, the motion could nullify the result of the hearing.
The WWNC submitted a proposal on the boundaries of the two neighborhood councils, in which the two councils would share jurisdiction of Westwood Village. The WWNC argues that without Westwood Village, the jurisdiction of the WWNC is almost exclusively residential.
Michael Skiles, president of the Graduate Students Association and a member of Westwood Forward, said the jurisdiction of Westwood Village should not be shared because it could cause problems for businesses in Westwood.
“Every single business and every single development in Westwood would have to go before not one but two neighborhood councils. The values are opposite on these councils, there’s just no way for businesses to placate both councils,” Skiles said. “It would be a very heavy burden for businesses, as well as an administrative and bureaucratic nightmare.”
Skiles added that the WWNC’s proposal would set a dangerous precedent for the future of neighborhood council boundaries across Los Angeles.
“If they could just say Westwood Village has some historic buildings therefore they should share all of the village, that would make all boundaries of all neighborhood councils meaningless,” Skiles said. “If WWNC’s interpretation were allowed to fly, every neighborhood council could use it to justify shared control any part of any neighborhood council if they wanted.”
If the BONC approves the bylaws of the NWWNC, the WWNC will request that Koretz create a motion to veto the decision of the board.
Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, said he does not think the veto will pass because it would go against the BONC and the results of the election that created the new council.
“It would be really surprising – not only would it defy the will of the voters, it would defy the determination of the (BONC),” Thomas said. “The boards are important, they have an important mission and purpose. I think the council member will respect their authority.”
Skiles said he also thinks the WWNC’s request ignores the will of the voters and does not respect the established process for subdivision.
“It’s not only disrespectful to the commissioners, because they haven’t even made a decision yet and already the WWNC is asking people to overrule them, it’s disrespectful of voters in Westwood and the entire voting process,” Skiles said.
Members of the Westwood Neighborhood Council were reached out to but declined to comment.