Boyle Heights NC Avoids Losing Status

New bylaws adopted to streamline the organizational structure.

By Gloria Angeleina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

A resident who did not want to take part in the “dysfunctional” and “bureaucratic” mess that Los Angeles’ Neighborhood Council (NC) meetings can be, picked an interesting night to get involved.

Boyle Heights resident Marco Ramirez attended the March 30th meeting of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council (BHNC); the same meeting attended by representatives of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) that oversee the neighborhood councils. They were there in hopes of helping the council avoid decertification.

Though the often-heated meeting lived up to some of Ramirez’s preconceptions, he said the meeting also left him feeling empowered.

“I was pleased to find that people are genuinely interested in improving conditions in Boyle Heights… I finally recognize how important it is for me to participate and support the Board rather than criticize the process from afar,” Ramirez told EGP in an email.

The failure to get a quorum has been an ongoing problem for the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, leaving them unable to make important decisions and threatened with de-certification.

During the meeting, former and founding neighborhood council members scolded current board members for risking de-certification. Pictured here, BHNC members vote to make all positions at-large. EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo



The BHNC was able to hold onto its certification for now by finally getting a quorum. With just one board member more than the 24 needed to approve changes to their bylaws, the neighborhood council adopted several measures aimed at making it easier to achieve quorums both in the short- and long-term. And they did it just in the nick of time.

About an hour into the meeting, a board member who had earlier said he was going to resign, got up and left.

The council is dysfunctional; members disrespect each other and talk over each other. “They can’t even get through one item on the agenda,” Saul Zepeda, BHNC’s former outreach and education officer told EGP as he left the meeting accompanied by his two school-age sons.

Two others also resigned before the meeting concluded.

During public comment, former and founding neighborhood council members scolded current board members for risking de-certification.

The BHNC voted to make all 35 executive seats at-large positions, which means they are still on the board but no longer represent quadrants or elected positions, according to Grayce Liu, DONE project coordinator.

The neighborhood council could go on to select executive officers, but the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners must first approve the bylaw changes, which could take one to two months, according to Liu.

The board also changed its attendance policy so that in the future any council member who misses three meetings in a 12-month period will automatically be considered to have resigned and be removed, she said.  That includes any scheduled and posted meeting regardless if there is a quorum.

Read this story IN SPANISH: Concejo Vecinal de Boyle Heights Evita la Disolución

Jose Aguilar, the council’s president prior to the meeting, told EGP he agrees with the new “three-strikes and you’re out” attendance policy. He believes some of the council members were sabotaging the group with their absence. Some members wanted to avoid tackling issues, and preferred to deal with holding events, he said.

The council was scheduled to consider additional bylaw changes at this past Tuesday’s meeting and to allocate some of its remaining funds before the city’s upcoming funding deadline.

“The goal is to make sure that the funding Boyle Heights receives is used in the Boyle Heights area,” said Liu, adding “we don’t want the community to lose those funds” that can be used for outreach, community grants and public safety.

The deadline for the city “to issue checks” is April 15, so the board urgently needs to decide how to spend nearly $34,000, she said.

Other bylaw changes should also make it easier to recall or remove a board member.

BHNC is not out of the woods yet. Liu said the council needs to maintain quorums for the next two or three months, and change its board structure to something that is sustainable” in order to avoid further action by DONE.

The BHNC bylaw committee has worked tirelessly for months on the bylaw changes, according to Terry Marquez, the committee’s chair. She said the committee has had no problem getting a quorum and the neighborhood council should be congratulated for taking “difficult actions.”

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April 7, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


5 Responses to “Boyle Heights NC Avoids Losing Status”

  1. Vera del Pozo on April 8th, 2011 11:23 am

    I believe that the current members should be applauded for trheir efforts in working with DONE to keep from being decertified. We need to have a positive additude and willingness to work together for this communitty. It is time to stop throwing the blame around on what did not work and make this group united, stronger and effective. We are here for the residents of Boyle Heights and that should be our one an only priority.

  2. Somos BH on April 8th, 2011 1:44 pm

    It is that group of people who attacked the current BHNC members who created this formation that has not worked. They all wanted a stake in the BHNC and had 50 members which was seriously a dysfunctional. They then reduced it to 35 which still did not fix the problem of quorum. These individuals do not understand that the changes made were to save and improve the operation of BHNC not to discret their work. This group of members have been comitted and have introduced BHNC to the Boyle Heights community through their many outreach and partnership event. The leadership of Jose Aguilar is the reason why it failed, he lacks professionalism and has no working relationships with City, Pubic and Non-Profit groups to work in partnership.

  3. jose aguilar on April 8th, 2011 3:38 pm

    All this professional talk coming from a person who refers to the public as pupic hairs…. that’s most unprofessional ! The list of people who never bothered to show up and the people responsible for notifying them to show up are the most derelict and unprofessional people on the council ! The list of members who where unprofessional will see the light of day!

  4. EchoParkLady on April 13th, 2011 5:39 pm


  5. Somos BH on May 11th, 2011 3:19 pm

    @ Jose Aguilar, you should feel so ashamed that under your leadership you put the coucil at risk of decertification. You are the most petitic person residing in BH, now wonder you and Scott were best friends. Too bad he is no longer going along with your agenda’s he will be solo in making himself the idiot he is known to be. Maybe you should do BH a favor and stop trying to “help” us because whenever your involved you hurt us. Get a job, move out of your mommy’s house and buy yourself some new clothes, tired of always seeing you in your BHNC dingy, greasy stained shirt given to you 3 years ago. If you can’t see that it was a spelling error when trying to write Public and your sick mind thinks of such things, you make us wonder where your mind is. Go to church and say a prayer, you really could use one. I know I will be praying for you. Get out of BHNC you, Manny Aldana and William Morrison who believe they will represent us someday outside of BHNC (funny they only get 7 votes in our elections) do our community a favor.

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