The Daily News reported on our swearing in at our October 25 meeting. We had only one person run for a seat in our elections earlier this year. We just swore in 8 members, but need 9 for quorum and we still have 9 vacant seats. The article shared various reasons for the challenge in recruiting new members including: safety in attending meetings, people are too busy working to serve on the board, helplessness in making an impact on homelessness, undocumented status and language barriers.
MacArthur Park Board Members were quoted:
“Our small businesses are struggling, the selling of narcotics on the streets, illegal vendors, the potholes, the streets that need cleaning, the shoplifting by the Metro station,” said MacArthur Park Neighborhood Councilmember Ivonneanette Machado. “There are illegal lock-outs, there are evictions going on.”
“Maybe it’s because they don’t feel like they’re getting services from the city, maybe the rents are too high and they have to work (during neighborhood council meetings) and maybe they think there’s nothing that we have done to address homelessness directly,” she said.
Gabriel Owens-Flores, a new neighborhood councilmember, said that residents’ economic status often limits their political participation.
“There’s a working-class kind of apathy, because people are in survival mode,” he said. “There’s people right now who are vending who would probably be great in here. They are working right now and they can’t stop working because they might miss rent.”
The Council cannot take any action, spend its budget or advocate for the neighborhood until it reaches quorum. Having exactly the number of board members to reach quorum, doesn’t mean that everyone will be available for an actual meeting, in which case, the meeting is canceled. So the MPNC really needs to have several more members above the required 9 members sworn in, to be able to get quorum for any meeting.
What is the impact of not reaching quorum? So far we are four months into the fiscal year and the board has not been able to take any action or spend their funds. In the last fiscal year, MPNC gave back $16,000 in funds to the city due to inaction. You can make a difference in MacArthur Park by joining the Council. Please contact email@example.com if you are interested in joining the board.
Image credit: Jose Galdamez, City of Los Angeles Neighborhood Empowerment Advocate, leads a swearing-in ceremony for the new members of the MacArthur Park Neighborhood Council on Wednesday, October, 25, 2023. (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)