The system of Neighborhood Councils became a feature of Los Angeles City government following the enactment of a new City Charter in 1999. For the first time in the City's history, a citywide system of Neighborhood Councils was created to promote more citizen participation in government and make government more responsive to local needs.
The City Charter states that Neighborhood Councils will have an "advisory role on issues of concern to the neighborhood," provide input to decision-makers before decisions are made and should include representatives of the "diverse interests in their area."
Because they are part of the City's governmental structure, the Neighborhood Councils are doing the public's business and must comport with the same type of rules as do other advisory bodies, such as the Brown Act, Public Records Act and the City's conflict of interest and ethics rules. However, as a City advisory body, neighborhood councils are protected from liability in the same manner as other City boards and commissions.
The City Attorney’s Office serves as counsel to all City commissions, department officers, and entities, as well as all Neighborhood Councils. In order to more effectively serve the City’s Neighborhood Councils, the City Attorney’s Office established the Neighborhood Council Advice Division, which is headed by Managing Assistant City Attorney Darren Martinez.
Division attorneys are available to assist the Neighborhood Councils in performing their duties under the City Charter, and in compliance with state and local laws and regulations, and can be reached by telephone at: (213) 978-81 32.