Neighborhood council resolves conflict with some constituents, approves several motions

Ricardo Garcia, Reporter

The Northridge West Neighborhood Council meeting turned into a heated discussion of council etiquette on Monday, as tensions between constituents and board members were revived.

Such incidents were factors for a discussion that would defend the council as “a place for respectful and civil discourse” for both council members and constituents.

Abby Bailes, the council vice president of administration, raised concerns that council members have been attacked on social media while constituents argued that they have been attacked as well.

“This is the first time ever that I have been involved with this board that we have gotten into so much controversy.”

– Gail Lapaz

“Our neighborhood council has been tackling some very contentious issues lately, and we have been doing our very best to make this an open forum where anyone can tell us what their thoughts are,” Bailes said. “We have disagreements from time to time, but we are all neighbors.”

Board member Gail Lapaz noted her dismay with recent board activity, mentioning the disagreements from prior council discussions over requesting an inquiry against Councilman John Lee — a subject which she claimed has “destroyed our board.”

“This is the first time ever that I have been involved with this board that we have gotten into so much controversy,” Lapaz said.

The council made a recommendation for a neighborhood purposes grant on behalf of the Supporters of Law Enforcement in Devonshire to renovate the lobby of the Devonshire Division police station.

Both board members and constituents supported the protection of the West Valley Animal Shelter from being turned over to a private animal rescue center. The shelter has been temporarily closed since April.

The council also presented a motion requesting additional funding for neighborhood beautification.

A motion was presented to request transparency about the $150 million that was cut from the Los Angeles Police Department’s budget by the City Council for the 2020-21 fiscal year in June. Some voiced concern about where the money — intended to go toward community incentives — would end up.

All the motions presented that night were approved and will move ahead to the general board for discussion on Sept. 8.