Tales of the Council

I've been writing about my experiences in the Neighborhood Council. Here's the last three entries.

(Look who voted in 2016 Ako Castuera Robert Sato Nathan Ota and JT Steiny)


The Rules! (May 28, 2019)

Ever watch a meeting? They're super boring and what makes them even worse are the strange rules that get used. You've seen courtroom dramas and although those are often far fetched compared to how slow a real court case may be, they are using "Roberts Rules." We use them in the Neighborhood Council.

I used to think NC meetings were inefficient and at the least off-putting. The words "Motion to..." and "I second that motion" sound like we should be wearing white wigs and be clothed like Benjamin Franklin. All could be true regardless, but when you need to convene 15 people and run a meeting with discussion, dissenting opinions, and then the public, you need some type of structure or else it'll be a huge mess of people talking over each other.

Roberts Rules is that structure. I learned while sitting on the other side of the table that it actually works, especially for public meetings that need to be as transparent as they can be. Who can speak, when, and for how long makes it all relatively fair. So when you watch what looks like a boring meeting, it's that way for structure. If it isn't for that purpose, then it's just a boring meeting.

Anything to add, "Madame Chair, Jamie Keeton - AKA Keeton4Council?" (She's an atty by day and Chair of our NC)



May 27, 2019

(That's my parents voting in 2016)


Team of No Team?

One aspect of serving as a politician on the Neighborhood Council is balancing your own time and abilities with the expectations of others. It's a hard mix. On the one hand, I'm a working business owner. There is a lot on my plate. On the other hand there are plenty of members who are parents. They're busy too. Trying to make it all work and mesh is nearly impossible. I think I waited for a "Team" to form with my fellow NC Board members, but it seemed like it wasn't going to happen. Often multiple direct emails to committee (project) members went unanswered. (they don't have to do anything, technically) With such a motley mix, I've learned that you have to start things yourself. Even now, after three years, there are so many projects to get done, but there's still not a big team to do them - and I do see many members doing "things" without sharing them. That's how it kind of rolls in our NC. Yet I think I kind of figured out how to navigate this is get things going. It only took a few years. 



May 26, 2019

Back Row: Dylan Wright, Galen Pindell, Jay Handal, Jamie Keeton, Eric Nakamura, Steven Kwok, Arman Ghorbani, Danilo Torro

Front Row: Jay Ross, Desa Philadelphia, Ron Migdal, Jean Shigematsu, Naomi Kageyama


The final meeting of the current administration of the West Los Angeles-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council took place and here's the final photo of us all. Some of us will be back, some won't get voted back in, and some are "retiring." The Council had many downs, some ups, and plenty of irony. I can't say it was fun, but it was work. There's an election coming up next Sunday June 2nd 10-4pm. You'll find me on the Ballot. I'll be writing about my experiences on the Council this week.