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the skunks of los feliz
6.02.2004
 
Tired of traffic? Graffiti? Crime? That weird smell emanating from your neighbor's apartment? Then get the hell out of L.A., and go back to Iowa, you weak-willed loser!
Just kidding. You can take your gripes to the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council. These councils, set up by City Hall to forestall the gathering storm of Valley secession, purportedly offer residents easy access to city government. I recently (more or less) took them up on the offer, and brother, it ain't pretty.
Never get tired of hearing people expound endlessly on zoning variances and setbacks? Can't get enough of bickering neighbors with decades old axes to grind? Love hearing hours upon hours of bland, spectacularly unclear bureaucratese? Then what are you waiting for? Get down to the Citibank branch on Hillhurst, and make your voice heard!
Where else can you actually see the Machiavellian hand of city government at work on your life? Sure, the most visible city service is the helpful fleet of parking enforcement officers scurrying around the city making up budget shortfalls on the backs of residents who have the temerity to drive in Los Angeles, but trust me, there are other, hidden programs working for you, Joe Angeleno. Like the city's deal to allow an billboard firm to erect signage (in the guise of bus shelters with huge illuminated ads, and other "street furniture") on public sidewalks. Like the streetlights program, wherein the DWP charges neighborhoods to erect streetlights on their darkened thoroughfares, or the plan to allow developers to build a restaurant next to the Griffith Observatory.
The neighborhood councils are supposed to supply a check to practices and proposals that, like those I've mentioned, are derogatory to the quality of life. And I know from my experience that most of the members of the GGPNC are committed to fulfilling that mission. Whether or not it will work remains to be seen. But for sheer, stomach curdling, pull-up-the-rock-and-peek-under-it voyeurism, not to mention genuine civic edification, check it out. Just don't drink the coffee.
 
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