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Neighborhood Councils: When They're Not Fighting, They're Stealing

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The Los Angeles Times has two stories on the financial mishandlings of some members of the city's neighborhood councils, a piece which also touches on the in-fighting seen among the city's 89 councils. First off, there's the misappropriation of funds. According to the paper, each council is given $50,000, which is to be used on various projects in the neighborhood. Some treasurers, however, are spending the money in different ways. Via the paper: "In the summer of 2007, members of the Central Alameda Neighborhood Council noticed curious charges by their treasurer, Genia Jackson, who did not turn in her financial reports. Records show that she withdrew $5,000 in cash over two months alone and made more than 30 purchases at clothing, thrift and shoe stores and a school uniform shop after assuming the post in September 2006. There were also purchases at Hertz Rent-A-Car, the Premier Inn, New Wave Beauty Supply, New Fashion Wigs and L.A. Nails." We will not cast any judgement on Ms. Jackson--it sounds like she wanted to look good for what sounds like a sexy date at a hotel. But then there's the case of Neighborhood Council member James Tyrell Harris, who was arrested for misappropriating $85,000 in city funds. It's not clear what he was doing with the cash. And back to the issue of fractious relationships between neighborhood councils. Via the paper: "Four councils are currently unable to hold meetings because of internal disputes, according to city officials." Eh, four out of 89 ain't too bad.
· Los Angeles neighborhood councils' cash tempts some [LA Times]
· South L.A. activist arrested in neighborhood funds case [LA Times]