This not only raised concern from community members who attended the Tuesday night meeting – but also members of the governing board itself, according to the article:
One board member suggested cutting $1,000 approved for another project to pay for the party. Another spoke about reducing the scope of the event into a smaller and cheaper affair.
Spending $1,000 would “be inappropriate and in bad taste, especially now in these times,” said one board member. “I could not attend such a thing.”
Despite opposition, seven members voted in favor, two opposed, and two abstained.
Then the flurry of comments (which are always entertaining, depending on how civil it remains) range from “Who cares?” to more overall condemnation of the neighborhood council’s behaviors at meetings (not a new thing). One commenter suggested the neighborhood council president Jose Sigala, who is hoping to replace Eric Garcetti’s seat in Council District 13, is taking advantage of the opportunity to campaign.
Today, Lisa Baca-Sigala (CIO of GEPENC and wife of Jose Sigala) sent out a mass email to stakeholders on the issue:
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: In a democracy everyone is entitled to their opinion. I would like to clarify a misrepresentation for the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council, (GEPENC) Tenth Anniversary. This is a FREE community celebration to be held April 16, 2012 6pm – 8pm (Program 7pm) at the beautiful and historic Taix Restaurant, 1911 West Sunset Blvd., LA CA 90026.
There has been a lot of discussion on the blogs about GEPENC’s Board of Governor’s approved $1,000 budget being spent for a PARTY or that it is a “Sigala for Council” event. It is true that six year GEPENC President, Jose Sigala, (who is also my husband) is one of seven candidates running for City Council District 13 in the 2013 elections. However, the Sigala CD13 council campaign efforts have not once been interjected into our service with GEPENC.
Taix Restaurant has been most generous in helping GEPENC host our 10th Anniversary at such a nice venue. Bringing people together with a total $1,000 budget to provide reception food, prepare multiple photo exhibits and honor those founding leaders is not a misuse of taxpayer funds nor is it excessive.
Since GEPENC’s founding in 2002, there have been 210 volunteers elected by the community serve as members of GEPENC Board of Governors. Others have served as community stakeholders on various committees and given of their time, energy and countless volunteer hours. Thousands of lives have been made better over the last ten years by our service and community investment of tax payer funds provided by GEPENC.
EVERYONE IS INVITED AND WELCOMED to share our pride in making a difference in the community and honoring the trust the City of Los Angeles has placed in GEPENC for the last ten years.
We look forward to the next ten years working as volunteers to improve the community and quality of life in our neighborhoods. Hope to see you there!
As someone who volunteers with grassroots organizations and non-profits with no money, we have to admit that $1,000 seems like a lot of money when the libraries and other organizations could use it (last year, a proposal by the Echo Park Branch Library to purchase items for a teen group ended up being fulfilled by an individual community member).
I mean, what happened to cake and punch?