Los Angeles City Council

By Levi Clancy for לוי on
updated

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The City Council is the governing body of the city except as otherwise provided in the Charter, and enacts ordinances subject to approval or veto by the Mayor.

The City Council orders elections, levies taxes, authorizes public improvements, approves contracts, and adopts traffic regulations. The Council adopts or modifies the budget proposed by the Mayor and provides the necessary funds, quarters, equipment, and supplies for the budgetary departments.

The Council confirms or rejects appointments proposed by the Mayor, and prescribes duties of boards or officers not defined by Charter.

The Council meets at 10am in the Council chamber every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Meetings are open to the public.

A quorum of ten members must be met for session to function. Property owners are notified about germane hearings on street improvement, sewer construction and other public work. The City Clerk is represented at Council meetings by a Minute Clerk who keeps the official minutes of the Council's legislative proceedings. As council members report to the Council room, their names appear on the screens in the Chamber. Screens in the Chamber list the Council members present; agenda item (usually a number) under discussion; votes; and results.

Discussion is where an issue is discussed by the Council for the benefit of the audience and Members not on the committee initiating the issue. Members vote via buttons as their desks. If a Council Member is present in the room and does not vote, it is automatically counted as a yes vote. The Secretary reads the results of the voting.

Council Members

Los Angeles City is divided into 15 councilmanic districts. Each district has about the same number of people in it, and elects one person as its representative Council member.

Council members are elected for a four-year term, beginning on July 1st and ending June 30th, with a maximum of two terms. They are elected at the Nominating Election or General Municipal Election prior to their term's expiration. Election years alternate for even-numbered (2003, 2011, 2015, etc) and odd-numbered (2005, 2009, 2013) districts.

Members from odd and even numbered districts are elected on alternating years. There is a rotating presidency in the Council, with the current Council President sitting at a high desk above a semi-circle formed by the remaining 14 members' desks (arranged alphabetically).

Council Committees

The Charter mandates that the Council is organized into fifteen committees to facilitate adequate consideration of matters subject to its attention.

All are appointed by the Council President. Each Council Member is the chairperson of one committee and a member of two others. Special committees are appointed and function in accordance with the authority creating them. Committees meet at a set time, or upon call of the Chairperson. Through reports and hearings, they obtain information on matters under consideration and make recommendations to the Council in the form of signed written reports.

The City Clerk places briefs of these reports on an agenda, for the information of the other Council members, City Departments and the public.