The DLANC Sustainability Committee meets on the First Tuesday of every month at the Central Public Library.
Our committee chairs host office hours and neighborhood stakeholders gather for project workshops
to help advance several community-driven initiatives - for Downtown Los Angeles.

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A letter from the Sustainability Committee Chair Ashley Zarella, LEED AP, Assoc. AIA & DLANC Director, Area-Wide Workforce, Private Sector

To the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Sustainability Committee, Community & Members of City Council:

I am writing to request your support for our neighborhood council and others across the city. The Sustainability Committee has a vested interest in preserving our 2010 budget request - which has already been reduced by proposed cuts. Now, even more drastic cuts are being discussed. We have worked very hard to create some exciting grassroots initiatives and would like the support of our City Council in accomplishing the goals we have established WITH the community we represent.

I am one of many new participants in this system of city-sponsored grassroots organizations but I appreciate the incredible capacity of neighborhood councils to create a more sustainable Los Angeles.

>>> The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, which has just celebrated its seventh anniversary, has fostered events and community outreach such as ArtWalk, Skid Row 3-on-3, Meet your councilmember, job search and community mixers, Park[ing] Day LA and Placemaking in Downtown Los Angeles outreach events, and many other local projects from composting to historical surveys.

>>> In just seven months, the Sustainability Committee has developed a growing network of interested residents, entrepreneurs, artists and employees; we recently received a national grant that requires a community match; and just this week, a local section of the American Planning Association has recognized our grassroots initiative with an award.

>>> The Sustainability Committee has launched eight projects for 2009 - from rooftop container gardens and treeplanting; to increasing participation through outreach in cost-saving and efficiency-focused programs to reduce resource waste. We are working with the community to prioritize our long term sustainability goals for more effective advocacy on behalf of our neighborhood.

The Sustainability Committee has engaged city departments, the community, and even my professional association (AIA) to assist in developing community-based outreach, education and advocacy that will leverage networks of people, resources, and opportunity for sustainable urban development.

The Sustainability Committee represents a diverse mix of professionals and members who have volunteered their time in support of our projects and mission. At the last City Council Budget & Finance Committee, a budget cut of nearly 80% was proposed. While all city departments must adjust to our economic reality, cutting such a large share of Neighborhood Council funding will eliminate hundreds of valuable community-based initiatives across Los Angeles. Please do not allow the City to disproportionally cut our funding as we launch into an incredible time for activism at the local level.

Email your neighborhood council and city council members. Leave a comment here so we can give your feedback to the City. Help us continue to build a better neighborhood council system. $50K a year can do a lot of great things at the neighborhood level to improve the livability, affordability, efficiency of our city. Please help us by supporting your neighborhood council!

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Ashley Zarella, LEED AP, Assoc. AIA
Chair, Sustainability Committee
Director, Area-Wide Work-Force, Private Sector (AECOM Design)
Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, 2008-2010