What is the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC)?

The short answer is the MVCC is the Neighborhood Council for Mar Vista; Neighborhood Councils were chartered to advise City Council members. Therefore, MVCC advises your Council District 11 board member (currently Mike Bonin).

Let that sink in—an advisory board to YOUR council member.

In 1999, Los Angeles created the Neighborhood Council Charter. According to The New York Times (6/10/99), it was to “head off secession drives in the city’s far-flung neighborhoods.”

The City wisely surmised that the residents of Los Angeles were feeling a bit separated from their representatives. So, Los Angeles divided itself into 99 sections and provided each of the 99 sections with the ability to form a Neighborhood Council (NC). Each NC operates and represents 1 of the 15 Los Angeles City Council Districts.

How does the MVCC advise your council member?

The Neighborhood Council Charter provides for an “Early Warning System.” Its function is to provide information regarding upcoming City decisions (e.g., budget, city planning) from CD11 to the MVCC in a timely fashion. Thereby, Stakeholders (i.e., you) will be informed as to the impending decision and can provide input (via the MVCC) as to how their council member should respond or vote.

The MVCC Board of Directors holds a public meeting every month on the second Tuesday from 7pm to 10pm. These public meetings are held at the Mar Vista Recreational Center located at 11430 Woodbine Avenue. The agenda is also posted at the Mar Vista Recreational Center as well as the MVCC’s online calendar. The agenda must be posted 72 hours beforehand.

During this open meeting, the public is encouraged to speak on any issue as well as speak directly to an agendized item or motion. If a motion is made, the 13-volunteer board votes it up or down. The resulting vote is submitted to the City Council as “advisement.”

But, it doesn’t stop there—or, at least, it shouldn’t.

The MVCC should hold your Council District 11 board member accountable to ensure that the Council Member takes action and votes in a manner that is consistent with the submitted advisement.

What if you can’t attend the meetings?

Neighborhood Councils, such as the MVCC, are chartered to provide “a system through which the neighborhood council will communicate with stakeholders on a regular basis.”

This can be done through mailers, social media, as well as other outreach (e.g., door to door). However, the main form of stakeholder communication (currently) comes in the form of monthly public meetings held by the seven committees and ten subcommittees of MVCC. The meeting dates, times, locations, and agendas are provided online. Additionally, all information pertaining to the MVCC is public and can be found on their website: MarVista.org.

The MVCC is composed of 13 elected volunteers (such as yourself) with 12 board members living, working, or owning property within the Mar Vista predetermined boarders. The 13th board member only has to have “an interest” in Mar Vista (e.g., active in a Mar Vista organization).

Each of the 13 elected board members is responsible for reaching out to stakeholders as well as being available to stakeholders for providing and receiving information and input about the decisions before the City Council that will directly affect you.

Who determines who makes up the 13 board members?

You do.

Again, let that sink in—YOU determine who advises YOUR council member and how YOU receive information as to the upcoming City Council decisions.

You’re in charge!

Neighborhood Councils were specifically designed to make the Los Angeles City Council more stakeholder-driven. Are you satisfied with the responsiveness of the City Council to your concerns? If so, great; keep doing what you have been doing.

If not,  you can do something about it…

Every two years (in the odd-numbered year), an election is held for the 13 volunteer MVCC board.

This is an odd-numbered year, and the election is right around the corner. It is being held Sunday, June 2 from 10am to 4pm at the Mar Vista Recreational Center (11430 Woodbine Street). And, you have the ability to decide the majority of the members who sit on that council. You are able to vote for 8 of the 13 MVCC board members if you live, work, or own property within the Mar Vista boundaries.

The board is divided into three main groups: Community Director, Zone Directors, and At-Large Directors.

Zone Directors are composed of one Director for each of the six Zones in Mar Vista. They must live, work, or own property within the Zone that they are a candidate. You may vote for only one candidate that is running within the Zone you live, work, or own property. If you don’t know your Zone, please refer to this online map. If that is not of help, please contact me and I will be happy to let you know and, if you wish, put you in contact with your current Zone Director.

At-Large Directors are not Zone limited. They encompass all of the Zones, i.e., they may be a candidate if they live, work, or own property within Mar Vista’s boundaries. You may vote for up to six At-Large candidates if you live, work, or own property within Mar Vista’s boundaries.

Community Director is a board member who has an “interest” in Mar Vista. It is the one position in which you may be a candidate or vote for the candidate if you do not live, work, or own property in Mar Vista. But, you must have an “interest” in Mar Vista. The NC Election Handbook has a very long definition for “interest.” But, the City Clerk’s office certifies the eligibility of every candidate (including Community Director). Having gone through the certification process myself, no one should have any concerns as to a candidate’s eligibility; I was relieved that they didn’t ask for blood!

A recap, you may vote for the following if you are over 18 and live, work, or own property within Mar Vista (i.e., you are a community stakeholder).

  • Up to 6 At-Large Directors
  • Only 1 Zone Director – candidate must be within your Zone
  • Only 1 Community Director

NOTE: If you are a Mar Vista interest stakeholder (i.e., a person who affirms a substantial and ongoing participation within the NC’s boundaries) and over 18, you may vote for the Community Director; however, not any other director.

Find your Zone here or contact me.

Who you vote for matters!

Hopefully, by providing the above synopsis of the City’s inner workings, you will realize how important it is that your MVCC Board Directors get to know you because representation isn’t about pushing one’s own agenda, it is about pushing YOUR agenda! My recommendation has always been that no one votes for someone that they do not know (i.e., blindly)–get to know the candidates first! Understandably, that could be difficult; however, you are not required to vote for all six At-Large candidates, and it might be better not to vote for all six, then have regrets later. That is why I am available to all stakeholders, attend all MVCC meetings, and strive to get to know as many stakeholders as possible within Mar Vista–I want to represent you.

My goal, as an At-Large candidate, is to get to know you, your concerns, and the direction you want Mar Vista to take, as well as the City as a whole. Additionally, I want to be available to answer your questions and work to resolve any issues that you may wish to bring up or are currently working to resolve.

My objective, as an At-Large Director (should I have the honor of winning), is my availability to you and open communication with you. My job would be to keep you up-to-date as to the motions coming before the board, major projects ahead, and vote as if you were sitting on the board.

I hope this article has been of assistance to you and encourages you to read the “About” section as well as contact me  so you may get to know me and I get to know you, your agenda, and completely represent you. Thank you.

by Kathryn Wheeler


Day:  Sunday, June 2, 2019
Time: 10am to 4pm
Location:  Mar Vista Recreational Center, 11430 Woodbine Street, Mar Vista

Handicap voting assistance and parking available

Voters:  Anyone over the age of 18 who is a Mar Vista stakeholder.

Positions Open to Your Vote:

  • Only 1 Community Director (interest stakeholder or community stakeholder)
  • Up to 6 At-Large Directors (community stakeholder only)
  • Only 1 Zone Director (community stakeholder only and candidate must be within your Zone)

Find your zone here or contact me.

If I am honored to become your At-Large director of MVCC, I promise to serve you and the Mar Vista community to the best of my abilities. Please, share this with your friends, family, and neighbors and vote for me on Sunday, June 2 at the Mar Vista Recreational Center.

Thank you! Have an awesome Memorial Day weekend!