With a combined 63 seats on the Mar Vista, Del Rey, Venice and Westchester-Playa neighborhood councils going before voters on June 5, the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment will begin taking candidate applications on Sunday, Feb. 21.

There are 13 board seats up for grabs in Mar Vista, 14 in Westchester-Playa, 15 in Del Rey and 21 in Venice.

Neighborhood councils are advisory bodies designed to increase civic engagement and make city government more responsive to local needs. Each council gets $37,000 to fund a variety of community projects.

Unlike city council elections, eligible neighborhood council voters and board members typically include not only area residents but also people who can demonstrate a significant ongoing community interest, such as business owners and area students.

Elections officials have created a new online system designed to streamline the filing process for prospective neighborhood council candidates. For more information about how to become a candidate, visit empowerla.org.

— Gary Walker