Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn wants to increase the budget of each Neighborhood Council in the city by $100,000.

“Nobody knows what neighborhoods need more than the Neighborhood Councils that represent them,” said Hahn, just hours before a televised debate. “Neighborhood Councils have long listed street services as one of their top priorities.

“Today, I am turning the control of $100,000 of street repairs over to each Neighborhood Council, for them to use as they see fit within their own communities.”

Under the Hahn proposal, Neighborhood Councils can choose to spend the $100,000 in any number of ways on street resurfacing projects.

Neighborhood Councils would elect to repave streets, slurry-seal miles of road or even join with another neighborhood council to resurface long thoroughfares or streets where their boundaries meet.

To make the process easier, the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services already provides each Neighborhood Council with an assessment of street conditions within its boundaries.

Essentially, Hahn is shifting authority for existing street maintenance funds to Neighborhood Councils.

In the current fiscal year, the Hahn budget doubled the number of miles of streets that were resurfaced or slurry-sealed.

Hahn said his decision to allocate $100,000 to each Neighborhood Council for street repairs demonstrates his commitment to repairing roads, thereby improving the quality of life for all Los Angeles residents.

But his mayoral opponents criticized the timing of his announcement.

“Maybe we should have more televised debates and he’d get more things done,” said state Sen. Richard Alarcon, who opposes Hahn in the mayoral primary Tuesday, March 8th.

The 85 certified Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles already receive annual budgets of $50,000, which the Neighborhood Councils spend on equipment, activities or services for the benefit of the communities they represent.

Some examples of spending have included new playground equipment, street fairs and anti-graffiti programs.

Last year, Neighborhood Councils participated for the first time in the city priority-based budget process.

Neighborhood Councils across the city developed lists of their neighborhood priorities, most often listing public safety and street services as the top two items on their lists.

“I want to empower the Neighborhood Councils to make decisions more effectively for their own communities,” said Hahn.

THE LIGHTS ARE BACK ON — Thanks to the efforts of Los Angeles airport commissioner David Voss and the staff of the Los Angeles International Airport, the lights are back on in the Sepulveda Boulevard Tunnel near the airport.

There has been spotty lighting in the tunnel off and on for several months.

Voss said many people in the community have complained to airport officials about the poor lighting. But, the airport doesn’t actually have control over the lighting in the tunnel.

Voss, working with Michael DiGirolamo, airport relations deputy executive, contacted the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting, which replaced the burnt-out lights Monday, February 7th.

Interestingly, Heather Locklear played the position held by DiGirolamo in the recently canceled television show “LAX.”

While we enjoy watching Locklear, we’re happy to have someone like DiGirolamo who can actually get things done.

LMU’S L.A. LEADERS — Nearly 200 alumni, friends, faculty and staff gathered with Loyola Marymount University President Robert B. Lawton, S.J., at the California Club in downtown Los Angeles Thursday, February 3rd, to celebrate LMU alumni who are living the LMU mission as leaders in the community.

Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis P. Zine was on hand to present honorees with special certificates of achievement from the City of Los Angeles.

This year, honorees included Paul Boland (class of ’63), California Court of Appeals judge; John Cosgrove (M.A. ’77), Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, chief executive officer; and Marta Fernandez (’82), partner, Jeffer, Mangles, Butler & Marmaro.

LMU also will be honoring Diana Fuentes-Michel (’79), California Student Aid Commission executive director, at a Sacramento Alumni Reception Monday, February 28th; and William Campbell (’64), Orange County supervisor, at an Orange County Alumni Reception Saturday, March 12th.