For a few days it looked as if the Echo Park neighborhood council would play the role of the crabby neighbor who turns off the lights, closes the drapes and ignores the pleas of “Trick or treat!” on Halloween. On Tuesday night, the meeting of Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council broke up before a vote was taken to approve giving more than $3,000 to the Echo Park and Lake Street recreation centers for Halloween festivities. The centers were counting on those funds to help fill the gap left by city budget cuts. The neighborhood council’s name already appeared as a sponsor on flyers for the Echo Park center’s Fright Night.
After realizing the oversight, neighborhood council president Jose Sigala called for an emergency meeting of the council’s executive committee for this morning at 8:30 AM to vote on the matter. Some members of the council complained that the last minute morning meeting violated neighborhood council and public meeting laws, but Sigala said he ran around the neighborhood posting agendas within the required time to deal with what he called an “urgent matter.”
So this morning, Sigala and two other members of the executive committee, including his wife Lisa Baca Sigala, gathered to discuss and vote on Halloween funding. But it would not be an Echo Park neighborhood council meeting – even at this early hour – without some rancor. In this case, board member Ida Tallala took the executive committee to task for, among other things, approving expenditures over which it had no authority. A few minutes later the committee voted in favor of allocating $1,400 to the Echo Park Recreation center and $1,800 to the Lake Street Park center.
Of course, it’s doubtful that either recreation center can stage a scarier event than an Echo Park neighborhood council meeting.