Ten years ago, when Jill Banks Barad first conceived of a regional alliance concept for Neighborhood Councils, naysayers told her it would be like herding cats.
They underestimated Jill’s energy and focus. A whole herd of “cats” – about 200 strong – showed up at Carla’s Cafe of CBS Studios to celebrate the tenth anniversary of one of the most respected groups of community activists in the city.
The event also attracted some top cats, too: Eric Garcetti, Kevin James, Ron Galperin, Mike Feuer, Wendy Greuel and Carmen Trutanich (in approximate order of appearance). You will not find as large a gathering of political personalities at just any gathering.
It goes to show just how much respect VANC has earned over the years.
Awards were announced at the event. The two most noteworthy were the “Gets It” award, which was given to Jill in recognition of her tireless efforts, and the “Razzy” award, given to the mayor’s office for its attempt to hold NC funding hostage because of the widespread opposition to Proposition A by the councils.
There is strength in coalitions. We will need every ounce of it to counter the natural tendency of City Hall to suppress grassroots advocacy.