Geographically-based Neighborhood Councils were created to make decision-making more responsive to community stakeholders and increase citizen participation. This session will examine the Neighborhood Council system approved by L.A. City voters in 1999. Participants will explore the council’s influence on public policy development and their ability to overcome barriers to accessingthe power structure. The discussion will also assess the degree to which citizen participation in government has been achieved. In addition, this session will discuss what changes/reforms are needed to the structure.