LOS ANGELES-Mayor Richard J. Riordan and other community leaders have unveiled a controversial plan to create neighborhood councils that, if approved, could lead to the birth of more than 100 such groups across the city next year.

The plan, which was conceived by LA’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, calls for several community councils that will each represent at least 20,000 people. The councils would consist of a mix of members, including community leaders, residents and business figures.

Though the groups would advise the City Council, they would have no formal authority over planning or zoning. Opponents of the plan say that the neighborhood councils will not have enough power to actually make a difference in the city. Supporters argue that it is a step in the right direction, allowing LA to create a more structured system for community representation in city government.

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