Report Card Methodology

While our basic research process has remained the same since 2003, in 2014 we created a new, more quantifiable scoring system to clarify how we determine grades and identify areas of improvement.

Scoring System

This year, we created a new scoring system to clarify how Report Card grades are determined and identify areas of improvement. After extensive research (see Research Process, below), we assigned specific scores for various aspects of each community's preservation program. 

In a new addition for 2014, we also assigned Extra Credit for specific preservation efforts that fell outside the parameters of the scoring.

Policy/Program/Activity Points
Historic preservation ordinance 150 (10 if only honorary)
Dedicated Historic Preservation Commission 5
Dedicated preservation staff 15
Ability to designate historic districts 15
Owner consent not required for landmark designation 10
Active landmark designation (at least annually) 5
Survey of historic resources 15 citywide/10 partial
Survey updated within past five years 5
Mills Act incentive program 10
Additional incentives 5
Status as a Certified Local Government 5
Historic Preservation Element or Plan 5
Maximum Total Score 245
Extra Credit: Other specific accomplishment(s) 1-25

The toal scores translated into a "grade" for each community, based on standard academic grade calculation:

Grade Percentile   Grade Percentile
A+ 97 - 100   C 73 - 76
A 93 - 96   C- 70 - 72
A- 90 - 92   D+ 67 - 69
B+ 87 - 89   D 63 - 66
B 83 - 86   D- 60 - 62
B- 80 - 82   F 0 - 59
C+ 77 - 79      


Research Process

As with our previous Report Cards in 2003 and 2008, Los Angeles Conservancy staff talked with representatives of all eight-nine local governments in L.A. County.

We spoke with people who participate directly in the community's planning review process, as well as staff members who oversee their community's preservation program, if relevant.

We asked about various aspects of their preservation program, including:

  • How preservation fits into the structure and functioning of local government (e.g., staffing, decision making)
  • Incentives offered for preservation, such as the Mills Act Historical Property Contract Program
  • The existence and strength of a local preservation ordinance
  • The existence and number of designated landmarks and districts
  • The existence and scope of surveys of historic places
  • Community involvement (e.g., local groups, current preservation issues)

In addition to conducting interviews, Conservancy staff:

  • Reviewed the preservation ordinances of communities that have them (typically within the municipal code, available on the official website of the community) 
  • Obtained and reviewed community surveys of historic resources
  • Checked with the National Park Service to identify which jurisdictions participate in the Certified Local Government program
  • Began to track communities' use of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) - though we didn't grade on this category