The voted Wednesday night to oppose delaying neighborhood council elections for two years—and suggested that neighborhood councils pay for their own elections in 2012, if they decide to have them.
The vote reflected the thoughts of, who represents much of Studio City; he also chairs the Arts, Parks and Neighborhood committee that will hear the city attorney’s idea to delay elections until 2014 for the community councils across the city. The idea, which will be discussed at a Nov. 30 meeting, is supposed to be a cost-saving measure for the cash-strapped city.
“I oppose this draft ordinance because it is clearly contrary to the spirit of democracy that our neighborhood councils represent,” Krekorian said in a statement released late Wednesday. “Extending neighborhood council board member terms until 2014 is unacceptable and it continues to be my goal to find a mechanism that allows residents to have a democratic process to select their representation on their neighborhood councils in 2012. I will work with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, the neighborhood councils, the Mayor's office, the City Clerk and every other interested party to resolve this issue swiftly, transparently and responsibly.”
Bylaws and Procedures committee chair explained that the idea would extend some of their council posts for another two-and-a-half years.
“I am happy with Paul Krekorian’s position and I think our council should take the same position,” Taylor said.
The council as a group filled out the Stakeholder Election Alternatives Survey that the City Clerk’s Election Division is collecting to see how residents feel about the delay or potential alternatives. (Click here to see the form here that you can fill out.)
The form asks if stakeholders are willing to wait until 2014 and offered alternatives such as Town Hall public ballots, Internet voting and other ideas.
“In reading this, some of the alternatives seem to include even pulling names out of a hat,” said board Treasurer Remy Kessler.
Studio City’s Neighborhood Council President John Walker, who was not at the meeting Wednesday night, previously expressed concern that the elections may be delayed and spoke to Krekorian’s office to voice his opposition to the idea. The past two elections in Studio City ended up being and the council thought that they should be able to pay for the election if they decide to hold one and it should not be decided on for all 95 councils in the city.
Neighborhood councils hear many community concerns and take them to boards, committees and council people in an advisory capacity. The positions are voluntary, but councils decide how to spend about $40,000 in their communities.
Studio City’s council voted to have the cost of the election be covered, and objected to the costly vote-by-mail system or either of the Town Hall proposals, which would require stakeholders to show up in person.
Arlene Samek of the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils said that it looked like the city was saying that only the City Clerk’s office could run the local elections, and she said, “I encourage everyone to send in the survey by January 6.”
Here is the City Clerk’s proposed timeline for collecting and processing the surveys.