Counting of East LA Cityhood Signatures Underway

ELARA says signatures will be verified by January 2.

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

On Dec. 12 at 9 a.m., the East Los Angeles Residents Association (ELARA) delivered four boxes containing petitions with thousands of signatures to the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO). The delivery marked the conclusion of a five month signature gathering campaign to require a fiscal analysis be done to determine whether East Los Angeles could sustain itself as an independent incorporated city,
Currently, unincorporated East Los Angeles receives its services from the County of Los Angeles, including Sheriffs and fire, and has no elected city council. Supervisor Gloria Molina, whose 1st Supervisorial District includes East Los Angeles, is the most closely directly elected government official.

Senator Gloria Romero (D-East Los Angeles) applauded ELARA and activists’ for successfully completing the petition drive.

“The East Los Angeles Residents Association (ELARA) worked hard to give the community a chance to decide whether cityhood is best for them,” said Romero in a press statement.

Romero is the author of SB 301, a law signed by the governor in the fall that allows areas that want to become independent cities to use funds derived from vehicle license fees to pay for cityhood start-up expenses.

ELARA Board President Oscar Gonzales told EGP that 16.427 signatures were collected and the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk will verify the signatures within 30 days. If there are sufficient valid signatures, the comprehensive fiscal analysis will begin. If not, ELARA will get another 15 days to collect the signatures needed.

On average, most petition drives only collect about 10-15 percent more signatures than the number they need, however ELARA collected 80 percent more than the nine thousand required signatures, ELARA Second Board Vice President Benjamin Cardenas told EGP.

“It has been an amazing process, this month was a final push… it’s a relief,” said an exhausted Cardenas.

If LAFCO’s comprehensive fiscal analysis determines that East Los Angeles has enough of a local tax base to operate as an independent city, the next step will be to place the cityhood question on the ballot and allow residents to decide whether to break from the County and incorporate.

Cardenas believes that residents in unincorporated East Los Angeles should know the positive potential their tax revenues could have in the area. Despite the recession, he feels optimistic that the study will show a surplus in funds generated in East Los Angeles exists, making the notion of cityhood a financially viable option.

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December 18, 2008  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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