L.A. Moving In On Marijuana Regs

September 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A Los Angeles City Council committee approved a draft of new regulations for the cannabis industry Monday amid concerns — which Council President Herb Wesson pledged to address — that the proposed rules could drive suppliers out of business.

Dozens of representatives of the industry attended the meeting of the Rules, Elections, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, with many saying that the guidelines as they stand could cause a delay in cultivators and manufacturers getting licensed before marijuana becomes legal for recreational sale and use on Jan. 1.

Not long after the meeting began, Wesson told the audience he was aware of the issue and was working on a way to address it, with one option possibly being a provisional license system. He also said he wanted to get the City Attorney’s Office working to vet the part of the “75 percent to 80 percent” of the guidelines that everyone seemed to agree on.

“I’m not going to wait and then be panicked for time when we attempt to make this deadline. So at least if we can get (the City Attorney’s Office) moving, I’ll listen to your concerns, and we will try and come up with a way to address that, as well,” Wesson said.

Wesson also said concerns over a ban of on-site consumption that the guidelines call for would be addressed later as the city studies the issue.

In November, California voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The legalized industry could fetch the city more than $100 million annually in new tax revenue, and in March city voters approved Measure M, which sets up regulatory measures for the city’s industry.

Once implemented, Measure M will replace Proposition D, which was approved in 2013 by city voters and limited the number of dispensaries within Los Angeles city limits to 135 — the number of dispensaries operating before Sept. 14, 2007.

The draft regulations moved forward by the committee outline the process for retail shop owners, growers, manufacturers and other industry businesses to receive a city license to operate — which will be needed along with a state license — as well as rules for operating.

The guidelines give priority licensing to existing shops that received a business tax registration certificate after 2014 and that are operating in compliance with the limited immunity and tax provisions of Prop D.

The city is also developing a social equity program aimed at increasing minority participation in the industry, and the proposed guidelines state that no license applications will be accepted until the social equity program is approved.

Ellen Mellody, a spokeswoman for the Southern California Coalition, an industry trade group, estimated that as a result of the priority process and the social equity program not being finalized, it would be April at the earliest that suppliers could get a license.

While the city has allowed retail medical marijuana shops to operate in the city, it has never expressly allowed cultivators or manufacturers to operate, and Mellody said this could leave them without a license come Jan. 1, which will drive many out of business as shops look to buy their products legally from suppliers outside of the city.

Recreational use, retail sale, manufacturing and personal cultivation of marijuana become legal in California on Jan.1, 2018. Cities across the state are rushing to put regulations in place before the New Year.

Recreational use, retail sale, manufacturing and personal cultivation of marijuana become legal in California on Jan.1, 2018. Cities across the state are rushing to put regulations in place before the New Year.

“The city has only acted like the legal part of this industry is the back-end retail shops. The plants don’t grow themselves. They don’t get into a truck and package themselves,” Mellody told City News Service. “It’s absurd to think, ‘Oh, the shop is legal. We don’t know how the product got here.”’

Mellody also said there are many “trusted” suppliers in the city with which the retail shops have longstanding relationships, and that shop owners don’t want to have to find new suppliers outside of the city.

Wesson said he was considering a way for suppliers to get a provisional license as the city processes applications.

“That’s the fragments of an idea that I am kicking around my mind right now, and so something like that. I haven’t quite sorted it out yet,” Wesson said to a speaker who called for a provisional license system.

The guidelines would also ban the on-site consumption of marijuana, set the hours that a shop could be open, require the presence of security cameras and also require shops to hire or contract for security personnel.

On-site consumption would be allowed by state law starting in 2018, if the local city allows it. Mellody said the SCC was concerned about the on-site ban but it is an issue that is not as important as some others it was looking to immediately address.

Bruce Margolin, executive director of the L.A. chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the on-site ban would leave some consumers without a place to use cannabis, since many hotels and apartment buildings ban smoking and that consumption also would not be allowed in public.

“The current status with denying on-site consumption means that they have no place to go unless they own a residence or have access to a residence, which is completely unfair,” Margolin said.

As he did with licensing, Wesson said he was aware of the issues a ban of on-site consumption could cause and that city staff would be reporting back on options, including how other cities are handling the issue.

“Know that it is not on the back burner and we are doing as much as we can and I’m proud of where we are. And I just want you to know that your recommendations don’t fall on deaf ears,” Wesson told Margolin.

MUSD Wins Lawsuit Against County

July 20, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Montebello Unified School District board members who would ordinarily be up for re-election this year, will get an extra year in their seats now that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled in their favor.

MUSD has prevailed in a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which after hearing from angry school employees, parents and students, refused to allow the district to postpone the 2017 school board elections until 2018 to comply with a new state law requiring local elections statewide beheld in even-numbered years.

MUSD board members in February voted to move the 2017 election to 2018 and the 2019 election to 2020. The district operated schools in Bell Gardens and Commerce, as well as Montebello.

The vote to reschedule came amid months of protests and threats of recalls as board members struggled to deal with a financial crisis that had initially threatened hundreds of district jobs, most of which were ultimately not lost.

Critics blamed the financial mess on corruption and mismanagement and claimed the board’s decision to delay the election was a ploy to avoid a voter backlash at the ballot box.

They took their anger to the board of supervisors, and in heated testimony demanded supervisors reject the district’s request to delay the election.

Supervisors agreed, unanimously denying MUSD’s plan to hold off elections until 2018.

Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents the cities served by the MUSD, called it a “troubling time” when “voters’ voices should be heard.” She said in a statement that as the school district addresses its issues, voters should not be denied the “right to cast their votes.”

The district filed a lawsuit against the county and board of supervisors, claiming supervisors had acted beyond their “lawful jurisdiction in failing to approve the MUSD’s resolution at its February 14, 2017 meeting.”

California’s Election Code only allows boards of supervisor to deny election requests if the change results in an inability to handle the change due to capacity issues and the need for more materials and/or equipment. The court ruled that MUSD’s election timing change did not meet that standard.

In a statement, MUSD said the superior court judge supported the “district’s position that the county’s denial was arbitrary, capricious and entirely lacking in evidentiary support,” further noting that the “County Clerk had recommended approval of the MUSD’s resolution.”

MUSD board members called the ruling a victory for stakeholders, but also used the decision to strike out at detractors.

“The judge’s ruling today was clearly a victory for the Montebello Unified School District, its parents, students and stakeholders,” said Board President Dr. Lani Cupchoy in the statement released by the school district. She said supervisors “acted based on discreditable and outrageous claims by District detractors and without any corroborated proof of misconduct by the board.”

Board Vice President Edgar Cisneros said the judge was not “influenced by the deceitful and prejudiced testimony” by individuals who want keep MUSD “locked into the past and doing business the old Montebello way.”

Defending the board’s action, Board Member Benjamin Cardenas said the sole intent was to “comply with the new state law, provide continuity and provide for larger civic participation.”

Earlier efforts to launch a recall of Cupchoy and Cardenas were not successful, but a number of candidates had lined up to challenge them in the 2017 election. In light of the court’s ruling, one staff member who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation told EGPs he’s not averse to reconsidering a recall to force an earlier election.

At this point, it’s unclear if the political landscape will change much before 2018.

Clinton Gana California, Sanders No Baja la Guardia y Trump Cambia Su Actitud

June 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

La virtual candidata demócrata Hillary Clinton se llevó la victoria en las primarias de su partido en California frente al senador Bernie Sanders, según las proyecciones de los principales medios del país.

La ex secretaria de Estado ha obtenido el 55.8% de los votos, mientras que Sanders suma el 43.2% reportó la Prensa Asociada el miércoles.

Aunque Clinton ya se había hecho con los delegados necesarios para asegurar la candidatura demócrata en la convención de su partido en julio en Filadelfia, California era un preciado tesoro ya que es el estado más poblado del país.

Clinton mira ya a las elecciones presidenciales de noviembre tras un largo periodo de primarias enfrentada al senador de Vermont, y apelando a la historia al convertirse en la primera mujer candidata a la Casa Blanca.

Tras los resultados del martes, jornada en la que los demócratas se disputaban los delegados de seis estados, Clinton ya superó los 2.383 necesarios para asegurarse la nominación, contando con los superdelegados (cargos electos u orgánicos del partido con libertad de voto que no tienen que seguir el dictado de las urnas).

(Por Barbara Kinney)

(Por Barbara Kinney)

“Por primera vez en nuestra historia, una mujer será elegida como candidata presidencial por uno de los mayores partidos políticos”, afirmó Clinton en un mitin ante sus seguidores que encabezó en el distrito neoyorquino de Brooklyn.

La de este martes fue, a la práctica, la última jornada del proceso de primarias, ya que sólo faltan por votar, y sólo en el caso de los demócratas, los electores del Distrito de Columbia, el próximo 14 de junio, donde se encuentra la capital, Washington, y que únicamente otorga 20 delegados.

El martes también votaron los demócratas de Nueva Jersey, Dakota del Sur y Nuevo México (donde se impuso Clinton), Dakota del Norte y Montana (victorias de Sanders).

Sanders anunció el martes por la noche que continuará con su campaña por la nominación demócrata a la presidencia de Estados Unidos hasta la convención nacional de su partido, que se celebrará en julio.

El senador pronunció estas palabras en un acto en la ciudad de Santa Mónica, pocas horas después de que su rival por la nominación, Hillary Clinton, se autoproclamara vencedora de las primarias y candidata demócrata a la Casa Blanca.

“Vamos a luchar duramente para ganar las primarias en Washington D.C. y luego llevaremos nuestra lucha por la justicia social, económica, racial y medioambiental a Filadelfia”, dijo Sanders en alusión a la ciudad donde se celebrará la Convención Nacional Demócrata.

Dos de los principales apoyos de Sanders en el Congreso, el senador Jeff Merkley (Oregón) y el legislador Raúl Grijalva (Arizona), le aconsejaron el miércoles que “es hora” de pensar en la unidad del Partido Demócrata y aceptar que la candidatura de Clinton es algo inevitable.
Más tajante fue el senador Bill Nelson (Florida), que señaló que Sanders “debería retirarse ya”, porque está en “una posición única” para trabajar por la unidad del partido.

Mientras, el vicepresidente, Joseph Biden, abogó en los pasillos del Congreso por dar tiempo a Sanders y “la oportunidad de decidir por sí solo” cuándo es el momento de abandonar, según la cadena CNN.

Por otro lado, Trump, quien ya logró hace unas semanas los delegados necesarios para asegurarse la candidatura republicana en la convención del partido en julio en Cleveland, también apeló el jueves por la noche a los votantes de Sanders y sorprendió con un discurso moderado y preparado, que leyó en un teleprompter.

“Entiendo la responsabilidad” que conlleva ser el candidato y “nunca les decepcionaré (…). Les haré estar orgullosos de nuestro partido y nuestro movimiento”, dijo Trump desde Nueva York, dirigiéndose a los votantes pero también a los líderes republicanos.
Su discurso puso fin a un día de duras críticas a Trump, encabezadas por las máximas figuras republicanas en el Congreso, Paul Ryan y Mitch McConnell, por sus comentarios racistas acerca de un juez de padres mexicanos que estudia el caso de presunto fraude de la universidad que lleva el nombre del magnate.

Ryan, presidente de la Cámara de Representantes, reafirmó el miércoles su apoyo a Trump en una reunión a puerta cerrada con miembros del partido.

L.A. County Primary Election Turnout

June 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

During the first three hours the polls were open today, about 9.04 percent of registered voters in Los Angeles County had cast ballots in the presidential primary election, according to the county registrar-recorder’s office.

There were 4,799,548 registered voters in the county as of the end of May, according to the office.

During the presidential primary four years ago, about 21.87 percent of those eligible to vote did so. There were 4,450,035 registered voters in the county at the time of the 2012 presidential primary.

The polls opened today at 7am and will be open until 8pm.

Limited English Proficiency Plays Role in CA’s Low Voter Turnout Rates of Asians and Latinos

February 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

New America Media–One in nine eligible California voters speaks only limited English, and many of them don’t know what help and services are available to them in the electoral process, according to a new report released by The Greenlining Institute last week.

In California, the voter registration and turnout rates of Asians and Latinos continue to lag behind whites and African Americans. While 72 percent of whites reported being registered to vote in 2012, only 69 percent of blacks, 58 percent of Asians and 57 percent of Latinos were registered.

Language access plays a role in this, with large numbers of Asians and Latinos being LEP, say Greenlining researchers. Since 2008, voter registration forms have asked the voters’ preferred language for election materials, but this mechanism clearly failed to reach a great many LEP voters, researchers found.


The federal Voting Rights Act requires translated ballots and other election materials be made available in as many as nine languages (depending on the limited voting population of each county) to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) voters have equal access to the electoral process. In California, for example, assistance in all the nine languages – Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Khmer, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese – is required because of its diverse population.

But Greenlining researchers found there were significant gaps in outreach to these voters.

California hasn’t done enough to reach the 2.6 million eligible voters who are limited-English proficient, and that may well help explain lower turnout rates among Asians and Latinos,” said report co-author Zainab Badi, Greenlining Institute Claiming Our Democracy Fellow. “For example, online voter registration has almost completely failed to reach these voters, and we simply have to do better.”

For their report, researchers spoke to bilingual poll workers, poll monitors, phone bankers and volunteers who targeted LEP voters in California. Participants said that translated voter information materials were essential, but should be less confusing and more accessible to all voters. Many said they found descriptions of ballot measures too laden with jargon that was confusing even in translation.

Few campaign ads or mailers are translated, so LEP voters miss much of the debate.

Some voters said they felt uncomfortable asking for language assistance, especially those coming from communities with a small percentage of LEP voters.

Experience has shown that when voters are provided with more information, they are more likely to come out and vote. In 2004, for instance, the U.S. Department of Justice sued San Diego County for failing to provide better assistance to Filipino voters. That resulted in the voter registration rates of Filipinos in that county increasing by 20 percent.

Researchers concluded that much more publicity and outreach are needed to ensure that voters know what language assistance is available. Counties should build partnerships with community-based groups that are best situated to address such social and cultural barriers as stigma regarding language assistance, according to the report.

Resultados de Votación en California Marcada por Baja Participación

November 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A pesar de los resultados, las elecciones en California transcurrieron con normalidad, con pocas sorpresas en los resultados y con una de las más bajas participaciones en la historia del estado. Se calcula que en estas elecciones votaron aproximadamente 8 millones de californianos, representando cerca del 45% de los votantes registrados, según datos no oficiales de la Oficina de Registro.

El gobernador de California, el demócrata Jerry Brown, ganó la reelección para un próximo período, convirtiéndose en el primer político en obtener cuatro veces el puesto de gobernador del Estado Dorado.
Brown derrotó con el 58% de los votos a su contrincante el republicano Neel Kashkari, quien logró el 42%.

Nacido en el seno de una familia de políticos—su padre fue gobernador de California entre 1959 y 1967—Brown ocupó la máxima oficina del estado entre enero de 1975 y enero de 1983 y fue reelegido nuevamente en el 2010 para un tercer mandato

Ningún gobernador de California ha ocupado el puesto durante cuatro mandatos.
Brown ha adelantado que durante sus próximos cuatro años se concentrará en la educación, la estabilidad presupuestaria, el sistema de prisiones y la construcción de un tren de alta velocidad.

El único hispano aspirante a un cargo administrativo estatal, el demócrata Alex Padilla ganó con el 53% de votos, una mínima ventaja sobre el republicano Pete Peterson, por el puesto de Secretario del Estado de California.

A su vez, el mexicano Mariano Florentino “Tino” Cuéllar, nominado por Brown a la Corte Suprema del Estado, recibió la aprobación de más del 67% de los votantes, confirmando su nombramiento.

La Fiscal General de California, la demócrata Kamala Harris obtuvó el 56% de los votos a su favor contra su contrincante el republicano Ronald Gold.

El actual representante del Distrito 34 de Los Ángeles, Xavier Becerra, conservó su puesto al derrotar con amplia ventaja a la también demócrata Adrienne Nicole Edwards.

Asimismo, la actual representante del Distrito 32, Grace Napolitano, también mantuvo su puesto un 59% ante su contrincante el republicano Arturo Alas. Y la representante del Distrito 40, Lucille Roybal-Allard ganó por un 61% ante el demócrata David Sánchez.

El desencanto manifestado por los votantes hispanos en algunas encuestas previas, por la falta de resultados del Gobierno y del partido demócrata en lo referente a la reforma de inmigración, así como el descontento por la crisis económica y el desempleo, fueron factores que frenaron la participación hispana en la elección.

“Yo voté, porque lo considero no sólo un derecho sino un deber, pero sé que muchos incluso entre mi familia, mis amigos y mis vecinos no piensan igual y no salieron a votar”, dijo a Efe Alberto Muñoz, un peruano estadounidense residente en Los Ángeles.
Aunque los hispanos representan el 24% de los votantes registrados, su participación en la votación del martes sólo representó el 16% del voto total.

Resultados No Oficiales de las Elecciones del 4 de Noviembre



*Edmund Brown (D)        58.7% (3,048,815)

Neel Kashkari (R)              41.3% (2,147,073)


Lieutenant Governor

*Gavin Newsom (D)         55.9% (2,855,917)

Ron Nehring (R)                44.1% (2,249,824)


Secretary of State

*Alex Padilla (D)                52.5% (2,647,261)

Pete Peterson (R)               47.5% (2,396,754)



*Betty Yee (D)                      52.7% (2,650,474)

Ashley Swearengin (R)    47.3% (2,374,287)



*John Chiang (D)               57.7% (2,914,385)

Phillip Conlon (R)            42.3% (2,140,197)


Attorney General

*Kamala Harris (D)          56.3% (2,857,936)

Ronald Gold (R)                43.7% (2,222,182)


Insurance Commissioner

*David Jones (D)                56.3% (2,817,132)

Ted Gaines (R)                   43.7% (2,186,610)


Board of Equalization District 3

*Jerome Horton (D)         61.8% (645,746)

G. Marshall (R)                 38.2% (399,760)


U.S. Congress

U.S. Representative District 27

*Judy Chu (D)                     58.6% (57,489)

Jack Orswell (R)                41.4% (40,674)


U.S. Representative District 32

*Grace Napolitano (D)   59.4% (39,691)

Arturo Alas (R)                 40.6% (27,167)


U.S. Representative District 34

*Xavier Becerra (D)          73.3% (34,032)

Adrienne Edwards (D)    26.7% (12,411)


U.S. Representative District 38

*Linda Sanchez (D)          58.7% (45,117)

Benjamin Campos (R)     41.3% (31,718)


U.S. Representative District 40

*Lucille Roybal-Allard(D)      61.4% (24,227)

David Sanchez (D)            38.6% (15,249)


State Senate

State Senate District 22

*Ed Hernandez (D)           64.4% (49,652)

Marc Rodriguez (R)          35.6% (27,452)


State Senate District 24

Peter Choi (D)                   33.3% (22,048)

*Kevin De Leon (D)         66.7% (44,159)


State Senate District 32

*Tony Mendoza (D)          51.8% (52,442)

Mario Guerra (R)              48.2% (48,740)


State Assembly Member District 49

*Ed Chau (D)                        60.8% (25,259)

Esthela Torres Siegrist(R)    39.2% (16,295)


State Assembly Member District 51

*Jimmy Gomez (D)            83.7% (32,309)

Stephen Smith (R)             16.3% (6,293)


State Assembly Member District 57

*Ian Calderon (D)              51.4% (25,216)

Rita Topalian (R)               48.6% (23,833)


State Assembly Member District 58

*Cristina Garcia (D)            100% (34,138)


State Assembly Member District 63

*Anthony Rendon (D)        68.8% (21,993)

Adam Miller (R)                   31.2% (9,980)


Superintendent of Public Instruction

*Tom Torlakson (NP)        52.1% (2,266,043)

Marshall Tuck (NP)           47.9% (2,084,723)


Statewide Propositions

Proposition 1 – Funding Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, Storage

*Yes                                             66.8% (3,378,341)

No                                            33.2% (1,681,555)


Proposition 2 – State Budget Stabilization Account

*Yes                                            68.7% (3,421,521)

No                                           31.3% (1,557,808)


Proposition 45 – Healthcare Insurance Rate Changes

Yes                                         40.2% (2,031,930)

*No                                         59.8% (3,024,269)


Proposition 46 – Doctor Drug Testing, Medical Negligence

Yes                                        40.2% (2,031,930)

*No                                         59.8% (3,415,584)


Proposition 47 – Criminal Sentences, Misdemeanor Penalties

*Yes                                       58.5% (2,954,732)

No                                      41.5% (2,100,116)


Proposition 48 – Indian Gaming Compacts Referendum

Yes                                    39.1% (1,928,934)

*No                                    60.9% (3,009,022)


Los Angeles County

Measure P – Parcel Special Tax Levy

*Yes                                 61.8% (177,008)

No                                 38.2% (109,407)



*Jeffrey Prang                50.5% (442,453)

John Morris                  49.5% (433,417)



*Jim McDonnell          74.8% (703,662)

Paul Tanaka                   25.2% (236,665)


Supervisor-3rd District

Bobby Shriver               47.2% (102,319)

*Sheila Kuehl                52.8% (114,348)


Central Basin Municipal Water

Board of Directors Div. 3

C J Salgado   21.9% (3,358)

Elba Romo   24.5% (3,753)

Mario Gomez        11.6% (1,772)

J Gardea-Stinnett   12.2% (1,866)

*Arturo Chacon   26.5% (4,066)

Anthony Felix Jr     3.4% (523)


State Registration And Turnout Summary

Total Registered Voters            17,803,823

Voter Turnout            29.9% (5,323,856)


*Denotes winning candidate

Elecciones de Concejos Vecinales Del Este y Noreste de L.A. Este Sábado

April 24, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Este sábado se llevarán a cabo las votaciones para los Concejos Vecinales de la Región 8. Los votantes pueden ser  personas que viven, trabajan o invierten dinero en dichos vecindarios y podrán elegir a nuevos miembros de la mesa directiva de consejería ciudadana o reelegir a quienes consideran que están haciendo un buen trabajo.

Los concejos vecinales son: Arroyo Seco, Boyle Heights, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Greater Cypress Park, Historic Highland Park, LA-32 y Lincoln Heights.

Concejos Vecinales de la Región 8 llevarán acabo elecciones este sábado. (Northeast Neighborhood Council)

Concejos Vecinales de la Región 8 llevarán acabo elecciones este sábado. (Northeast Neighborhood Council)

Los Concejos Vecinales son grupos certificados por la ciudad creados por voluntarios que viven, trabajan, son dueños de propiedad o tienen alguna conexión con el vecindario que están representando. Su papel es promover la participación pública en el gobierno y mejorar la responsabilidad del gobierno al nivel local. Frecuentemente aconsejan a la ciudad en una variedad de áreas, como el problema de uso de tierra.

Cada concejo vecinal tiene su propio grupo de leyes locales y opciones de prueba de elegibilidad para votar. Por ejemplo, Eagle Rock, Historic Highland Park, LA-32, Lincoln Heights y Greater Cypress Park le piden a sus votantes que provean una prueba de que son elegibles en sus respectivos vecindarios, como una licencia de conducir, un recibo de utilidad, un talón de cheque o una identificación de la escuela.

Read this article in English: East, Northeast Neighborhood Councils Elections on Saturday

Si no tienen una prueba con ellos “se les da un voto provisional de 3 días” tiempo suficiente para comprobar que viven, trabajan o son dueños de propiedad en el vecindario, dijo a EGP Jay Handal, administrador independiente de elecciones con Empower LA.

Arroyo Seco, Boyle Heights y Glassell Park no requieren pruebas para votar. Cada concejo tiene diferentes edades para votar, de acuerdo a Handal. Algunos permiten que sus votantes sean tan jóvenes como 13 años. Los detalles pueden ser encontrados en las páginas de Internet de los concejos vecinales.

Los interesados no tienen que ser ciudadanos estadounidenses o estar registrados para votar, dijo Handal enfatizando que los inmigrantes indocumentados pueden votar en las elecciones de concejos vecinales sin importar su estatus migratorio. Solo necesitan mostrar una forma de identificación como una tarjeta de la biblioteca, un recibo de utilidad o matricula consular, dijo Handal.

Es importante para los interesados que voten porque les da el poder de definir las posiciones de sus comunidades en problemas públicos, dijo Connie Castro, actual presidenta del LA-32 NC.

“[Los votantes] pueden influenciar a nuestros oficiales electos en problemas tales como uso de tierra y áreas, salud, seguridad y desarrollo comunitario que nos afecta a todos localmente y a nivel municipal”, Castro le dijo a EGP.

El Departamento de Fortalecimiento de Vecindarios (DONE) de Los Ángeles revisa y provee apoyo a los concejos vecinales. Empower LA esta a cargo de promover la participación cívica y el gobierno basado en los ciudadanos a través de los consejos locales.

“Los Concejos Vecinales son un activo importante para nuestro gobierno municipal”, dijo a EGP el Concejal del Distrito 14 José Huizar en un correo electrónico. “Ellos ayudan a informar mis decisiones y motivo a la gente a participar en las elecciones de este fin de semana”, agregó.

Diana del Pozo Mora, presidenta del Concejo Vecinal de Boyle Heights dijo a EGP que muchos en la comunidad no tienen la oportunidad de participar en las elecciones municipales, pero pueden votar por sus representantes de los concejos vecinales. “La oportunidad de tener una voz en el vecindario es algo que emociona”, dijo.

Cada año, cada consejo recibe $37.000 para apoyar sus actividades. Les corresponde a los miembros del consejo decidir cómo gastar los fondos en el mejor interés de la comunidad.

De acuerdo a la página de Internet de Empower LA, la responsabilidad de miembros de la mesa directiva de los concejos vecinales incluye, sin estar limitada a, “eventos y programas que responden a las necesidades únicas de su comunidad o para abogar por temas que les interesan”.

Del Pozo-Mora le dijo a EGP que el grupo de Boyle Heights ha estado enfocado en reparaciones de las calles y banquetas, limpiezas con la comunidad, problemas relacionados con la extensión del USC Medical Campus en el parque Hazard, y arreglo de murales. “Constantemente tratamos de mantener a la comunidad informada con actualizaciones de temas [y] diferentes proyectos en nuestra comunidad”, agregó.

El proyecto Complete Streets es continuo en Highland Park, de acuerdo a Mónica Alcaraz, presidenta del Historic Highland Park NC. “Queremos que las calles sean mas aptas para los peatones con mas cruces de carreteras y carriles de bicicleta”, le dijo a EGP.

LA-32 recientemente patrocinó el cuarto festival anual del papalote de El Sereno en el parque Ascot Hills para celebrar el Día de la Tierra, un foro de candidatos para miembro de la junta del Distrito 2 de LAUSD, y el programa El Sereno/Farmdale Healthy Start Bullying Preventio, según Castro.

Los miembros de los concejos vecinales también se reúnen con el alcalde para discutir sus prioridades de como él desarrolla el presupuesto anual de la ciudad “antes de su presentación y aprobación por el Consejo de la Ciudad.”

“Servir en una junta de vecinos es una gran manera de retribuir a su comunidad”, el Concejal del Primer Distrito Gil Cedillo le dijo a EGP vía email.

“La única manera de garantizar una representación verdadera es mediante la elección de las personas que comparten una visión más amplia para nuestras comunidades. Ánimo a la gente de la comunidad para salir a votar . El futuro de las comunidades depende de ello”, dijo.

Existen 95 concejos vecinales en Los Ángeles y cada uno funciona de manera diferente y de acuerdo a las reglas establecidas en sus estatutos. Algunos miembros de la junta de consejo sirven en términos de 2 años, mientras que otros permanecen en el consejo hasta por 4 años . Y “la mayoría de ellos permiten a los miembros de mesa sean reelegidos, sin límite de plazo”, dijo Handal.

“Hay una idea errónea de que si no votas no te importa”, dijo Alcaraz, dando a entender que lo contrario es cierto, pero la gente a menudo piensa que su opinión o voto no importa. Instó a las partes interesadas para salir el sábado y hacer valer su voz.

“Vota por el mejor interés del vecindario”, dijo.




Horarios y lugares de votaciones este 26 de abril:

Arroyo Seco NC – Ramona Hall Community Center Lobby, 4580 N. Figueroa St. 90065; 10 am-4 pm

Boyle Heights NC – Boyle Heights City Hall (Community Room) 2130 E. 1st Street 90033; 10 am-4 pm

Eagle Rock – Eagle Rock City Hall, Community Room–2035 Colorado Blvd. 9004; 10 am-4 pm

Glassell Park – Glassell Park Community & Senior Center, 3750 N. Verdugo Rd. 90065; 10 am-4 pm

Greater Cypress Park – Cypress Park & Recreation Center (Auditorium) 2630 Pepper Ave. 90065; 10 am-4 pm

Historic Highland Park – Highland Park Senior Center, 6152 N. Figueroa Street 90042; 9 am-3 pm

LA- 32 – Farmdale Elementary School, 2660 Ruth Swiggett Dr. 90032. 9 am-5 pm

Lincoln Heights – Aztecs Rising, 3516 N. Broadway Ave. 90031; 11 am-5 pm


Twitter @jackieguzman


East, Northeast Neighborhood Councils Elections on Saturday

April 24, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

People who live, work, pray or maybe even play in areas represented by Region 8 Neighborhood Councils, can vote this coming Saturday, April 26 to elect new members to the citizens advisory boards or reelect those they believe are doing a good job.

The neighborhood councils in the region are: Arroyo Seco, Boyle Heights, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Greater Cypress Park, Historic Highland Park, LA-32 and Lincoln Heights.

Neighborhood Councils are city-certified groups made up of volunteers who live, work, own property or have a connection to the neighborhood they are representing. Their role is to promote public participation in government and improve government responsiveness at the local level. They often advise the city in a variety of areas, such as land use issues.

Neighborhood Councils throughout East and Northeast Los Angeles will be holding elections. (Northeast Neighborhood Council)

Neighborhood Councils throughout East and Northeast Los Angeles will be holding elections. (Northeast Neighborhood Council)

Every neighborhood council has its own set of bylaws and proof of eligibility for voting. For example, Eagle Rock, Historic Highland Park, LA-32, Lincoln Heights and Greater Cypress Park require voters to provide proof are legitimate stakeholders in their respective neighborhood, such as a driver’s license, utility bill, pay stub or school identification.

If they don’t have a proof with them “they get a 3-day provisionary ballot” that gives them time to prove they live, work or own property in the neighborhood, Jay Handal, independent elections administrator with Empower LA told EGP.

Arroyo Seco, Boyle Heights and Glassell Park do not require proof at the time of voting.

Each council also sets its eligible age for voting, according to Handal.

Some allow voters as young as 13, Handal said. Requirements can be found on the council websites.

Lea este artículo en Español: Elecciones de Concejos Vecinales del Este y Noreste de L.A. este Sábado

Stakeholders do not have to be U.S. citizens or registered voters, said Handal who emphasized that undocumented immigrants can vote in neighborhood council elections despite their immigration status. They just need to show whatever form of identification they have, such as a library card, utility bill or matricula consular (identification) card, Handal explained.

It’s important for stakeholders to vote because it gives them the power to define their communities’ position on public issues, said Connie Castro, current president of the LA-32 NC. “[Residents] can influence our elected officials on issues such as land-use/zoning, health, safety and community development that affect us locally and citywide,” Castro told EGP.

Los Angeles’ Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) oversees and provides support to the neighborhood councils. DONE’s Empower LA is charged with promoting civic engagement and citizen-based government through the local councils.

“Neighborhood Councils are an important asset to our city government,” said 14th District Councilman José Huizar in an email. “They help inform my decision making and I strongly encourage people to participate in this weekend’s elections,” he added.

Diana del Pozo Mora, president of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council told EGP that many in the community don’t have the opportunity to take part in elections at the city level, but they can vote for their neighborhood council representatives. “The opportunity to have a voice in the neighborhood is something exiting,” she said.

Every year, each council receives $37,000 to support its activities. It is up to board members to decide how to spend the funds in the best interest of the community.

According to Empower LA’s website, neighborhood council board members duties include, but are not limited to, creating “events and programs that respond to the unique needs of their community or advocate on behalf of issues they care about.”

Del Pozo-Mora said the Boyle Heights group has been focused on street and sidewalk repairs, community clean ups, and issues related to the USC Medical Campus expansion into Hazard Park and murals. “We are constantly trying to keep the community informed with updates on issues [and] with different projects in our community,” she added.

The Complete Streets project is ongoing in Highland Park, according to Monica Alcaraz, president of Historic Highland Park NC. “We want to make the streets more pedestrian friendly, with more crosswalks and bike lanes,” she told EGP.

LA-32 recently sponsored the 4th Annual El Sereno Kite Festival at Ascot Hills Park to celebrate Earth Day, an LAUSD District 2 Board Member candidate forum and the El Sereno/Farmdale Healthy Start Bullying Prevention Program, according to Castro.

Neighborhood Councils also meet with the mayor to discuss their priorities as he develops the city’s annual budget “prior to its submittal and approval by the City Council.”

“Serving on a neighborhood council is a great way to give back to your community,” First District Councilman Gil Cedillo told EGP by email.

“The only way to guarantee true representation is by electing individuals that share a greater vision for our communities. I encourage community folks to come out and vote. The future of your communities depends on it,” he said.

There are 95 neighborhood councils in Los Angeles and each works differently and according to the rules established in their bylaws. Some council board members serve 2-year terms while others remain on the council for 4 years. And “most of them allow board members to be reelected, with no term limits,” Handal said.

“There’s a misconception that if you don’t vote you don’t care,” said Alcaraz, implying the opposite is actually true, but people often think their opinion or vote does not matter. She urged stakeholders to get out Saturday and be heard.

“Vote for the best interest of the neighborhood,” she said.



April 26, 2014 Polling Locations and Hours:

Arroyo Seco NC – Ramona Hall Community Center Lobby, 4580 N. Figueroa St. 90065; 10 am-4 pm

Boyle Heights NC – Boyle Heights City Hall (Community Room) 2130 E. 1st Street 90033; 10 am-4 pm

Eagle Rock – Eagle Rock City Hall, Community Room–2035 Colorado Blvd. 9004; 10 am-4 pm

Glassell Park – Glassell Park Community & Senior Center, 3750 N. Verdugo Rd. 90065; 10 am-4 pm

Greater Cypress Park – Cypress Park & Recreation Center(Auditorium) 2630 Pepper Ave. 90065; 10 am-4 pm

Historic Highland Park – Highland Park Senior Center, 6152 N. Figueroa Street 90042; 9 am-3 pm

LA- 32 – Farmdale Elementary School, 2660 Ruth Swiggett Dr. 90032. 9 am-5 pm

Lincoln Heights – Aztecs Rising, 3516 N. Broadway Ave. 90031; 11 am-5 pm

Twitter @jackieguzman

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