There’s so much to do this weekend, we thought we’d start telling you about it on Thursday!
One of the most important things you can do this weekend is vote in our local neighborhood council elections for your representatives on the 21-member board of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.
Everyone who lives in the neighborhood and is over 18 is eligible to vote for at least one seat on the GWNC board. The election is this Sunday. Voting will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Barking Lot at 336 N. Larchmont (just north of Beverly Blvd), in the parking lot. The elections are being run by the City Clerk’s office, which is also running all the neighborhood council elections across the city. So you might not see a familiar face like we’ve had in past elections, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the voter qualifications before you vote, so you can zip through the process.
Here’s the scoop on who can vote. Anyone who is at least 18 years of age and claims a legitimate stake in the neighborhood can vote for at least one seat in the election. People who live, work or own property in the Greater Wilshire area may vote for two seats, one for their geographical area and one for either the at-large seat, or a special interest group to which they have ties.
Below is a graphic showing the 15 of the seats that represent individual geographic areas within the larger Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council boundaries.
In addition to the 15 geographic seats, there are also five seats to represent special interest groups such as Renters or Business, Religious, Educational and Other Non-Profit organizations. There is also one At Large seat.
To vote for a geographic area seat, you must present proof that you live, work or own property in that specific area. This can include a driver’s license, rental lease agreement, utility bill, paycheck stub, business card, mortgage statement or property tax statement showing your name and address in the area.
To vote for a special interest seat, you must show proof that you fit one of the special interest categories. For example, renters must show a rental lease agreement or rent receipt. Those voting in the Education category must show proof of their connection (as an employee, parent, student or ongoing volunteer) to a local school. Those voting in the Business category must show a business card, business license, business rental agreement, advertisement, etc., showing their name and the name of their business…or their connection to a local business organization. To vote in the Religion category, you must document your connection (with a membership card, pledge statement, business card, etc.) to a local religious organization. And the same goes for a local non-profit organization, to vote in the Non-Profit category.
To vote for the At Large representative, any of the forms of proof listed above will do, as will documentation of any other kind of connection to the area, such as receipts that verify you shop at local stores. Again, for more information, please see the GWNC’s Voter Documentation information.
Bottom line: You may be eligible to vote for one geographic seat plus either the At Large seat or one of the special interest categories. The most you can vote for is two seats.
Here’s the scoop in why the GWNC is organized this way.
We know it seems complicated by there’s a method to the “madness.” Neighborhood councils are intended to represent the people who live in the neighborhood, or work there, or attend religious services or who send their kids to school there. Most of the seats, 15, are designated for geographic areas so they can represent the predominately residential character of the neighborhoods in the GWNC area. However, there are also board seats dedicated to special interest categories in an effort to people who have a strong interest in the community but don’t necessarily live here.
In order to make sure the people voting have some legitimate stake in the neighborhood, the GWNC bylaws require proof of residency or affiliation so you can get your ballot. It takes a little extra time, but it’s the best way to make sure voters are really part of the neighborhood.
You might be wondering why anyone would try to scam a neighborhood council election. Who cares, right? After all, the Neighborhod Council’s recommendations to city bodies are non-binding. Even so, however, neighborhood councils do speak for the neighborhood on lots of issues…and the city does listen. In fact, wWe have hundreds of stories in the Buzz about non-binding recommendations councils have made to various city departments that make a difference in actions that are taken. So protecting the integrity of the elections is important. And, even more importantly, if lots of people turn out to elect the members of the neighborhood council, it shows the neighborhood is really engaged and city officials take more notice.
Here’s the list of candidates running for election on Sunday. You can also review this story we posted a few weeks ago with photos and statements from each of the candidates who submitted information to the City Clerk’s office.
Why this matters.
Last Sunday, CD4 Councilmember David Ryu urged residents of the Ridgewood-Wilton St. Andrews Square Neighborhood Association to vote in the neighborhood council election. He commended those who serve as volunteers and asserted that working together on local issues is what makes neighborhoods great.
“This is why I love local politics, everything is about local,” said Ryu. “If we come together as neighbors, as a community, as a district, as a city, and work collaboratively, we will be that changing force nationally and globally.”
Democracy requires participation and that can sometimes be work. But it’s important work and nothing is more important than the neighborhood where you and your family and friends live. Make time, go vote on Sunday!
And finally, to really drive home our point, we are super committed to reporting on the work of GWNC as you can tell from all our stories. So if you have any questions about how to vote (not who to vote for – that wouldn’t be proper), please contact us. We are happy to talk to you over the weekend. You can send us an email, a Facebook message, an Instagram, a tweet or call us at (323) 741-4651.
See you at the polls on Sunday!