Ten days after hundreds of people who don’t live, work, study or own a business in Eagle Rock voted in elections to its neighborhood council, Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar proposed “a comprehensive review of the definition and process for qualifying” as a so-called community stakeholder.
In a motion introduced in the city council Tuesday, Huizar asked that the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, with assistance from the city attorney and advice from neighborhood councils, be instructed to examine, redefine and recommend who stakeholders are.
Huizar proposed that the department’s review include “specific qualifications” for factual-basis stakeholders—those who are permitted to run as well as vote in neighborhood elections after demonstrating that they belong to a cultural group in the community, visit any of its libraries or have a vested interest in any of its businesses as consumers.
As many as 313 of the 792 votes cast in the Oct. 13 elections to the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council were from those claiming to be factual-basis stakeholders, Huizar pointed out in his Oct. 23 motion, which will go before city council committees before being voted on.
These stakeholders, Huizar added, reportedly have “little or no relationship with the Eagle Rock community.” Their ability to vote in its elections, according to DONE’s Neighborhood Council 2012 election manual, was “clearly an attempt by outside interests to take control of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and constitutes an abuse of the Neighborhood Council electoral process,” Huizar said.
Huizar proposed, further, that factual-basis stakeholders be limited to contesting or voting for no more than two seats on a neighborhood council.
• See the attached PDF for details about Huizar’s motion, which was seconded by Council member Bernard Parks.
The role of factual-basis stakeholders in Eagle Rock will be among the first items of business for the newly constituted Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council when it meets for the first time on Nov. 13, outgoing President Michael Larsen told Eagle Rock Patch, shortly after Huizar’s motion.
"I think the community as a whole is grateful to council member Huizar for taking a leadership role on this issue,” Larsen said. “Eagle Rock dodged a political bullet fired by a powerful union and its illicit partner, Big Marijuana, who saw a weakness in the system and took full advantage of it,” he added, referring to the campaign support that the United Food and Commercial Workers Union 770 lent to the Progress & Collaboration slate in the ERNC elections.
“We all should do what we can to make sure we are not put that position again,” Larsen said.
Larsen admitted to Eagle Rock Patch during the Oct. 13 vote that the ERNC could have changed its bylaws before the elections to reduce the influence of factual-basis stakeholders. But it didn’t do so because it never perceived a situation in which hundreds of such stakeholders would try to influence the election process, he said.
• See the attached PDF regarding a 2011 resolution by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, which gives neighborhood councils the option to change their bylaws regarding stakeholders.