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Labor Union Exhorts ‘Factual-Basis’ Stakeholders to Vote in Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Elections

People who don’t live or work or run a business in Eagle Rock are urged to vote for the “Progress & Collaboration” slate led by presidential candidate Nelson Grande II.

It’s election season in America—not just at the presidential level.

In Eagle Rock, some intriguing last-minute, behind-the-scenes efforts are underway to solicit votes for Saturday’s Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council elections, which are being conducted by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and held in Eagle Rock City Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to an e-mail sent out Thursday evening by Rigoberto Valdez, Jr., the vice president of UFCW Local 770, a branch of the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, so-called “factual basis stakeholders” are being encouraged to vote in the Oct. 13 elections for “a group of candidates that believe[s] in bettering this community.”

The e-mail, forwarded to Eagle Rock Patch by an anonymous source and addressed to “Freinds (sic) and Aliies (sic) of UFCW Local 770, and Union Medical Cannabis Workers,” refers to a slate of election candidates known as “Progress & Collaboration,” led by presidential contender Nelson Grande II. The two-paragraph message is followed by an e-mail communication from Grande to Valdez, which starts out with this paragraph:

My name is Nelson Grande. I’m currently running for President of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council within a Compassionate Slate and we need your help.

Grande’s e-mail goes on to say:

In various articles, you have been written in as a counter to Mr. Michael Larsen’s steadfast stances on Medical Marijuana. Mr. Larsen, as President, has led a vigorous campaign to ban all dispensaries in Los Angeles, leading the current ERNC to vote for full support of Jose Huizar’s recently failed ordinance and going as far as requesting Federal assistance to shut down local dispensaries.

The second paragraph of Valdez’s e-mail advises factual-basis stakeholders—that is, people who don’t live, work or run a business in Eagle Rock (see attached pdf for details)—that they can vote in Saturday’s election if they fulfill certain requirements:

All you need to do go into Eagle Rock and purchase gas, coffee, or whatever. Use a local service in Eagle Rock and keep a receipt as proof of your patronage and then go Saturday with that proof and vote as an "at-large-stakeholder" in the Eagle Rock Neighborhood City Council Election. 

Asked whether—and why—he had been in touch with Valdez, Grande e-mailed Eagle Rock Patch the following note late on Thursday night:

I am proud to have the support of The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW 770).  The very union that supported Councilman Jose Huizar, is now supporting the P&C slate. Not only do they represent hundreds of hardworking Eagle Rock stakeholders at VONS, Super A and one of our CVS stores, they are leading negotiations with the city on the issue of regulating and limiting the number of dispensaries. Like us, they support safe access for patients and, like us, they realize that regulation is necessary. If their current plan gets approval, it will limit the number of dispensaries in Eagle Rock to three. I feel that the UFCW and our city leaders are very close to a compromise that all compassionate Angelenos will be proud of.

With the dispensary issue being settled, and we look forward to it being settled in the next few weeks, we will be able to concentrate on the issues that everyone in this community cares about: fixing Colorado, picking up the litter, and unifying the citizenry.  I will continue to reach out to organizations that represent Eagle Rock's stakeholders as I believe working with, not against, the interests of Eagle Rock and said stakeholders will be the key to revitalizing our town.

From the start of my campaign, it has been my goal to form Collaborative solutions by talking to all Eagle Rockers and local organizations. I am now fulfilling that goal.

Asked what he had to say to Eagle Rock residents who have expressed misgivings about the prospect of factual-basis stakeholders voting in their neighborhood council elections, Grande told Patch Friday morning:

All folks coming to vote on Saturday are, in fact, bringing business to Eagle Rock. This is a wonderful opportunity for our valued Eagle Rock businesses to earn new repeat customers.

Our stakeholders are a crucial element in revitalizing Eagle Rock's local economy. We welcome them to visit our beautiful neighborhood now and after we've reached our goal of rebuilding Colorado Blvd.

Meanwhile, ERNC President Michael Larsen told Eagle Rock Patch that he had “just got word that DONE is sticking to their ‘Starbucks Stakeholder’ rule, so anybody with a receipt can vote in the election.”

Click here to read the Eagle Rock Patch *Topic Page* containing past articles about the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council.

Mark Haskell Smith October 14, 2012 at 05:06 AM
It was close. Nelson Grande lost by 26 votes. I lost by 8. Anthony Freeny lost by 8 votes. But I'm very happy to see Baker Montgomery, Eddie Ramirez, Ashley Atkinson, Kerry Tribe, Michael Blanchard, Ethan Weiss and David Greene winning seats. I think they will be open minded and responsible and get rid of some of the toxic environment created by the previous regime.
bbkong October 14, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I saw that on the work sheet, Mark. I'm impressed at how close the election was and look forward to getting more involved in the next one! I think it's important that young people get involved with local politics.
bbkong October 14, 2012 at 05:22 AM
I understand about the toxic environment. It has leaked out in here a few times and rather doubt that tune will change much. I wonder...is there an impeachment mechanism in place for the NCs?
bbkong October 14, 2012 at 05:29 AM
That's odd. All the potheads I know are in their 40's and 50's, have jobs mortgages and Prius's.
jayres October 14, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Ha! so true, I know those folks as well, they just weren't the pot heads showing up to vote when I was there.
Tim Tritch October 14, 2012 at 05:56 AM
Got to say that I aint to thrilled with the idea of campaigning directly to people who dont live in ER. These rules need to be changed. If votes come in from the outside thats one thing, but to directly appeal to those voters in this type of community election, I think there is just something fundamentaly wrong with that. I would like to see a candidate step up and say they will try to get these rules changed if they are elected. According to these rules I guess I could qualify as a stakeholder in virtually every community in Los Angeles, and so can many others, and thats not right. One man, one vote, not one man voting in several districts.
Jerry Langford October 14, 2012 at 06:06 AM
I don't know when you guys went down to vote, but when I went around 2:30pm, it was a zoo. The smell of pot in the voting room was overwhelming. The 2 guys and a girl in front of me each had flyers from a pot store downtown that promised them $40 in free weed if they voted for Nelson's people. Gotta love the democratic process. I just downloaded the raw numbers from the link above. There were 313 "factual basis voters" using receipts rather than residency. Nelson Grande got only 283 votes. It's entirely possible that not a single resident of Eagle Rock voted for him. Extend those same numbers to the rest of his slate; while they brought out maybe a dozen votes from real Eagle Rock residents, the Neighbors pulled over 300 legitimate votes each. Pretty cool. Way to go, Eagle Rock. This is a huge win for sanity.
bbkong October 14, 2012 at 06:25 AM
"The 2 guys and a girl in front of me each had flyers from a pot store downtown that promised them $40 in free weed if they voted for Nelson's people." I don't suppose you or anybody else actually snagged one of those as evidence in support of changing the rule. Nah, of course not.
Mark Haskell Smith October 14, 2012 at 06:25 AM
Jerry, that's just not true. I and my wife and dozens of Eagle Rock neighbors I know personally voted for him. You're assuming (unfairly) that all 313 "factual basis voters" cast their ballots for Nelson. Even using your math, there are more factual basis votes then Nelson's total which means that 30 voted for someone else. Your assumption that they all cast their vote for Nelson is provably false. Do you really believe that other candidates didn't use this loophole to their advantage? Have you seen the request for Eagle Rockers to vote in the Arroyo Seco election on the front page of the Patch? Have you condemned them? I don't like the factual basis voter rule anymore than you, but it cuts both ways. Such smear tactics were used against Nelson unrelentingly in this election, now that he's lost maybe it's time for the smears to stop.
Michael Larsen October 14, 2012 at 06:42 AM
bb, snagged and posted. I'll email you the original if you want Joe.
rebecca niederlander October 14, 2012 at 06:49 AM
Agreed, jayres.
bbkong October 14, 2012 at 06:52 AM
Thanks, I'd like to see it. Still, I wouldn't lay this at Nelson's feet. This election attracted a lot of attention. It was even discussed on Reddit.
Jerry Langford October 14, 2012 at 06:58 AM
bbkong: I've already seen pictures of the flyers on Facebook from other people who were there. I'm sure they'll show up on the Patch eventually. Enjoy the crow. Mark: Fair enough. But that's still only dozens of legitimate votes for Nelson vs. hundreds of them for his opponents. That's a blowout, no matter how you cut it. And I know of no one other than the Grande/Ryder ticket who begged outsiders to come to Eagle Rock and vote. I agree that it's time for us all to get along. But as an Eagle Rock resident, I am royally pissed about what those guys put us all through, and that's gonna take a little while to get over. In the end hopefully it will turn out to be a learning experience that will only make Eagle Rock stronger.
Michael Larsen October 14, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Hmm. Yes, like this one? http://the420times.com/2012/10/a-call-to-action-help-oust-the-neighborhood-councilman-who-started-the-l-a-dispensary-ban/
rebecca niederlander October 14, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Agreed, Jerry. I do hope everyone will continue to work for our wonderful community, no matter who won or lost. One thing that did seem apparent, and that I do adore about our hamlet is that when the real resident of ER got wind of an idea that those who don't live here might try to take away the voice of the residents, they were pissed off enough to get out and vote. If this means that more folks get involved and speak their mind and go plant a tree or show up at the farmer's market or volunteer at the rec center or whatever, then awesome. We don't all have to agree, but we do need to be able to disagree honestly and compassionately. Lessons have been learned all around.
Jerry Langford October 14, 2012 at 07:27 AM
Hear, hear Rebecca. The best thing about voting today was seeing all of Eagle Rock (and some of Inglewood) gathered around City Hall on a beautiful fall day. Hey, how about we move that Friday night Farmer's Market that everybody hates so much to the City Hall parking lot?
EagleRockMom October 14, 2012 at 08:34 AM
Stoners voting in the prohibitionist slate? Are you sure you have that right?
EagleRockMom October 14, 2012 at 08:40 AM
Actually, the point of the article is that the Green Slate attempted to stack votes from people outside of Eagle Rock in an attempt to gain control of ERNC. Anyone with any sense of scruples should be dismayed by this tactic, regardless of which slate you supported. Get a clue or actually read the article being discussed before you start writing some inane post. Geez.
EagleRockMom October 14, 2012 at 08:44 AM
Is it too much to ask that you hit the reply button for the post you want to respond to? Its a simple concept that keeps the discussion organized.
Jason October 14, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Wow. I thought you were just joking about that flyer, but, nope, there it is. Funny thing is there's no way to prove you voted, is there? I didn't get anything. I just dropped my ballot in the box and left.
EagleRockMom October 14, 2012 at 03:24 PM
You could've gotten a sticker from the guy standing next to the ballot box. That is the only proof of voting I recall.
Rob Schraff October 14, 2012 at 03:26 PM
"Some of Inglewood?"
John October 14, 2012 at 03:59 PM
The militant lesbians called. They voted to make Eagle Rock the Gay Marriage capital of the world. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir thanks the incubents for the tacos and the bus ride. Does anybody have the flyer they got for the free tacos? Half the people who took the time to vote asserted their stake in the community by supporting a slate of inclusiveness. The party of exclusion needs to recognize that opposing viewpoint and represent them too.
El Cid October 14, 2012 at 06:06 PM
A "FACTUAL-BASIS STAKEHOLDER" definitely makes a mockery of community elections.
AFG October 14, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Especially the part about $40 dollars of free medicine - reminiscent of forty acres and a mule.
Jerry Langford October 15, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Rob Schraff: One of the folks I was in line with was, indeed, from Inglewood. I peeked at his DL when we were filling out paperwork. This is not hyperbole (or racism). Were you at the vote on Saturday? Because if you were, you'd know there is no politically correct way to explain the scene. It was a very interesting day, let's leave it at that. In a few years, this will just become part of Eagle Rock lore -- the day the rest of L.A. came to our sleepy little town, so they could vote and get free weed.
Jinx October 15, 2012 at 01:18 AM
"dude" At first I was like, " ... " and then I LOL'd.
Jinx October 15, 2012 at 01:22 AM
"Duff - before you acuse me of being Larsen. Let me be clear on this issue. I am NOT him." says the guy through one of the weakest web pseudonym since the Robin Williams movie last century.
Jinx October 15, 2012 at 01:26 AM
How's *your* identity/information status? how about your IP address and PC security?
MissGuinness October 15, 2012 at 11:21 PM
My DL still has my P.O. Box address. I'm just saying.

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