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VIDEO: The Neighborhood Election Battle Between ‘Starbucks Stakeholders’ and the ‘Sleeping Giant’

Saturday’s elections to the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council will likely go down in local history as the first electoral triumph of homeowners over outsiders.

To the Polls! Let every man go to the Polls!

That was a cry from American newspapers in the early 19th century, symbolizing a period of political awakening as well as public interest and action. A similar slogan might have been in evidence on Saturday when an unprecedented 792 people exercised their franchise in the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council elections—nearly 10 times as many voters compared to the previous elections in 2010.

Saturday’s political action was significantly influenced by so-called “factual-basis stakeholders”—bureaucratese for just about anyone able to demonstrate an interest in neighborhood affairs by producing no more than a receipt for minor items such as gum, water or a cup of coffee purchased in Eagle Rock.

Of course, it's hardly the first time “Starbucks stakeholders” have influenced the outcome of a Neighborhood Council election—without in any way breaking the law. But in Eagle Rock, the phenomenon had the effect of “waking up the sleeping giant,” in the words of ERNC presidential contender Peter Hilton.

Fearing that their Neighborhood Council was about to be hijacked, Eagle Rockers flocked to the polling booths in record-high numbers apparently in response to word of an electoral invasion by a faction aligned with medical marijuana dispensaries.

Although the Progress and Collaboration slate, as this faction is called, denies any involvement, a deal was cut with outsiders that they would be given $40 worth of free marijuana products from a pot clinic in the Rampart area (Third Street and Rampart, to be precise) if they produced an “I Empowered LA” sticker given to voters who cast their ballot. (See attached scan of flyer.)

A total of 313 factual-basis stakeholders voted in the elections, compared with local residential voters who numbered 379. In the end, the factual-basis voters proved no match for the proverbial giant stirred from its slumber. All but two members of the Progress and Collaboration slate were defeated, according to preliminary results, which will become final if they go unchallenged within five days.

Click here to see our topic page on a variety of past articles about the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council.

bbkong October 16, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Ah, but we can't always rely on Occam's Razor, especially when there are so many pieces of the puzzle missing. Honestly, considering the emotional tenor of this election I wouldn't put it past anyone to try to unduly influence the vote. Considering some of the gloating going on I don't even dismiss the idea of post election skullduggery to discredit the opposition or pre-election monkey business to discredit the possible outcome. We must get to the bottom of this!
Jerry Langford October 16, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Jason, it sounds to me like some of the people involved in the pot-for-votes scam are getting nervous about having broken the law, so they're trying to sow doubt here on Patch. Make no mistake: The flyers were real. There were tons of witnesses. There is a photo of one of the flyers here on Patch, and I've seen several more on Facebook, along with information about the specific dispensary who handed them out, from people who were at the vote and spoke directly to the pot voters. Rather than internet sleuths, I hope someone like the City Attorney is getting involved. Erykah - I agree with you that lies and false statements do no good, no matter who is spreading them. It was indeed a beautiful day here in Eagle Rock. I hope everyone stepped away from their computers today and enjoyed the clean air and beautiful sunshine.
bbkong October 16, 2012 at 01:17 AM
"information about the specific dispensary who handed them out"? I must have missed that. Who, pray tell?
bbkong October 16, 2012 at 01:55 AM
I might add that the City Attorney won't be getting involved in a non-crime.
Tim Ryder October 16, 2012 at 08:17 AM
I'm glad to see everyone enjoyed the election. I must say it was quite a spectacle whichever side you were on. In 2010 I couldn't get anyone to vote for the life of me but this time, wow! I did try to get 'insiders' to vote, like Oxy students and ERHS 16 year olds but I don't think that was very successful. But, the next election is just 2 years away. How do think we can top this one considering it was the most votes ever in a neighborhood council election by far. Anyone up for another "Green Slate"???

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