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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.

Jason October 14, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Thanks for the video, Ajay. I'm curious what happened to the woman that was so awful that she didn't even want to talk about it.
Patrick Koppula October 14, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Congratulations to all incoming council members, their opponents, the Department of Neighborhood Elections, the community journalists and most of all the election volunteers for creating and managing an exemplary build up of our participatory local democracy. 500 residents/workers/owners, 300 other voters, 33 candidates, and 2 slates makes me even prouder of this neighborhood. I'm also happy to report that EagleRockPrez is already up to 65 people on Twitter! At this rate, the number of residents represented on Twitter will surpass 500 by the time the new council is seated. Make sure your supporters and friends are included by insisting they sign up at http://twitter.eaglerockcouncil.com.
Ajay Singh (Editor) October 14, 2012 at 11:06 PM
No idea at all, Jason. As you noted, she didn't comment, but I'm sure there are readers out there who know. It happened shortly after Dan Henken was briefly detained—not for Bringing Back the Dead (http://patch.com/A-llYm), which is his usual wont, but for something seemingly out of character for him.
ERMom October 14, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Dude, this is hardly the first time Eagle Rockers have banded together against outsiders. Please read Eric Warren's excellent history on our neighborhood. It's happened many, many times before!!!
bbkong October 15, 2012 at 01:39 AM
I am disappoint. I guess that's what I get for showing up early though. I missed all the excitement and being on video, which is a crying shame since I have a face made for radio and SOOO much to say about the elections. The factual basis broohaha? Well, who really cares? 379 people out of 30,000? Obviously a HUGE issue for EVERYBODY in Eagle Rock. This will go down on record as the biggest tempest in a teapot since....I dunno, the water fluoridation conspiracy?
Cricket October 15, 2012 at 04:25 AM
The flyer is a sham, btw. No dispensary uses language like "Free medical marijuana", they would tell you the amount (ex. gram of top shelf, 2 grams, etc). And $40 value? C'mon, you could've done a little research before printing this ridiculous red herring. Pick up a JEMM or an LA Weekly and learn the vernacular, dolts! I like the purchase recommendations also, pick the smallest ticket item you can think of to make sure it couldn't be taken as encouraging business in the 'hood. When we invited "outsiders" (you know, people who live in the same city as you) to come participate, we recommended going to The Bucket (Western Burger, WHAT?!?!?). This looks like a flyer that someone that knows nothing about medical marijuana would make to imply that votes were being bought by the medical marijuana community. YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!!
AnonyMiss October 15, 2012 at 06:30 AM
That is a horrible fake flyer. At least those sneaky snakes could have gotten creative. But that implies that their cold little reptilian zombie brains are actually capable of anything better. With scrawny scaly creatures like that slithering the streets, Eagle Rock is in dire need of a good extermination.
Jason October 15, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Ha. I love it. Now the conspiracy theories begin. So Cricket and AnonyMiss, you honestly think someone faked those flyers? Despite the reports from multiple people who saw voters holding them? So the people holding them were somehow fooled by them, too? They came in from outside Eagle Rock because they got their hands on a fake flyer from some mysterious source and thought they'd get free pot, even though the flyer doesn't state where? How do you explain that? Come on...You're being ridiculous.
Andrew Hindes October 15, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Thank you for the great video Ajay. I didn't want it to end! Great slice of Eagle Rock's big day.
MissGuinness October 15, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Frankly, Jason, you're being ridiculous. To address your questions, actually, yes. Something like that. Those flyers are complete BS. "Free Medical Marijuana"? Really. Either you read too many books and don't get out much, or you really do believe what the mainstream media (and in this MIkey and Nogueira) have successfully spoon fed you. You should be proud. You are what, we conspiracy theorists, like to call a "sheep". But that's just being antagonistic. I'm sorry. Look, try to stop and think before you believe EVERYTHING you read online.
MissGuinness October 15, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Ajay, I don't understand, where did patrons claim to have gotten this flyer from?
Jerry Langford October 15, 2012 at 06:06 PM
MissGuinness aka Erykah Elva Grande: Please stop it. You and your husband lost, with a resounding mandate from real Eagle Rock citizens. The election is over. You're a mom and a resident of Eagle Rock, and you should care about the future of this place. Spreading misinformation on Patch does not help; like it or not, it's an electronic Town Hall and Ajay's doing his best to keep us abreast of what's going on in Eagle Rock, which many of us appreciate and rely on. (It's too bad AOL runs Patch, because the anonymous commenting system has got to go. Too easy for trolls and cowards to ruin the discussion, and cloud the truth.) Jason: The 40-dollar weed bounty for votes was very real, as were the flyers. I hope Ajay will follow up with a post on just this topic soon.
MissGuinness October 15, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Jerry Langford, I will say this once, and to you, since you brought it up, this isn't about losing. It's about the Lies, the insults, the false statements (about us), and BECAUSE I simply won't sit and watch it happen. Nogueira is shady. Has been shady. Larsen's a joke. And Eagle Rock will eventually see that. Don't question what I care about and don't care about, please. Assumptions have never done anyone any good. Thank you, Mr Langford. My beef is not and has never been with you. Have a beautiful day, Fall decided to delay it's arrival, again.
Jason October 15, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I love how all of these people are coming out of the woodwork now to comment. Are you the same person as "AnonyMiss?" Again, just to clarify, you think that these outside, "factual-basis" voters just randomly showed up in ER on Saturday morning, and then someone on "Mikey and Nogueira's" side gave them these "BS" flyers? That's just absurd. Why would those people have driven from all over L.A. if they weren't already aware of the offer on the flyer? And, again, there's no dispensary name on the flyer--so if the flyer didn't come from a particular dispensary handing it out to their patrons, how would the people who were voting on a "factual basis" know where to get their free weed? If you think this is all some bizarre conspiracy, how do you account for that? Why would these people have voted unless they thought they were getting something out of it?
MissGuinness October 15, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Wait, so is there a Dispensary name or is there no name? Ajay, you linked Rampart Discount Center, but the flyer states no Dispensary. How did you go about investigating this?
bbkong October 16, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Now that I ponder this great mystery, I too noticed there was no dispensary named in that flyer. I wonder if they couldn't have been handed out to people in the parking lot as they walked in to vote since people usually just take what they are handed. And how many flyers are we talking about anyway? A dozen? Several hundred? Something smells fishy here and it ain't the fish market at the mall. We should put our in-house detective, AFG on it. I'm sure he'll ask all the right questions and then some.
Jason October 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Again: why would someone who doesn't live in Eagle Rock randomly decide to show up in town on the morning of the election unless they had a reason to vote? That "reason" for some people was the flyer that they had been given. I find it ironic that the "conspiracy" nuts here are tossing around terms like "sheep," "great mystery," etc., when the simplest and most logical answer to all of this is that some specific dispensary passed out these flyers, which led to people who otherwise wouldn't have been in ER showing up to vote, thinking they would get free weed. Call me whatever names you'd like, question my gullibility, etc., but that's the simplest and most logical way for this to have occurred.
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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