CityWatch, Aug 10, 2012
Vol 10 Issue 64
RETHINKING LA-Voters in the Northeast Valley
turned out for the first of 11 regional Neighborhood Council elections,
exceeding expectations and raising the standard for participatory
It was just two months ago that the City Council
passed the ordinance that empowered the Department of Neighborhood
Empowerment to partner with Neighborhood Councils in conducting their
Sylmar, Pacoima, Foothill Trails District, Sunland-Tujunga, Panorama
City, Mission Hills, Arleta, and Sun Valley Area Neighborhood Councils
worked together to engage voters and stir interest in the elections and
in the greater goal of regional connectivity.
At the end of the
polling day, five Neighborhood Councils had exceeded their 2010 voter
participation and two had historic high turnouts. Arleta failed to
muster the necessary candidates to warrant an election and will be
conducting a Board Affirmation in late August.
highlights include a Candidates per Open Seat ratio that was up 42.09 %
and a Voters to Open Seat ratio that was up 29.84 %. There were 39
contested seats and 39 volunteer poll workers, stirring voter
participation and demonstrating community support.
approach to the elections was to move beyond the Ballot Box, aiming for
greater regional connectivity, long-term outreach strategies,
significant voter engagement, and opportunities to participate beyond
On all counts, participating Neighborhood Councils can say they went beyond the Ballot Box.
eight participating Neighborhood Councils grew tighter as the election
day grew closer, covering for each other and allowing successful
strategies to resonate.
Outreach strategies include the Rally in
the Valley, Candidate Workshops, Leadership Academy, Daily News and LA
Times editorials, and a wide variety of traditional Direct Mail and
Print campaigns complemented by everything from lawn signs to handbills
to Candidate Corrals filled with passionate candidates and supporters.
were given the opportunity to go beyond the ballot box with an
EmpowerLA survey that yielded a 38% success rate and allowed voters to
weigh in on the issues that drew them to the polls.
that are most important to voters are Public Safety (58%), Zoning &
Land Use (40%), Planning & Development (29%), and Youth Programs
Voters indicate that they heard about the elections from
the Candidates (56%), Board Members (31%), Council meetings (30%), and
Council Newsletters (18%).
Volunteers, Election Hours, and
Polling Locations all received high marks (52%, 54%, 67% respectively)
while 22% called for better outreach and 13% wanted more signage.
at several polling places were given an opportunity to engage beyond
the polling place, by signing up for Neighborhood Council committees, by
enlisting as participants on community projects, and by joining the
EmpowerLA elections team as volunteers.
The Official results for Sylmar, Pacoima, Foothill Trails District, Sunland-Tujunga, Panorama City, Mission Hills, and Sun Valley can be found at EmpowerLA.org.
The next round of Neighborhood Council elections take place in the Northwest Valley on September 8, 2012. Each Neighborhood Council has its own polling place and its own hours, all on the same day.