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Valley Village NC Election Challenged

VOICES--Dear City Clerk, I would like to challenge the election for the Neighborhood Council of Valley Village, held on May 16th, 2019.  

In the NCVV bylaws (which are attached), it state’s in Article II—Purpose (C )(2) on page 3: 

The POLICY of the Council Shall be: 

(2) to remain nonpartisan and inclusive in our operations including, but not limited to, the election process for the governing body and committee members; 

Sometime in the week before the election, flyers produced by the council’s President, Tony Braswell and council member Alice Hart, which clearly represented the council as a whole and not each person as individual stakeholders, contained text that stated (see photo below attached to this email): 

“VOTE THE SLATE! We proudly endorse Ginny Hatfield, Daryl Baskin, Marc Woersching, Desmond Faison, Erin Stover.” 

The flyer is titled across the top “Neighborhood Council Valley Village 2019 Election” and goes on to state: 

“WILL YOU HELP US KEEP A STRONG AND ACTIVE BOARD FOR VALLEY VILLAGE?”  

As though all the other candidates that they don’t endorse, won’t be strong and active and in some way are inferior. 

They then go on to extol their achievements as a council, NOT AS INDIVIDUAL STAKEHOLDERS running for office.  

“Since 2015 we’ve resurfaced over half of our streets, protected the Specific Plan, started construction of Soundwalls, renovated Valley Village Park, increased police presence and more! Every year we produce events like Light Up Valley Village, National Night Out, and Earth Day, and provide funding to support the VVHA July 4th Parade and Colfax World Fair.” 

It’s abundantly clear that Tony Braswell and Alice Hart did not accomplish any of those things as individuals and the paragraph speaks on behalf as the council as a whole, thereby endorsing certain candidates in a VERY PARTISAN way, which is forbidden in the Bylaws. This flyer is in no way “inclusive” of the rest of the candidates as is required by the Bylaws. 

The election should be recalled, these two council members sanctioned for breaching their own Bylaws, and not allowed to run. As the election turned out, all of the people on this flyer won the election.  

I don’t know where the funds to produce these flyers came from, but it should be looked into to see if they came from NCVV coffers. 

I would also like it to be called to your attention that this election was NOT ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliant. I wrote in for information questioning how disabled Americans who might be homebound or blind or with other disabilities, are afforded accommodations so that they can vote. Neither Empower LA or the Neighborhood Council of Valley Village responded to my inquiry. One stakeholder who is visually impaired confided in me that she had trouble reading the election materials when she got there to vote.  I’m waiting to see if she’ll file a statement that I can send to you later.  

I noticed that the “pillar” that contained the biographies of all the candidates was sitting on the floor and one would actually have to sit on the floor to read some of them, something that a disabled person would be incapable of doing. I wouldn’t be able to do it without hurting my back. The biographies were not put in a place for easy reading and were not placed outside the voting hall so people could read them before actually going inside to vote. Separately, I’ll be filing an American’s With Disabilities Complaint against the City for these disability violations and for not timely answering my ADA questions. 

Because the election was NOT ADA compliant, a new election needs to be held where those stakeholders with disabilities can be afforded the same opportunity to vote as everyone else, and with accommodations. 

I don’t care about not winning, I care about a fair and equal election. This flyer stacked the deck against the non-NCVV-endorsed candidates in favor of select council members who want to control who’s on the council.

 

(Eric Andrist is a Valley Village Stakeholder. Views expressed are those of Mr. Andrist.)

-cw