SKID ROW- Last week, an Election Challenge Review Panel agreed with all three election challenges officially filed by the Skid Row Neighborhood Council- Formation Committee. The challenges were filed as the result of a cheating scandal connected to a front organization that attempted to thwart Skid Row’s efforts to create it’s own neighborhood council.
In the first-ever subdivision election in the history of the City of Los Angeles, Skid Row’s efforts to break away from the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) fell short by only a mere 60 votes (nearly 1600 people participated in the election). However, an anonymous source uncovered a plot to deceive potential voters through e-mail blasts that went out as much as four times a day with the DLANC logo and a message of “Vote NO on Skid Row separation”.
City regulations deem these acts illegal if issued by a neighborhood council. Skid Row NC leaders claimed they had proof (including video) which show the e-mail URL’s and contact info such as mailing addresses connecting back to DLANC. While DLANC denied any involvement, the video and other evidence was presented before a three-member review panel made up of NC leaders from various communities across Los Angeles.
The 5-hour hearing ended with the review panel siding with Skid Row over Downtown LA NC.
The panel recommended the City’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) immediately initiated an investigation to conclude in 60 days and if it could be determined that DLANC played even more of a role than they denied, Skid Row should automatically get it’s NC. If not, a new election without online voting should happen 30 days after the conclusion of said investigation.
The reality is, though, that the review panel’s recommendations are only that- recommendations. The final determination is up to DONE. They have not given any clues as to what their decision might be.
On their website, it says there are 5 penalty options; 1) A Letter of Reprimand (which seems too thin to be appropriate in this matter), 2) Disqualification of Candidate (in this case, that would be DLANC and would also automatically give Skid Row it’s NC), 3) Disqualification of Votes (with such a small margin of only 60 votes, even a 5% vote reduction of No votes would give Skid Row the victory, due to the need to multiply by 3 [amount of challenges]), 4) Funding penalties (more than likely not applicable) and 5) Referral to City Attorney’s office for Criminal Prosecution (definitely a possibility depending on the outcome of the City’s investigation over the next 60 days)
Most importantly, the website clearly states that “Redoing the entire NC election IS NOT a remedy” and goes on to say “unless the challenge affected every seat on the ballot”.
The Skid Row Neighborhood Council- Formation Committee contends that all of it’s challenges only apply to the “No votes” and therefore eliminate any possibilities of a new election.
So the Review Panel recommended a new election without online voting and Skid Row says a new election is not a valid option.
“What will DONE say?” is the biggest question of 2017 in Downtown LA.
The legal teams are already being assembled on both sides. The bylaws, boundaries and board seats aren’t even a concern at the moment.
Even Tupac says “All eyes are on DONE”. I think I even heard Edgar Allen Poe say “All eyes are upon DONE”. No matter what your verbal vernacular, DONE is on the hot seat.
Either the right side of history will embrace the inclusion of Skid Row’s remarkable efforts to create a neighborhood council from which the necessary solutions can be created to greatly improve the area, or the wrong side of history will embrace the uber-rich developers who continue to conspire to keep things just the way they are so that they can buy up all the land at as low a price possible, only to significantly increase rents, and thus their profits, once Skid Row is no longer able to provide the limited protection of rent control to Downtowners.
Of course, there are other factors in play as well, but that’s another article.
The laws, regulations, guidelines, evidence videos, official statements on video and even DONE’s website all point to Skid Row getting it’s neighborhood council.
But, it is DONE who has the final say.
What say you, DONE?