It is time again for the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council elections! Just as confusing as a round of referendums, ordinances, and propositions… here are my tips....
- Register to vote in the DLANC election. Your voter registration for this coming presidential election isn’t the same registration you need for the DLANC election. Just head on over to the webpage and register to vote…after you read Tip #2
- Take a look at the stakeholder groups, located in the DLANC bylaws. For the ease of the GH&T reader, here's the quick sheet:
There are 28 board members. 11 must be residents, 8 from businesses, 3 from Arts, 2 from Social Service Proivders, 2 from "workforce", and 1 At-large director who can claim to represent any kind of stakeholder in Downtown. I think somewhere along the lines of life, I started referring this representative at the "At-Large At-Large"
Because the 11 resident directors are broken down into 11 distinct groups, including an at-large resident. The directors represent the neigborhoods of Downtown, and you really have to pay attention to the district, because some of them are kind of wonky. The Fashion District resident area comes all the way up to 7th and Spring. Resident directors also include Resident Artist, Homeless, and the at-large.
On the business side, again - broken up into 8 director positions, separated by neighborhood, and an at-large.
The three remaining postiions, include the "Arts, Cultural, and Educational Interests", "Social service Provider" and "Workforce" Pay particular attention to the "workforce" position...You cannot LIVE downtown in order to run for this position.
Before you register to vote, you need to think about what "kind" of stakeholder you are. Many of us wear different hats, or even more appropriately - one might want to vote for their friend, or someone within a specific stakeholder group. I'm not suggesting that you game the system, I just want you to be aware of the system as a whole.
The way you register to vote in this election pre-determines which ballot you will have access to. If for instance, you live at PE Lofts, but own a shop in the Fashion District...you will need to make a decision on whether or not to reigster as a resident...and have the opportunity to vote for the Historic Downtown resident rep, the At-Large Resident, and the At-Large At-Large. If you register as a business owner, you'll vote for the Fashion District business rep, the At-Large Business rep, and the At-Large At-Large.
I'm registered as an At-Large stakeholder. I do not live or work within DLANC's boundaries. I live in the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council, and I work in the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council. But...I go to church in South Park, and I'm a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles. Plus, my daughter plays at Grand Hope park, Grand Park, and places in between. I consider myself a DLANC Stakeholder. Therefore, I registered as an At-Large stakeholder, and I will only be able to vote for the At-Large At-Large representative.
And, get yourself a reminder that DLANC election day is November 14, 2012.
NOW...for those who are seeking a seat on DLANC...
Before you choose what seat you are going to run for...consider who you plan to represent. For those in the area that are both residents and business owners - you have a distinct advantage of having all these options. However...I believe the rules have been updated so that you can only run for one position at a time.
Once you've registered to vote and be a candidate - now comes the most difficult part of seeking this position: Getting people to vote for you. You need to become a one-person-GOTV machine.
I did this, it was quite frankly - one of the most challenging things I've ever done. And...I've birthed a child.
Getting people registered to vote in a way they can legally vote for you is a bit of a bear, but you have to do it. You need to make sure that if you are running for the business position, that you get other business stakeholders to vote for you.
So, if you've registered to run for the Central City East resident position...you need to go and find other Central City East residents, get them to register to vote, get them to remember to vote, and get them to vote for you.
If you are running for the Historic Downtown business position...you have to get people who've registered as other Historic Downtown businesses to participate in the vote for you.
You start to see the challenge? It is relatively easy to "get people to vote for you" but when you have to really drill into the segment of the population, it becomes a real challenge. And I haven't even mentioned what to do when there's a competitor in the race.
Back when I ran, even though I hosted candidate events, I had flyers, I bugged my neighbors...I got all of 20 votes. My competitor secured 8. It was a horse race. That was the year Russ Brown won with 60-something votes...and he was the highest vote getter.
Turn out has always been painful...just look:
2008 (the one that ended with the coin toss, and Stanley had the headscratching top turnout)
2010 (Valerie really turned it out with 300+ votes, when she ran for the At-Large At-Large)
Needless to say - this election (like all Neighborhood Council elections) are undoubtedly dependent on candidates to secure the turnout. And, in the area...between now and the end of the year there are three elections: Presidential, DLANC, and the Streetcar. DLANC Candidates will need to find a way to rise above the fray, get out their message, and help voters stay engaged.
Good luck to both the candidates and voters...you need it. And- also...if you are a candidate...please do not forget to vote for yourself. There was one year the guy appeared on the ballot and didn't get a single vote...as in...he didn't even vote for himself. >sigh<
And no...I am not running for DLANC.