Neighborhood council votes to tighten voting rules

Echo Park resident David Rockello was the subject of an L.A Times Opinion page story last month after he was elected president of the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council even though he does not live or work in the neighborhood. Rockello, who also serves on the Echo Park neighborhood council, was able to win in part because he was able recruit voters who, like himself, also don’t live or work within the boundaries of Rampart Village, which includes the western section of Historic Filipinotown.  The Times story notes that Rockello didn’t break any rules; he simply took advantage of the guidelines that determine who can vote in a neighborhood council election.  On Tuesday night, Rockello’s fellow Rampart Village council  board members took a step to make it harder for Rockello and others to win an election using the same strategy.

Board member Mark Flores introduced a motion that would require anyone who wants to vote in a Rampart Village election to provide proof that they either live, work in the area or are involved with any school,  group or institution that operates within the neighborhood council boundaries.  The current  system does not require such proof, making it easier for outsiders”to game” the system, take control of the council and its funds “without our best interests in mind’ Flores said.

Flores’ motion was approved by a vote of 9 to 1, with Rockello being the lone “no” voter.


  1. Good on Rampart Village Neighborhood Council. Pay attention Department of Neighborhood Council. Thanks for covering this story Eastsider LA.

  2. Rockelo is better known as a spokesperson/rep for Historicfilipinotown and that is the nature of the problem. His comments and actions made publictly are creating divisions rather than unity in both communities. He was a strong opponent to Rampart Village Nc to be certified. Mr Flores I respect and thank you for wanting to make a favorable change that will somewhat make everyone’s community whole.

  3. While I appreciate the intent, I think this action is legally dubious. The voter qualifications for neighborhood councils were set in the City Charter as part of the establishment of the neighborhood councils. That can’t be changed by a vote of a neighborhood council!

    Also, to require identification at the polls and proof of qualification smacks of the same tactics that have been outlawed in more traditional elections. I don’t see how that could be legal here.

    Frankly, from the moment neighborhood councils were first broached, I thought the elections should never have been open to anyone other than those qualified and registered to vote in any election — meaning that they actually reside in that neighborhood council district. I see no justification why anyone else should be making decisions in a neighborhood that they would have no right to make citywide or statewide.

    We don’t let absentee landlords living in Maryland vote for California governor or Los Angeles Mayor. We don’t let corporate CEOs of companies with properties here but living in New York vote in California elections. Local residency is an absolute requirement for these. We should not let non-residents vote in neighborhood council elections either. They can vote in the neighborhood in which they live.

  4. Thank you Eastsider LA. Thank you LA times.
    Neighborhood Councils are mystery elements in communities.
    They have de-volved (if there is such a word) into fiefdoms with outlandish
    administrative governance. The bizarre operations of NCs go unchecked by
    DONE / Empower LA and Board of Neighborhood Commissioners. Violation of
    compliance requirements go unchecked or noticed and ignored. For starters
    read the City Controllers Audit of January 2010 related to DONE.
    DONE cries foul that it has seen staffing reductions…but even at the height
    of staffing, it did little to strengthen NC operations to make them accountable and responsive to community. Also, the Ethics Training given
    is of limited value….that an NC can skewer its By Laws and have it exploited
    by an outsider does not say much for BONC or DONE…just because it is
    possible does not make it right…. the question to ask now is why did Rockello run and what does he hope to offer his adopted community now that he has plunged it into a quandary……

  5. David Rockello did not break any rule in his election. LA Times just portrayed in a negative way how neighborhood elections should be conducted. I believed nobody ever presented a receipt in order to exercise his right to vote, but even then, according to the laws promulgated by DONE, that is right and proper.
    So far so good, David Rockello is doing his job excellently great. I will vote for him in the next election.

  6. Folks, I am still here serving in Rampart Village NC; Elected and then Selected by the Board to be the President of this Council for the third year in a row. The old and new Boards have had confidence in what I have done thus far. We will continue to evolve and grow as a NC and the City will move into a better place because of Neighborhood Councils no matter what the Naysayers blather on about in Blogs. Thank you to Vincent for the vote of confidence.

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