Newcomer emerges with two-vote lead in race for Echo Park council president

Echo Park council candidates Ari Bessendorf (left) and Francisco Torrero (right)

Today’s Echo Park neighborhood council election ended with Ari Bessendorf, a first-time council candidate running for president, holding only a two-vote lead over long-time council member Francisco Torrero, according to preliminary results. Bessendorf garnered 268 votes versus 266 for Torrero, according to a canvass of votes in the the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council election. While Bessendorf was the top vote getter, four provisional ballots have yet to be tabulated, said Jay Handal, an independent election administrator.  All the ballots will also be recounted since the race was so close, he said.

With four provisional ballots to be counted and two votes separating the leading presidential candidates, “anything can happen,” Handal said.

Handal said he does not know what information was missing or what are the issues with the four, uncounted provisional ballots. But those four voters will have probably until Wednesday to go to the election office in Van Nuys and provided the necessary information before their ballots can be counted, he said.

The position of Echo Park council president was left open as former President Jose Sigala runs to replace Eric Garcetti as representative of City Council District 13.

The results for Echo Park council president were among the closest in today’s elections by neighborhood councils in Atwater Village, Elysian Valley, Los Feliz and Silver Lake. Handal said he was not aware of any other “surprises” in those elections.

However, he noted turnout in Los Feliz was much lower than expected. According to preliminary results, 655 ballots were cast in the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council election. The council had teamed up with neighborhood business to offer discounts to those who had voted in an effort to top the record-high 1,500 votes cast in the 2010 election.

The lack of contentious issues or district races might explain the lower than expected turn out, Handal said.

Click on the links below to find out who won based on the semi final results.

 Atwater Village Neighborhood Council

Elysian Valley Neighborhood Council

Greater Echo Park Neighborhood Council

Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council

Silver Lake Neighborhood Council


  1. Very disappointed that I could not vote, many people like me work on Saturdays.

  2. Dude looks like a correspondent on the daily show. I guess that’s fitting for EP?

  3. So it takes till Wednesday for the Provisional Ballots to get from Echo Park to
    the NC Election/Empower LA HQ. Even a horse could do it there faster.
    And in what age are we now residing in?

    Ms. Grayce Liu, DONE Interim General Manager, and Jay Handal (Independant Election Administrator) and Stephen Box ( Election Director) will hardly be able
    to see through a “provisional” as they do not live in the area and at best avoided Echo Park like the plague, especially since 2007 when Stephen Box
    made Echo Park a comedy club election site by allowing a dead candidate on the
    ballot. In a repeat performance of a different sort Jay Handal protrayed himself
    as “Independant” but failing to disclose the fact that he and the outgoing GEPENC President (Sigala) served on the Executive Board of the NC Budget Advocates
    that advises the Mayor and City Council .

    This is not a ‘close” election but one so flawed as to require City Hall to enquire
    if indeed Neighborhood Councils are fulfilling their mission in a transparent
    and equitable manner that includes the full voice of community. This hasn’t been the case in ten years in Echo Park and one suspects in the numerous other neighborhoods either…. and the indifference to this reflects neglience that is destined to continue and drain the City of monies it could use for more productive endevors in community.

    • Woo hoo, you should run for city council, go in with your sourpussself, why are you so angry against the system ? NC will be here after you and I are gone, for better or worse, butt if you think you have the solution, go for it ! You personalize, what as Ms. Liu, Mr. Box, or Mr. Handal done to you ? is it your Big belly ? how much did you get ? Be more proactive and positive, your mind is failing….All candidates did the best that they could, they volunteered their time…You sound angry for something ? I imagine you to be a good person of moral character ? Are you now the judge of Morals in Echo Park ? Shame on you to be so negative and destructive, The people at Done, the City, believes in our rights to differ…
      but be more inteligent in the way u present issues, I agree with you on certain things that you exprsed, but being all negative ? Hey, take a Cruise to the Middle East, take Cindy and Christine with you, make sure you board the Concordia, oh sorry, that one sunk, then you could Sue, do like Christine sue our childrens school, take the mony, but invest it back in our community, dont hide it offshore….Long live Echo Park !

  4. GO ARI!!!!

    • Go Ari ?
      A guy who’s lived here for only 6 years , didn’t go to the schools here , didn’t grow up here , has no real “feel” for the neighborhood ?
      NO THANKS .

      • Yes Lojack,

        “Go Ari”…

        by “here” do you mean Panama? did you mean the school of “noriegan” democracy? Oh, right, Mr. Torrero did not actually put his “creds” out for all to know…..He did not grow up here or go to school here, but he sure has great experience running puppet governments….let’s have him back for 2 more years!
        Perhaps he’ll be the latest Board Member to join the Barlow payroll….he’s already on their website…..

        • Maria Elena ? are you a racist? do you know the person? r u one of those who think that only u have the solution? Noriega was a US government puppet until he challenged the system..get your stories right….Como puedes hablar de una persona si no la conoces a fondo ? you only talk of what you heard ? Do you really know the Person ? Put up or shut up, you and your kind are whats damaging Echo Park.

      • maybe you should have run.

      • Yeah, if you’re not from here – GET OUT!

        Wait, where have I heard that before???

      • @lojack Have you ever been to a gepenc meeting? Its a crazy clown show down there. Ida Talalla poses a valid argument. The meetings are so polarized among the members, that public input is less than secondary. Think Jerry Springer show, and you get the picture.

        Some folks on this blog like to cite the number of years someone has been in EP as a metric for how legitimate their intentions may be. Those contentions are extremely flawed. Being an EP native doesn’t necessarily make a gepnec candidate more equipped to address the rapidly changing needs and demographic of this community. Neither candidate should be judged on that basis.

        The question is who will more effectively run the meetings and assure that the orginal mission of the NC is upheld. Torreo’s record speaks for itself, that’s why so many residents are so enthusiastic about Ari. Torreo/Sigala/Alarcon….need I say more? Read: S H A D Y, strong-man style governance.

        An intelligent, enthusiastic, relative newcomer is exactly the positive force that we need. “More of the same” will not inspire more public participation in the meetings. GEPNEC is there to give a voice to the people, so why is it that no one ever shows up?

      • Lojack,

        I know where you’re coming from. Why should the guy who’s only been here six years become council pres? But do you know that Mr. Torrero is a supporter of the massive Barlow project? A project that if implemented will be like a sledgehammer to the feel of the neighborhood.

        The new guy, Ari, has been leading a grassroots effort to stop the Barlow thing. And that alone was enough to get my support. I’m guessing that’s how he got a lot of his votes.

        • EP, a big project that would create jobs in this community, during and after the project, keep people in echo park, keep a long time hospital and its employees of the food stamp and unemployment line, help the patients that needs their services, make echo park a more atractive place to live, I looked at the website what’s wrong with anyone including Mr. Torrero to support progress for the betterment of our community ? take all the cars out of echo park, lets bring back horses and buggies, lets turn our community in to a big farm, stop the younger generation from coming and shopping, eating and playing, stop new or remodeling houses, tell them to get out, Echo park is only for “some ” peoples, like yourself, selfish, with no vision of the future, who want to continue life as usual, no compromise, but anyway, you have a right to discent, sorry, close these blogs, lets get back to the old days newspaper, no internet, no facebook, no tweeting, it sound like you want to keep it like communist cuba, all you progresive people out there beware, you are not welcomed in Echo park unless you agree not to allow progress to continue……Exile Mr. Francisco to Dubai, Tell Ari is ok to stop free enterprise, lets continue to outsource jobs in Echo Park, stop all developments, including the renovation of the lake, tell the workers they dont have a vested interest in this community, IS THIS NOT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? Stop small bussiness from remodeling and expanding, lets “occupy Echo Park” cause its only for “some”.

  5. I was wondering what the percentage of “bused in” voters was, is there a way to tell? It concerned me that there was an official looking table outside (red white and blue table
    cloth, volunteers) handing out voting guides – without real communication as to why they were there or why they were handing them out. By voter guide I mean a sheet with who you should vote for. I imagine it must have been outside of the legal 100 feet for electioneering, but it didn’t sit well with me at all.

    • @concerned in EP.

      Because the rules for the election were written by Torrero and the Sigalas, they were able to orchestrate the type of election you normally see in South America or the troubled regions in Africa. These folks are very comfortable with this type of coercive campaigning.

      By chosing factual basis, or “self affirmation”, a voter only has to understand that, if they do not reside in the boundaries of the Council, then they need to select “other” stakeholder status and come up with a store, church, civic group they work with..in Silver Lake they required some form of proof-brochure for civic group, ticket, receipt, photo of you at the dog park…etc…

      Those who were “shuttled in” sadly were not properly instructed by those sitting outside at the “voter info” table on Sunset. So many of those folks came in confused and
      frustrated. I know this as I volunteered at the polls. They would write down their real address, let’s say in Pacoima or Santa Ana, and check the resident box.

      “we” those working at the poll needed to point out to them this was not OK, they needed to chose one of the other stakeholder options. Note-some poll workers knew to do this, some did not. This is when the trouble started.
      Most of these folks did not understand, and could not figure out what to put down. It was very sad and frustrating to see this many people sent in to vote wihout a real knowledge of why. On top of that many of them were elderly and disabled, being forced to stand in line, grasping their prompt ballots to be duplicated in the polling booth…

      I was accused multiple times by Mrs. B-S, the wife of City Council 13 cadidate Jose Sigala (and thankfully exiting President of the current board,) of suppressing peoples right to vote. In hindsight, if i was as lacking in ethics as them, I would have let the people just turn the form in as filled out. basically invalidating their stake in the election. But instead we at the table tried to help these people. Eventually the “voter info” folks outside the library, got the message and gave them some civic group names to use under the “other” category. So silly…..

      A request of the Elections Adminiistrators to account for how many of the District 5 Voter registration forms, claiming resident as status, have addresses actually within the boundaries of the NC would be a good request to make……..


      There should be info there on how to file a chalenge. Problematically, because of the “self affirmation” format for the election, it is nearly impossible to track votes etc…..but Team Torrero/Sigala knew this and it is why they chose it for this election.

      DONE on the other hand should know better, and no longer allow it as an option. It only allows the corrupt to do what they do best.. It’s a real testimony to the residents of Echo Park, that actually got out and voted, that Ari is up by 2 votes, for now anyway….


      • CP, you were a member of the majority, that wrote the bylaws for Gepenc, you tried hard to influence election your way, it did not work, why dont you use some of the mony you got from the lawsuit against our children school district lausd to help the city, the schools in Echo Park ? give back something dont be hipocritical….You are such a bullsweeter, you were against the parking structure for the angelus temple, the senior housing, yet you hipocritical self goes to the events, as if you cared, stop using our community as your cash cow, stop bieng two faced! Next election u run for president, dont put your puppet Ari in front. Ari is a good guy hope you dont dupe him as you did with others….your points are well taken, but you are one of those who were on the NC that created this mess, dont blame Mr. torrero or the Sigalas, you are also responsable, dont forget that you helped craft the system. If you dont want war dont contribute to the starting and promulgation. take the mony from the law suit and go live in another community, or better yet, invest it in echo park.

        • @Ikare.

          you should care more about your facts and unfounded accusations…..Spelling would help as well. I left the Board in protest.. In Protest to the totalitarian ByLAws forced through by the Puppet Board. In protest to the dictatorial power the Standing Rules created allowing the president to appoint anyone and everyone…I left in disgust….Self Affirmation for voting…I objected every time….But, go on Ikare…you seem to know an awful lot about very little, and seem to have no problem throwing out insults and false accusations.

          Good luck to you, sounds like you have a lot on your mind……

          • cp007 dont worry about my spelling, worry about the facts and truth, How much more hipocritical can you be ? Fact: Iwas told that you were on the board with a supermajority, self affirmation was always on the bylaws, Dubois, garsten and yourself used that method to keep your friends in the FI coming to vote in past elections, how else would you have gotten elected ? check the records…you did not left the board in protest, you were voted out…as per false accusations, did you not lead the efforts to sue LAUSD from building the school on Alvarado ? How much was your cut in the secret deal (can not be revealed) so as to have the school built ? Truth: Did you not oppose the building of the angelus temple parking ? check the eastsiderrecords, it may refresh your mind…how about the Senior living housing on Park & Glendale, do you have a flashback?, you have tried to use Echo Park as your personal cash cow, I read a lot of your trash writings, you only care about whats in it for you….of course you left in disgust as you said, cause you could not control the board at your wish, if you had your way, Echo Park would look like you only, I am sorry that I could not be there on Saturday to vote, but as i was told you tried to influence the voting from inside, but thanks to the honesty of the volunteers, you were kick out……I would have voted for either, candidate, as long as they could convince me that its not to stop good intended residents or owners to work with the community in the best interest for all, cp007, Echo Park is changeing, get onboard or get out of the way, don’t stall progress, unite not divide, I am following all the events, I hope and have best wishes for both candidates, Ari and Francisco, that they may see the best for Greater Echo Park-Elysian, that they may see and hear, and not be duped, best wishes to all the candidates elected, to do what is right, as per you cp007 u r no bond girl….you have no license to…….keep up your bad work, love these blogs.

    • I’ll tell you what, if the candidates had to stay outside of the library or 100 feet francisco was inside more the a few times and no one was enforcing that rule…Im glad he lost not that the other is better cuz I dont know him per say but hey we will see whats in store for EP future.

    • dear concerned, cp007 and her clan wrote the original bylaws, that provision was in there so that she and her pals could bring in her friends from her industry to vote, it works both ways, if you feel so strong about it, lets rally toghether to have it change…you sound like a republican…supress voters rights…hope that is not the case…..lets work all to bring Echo Park United not Divided..

  6. I think the guy on the left, just looks creepy. Enough said.

  7. Nicely said Ikare…and spot on.

  8. ikare:

    I am sorry that you cannot discern fact from fiction and think that age and looks
    need to be ridiculed in the argument. What age are you living in?

    The GEPENC never began their meetings on time? Stakeholders, like myself
    were kept waiting for 45 minutes or more. And did you
    know even when I was elected in a certified GEPENC Election, my voting rights
    were removed by the President and his wifethe CIO without so much as consulting the Board or a letter in the mail. Despite this I attended each and every meeting for the duration of my term and after that as a stakeholder. I have never received any reimbursement for my time either.

    I am super supportive of the City but have no ambition to run. If you read
    all of my comments with a level of care you will see that I have pleaded with
    DONE ( Department of Neighborhood Empowerment) to exercise better management of NCs that to a significant degree have squandered City monies
    while local organizations servicing community were bearing the brunt of budget
    cuts. What is so henious of asking DONE why it does not enforce the City’s compliance regulations that would clearly flag mismanagement? Twice in two years GEPENC has had its funds frozen. Furthermore, in the Controller’s Audit of 2010 based on DONE records, GEPENC was cited as well. If you read an even earlier Audit by Laura Chick, former City Controller, you would become better able to discern a pattern of neglect. To this add the 2007 report that came out in the Fall of 2007 by the Neighborhood Council Review Commission (NCRC).
    Ask yourself if being unpaid, means that a community has to accept incompetant volunteer assuistance such as that offered by GEPENC?
    Ask yourself why you champion incompetance and fail to monitor the delivery of service to community by attending meetings that at best were questionable and even illegal……….unless of course you are a member of GEPENC…..

    And the next time you tell a person that they are “old hag” make sure you sign your full and real name and send in a full length photo so people can judge
    for themselves the criteria that you are applying.

    Echo Park deserves a great deal more than that dished out by GEPENC
    under the guise of grassroots democracy. Hopefully, you didn’t vote for the person who lost 45 receipts and got GEPENC funds frozen not once but twice
    and kept that fact out of the public eye!

    Ida Talalla

    • There you go again, taking things out of context, were in my comments did I call you or anyone an “old Hag”, r u ? I am glad that I was not there for all these crucial things that you express in your anger management class, Echo Park deserves better yes, but not you or Christine and your pal Cindy, working for your own personal benefit, I am not a member of Gepenc, but I assure you, that if I was, you would be the first person that I would appoint to help unite the community?, but I am afraid that instead you would divide ? As I said before you have some valid points, but not even you and your comrades, have tried to unite ? but continue to divide the community Elysian Heights vs Echo Park, I am sorry you should have work in good faith with the city to have all NC elections crafted under your judgement maybe the system would have benefited, but you choose to stand and critize instead of helping craft positive outcomes, then you cry after spillmilk, girl you r good……wish I had you on Mitt Romneys side as an advisor, again thanks for taking things out of context….oh and just for the cause, I have not seen a picture of you ever, I will reveal my identity, Superbatman, look for me in the comics section of your supermarket, oh and Ida, I am sorry if you think that I call you an “old hag” , What I meant is a nice senior and caring citizen, please enjoy your dinner, dont let my intended comments anger you more, take a class on anger management, I think DONE as one for resolving conflicts and restoring peace and sanity, Bon Voyage.
      Your friend SB, can we ?

      • Sounds to me YOU’RE the one in need of anger management.

        • 12345678910….ahhhhhhh a sip of wine, that did it, after all the bullcrapola that I read on this Theme, would you not be angry too?
          Peace and Love Troy, have a beer, a joint, o whatever cools you down, look on the positive side, if u can ? LOL

      • Please don’t drink and post, Ikare…..

        • thank you for the concern E.H, you are a good person, but I am doing it in the privacy of my home, one sip, not the whole bottle, I am making sure not to be caught DUI, or maybe I should visit one of the restaurants in our community, at walking distance, eat and have a small sip, keep it here……thank you again.

  9. “And the next time you tell a person that they are “old hag” make sure you sign your full and real name and send in a full length photo so people can judge
    for themselves the criteria that you are applying.”

    Right on, Ida….this is outrageous commentary.

    • hello E.H., you call my comments outragious ? My call is for unity not divide, thats your friens Ida view, laugh and enjoy the day, after all we are not getting paid for all this bullsweetnnes, ahahaha, take a chill pill, or smoke a joint, there are lots of 405 clinics in our area to supply your needs, Under Ida’s view, these r good for our community. C U later, keep it coming, after all of this I need to get me a glass of wine.

  10. IKARE:

    You did use the term “Old Hag”. Perhaps the Eastsider LA will restore that commentary of yours.
    You have made up a travel itenary for the people youseem to have a beef to pick with but haven’t stated if you are picking up the tabs. Are you? And if yes, I am sure you will place us on the Titanic in steerage..implying that we freeze and drown perhaps?
    You also indicate that I have lost my mind or something to the effect that I am senile. You also indicate anger management ..alluding as if you know me..I have no idea who IKARE is. I hope that you are medically trained/ sound of mind or at the very least are seeking medical help. The issues discussed are not medical ones, nor that of skirt length or wrinkles per square inch but quality of help for community or the lack thereof …..a GEPENC Grievance Committee in 2009 told
    the Board that it had failed to serve area residents not fluent in English. That agendas, Minutes and By Laws be posted in Spanish and having a Bi-lingual translator at Board meetings was critical to serving this segment of
    the area’s population. GEPENC rather than embracing this advice, made a determination to not follow through despite the availability of funds. This is not
    fiction or an angry responseon my part but one of profound sadness that a segment in the community was left out deliberately since December 2009
    punished for having the impudence of asking to be included ………

    Ida Talalla

  11. Ikare

    I am using quotes as IKARE forgets whatyou/ he/she stated in comments.

    Oct. 8 at 1:53 PM IKARE states:
    ” I am glad I was not there for all those crucial things that you express in your anger management class…”

    ” I will reveal my identity, superbatman, look for me in the comics section of
    your supermarket…”

    What is this becoming a smear and stalking event for IKARE?
    IKARE needs to declare the information source and proof because I do not
    run around in costume even on Halloween nor have I been assigned to an anger
    management course. Ikare seems to think the problem at GEPENC is due to the
    negativity of three progressive women in the community who didn’t even run
    for office….so the question is whose skirt/shirt Ikare is ducking behind aside from the nom de plume.. and just half a sip of wine.


    • Helloooooooooo Ida,
      R u calling in to question my gender? None of your ….. but r u really Ida ? MMMMMM, Sorry did not mean to offend you, but to seek that you take a class in anger management, if one reads your postings it shows hidden anger, but why ? yes I am in the medi-cal field, Dr. in Cannabis Support, Psycho…..terra…you should try the remedy…(lol)
      My pen name “nome de Plume” (that’s in francais) Ikare aka superbatman means a lot, I care about my community, the people that live in it, including you, for good or bad…really if you look in the comics you can follow my adventures, i try to make it look like comedy, but serious and sarcastic, I have that right, this is not about you Ida, its the way you present yourself as the victim ?
      This is not a Gepenc problem, its several communities, States and yes even countries. Its the way things are written, If you feel so strong about these issues and would like to c changes ?, how come its only you on these ? oh sorry and 3 others, Why don’t you rally the whole community to stand behind you ?
      You make sense on certain topics ! Complain, Complain, and dont present viable solutions, some of your solutions r not viable, cause you bring it with negativity, be proactive (i don’t mean the facecream), read your own postings and analize your positions and options ?
      Is it prominence in the community all you r looking for ?
      No, I don’t think so…Ida, if u r, rally the community, get them behind you, let your beliefs stand, but stop writerrasing (that’s harrasing in writing, new term) the city council, its employees, The Done Staff, The election team, and all of those that you do, including me….
      I wear skirts, pants, dresses, shirts, etc. (jajaja) can u laugh ? Ok. on a serious topic, you write like a REPubl…r u ?
      If so, r u voting for Mitt ? I am.. so that he can come and clean up the country, the states and yes our community, lets bring back the old days, and Ida you r the only progressive female (1 out of 3) the other 2 r ………
      So for this halloween, lets dress up like this: You as a broom, me as a trash can, you sweep our community clean of those that oppose you, and I will carry the trash out… (jajajaja)LOL….c what i mean ? (r u laughing ?) or crying ? or angry, or upset ? look at the sweet side of life, get one or maybe two, one for me and one 4 u !
      Don’ t forget I aka Superbatman) 2 c that everything is ok ! whant to join forces with mua ? We could make a good team….at Notts Scary Farm…oh I dont sip and fly…dangerous, I have one in my cave..

      Ikare, even if you don’t “care”

  12. How to read an argument:

    Step 1: “Fact: I was told”

    Step 2: Stop reading, close computer, go outside

    • words to live by Christopher. sometimes it’s so hard though. 🙂

    • Ok. Professor Chris, u have a point, no, maybe 3 ? I am willing to learn ! do I follow step 2 ?
      C, if I go outside, all I c is the same 3, so better stay in here and have fun…serious fun! Oh Michael, one can not live by words only, some r bad and others r …..?

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