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.