Newcomer hangs on to two-vote lead in race for Echo Park council president

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

Ari Bessendorf, a first-time candidate for political office,  maintained his two-vote lead over longtime Echo Park council member Francisco Torrero after the ballots in Saturday’s election were recounted and untabulated provisional ballots were disqualified.  Bessendorf’s victory by two votes − 268 vs. 266 − won’t be official, however, until Thursday when  the city agency that oversees neighborhood councils certifies the election if no challenges are pending,  said  Jay Handal, an independent election administrator.

The more than 500 ballots cast in the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council election were recounted on Tuesday and confirmed the initial results, Handal said. In addition,  four provisional ballots were disqualified after the voters did not show up to address outstanding issues with those ballots, he said.

Torrero can still file a challenge by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. If a challenge is filed and unresolved by 5  p.m. tomorrow, none of the candidates elected in Saturday’s election can be seated as board members until the matter is resolved, Handal 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.


  1. This is great news!!! Congrats Ari! We are happy to have you as our new president 🙂

  2. Congratulations Ari!

    Best news I’ve heard in a long time. Maybe Ari can knock some sense into the meetings and make the council something for the people and not self serving tyrants.

  3. Keeping my fingers crossed for Ari.

  4. Good news! What about the other seats; does anyone know how those went?

  5. I’m wondering what the issue was with those four provisional ballots. Why were they not counted — that should be mentioned in the news report? And were those people actually notified they had to make a trip to Van Nuys Tuesday or Wednesday during normal business hours to clear up the issue?

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