Want to serve on your neighborhood council? You may now have some extra time to apply

Photo from Department of Neighborhood Empowerment

By Nathan Solis

Candidates interested in running for several Eastside and Northeast L.A. neighborhood councils have an extra week to file their applications after a direct-mail campaign got off to a late start.

Neighborhood councils that cover communities from Glassell Park and Eagle Rock to El Sereno and Boyle Heights had agreed to pay for thousands of mailers to encourage residents to run for their councils in the April 26 elections, said Stephen Box with the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which oversees the councils. However, because of delays in approving and creating the mailers, the notices did not start arriving in mail boxes until a few days ago, leaving little time to file by Wednesday’s March 12 deadline, Box said.

So, now the filing deadline has been pushed back one week until Wednesday, March 19.  The extension applies to candidates seeking a seat on the  Arroyo Seco, Boyle Heights, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Greater Cypress Park, Historic Highland Park, LA-32(El Sereno) and Lincoln Heights councils.

Not all neighborhood councils are mailing out notices about the upcoming elections – it’s up to each board to decide how it want to raise awareness of the elections, Box said. Some councils, for example, have paid for robo phone calls and digital promotions while others have decided to hold events or raise awareness via radio spots. It’s up board members to “pick what’s right for your council and your demographic,”  Box said.

At a Wednesday night meeting,  members of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council Election Committee said they would place an emphasis on banners to promote the election.

With a population of 58,000 in Highland Park, the goal of the committee is to have 580 voters and 38 candidates on election day. There are 19 seats available but only 16 candidates had filed as of Wednesday. With the deadline for filing now a week away, the committee is scrambling to get posters, banners and brainstorm ideas on where to hold the candidate town hall meeting.

A potential candidate or stake holder is someone who lives, works or owns property or declares a stake in the neighborhood and must be at least 18 years old.Eric William Pearson,  a film set dresser by day who has been attending candidate meetings regularly, was the only new contender to attend Wednesday’s meeting.

“It’s odd that there’s not a lot of turnout. The process so far has been ghostly in a way,” he said.

Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis stories, reviews and photos at Smashed Chair.

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