The North Westwood Neighborhood Council formation committee plans to reach out to voters using social media, email and an online advertising campaign.
The NWWNC formation committee met Thursday to approve an official outreach budget for the council’s selection Thursday, Oct. 25.
The committee approved $500 to spend on a Facebook promotion of the NWWNC Facebook page, and $200 on free food for voters to distribute on the day of the selection.
Other paid promotions like signs and flyers were also approved but determined not to be feasible because of the limited time until the selection, said Joshua Baum, outreach chair of the committee.
“Given the short time frame, it didn’t make sense to do other things for outreach,” Baum said.
Baum added he has been working on free promotion for several weeks already but couldn’t spend any money on advertising or other expenses until an official budget was approved by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which oversees Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles. DONE reimburses the costs of neighborhood selections, including outreach costs, Baum said.
Along with outreach to notify voters of the selection, the committee also reached out to stakeholders to apply as candidates for the selection, including student government, student clubs, the Academic Senate, the Westwood Village Improvement Association, the Westwood Neighborhood Council and all Westwood Homeowners associations, Baum said.
“It’s certainly been a successful process; every seat has at least one person running and there are a few seats that are contested as well,” Baum said.
Baum added that groups like Westwood Forward have their own outreach and social media campaign to gather candidates and reach voters. Westwood Forward’s slate comprises 19 out of the 21 candidates running in the selection.
Michael Skiles, Graduate Student Association President and general residential candidate for the Westwood Forward slate, said Westwood Forward plans to use a person-focused strategy for outreach.
“We have 19 people running … and the hope is that we have people excited about these people, and these people are going to be able to go to their respective communities and get people excited about the various changes that Westwood Forward hopes to bring,” Skiles said.
Zahra Hajee, selection chair for the committee, said the committee used multiple avenues to reach out to stakeholders for the selection, including social media and email. Baum also submitted an opinion piece to the Daily Bruin urging stakeholders to vote.
Baum said that he would have liked to do more voter outreach for the selection sooner, but had difficulty working with DONE to ensure reimbursement for outreach costs.
“We were told a few weeks ago (by DONE) that all (Hajee) and I had to do to get reimbursed is to get a stipulation worksheet. And then last weekend we were told that the stipulation worksheet was not enough, and we would have to call a public meeting and approve the budget,” Baum said. “And we had to schedule a meeting to approve a budget, which we held last Thursday.”
Baum added he thinks, despite issues with the city, this is still the most outreach that any neighborhood council has ever done for a selection, and he thinks the selection will have high turnout.
“This will probably be the greatest turnout of any neighborhood council election involving the selection of candidates,” Baum said.