Students and Westwood community members will be able to vote to create a new neighborhood council at two locations May 22.
The Los Angeles City Clerk released the locations of two polling places in Westwood on Monday for the subdivision process to create the North Westwood Neighborhood Council. Voters will be able to cast a ballot at the John Wooden Center or the Westwood Recreation Center, where Westwood Neighborhood Council elections are usually held.
Westwood Forward, a coalition of students, homeowners and business owners, proposed the creation of the North Westwood Neighborhood Council and submitted an application to the city in December. The coalition wanted to form a new council because it felt the current one did not adequately represent the community or address its concerns.
Boundaries for the proposed council will include UCLA, Westwood Village and the North Village.
Neighborhood council subdivision, the official process for establishing new councils by breaking apart old ones, requires applicants to submit proposed boundaries and bylaws and a petition containing signatures from community members. Voters can then decide in a special election whether they want to subdivide the current council.
Michael Skiles, Graduate Students Association president and organizer for Westwood Forward, said the city was accommodating both the coalition and the current council by allowing both groups to select a polling location. The subdivision process requires at least two polling places, with one inside the proposed boundaries, and the other outside them, but within the current council’s boundaries.
The city initially recommended Rieber Vista as a polling location, Skiles said, but the coalition felt it would be too inaccessible for members of the Village who would have to hike up the Hill to cast a ballot.
Members who currently identify as stakeholders in the Westwood Neighborhood Council will be eligible to vote in the special election May 22. Voters will need to self-affirm their stakeholder status at the polls, by identifying as someone who lives, works, goes to school or otherwise operates within the council’s boundaries.