Tuesday, October 15

Polling locations announced for neighborhood council special election

The John Wooden Center is one of two polling locations for the North Westwood Neighborhood Council subdivision special election May 22. Students and Westwood community members will also be able to vote at the Westwood Recreation Center. (Daily Bruin file photo)

The John Wooden Center is one of two polling locations for the North Westwood Neighborhood Council subdivision special election May 22. Students and Westwood community members will also be able to vote at the Westwood Recreation Center. (Daily Bruin file photo)

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.

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Editor in chief

Preal is the editor in chief of The Bruin. He was previously the assistant news editor for the city and crime beat and a news reporter for the city and crime beat.

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  • Lisa Chapman

    Oh good grief. The city did not recommend Rieber Terrace, WW Forward recommended Rieber Terrace. They don’t want anyone but students that they can easily grab walking through to vote. They have no interest in being inclusive to the community. The site was changed due to Rieber being completely inaccessible to anyone else but students, and that was done by the city clerk and the vice chancellor, not Michael Skiles. Please stop printing this nonsense!

    • Hooraj

      The students are the largest part of our community, and the upcoming vote will be a gauge of how inclusive the whole community feels things currently are. Both sides got to select a polling location and mail-in voting is possible, will be nice to finally let the community decide after hearing both sides’ visions for Westwood’s future.

      The vote will be fair and the opinions of individuals, anonymous or not, will no longer matter as the community will have gotten its chance to speak. Can’t get more inclusive than allowing everyone a vote.

      • Lisa Chapman

        Thank you once again anonymous Hooraj….Westwood Forward’s biggest cheerleader! There are over 68k community members, so students are not the largest contingent. And if they have such large active numbers they could have run for the already existing Neighborhood Council. And then everything would have been peace and love. Right?

        • Hooraj

          Enrollment at UCLA is ‎45,428 – each one a community member! Can’t wait until ALL of the community has leaders looking out for it!

          • Lisa Chapman

            Yay Hooraj! (Insert peppy 8-Clap and blue and gold pom-poms here!)
            Yes, my comment of 68K was for non-students. Of course students are community members, if only they had decided to run for the already existing NC! But alas……

          • Hooraj

            Well, I do know that the smallest segment of the community is people who think the current Westwood Neighborhood Council is doing a good job, but I’ll have to wait until May 23rd to know those numbers.

          • Lisa Chapman

            Actually, it’s unfortunate that you know nothing about the Westwood Neighborhood Council, or what we have done and continue to do. Let me know if you’d like to actually attend a meeting, or be involved in any way, as you have done none of those things as yet. But you talk a good game, anonymously, of course, which as we all know, is soooo much easier and without consequence. Anonymous post = cowardly post.

          • Hooraj

            I’d love to be involved in a Westwood community council that listens to and respects all of its members, perhaps soon I’ll have a chance. Also, what “consequence” would there be if I posted under my name??? All I’m doing is disagreeing with you in a tone not dissimilar to yours, is that worthy of “consequences”??? Honestly, I hope there are no consequences for you personally from your posting here even if I disagree with you.

            Westwood Forward was created due to the disrespect students were met with from the council after they tried to get involved. They were treated horribly and anyone can watch the videos available on Westwood Forward’s facebook page to see some of this and hear their and others’ stories. Students, joining with other members of the community who felt ignored by the status quo, decided to create a new council that will look after their needs. All of this hard work to create a new council didn’t happen for no reason.

            And on May 22nd, the community will get to decide which group they want speaking for them. The choice is completely up to the community.

          • Lisa Chapman

            As I said, you have zero idea about what goes on at our meetings. Because you have never attended one of our meetings, or our homeless task force meetings, or land use meetings, or transportation meetings,or anything else of the sort. And stories are highly exaggerated which is substantiated by countless community members, council members, other students that do not support WW Forward, not to mention countless city and county officials. Now, if you did not see this, which as we all know, you didn’t, then you are listening to only one side. At the public hearing, there were probably at least 50 students that spoke about us, and NONE of them had ever attended a meeting. Rumors spread like wildfire.We were at a meeting a few months ago, before the big BONC meeting, and we listened to 35 students say all kinds of horrible, untrue things, giving them 2 minutes each, and at the end of that, when the council could respond to their complaints, do you know what they did? They got up, and collectively walked out of the room. So when you say the community can decide who speaks for them, they may not be seeing both sides, kind of like you. I do my due diligence and research when I make important decisions, but after listening to you, I see I am in the minority.

          • Hooraj

            I’ve read the meeting minutes from the current council, watched the available videos of community meetings, talk to people around town with varying viewpoints and backgrounds, attended some of the events on the rare occasion I can, and even see the Westwood Village Improvement Association’s support Westwood Forward. I’m probably more engaged than 95% of the community (on the fact alone that I even know there is a vote happening). I’ve seen the disrespect on ALL sides, but the students’ disrespect doesn’t go back so far.

            Where do you think I should go to get my due diligence for the pro-Westwood Neighborhood Council? You’re the only one out there defending it, and all you really are doing is responding to what you see as falsehoods and not writing in specific support of your council (which I’ve previously asked for you to do).

            If I’m voting in a way that is bad for the community, the current council sure has done a poor job at explaining why and making it easy for a normal person to actually see it. I don’t have time to go to meetings, but I do have time to keep up on the issues and time to vote.

          • Hooraj

            I mean, you all have some platitudes about what you stand for on your webpage, but don’t even have anything stating your case to voters about this upcoming vote. Where are people supposed to go for your side if not the most obvious place.

            You all aren’t even trying and you blame me for being misinformed. The arrogance and disrespect.

          • Lisa Chapman

            With your cries of “Let Democracy play out on May 22nd” , you have the nerve to call us out on platitudes? That is rich. We have been giving out information to stakeholders non stop in many ways, I had to delete posts on our council’s facebook page because the students were leaving untrue, hateful comments, just as they do in person at our meetings. We respond to every inquiry message on our website within 24 hours. About anything. You don’t have time to go to meetings? How is it that you do keep up on the issues? Oh, regarding the WVIA’s support of WW Forward, that is not unanimous, and not supported by their chair either. It was found out that the exec director, Andrew Thomas was the person, along with Kevin Crummy, to urge WW Forward to do this in the first place, and to try and take the Village. WW Forward has been used as a pawn by WVIA supporters so that they can get away with not abiding by the specific plan and zoning and planning guidelines for the Village. It’s all political. Look, we are not going to agree on any of this, so what is the point. I find it hard to believe that you can constantly leave messages here, but can’t find time to go to any of our many meetings.

          • Hooraj

            Alright, I’ll focus on where we agree – not everything has to be a defense or argument on either side :)

            My question, then, is: In a previous conversation, you and I both hoped an open debate would happen between the sides. Have you reached out to make this happen, why hasn’t it happened, and, if it does happen, where can we view it?

            My time to drive-by post is much easier to find than an hour or two to attend a meeting. Please put up something on your website for people to know your position on WW Forward or at least link to the facebook you’re talking about in your currently blank “SOCIAL” section of the site. And while I’ve seen your personal posts on WW Forward’s facebook (correcting WW Forward when they are, disappointingly often, wrong on something), I’ve never seen one from the WWNC. To anyone not dedicating hours to this stuff, the current council seems to not care about their vote.

            Also, I agree that Westwood Forward is getting an easy ride to likely winning the election, and they are going to be used as a tool by developers who care less for the community than any of us disagreeing here (I also think that the WVIA is taking a gamble that the students will be as pro-business as they currently seem to be instead of dealing with the devil they know). Please put what you’ve said here somewhere (everywhere) where it might actually be seen by interested community members.

            Obviously, I support the North Westwood Neighborhood Council and think the current council hasn’t done a great job. That said, until I vote, I’m not locked in to any side and don’t find WW Forward without faults (I’d even fault them for never showing up once in any of these comment sections). The current council has a lot of bad blood out there (things like this subdivision don’t happen without it), but I’m sure, like you, I’m not as intractable as I seem.

          • Hooraj

            I’ll reply to you here cause it’s probably just us here…

            Just looked at the WWNC facebook – um… I’m glad I didn’t know about it earlier if it’s as bad as you say it was. That said, the 12 point rebuttal to Westwood Forward should be on your website. It’s the most comprehensive currently available statement you’ve all made and it’s hidden away. Clean it up, format it, and put it up.

            Kind of seems like maybe all your eggs on forcing through the “shared Village” idea. Maybe it works, who knows.

    • Publius

      What’s the big deal? What’s the nonsense? There’ll be a polling place at Wooden, so there’s no reason not to vote.

      • Lisa Chapman

        The nonsense part was that it was implied that Michael Skiles made this decision to move this to the Wooden Center, which he did not! He wanted this at Rieber, for reasons mentioned above. It’s actually required that your polling place be open, inclusive, for all. Rieber wasn’t and now it is, no thanks to Michael Skiles.