Thursday, November 15

Westwood Forward’s meet-the-candidates events emphasize grassroots campaigning


Westwood Forward, the coalition that campaigned for the creation of the North Westwood Neighborhood Council, is entering its campaign period. (Amy Dixon/Photo editor)

Westwood Forward, the coalition that campaigned for the creation of the North Westwood Neighborhood Council, is entering its campaign period. (Amy Dixon/Photo editor)


A coalition of candidates running for positions on the new North Westwood Neighborhood Council plans to campaign using social media and personal contacts to connect with stakeholders before the election.

Westwood Forward, a coalition of students, homeowners and local stakeholders, spoke about their campaign strategies at two events the group hosted Wednesday and Thursday at Skylight Gardens to let stakeholders meet members of their new slate.

Westwood Forward campaigned to subdivide the jurisdiction of Westwood from the original Westwood Neighborhood Council, and succeeded following a May vote. The group ran on a platform of addressing issues such as lack of affordable housing and nightlife entertainment in the area.

Melissa Tapia, a third-year political science student who is running for an undergraduate student position on the council, said she plans to talk to organizations like the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Office of the External Vice President about Westwood Forward to increase support for the slate.

Peter Clinco, a member of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, is running for an organizational stakeholder position on the council. He said he plans to work with the association to reach out to the community and gather voters. Kevin Crummy, another board member of the association, is also running for the council as a business representative.

“It’s very important that we work together,” Clinco said. “Let me put it this way: All (organizations) are in the same direction to have the vote move in the same way.”

Alisha Ranadive, a pediatrician at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center who is running for an organizational stakeholder position on the council, said she thinks Westwood Forward plans to reach out through social media and in person like they did during the subdivision election.

“We have a great social media campaign – we’re very active on Facebook – which is how we were able to reach a number of people in the last election so we’ll do that as well, and it’s grassroots, so we’ll reach out to friends of friends as well,” Ranadive said.

Cameron Keller, a member of Westwood Forward and the selection committee for the slate, said social media and other personal communication avenues will help reach out to voters quickly before the election.

“One of the advantages of being a slate is everyone can reach out to everyone they know,” Keller said. “We are less than two weeks away from the election, so we are limited in what we can do, but I think you’ll see a level of participation higher than in previous elections.”

Andrew Lewis, a renter in Westwood and UCLA alumnus who is running for a general residential position on the council, said he plans to reach out to other young professionals and recent alumni from his local networks face-to-face for the election.

Michael Skiles, president of the Graduate Students Association, is running for a general residential position on the campus. He said members of Westwood Forward plan to reach out to friends and family personally, as well as utilize social media to spread information about the election.

“We all come from 19 very different circles, and not everyone’s a student,” Skiles said. “The hope is that people are excited about these people, and these people are going to be able to go to their respective communities and get them excited about the change that Westwood Forward is going to bring.”

Voting for positions on the NWWNC will take place Oct. 25 from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of the John Wooden Center.

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  • Lisa Chapman

    This is not an election. It is a selection. Every vote cast will be open to the public to view, meaning everyone will be able to see who voted for whom.