Neighborhood Council/Town Council

Preparations Begin For The Venice Neighborhood Council Elections

By Marc Saltzberg

April 11 is still four months off, but candidates seeking election to the Venice Neighborhood Council are already lining up.  To help candidates understand the Los Angeles city election process and the Venice Neighborhood Council campaign rules, the VNC will hold an open meeting at 5pm, January 17, at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue for all those interested in running for a council position.

L.A. City Council Member Bill Rosendahl has been invited to speak at the meeting, describing his relationship with the Neighborhood Council and its role in city government. Current VNC board members will be on hand to talk about the responsibilities of their positions. The election process will be reviewed so potential candidates can find out what they need to do to run for office. Questions and answers will round out the agenda; the rest of the evening will be dedicated to mixing with board members in an informal atmosphere so potential candidates can learn more about the VNC from the current officers.

More information about the event and the election and meeting can be found on the internet at VeniceNC.org/BoardElections.

The L.A. City Council decided in 2008 to consolidate all neighborhood council elections every two years and conduct them according to a common set of rules. In 2010, the City Clerk will conduct elections for 89 neighborhood council boards between March and June.

Having a single entity responsible for conducting all the elections and having all the elections occur within a 3 month time-frame has never been tried before.

While the rules governing the elections have been standardized, the bylaws governing neighborhood councils vary. The City Clerk’s job is complicated by important differences between the 89 councils, such as the definition “stakeholders” (qualified voters) and the composition of governing boards.

In Venice, stakeholders will vote for one “Community Officer” (with the 14 top vote-getters elected) and 7 executive officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Communications Officer, Community Outreach Officer and Land Use and Planning Chair). All positions are elected “at-large.”

Other councils may have a different number of board officers with different responsibilities and duties; many councils also mix at-large voting for officers with representative voting by geographic areas.

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