Posted on November 4, 2012
by Tom Topping
This year's neighborhood council (NC) elections were the funnest and most exciting yet. With the magical addition of the competing "slates" in the Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Arroyo Seco councils, along with the "Starbuck's Stakeholders," voter turnout rose to meet or exceed highest levels ever, with candidates and onlookers waiting around well into the evening to get the official results.
Controversies in all cases arose out of some very ambitious folks wanting to gain control over their NC. In Eagle Rock it was the "Progress and Collaboration," (formerly green) slate that was the brainchild of Tim Ryder and associates and his Cannabis Clubs United with the Community organization (CCUWC), a pro-marijuana dispensary slate.
In Highland Park, the "No on 710″ slate of candidates, with the Glass Studio's Cathi Milligan at the head, was formed, and for the Arroyo Seco Council, Hermon's always controversial Joe Riser promoted his pro-Joe Riser "Back to Business" slate as well.
The candidates looked like streetwalkers propositioning Johns as they promoted their slates to incoming motorists at Ramona Hall for the ASNC election. From left- Clifford Mosely & Joe Riser of the "Back to Business" slate, Terry Saltzman, center.
At right Martha Benedict.
As in physics, every action will cause a re-action, and in local politics it is the same, as the Eagle Rock anti-medical marijuana forces led by ERNC President Michael Larsen, put together a slate of candidates called the "Eagle Rock Neighbors" slate to oppose the pro-marijuana dispensary slate.
In Highland Park the slate of current HHPNC board members with Cathi Milligan of the Glass Studio, Janet Dodson and Tricia Gosset was countered by The "Working for Highland Park" slate promoted by Paul and Teri Bonsell.
Joe Riser's "Back to Business" slate was countered by the "Preserve ASNC Slate" offered by ASNC President Martha Benedict and stalwart Southwest Museum advocate Anne Walnum.
Although "electioneering" was prohibited, there was nothing in the way of punishment or sanctions to back up that prohibition, so it was mostly ignored.
Peter Hilton, an Eagle Rock resident running for ERNC President, put out a flyer calling the pro-dispensary slate a "Criminal Organization" and saying they were trying to take over the council. A complaint was lodged against him, and Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) election officials simply told him not to do that.