Skid Row residents say they will keep up the fight to form their own independent neighborhood council even after they were dealt a major blow.
On Friday, the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which oversees the city’s 96 neighborhood councils, upheld the results of an election that narrowly defeated efforts to establish a Skid Row Neighborhood Council, reports the Downtown News. In doing so, the department dismissed a panel’s recommendation it conduct an independent investigation into accusations of illegal campaigning by opponents, and possibly hold a whole new election.
The decision means Skid Row residents will have to wait until next year to submit a new application to splinter off from the Downtown LA and Historic Cultural neighborhood councils.
“General” Jeff Page, a Skid Row advocate and the chairman of the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation committee, says that conditions on the neighborhood’s streets are dire, and that action needs to happen now. “There’s no ‘wait’ in Skid Row. We can’t wait,” Page told Curbed.
Page says the formation committee is in the process of hiring an attorney and is prepared to sue the city over the department’s decision.
The special election was held last month, with the Skid Row neighborhood council formation committee losing by just 60 votes.
Advocates for a new neighborhood council challenged those results, arguing among other things that online voting, which was allowed in the special election, disadvantaged homeless residents, who may not have access to smart phones or the internet.
A panel comprising members of other neighborhood councils reviewed the results and agreed with Skid Row council boosters. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment did not heed the recommendation and instead certified the results.
- In Turnaround, City Rejects Skid Row Neighborhood Council Push [Downtown News]
- In reversal, L.A. upholds election rejecting skid row neighborhood council [LAT]
- Amid calls for investigation, LA certifies Skid Row election outcome [KPCC]
- Panel urges LA to create a Skid Row Neighborhood Council—or hold a new election [Curbed LA]
- Skid Row won’t get its own neighborhood council, early results show [Curbed LA]