No One Can Really Tell The Truth Like John Walsh

Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Elections: Are they the best kept secret in Hollywood?

We just started our Spring Season, the Easter Bunny-Sunday is not far away, but before we start to color our eggs and assemble our Easter baskets, we need to get and VOTE! – Yes, the next election is around the corner and if you didn’t know about it, you are not alone.

Although this is not a Citywide election of paid officials of any kind, it is an election for a number of Los Angeles’ Neighborhood Councils. (http://empowerla.org/elections/)

In Hollywood, where as many as five NC’s hold their elections on Sunday, March 30, 2014, the word about such an important event was scarce. – Even though the NC’s decided to utilize their e-mail data base to get the word out, many others like those who are not signed-up for the e-info were left in the dark about the looming elections.

So, to make things a bit easier, here are three Hollywood NC’s that have caught our attention for this year’s monumental event:

Central Hollywood NC, Hollywood Studio District NC and East Hollywood NC

Let’s break it down for you:

Central Hollywood, certified on April 9, 2002, did not have much of a leadership change since its first election way-back-when and this year the CHNC almost took the price by inventing its own weeding system that involved a CHNC approved questionnaire, which included the headline “Candidate Qualifications”, and seemed to have been tailored toward maintaining the same old structure of the current board.

The CHNC’s Vice President, Laurie Goldman admitted she created a questionnaire that left many dumbfounded with the questions it asked. – This questionnaire was very selective and seemed to be tailored toward the incumbents or those with like-minded ideas as the majority of the current board and it had very little to do with openness or transparency. – In fact, the questionnaire was unconstitutional and interfered with the candidate’s right to emphasize and de-emphasize certain aspects of her or his qualifications.

Long story short: Out of a pool of 17 (seventeen) candidates only 7 (seven) answered the selective questions and, after a short explanation via an e-mail to Ms. Goldman, CHNC decided not to use this questionable questionnaire after all, but instead went with the already available candidate information from the City Clerk’s office and the information can be found on CHNC’s website at http://www.chnc.org/?p=640.

After reviewing the candidate statements provided by those who took the time to submit a statement and based on that information as well as on information found in additional documents received through a public records request, HNN-TV can now reveal who it supports in the CHNC election for 2014:

Emilio Vega – Marcy R Olaechea – Irma Garate

Milagros F. Lizarraga – Juan Carlos Jimenez

All of them share the same goals: Keeping the movie business in Hollywood, bringing the community interest closer to the younger generation, bringing together the many diverse interests and needs in the community, logically combining community and real estate without creating traffic nightmares or over-density, recognizing housing needs and how to resolve this problem with the input of the current community; preservation of historic resources such as historic structures with architectural design, reach out to other communities in order to identify similar problems and help work on a solution together.

They also all live by the motto of “listen first – then act together on the problems and find solutions”, which will embrace all ethnicities and diversities so that the CHNC can move forward into a united future and it will help create a true bridge between the community and all levels of Government.

However, if you dare to take a closer look at the other candidates vying for a seat on CHNC you will soon discover that the majority running of those not listed above are incumbents, such as: Scott Campbell, David Carrera, Toby Johnson, Susan Sempers and Alwin Sumirat.

Others give the appearance of being the tool for special interest groups based on their statements provided on the Empower LA website http://empowerla.org/chnc/central-hollywood-nc-2014-elections-2/

Then there is the candidate who interns for Council Member Mitch O’Farrell: Angie Michelle Aramayo; and other candidates who seemingly are “flying under the radar”:

Though before we move on to the next NC, let’s not forget the candidate who is a “double runner” on Sunday, March 30, 2014: Jirair Tossounian, who is currently a board member of the Hollywood Studio District NC and he is also running for re-election to that NC.

He has done an excellent job for the HSDNC, but never failed to mention that being an NC board member takes up a lot of time, which made it hard for him (and others) to sometimes fulfill important matters in a reasonable time. So, why would he now split himself in half to be on two NC’s? – Would that not double up the time for him? Where will he find the extra time and can he really truly represent both NC’s without neglecting one or the other?

Perhaps the alternative is for the voters to make that decision by looking at the other candidates in his selective spot for the HSDNC.

But what are your choices?

Mr. Tossounian is running for re-election for a seat on the HSDNC board to be a representative of Property Owners in the category of “Property Owners Governor” and it is a position that would suit him well. He could continue his work on the HSDNC as its Chair of the Election / Bylaws Committee, for which he for sure put in numerous hours of work: Hence the great result of the HSDNC bylaws.

Don Durkee, also an incumbent, but a very active one, too. He has walked door-to-door on several occasions to reach out to the community and inform them about the HSDNC and its functions, informed commercial property owners about change in laws and extended his expertise on various developments. Mr. Durkee has brought members of the community to the NC Board and Committee meetings and he has been very active in organizing various events for the community.

Who are their opponents, you wonder?

Even though Maripat Donovan first seemed like a choice, we soon remembered how quickly, during her second term as board member and first term as HSDNC Chair, her willingness to give away a piece of City owned office equipment that wasn’t hers to give to her “business associate”. Even though the item was later returned, this incident still sits sour in the community’s craw when asked about how they would feel if she was to return to the NC.

Another “No-Go” for us is HSDNC incumbent Juri Ripinski. He is the “proud” owner of the ever so ramshackle / run-down property on Santa Monica Boulevard, between Wilton Place and Saint Andrews Place, where once the SEARS business alongside others flourished. Mr. Ripinski is also a board member of the HSDNC since it was certified in 2005, but has attended only a small number of board meetings in the last couple of years, chaired the PLUM committee for part of it and has held almost no PLUM meetings for the last few months. – Perhaps the “No-Go” should be “No-Show”? – A comment posted on CityWatchLA in regard to a similar post pointed out that Mr. Ripinski was also convicted of Real Estate Fraud (http://citywatchla.com/8box-left/6647-hollywood-nc-elections-coming-in-under-the-radar). Here is a glimpse at the comment:


Let us also remember the 2010 HSDNC election for which Ms. Donovan and Mr. Ripinski created a “slate” of candidates, using the HSDNC logo on the flier promoting their choices. The election results were challenged and the election division of the LA City Clerk’s office ruled that indeed a logo was illegally used on the slate and all elected candidates from that slate were disqualified, leaving the board with a slim body (no pun intended) that fattened up slowly but surely and became a stronger board because of it.

Here now is a quick break down of those candidates we can support:

Property Owners Governors: Jirair Tossounian and Don Durkee

Owner-Occupied Residential Property Owners Governors: Jose Torres and Alex Alferov

Residential Tenants Governors: Efrain Gonzalez

Business Tenants Governors: Charles Joseph Puree and Christina Derenthal

At-Large Governors: Luke Vincent and Jennifer Barbosa

Youth Governor: Maria Yepremian

It is a little bit of a bitter-sweet irony that another candidate not supported here, Mr. Zide, also put his hat into the race for the East Hollywood NC election, especially since he is running for the HSDNC. He lives within Los Feliz NC (formerly known as: Greater Griffith Park NC), which is across from both EHNC and HSDNC boundaries in which he has been active and yet he does not have his hat in the LFNC’s election for which he qualifies the most and which will be held on April 12, 2014.

Stepping across the borders is not illegal, but it sure raises the question why no-one from within the boundaries of East Hollywood NC wanted to fill that position? – Even though Mr. Zide is unchallenged in the EHNC election, he has opponents in the HSDNC election. Perhaps you, the voter, has to make a decision as to who you want to represent you: A stakeholder who truly has a stake in the HSDNC community, such as Mr. Vincent, or another double-runner, whose time cannot possibly be spent equally between the two NCs?

Let’s not put all the eggs in one basket by voting the same people back into their “expected” seats. Let’s change it up a bit and perhaps go with those who can make the best difference in our communities and not stink it up like a hidden egg that’s rodding away.

(article was first published on HNN-TV at http://www.hnn-tv.com/?p=876)


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This entry was posted on March 28, 2014 by .
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