One Election Where No One Will Ask You to Vote:

Top City officials speak at the PPCC. In January, Deputy Fire Chief Armando Hogan spoke about the department’s wildfire containment procedures and brush clearance requirements.

Pacific Palisades Community Council Board Elections

The Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) will hold elections for president, vice president, secretary and treasurer on June 13. Don’t worry you won’t be asked to vote for them at the meeting; as a matter of fact, you can’t.

So, why should you care?

This community council’s mission is “to protect and improve the quality of life in Pacific Palisades, also known as the ‘Community.’ The PPCC is a forum for the consideration of Community issues; is an advocate for Pacific Palisades to government and private agencies upon issues where there is broad Community agreement as reflected by two-thirds of the Board members voting on any one of those issues at a PPCC meeting; and assists other organizations in Pacific Palisades which want help in accomplishing their objectives or projects, which the PPCC determines to support.

Basically, L.A. City officials such as Councilman Mike Bonin, see this organization as a mouthpiece for the community.

Since this isn’t a neighborhood council, it follows its own constitution about elections. The PPCC chair, in this case George Wolfberg, appointed a committee (Sue Kohl, Richard Blumenberg and Joanna Spak) to nominate board candidates for the coming year, starting July 1.

They recommended three incumbents: Wolfberg for chair, Chris Spitz for secretary and Richard Cohen for treasurer. (Both Spitz and Cohen have served as PPCC chairs in past years). The committee selected one “new” face, longtime activist David Card, for vice chair.

Who will run against them? Possibly nobody. Any member of the Community Council can nominate someone up until 15 minutes before the close of the May 23 meeting. If you know who your area representative is (if not, visit the PPCC website), you could ask them to nominate someone – if you feel strongly that Pacific Palisades should have a choice of candidates.

At the council’s June 13 meeting, there will be a candidate forum (if there are multiple candidates for an office) before the election.

Each area representative and organizational representative will be able to cast one vote. So, you must urge your representative to vote for the candidate of your choice. But don’t hold your breath–the rep can vote for whoever he/she wants because it is a private ballot.

Our Community Council isn’t so much about representative government (except when Area representative elections are held every two years) as it is about personal preferences and a willingness to serve on the board year after year.

NPR ran a piece in November 2017 (“When Election Day Comes and There’s Only One Candidate on the Ballot”) which quoted Adam Myers, a political science professor at Providence College. He said, “There’s a decreasing willingness of citizens to serve in state and local government.

“One of the big issues in state legislative races all over the country is uncontested seats,” he continued. “Roughly 35 percent of state legislative contests in the country are uncontested each year, so that’s a very high percentage.”

The NPR interviewer noted, “Myers believes it’s a bad sign for democracy when voters aren’t presented with at least two options in a race. And he says, the problem tends to get worse the further down ballot a race is.

“We don’t have the same data on local races, but we have every reason to believe that the percentage of local races — school board races, city council races, etc. — that are uncontested is even higher,” Myers said.

Will PPCC members have any choices when they vote this year? I would say “Make your vote count,” but you can only tell an Area rep who you’d like.


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One Response to One Election Where No One Will Ask You to Vote:

  1. George Wolfberg says:

    Sue, Are you saying each of the 99+ certified Neighborhood Councils hold an election where the community elects officers?
    Should the citizens elect the President of the LA City Council? The Chair of the Board of Supervisors? The Speaker of the House? The President of the Senate? Probably you would agree that the representatives were sent by their constituents to elect people willing to put in the time and work (did I say, “work”) to make the organization as responsive and successful as possible.
    Just my two cents.

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