Candidates Downplay Dispute Over Deleted Facebook Post

While the candidates disagree over how the deletion of a Facebook page was handled, they both agree they they want to move on.

The two candidates running for president of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council say a controversy over the use of a Facebook event page featuring the board's logo has been blown out of proportion.

This week, a mini dust-up was created among neighborhood council candidates when Monica Alcaraz deleted a post by Cathi Milligan on a Facebook event page inviting community members to an upcoming forum. Both Alcaraz and Milligan are running for president of the board, and both say they are hoping to put the disagreement behind them. 

Though Milligan's post did not directly solicit votes, it identified her as a candidate for president and invited community members to attend the forum.

Alcaraz, who administers the page, as well as the HHPNC's official website, deleted the post, citing election rules that prohibit candidates from soliciting votes on pages that bear the HHPNC logo.

"If I would have left that on there, it would have been implied that we were endorsing her," Alcaraz said. "It wasn't like she wrote 'vote for me,' but it was 'I'm running for.' You can't even say anything like that. I don't think she meant to do it, but we are governed by rules." 

Milligan responded, saying that it wasn't her intention to solicit votes with her post.

She also agreed that deleting the post was ultimately the right thing to do, but said she did not feel that Alcaraz was the right person to do it.

"I don't have any problems with her, I have a problem with what she did as the other candidate for President. And I can't even rebut [allegations of voter-solicitation], because the original post is gone. I just wish she would have spoken to me before she took it down. It would have been easier."

Terrence Gomes, an independent election adviser for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment will attend next Tuesday's candidates forum at 6 p.m. at Franklin High School to address the rules regarding solicitation.

The issue was also brought to the attention of the City Attorney's office by  Margarito Martinez, who is running for an at large seat on the council.

Martinez also posted a video of himself on Patch's Neighborhood Gallery, detailing the dispute and his impromptu meeting with Darren Martinez of the City Attorney's Office.

"I think he's trying to support me, but he's also making it bigger. I just want it to go away," Alcaraz said.

Martinez responded, saying "I acted properly, in the interests of all the candidates, not just myself."

In the meantime, current HHPNC President Chris Smith has handed administrative control of the HHPNC's Facebook page to Carmela Gomes, a stakeholder who is not seeking a seat on the board.

"I think it's better than anyone who is running for anything to not have control of the page," Smith said.

For her part, Alcaraz said she wasn't trying hide Milligan's post in order to gain an edge with voters. In fact, she said she wished there was even more competition.

"I wish there were five candidates for president, not just two," she said. "Even more people should want to serve on the board, because its an honor."

The MOG September 28, 2012 at 02:50 PM
El Gato Negro, you're beautiful man! I love your idealism! Please Please Please encourage EVERYONE you know to come out to the Forum on the Tues. You are correct. This is probably the most important neighborhood election ever, because it represents a chance for voters to make a serious change, a break from how things were done from the past. The new Board will be comitted to OutReach, in languages representative of community demographics, & finding solutions for increasing Transparency, & bringing ever more people into the process. Look forward to meeting you Sir!
El Gato Blanco September 30, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Regardless of technicalities regarding the bylaws, the intent of erasing a competitors comments during an election cycle screams of impropriety. Ms Alcaraz is the PTA president at one of our local elementary schools and on more than one occasion she has literally thrown a tantrum to the point of tears if she did not get her way or was not appointed to a committee she wanted to sit on to the point of excluding other parents and creating a position for herself. Personally I am not interested in having someone who is self serving, power hungry and ultimately selfish/childish representing my neighborhood in any type of political seat, even one as insignificant as neighborhood council seat......I'm just saying
The MOG September 30, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Okay, now let me say this, it was entirely proper for Monica to take-down Cynthia's post, because it is unethical for the Official HHPNC Social Media to appear to even tacitedly give an impression they are endorsing one candidate over the other. Could it have been handled differently? Certainly...but surely, with entire Sessions @ the Congress of Neighborhoods dealing with EXACTLY this example, Cathi should have known, at least had the basic instincts to know, what she did wasn't kosher. & Chris, the current presiding chair, most certainly should have known better than to inject himself into the controversy, or it's resolution. Because it's his actions, not anything Cathi or Monica did, that call into question the propriety of these neighborhood elections. It was that email that set in motion the chain of communications between himself, Terrence Gomes & ??? That is the issue, of The Brown Act, that was brought up by the independent advisor himself. I have the emails. There's no debate about it. Let me say once again, both Cathi & Monica are equally qualified to assume the persident's chair. We have a very diffecult choice to make...I haven't decided yet who I'll vote for. Let's see how the forum evolves...See ya there!
La Casa de Bernarda Alba September 30, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I'm looking forward to hearing from the candidates! Let's emphasize getting out the VOTE! HHPNC stakeholders must vote for the better candidates versus loyalties. HP stakeholders must know that these individuals will be your voice to LA City's Council. Therefore, avoid the traditional "Puppets" who always run, " I Do Nothing", "I'm not a free thinker-someone else does that for me" of old boards. Let's VOTE for board members of ACTION, UNSELFISHNESS, FREE THINKERS, TRUE DEDICATION to the betterment of HP as a WHOLE!!! Meet the candidates at Franklin High School's Auditorium on Tuesday, October 2, 2012. (David - Can you please verify time and actual location?) HP - Let's get out the VOTE and get an amazing turnout!!!
La Casa de Bernarda Alba October 02, 2012 at 04:08 AM
HHPNC Candidate Forum - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at Franklin High School's Cafeteria from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. HHPNC Election Day - Saturday, October 13, 2012 at Highland Park Recreation Center from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


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