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Newly Elected Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council Will Be Seated Tonight

The elections were certified on Thursday, but one former board member has raised concerns about "electioneering."

The newly elected members of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council will be inducted tonight (Monday, Oct. 22) when the board meets at 7 p.m. in the Ramona Hall Community Center.

The board comprises 13 new members and eight that were re-elected from the previous board.

In addition to seating candidates, Monday's agenda also calls for the board's officers to be chosen.

Unlike the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, where candidates are voted into officer positions, members of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council are elected either as geographic candidates or issue-oriented candidates. There are also two "at large" candidates.

Offices up for grabs include President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Registrar.

The results of the contentious ASNC elections were certified on Thursday, Oct. 18, after Terrence Gomes, an Independent Elections Adviser with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, reported that there were "no viable challenges" logged against the outcome.

However, the election was not without its detractors.

Mark Legassie, a former treasurer on ASNC, submitted two complaints to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment last Friday, alleging misconduct by candidates and poll workers.

Legassie alleges that Monterey Hills geographic candidate Judy Knapton, a member of the Preserve ASNC Slate, won her seat by encouraging residents from outside the neighborhood to vote for her by claiming a factual stake in the neighborhood.

Residents are allowed to vote for a geographic candidate if live, work, own property or declare a stake within the geographical area and affirm a factual basis for it and are 18 years or older.

In a blog posted on Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch, Preserve ASNC Slate supported Eliot Sekular urged voters to claim a stake in Monterey Hills if they had "ever attended a Monterey Hills Jazz festival—or would like to do so."

"Those factual basis votes prevented the will of the people of Monterey Hills from determining their future," Legassie wrote in his complaint.

A total of 123 factual basis votes were recorded in the October 13 elections.

Knapton did not return a request for comment.

Legassie also claims that members of the Preserve ASNC slate engaged in "electioneering" on the day of the vote by interacting with voters within restricted areas around the polling place at Ramona Hall.

Martha Benedict, who served as President of the last board and was re-elected as a Montecito Heights representative, responded to Patch's e-mail regarding the complaints, but declined to comment.

The Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council will meet Monday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Ramona Hall Community Center.

David Lyttle October 22, 2012 at 06:56 PM
No comment from Judy Kanpton or Martha Benedict doesn’t surprise me…………. What is it that Judy or Martha can say other than “we were unethical and without morals in our ways”. But let’s not blame Judy and Martha alone, what about the actual Stakeholders that participated in this deceitful display of the ugly side of humanity? It will be interesting to see how many of Judy’s “Self-Affirmed Monterey Hills Stakeholders” make it to a Local Issues Committee Meeting. And if they did come what issues could they have outside of the Monterey Hills Jazz Festival ? Muhhamed Ali had it right when he said, “Silence is golden when you can’t think of good answer”.

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