Two emails that were sent to thousands of subscribers to the Studio City Neighborhood Council stakeholders around the elections were incorrect and perhaps confusing to the voters.
The first, sent out the night before the election, told stakeholders that they would have to verify their residences in order to vote. That was incorrect and immediately amended, and the correct procedures were highlighted on the front page of the site.
The second email was sent the day after the election noting the list of the entire new board that were elected. However, the Employee/Independent Contractors winners, who are both new to the board, were left off the list.
Newcomers Alex Izbicki and Lawrence Beer in that category, were left off the email.
The incumbent who was voted out of that category, Brandon Pender, told Examiner that he immediately called the SCNC office and told them that they needed to correct the mistake.
“I couldn’t believe that they left those two new board members off the new list, and they corrected as fast as they could and sent out a new email,” Pender said. “It wasn’t fair to the new members.”
Both oversights were blamed on the website administrator who is contracted out by the council and handles other Neighborhood Council websites.
Many councils in the area do have verification procedures and require that voters verify where they work and where they live in order to vote in the categories they are eligible to vote in, and so the website administrator sent out the boiler-plate explanation of how to bring in verification to the election held last Thursday.
However, Studio City has an “honesty policy” where stakeholders are trusted in telling the truth about where they live, where they work and which service organizations they are a member of before they vote. When they gave their statements, the voters were given one or more of the seven different categories that they could vote in. Rarely was any one stakeholder eligible to vote in all categories.
For example, City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who owns a house in Studio City, could get a Residential Homeowners ballot, but not a Residential Renters ballot. He was also eligible for Service Organization and other categories.
The corrected response was sent out again, saying:
Basically, if you are reading this email, you are probably a stakeholder of the Studio City Neighborhood Council. Our Bylaws state that voters will identify themselves as stakeholders through written self-affirmation. Documentation is not required in order to vote.
We apologize for the confusing information sent in the previous email.
On a personal note, I was a volunteer at the polls for the entire four hours, and I noticed that about a third of the voters were trying to show some form of ID or proof of where they lived. Some where very surprised when I said that it wasn’t necessary.
At least one former SCNC Board member who asked not to be identified said, "I can see that the new board members don't feel very welcoming after a sleight like that."
There is no evidence that either emails were sent out deliberately with the mistakes.
The final ballot list was published the next day on the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment website, and all it took was a cut and paste to post it correctly. Or, the website administrator could have followed the Studio City Community Activist Examiner’s lead and posted the correct information, too.
The Studio City Neighborhood Council site is at: http://studiocitync.org