Interest Groups Spin Results; New Leaders Look Ahead
Time-honored political tactics came into play in this week’s Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council election.
As reported in the midweek update, a record-setting 306 voters cast ballots in the 25-candidate election for five board seats.
The winning candidates – Phillip Trigas, Frank B. Anderson, Linda L. Alexander, Arthur Almeida, and Raymond Lee Parker – will be seated next month.
They ran together on the “Accountability ’08” slate. (See commentary below for an analysis of the “accountability” theme.)
Much like campaigns for higher office, the neighborhood council election included competing slates of candidates, special-interest endorsements, get-out-the-vote mailers and a late-breaking surprise.
The final week before the election brought high political drama to the San Pedro civic arena.
The “accountability” slate intensified efforts to reach out to voters. Candidates and supporters aggressively campaigned for votes at markets, libraries, community meetings and anywhere else potential voters could be found.
Just minutes before the deadline, a slate of three incumbents and two newcomers filed to run as write-ins. Their public campaign had begun just days earlier, with flyers appearing for the first time at First Thursday on Sept. 4.
At least three special-interest groups backed one of the slates.
Ponte Vista, a proposed 1,950-unit housing development on Western Avenue, urged constituents to consider seven candidates for the five seats: Joe Gatlin, Mayra Perez, Pamela Foster, James Brown, James Cordero, Aphram Khalbourji and Phillip Trigas.
“These candidates have demonstrated a willingness to work together to support economic, business and development opportunities to improve the future of San Pedro,” wrote Ponte Vista official Elise Swanson in an email.
Gatlin, Perez, Foster, Brown and Cordero ran as a slate of write-in candidates.
Trigas campaigned on the opposing slate of “accountability” candidates and was the top vote-getter on the ballot.
Ponte Vista’s Swanson did not respond to a request for comment on the election results.
The Sierra Club Harbor Vision Task Force and R Neighborhoods Are 1 endorsed the winning “accountability” slate.
“Educating voters and candidates on environmental issues is how the Sierra Club participates in the democratic process,” wrote Sierra Club leader Tom Politeo in a San Pedro News commentary (See below).
“By being a part of larger processes and reaching out to candidates and groups that agree with us and those that don’t, we help bring interest to an election and encourage voter participation and turnout,” wrote Politeo.
The Sierra Club sent out a mailer encouraging members to go the polls and vote for the club’s endorsed candidates.
R Neighborhoods Are 1, a grassroots group that supports single-family R-1 zoning at Ponte Vista, emailed a get-out-the-vote message to residents associations and community activists.
“Obviously, people felt strongly enough about this election that they turned out in goodly numbers,” said R Neighborhoods Are 1 member John Stinson, a resident of the Central council area.
“Our candidates won decisively. It’s a victory of the people over special-interest developers,” said Stinson.