Carmen Trutanich seeks limits on definition of ‘neighbor’ RULES:

Community council votes now allow outsiders in.

By Rick Orlov 213-978-0390 Staff Writer

Citing concerns that the leadership of neighborhood councils could be hijacked by special interests, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich called Friday for tightening the rules on who can vote in the local elections.

Trutanich said his office had been contacted by numerous neighborhood council members concerned that outsiders or people with only marginal connections to a community are able to participate in council elections.

Those concerns were echoed in a report from the City Clerk’s Office, which oversees the elections. Officials said so-called “factual basis” voters made up nearly 17 percent of those who cast ballots in recent neighborhood council elections.

Council leaders fear the elections could be swayed by people hired by developers, other companies or interests to influence specific positions.Trutanich is recommending that the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners adopt a tougher definition of factual basis stakeholders to ensure they actually have an interest in a neighborhood.

He also recommended that voters be preregistered and the city require proof of why someone should be considered a stakeholder.

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