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Downtown Votes Against Forming Skid Row Neighborhood Council

(Courtesy of EmpowerLA)
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After 10 days of in-person voting and a week of online balloting, downtown residents voted against the formation of a Skid Row Neighborhood Council, according to the LA Times. The final tally will be released in the subsequent days, according to KPCC, but, currently, the vote against the council is up by about 100 ballots. The Neighborhood Council would have redrawn the borders of representation for downtown neighborhoods, with the SRNC governing an area bound by Main St., Alameda St., 3rd St., and 7th St. The call for the Council came as a response to the increase in development downtown while resources for the homeless population in Skid Row continue to dwindle.

The election involved heavy engagement from the community, with people "lining up two hours before the polls opened," according to the LA Times. The number of pop-up polling places and opportunities to vote online also demonstrated a commitment to empowering voter engagement within the community. The election was run by Empower L.A., an organization devoted to supporting L.A.'s neighborhood councils and encouraging civic engagement. The Skid Row Neighborhood Council filed paperwork back in December and Empower L.A. voted in January to let it proceed in the election process.

Establishing a Skid Row Neighborhood Council would have provided the area with $37,000 annually to support neighborhood projects and initiatives, as well as a representative body more specific to the residents of Skid Row and their interests rather than downtown as a whole. Supporters considered the council an appropriate next step towards remedying the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles. Detractors felt it further isolated the Skid Row community and claimed it would make community-lifting development harder to initiate in the area.