The Studio City Neighborhood Council voting yielded a disappointing 292 total votes—and everyone who was on the council was re-elected to their positions.
The votes were counted after polls closed at 8:30 p.m. and it took about 90 minutes to count the ballots before the Empower LA revealed the results.
Among the contested races, the Residential Homeowners winners were John Walker, Lisa Sarkin, Gail Steinberg and Denise Welvang, who were all on the Council in the past.
In the Residential Renters race, previous Council members Ron Taylor and Lana Shackelford, and Jane Drucker (who previously was on the Council) won their seats.
In the At-Large race, Lisa Cahan Davis, who was the Outreach committee chairperson, won with 180 votes against 83 votes for Sam Humeid, who manages a local medical marijuana distribution business in Studio City.
Youth Candidate Pasha Vafaee, who ran unopposed, received no votes (you had to be between the ages of 15 and 18 to vote), and although no one was on the ballot, he did not win that race, according to the polling manager at the scene. The voting was at Walter Reed Middle School.
Both City Controller Wendy Greuel and Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian—who are residents of Studio City—came in to cast their votes. Two famous musicians, three recognizable actors, a major cartoon voice and a notable award-winning chef were also seen casting their votes.
Council members Rita Villa, Lisa Sarkin, Gail Steinberg and Richard Niederberg were at the scene during vote counting.
“I am terribly disappointed by the turnout and I don’t think that stakeholders who were not adults in 2000 before Neighborohood Councils,don't seem to know how important they are,” said Lisa Sarkin. “And I think we need to be more involved with the schools.”
Villa said, “It is disappointing that we didn’t get more people out with all the money spent, but I understand that there was not a major issue to draw the community out. I am grateful for the people who did participate. I think that in this next cycle of my time on the Council I will work to reach out and enlist more youth participation.”
Not only did $5,400 in council money get spent promoting the elections (including an ad on Patch and other media), but council members spent private money on flyers for their slates, spent time at the Studio City Farmers Market, walked their neighborhoods and businesses, and held a forum to discuss their candidacy.
That resulted in each vote cast costing about $18.50 (not counting the private money involved).
“It cost $18 a vote,” Niederberg said. “It’s nuts! With all the money and labor involved, you would have thought we would have had more people turn out.”
(For entire election results click here.)