Residents File Election Challenges

STNC-controlled Web site endorsements may have violated election laws

Eve Sinclair, Sunland:
On Tuesday, March 29, at 2:52 a.m., an endorsement for Krystee Clark as STNC president (currently, she is a group rep on the STNC board) was posted on the official Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council Facebook page, which links directly from the official STNC website (stnc. org). It was posted by Jon von Gunten, candidate for a group rep position (he is the current group rep for Neighborhood Watch on the board) and liked by Dana Stangel and five others. On March 30, at 12:52 a.m., an endorsement for Charlie Bradley as STNC’s First Vice President (he is the current First Vice President on the board) was posted on said STNC Facebook page. On March 31, at 2:02 a.m., an endorsement for Dana Stangel as STNC’s Second Vice President was posted on the same STNC Facebook page. On April 1, at approximately 2 a.m., an endorsement for Nina Royal as Secretary of STNC (she is the current Treasurer of the STNC) was posted on the STNC Facebook page.

I discovered these violations on April 1 at 2:05 a.m., just as the endorsement for Nina Royal happened to come across my Facebook feed, and as I am a follower of the STNC official Facebook page, I reported these board endorsements to the appropriate election officials on the morning of April 1 at 8:25 a.m., along with supporting photographic evidence. All of the board endorsement posts were suddenly and summarily deleted from the official STNC page later that morning after the endorsements had been reported. Terrence Gomes replied to me on April 1 at 10:13 a.m. that the STNC claimed the posts had been put onto their Facebook page by another party. This was an inaccurate response, as posting to the STNC Facebook page requires admin approval; posts that aren’t approved by their admin do not make it onto their page. In addition, the exact same endorsements were posted to other SunlandTujunga community

Facebook pages by Jon von Gunten at the same times, along with instructions to the candidates to “boost.” These endorsements were then liked, shared and commented on by board candidates, showing that this was part of an organized social media campaign by board members. These posts are still active on those pages. (I have photographs as well.) At 11:13 a.m. on April 1, I asked election officials for an official public acknowledgement, apology and retraction by the STNC board; none was ever provided.

The five candidates (Clark, Bradley, Stangel, Royal and Gunten) who were directly involved in and who benefited from the endorsements by the STNC board during this election process violated Candidate Guideline #4: “You shall not receive endorsements from the governing Board of the NC.” I request the appropriate remedy for violating the board endorsement guideline.

Sean Martin, Tujunga:
I’ve found serious issues with my local election processes. I went there and tried to help the people through the process. I was quickly signed up and Glen was tentative but OK about signing me up, but everyone else quickly put the clipboard to sign in, in my hands. I helped everyone in line receive and correctly fill in the initial paper as well as answered questions and passed out clipboards. After that, I went back to the tables and asked to help the verification workers as there were five sitting and one standing, pacing frantically around, trying to cut certain people through the line. I asked one worker how to verify people, and the pacing woman showed me a verification paper (a typed letter the voter had brought) and his ID, which revealed a name and address that clearly matched. So I said I approved, and advised him to get a ballot. But he was denied by the woman, and Glen backed me out of from the area and said I wasn’t welcome anymore. I witnessed more than 50 people being turned away in the short amount of time I observed and acted as a volunteer. A bunch of people got disenfranchised owing to short hours of operation, lack of personnel, inefficient promotion and education about the issues, voting process or candidates. It was a long and absurd line that sent more than 50 people away, but the director kicked me out for questioning and suggesting alternatives to dealing with the voting process and large crowd as a whole. I had heard through no media coverage that the election was settled by a difference of twenty.

Their line was disenfranchising voters and deterring them from voting.

Why is there no pre-registration? Why was the election held in a small, busy parking lot on a common grocery day for working families, which was not suited to appropriately accommodate normal traffic to the polls AND to the business?

There was the double-speak of wanting volunteers while refusing help from a qualified and motivated individual. I also was witness to racially based disenfranchisement against the Armenian community based on lack of English proficiency.

I feel that our voting process should always be at the convenience to the voter, and local government’s first priority to their constituents is to provide fair and simple elections: a removal of current election committee personal and a full reform of the election process, with a full re-vote for the community. Moving forward, we must adhere to the need to serve the constituents with fair, simple, and efficient election processes to ensure corruption-free election

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