April 26, 2014


By the Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) and BANTAY –PILIPINAS-USA

The elections at Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) was held last April 12, 2014.

The turn-out of voters was one of the lowest in its 14 years history. Only 500 people voted during the GEPENC elections.

Besides the low turn-out of voters, a more serious problem rear its ugly head during the GEPENC elections

Why is there an apparent efforts to marginalize the Filipino-American community in the GEPENC 2014 Elections ?

We may have these answers for you:

1. The former GEPENC Board (2012-2013) changed the rules without even informing the public. They remove the voting by absentee ballot thus denying a lot of Fil-Am senior citizens their opportunity to vote.

This was a time honored tradition since the GEPENC held its first election last 2001. Why the change? Is it because some members of the GEPENC leadership and some politicians in the district fear the Filipino-American community?

They know that the Filipino-American community is active in the political process and they device ways to clip the emerging political empowerment of the Filipino community particularly in District 5 or the Historic Filipinotown district and District 13.

2.Another step to marginalize the Filipino-American community, they changed the definition of ‘ a stakeholder” sowing confusing on the stakeholders. The GEPENC required a “stakeholder to live or work in district 5”. They specifically declared FACLA members can only vote for a FACLA member.

A change they did not publicized in the community creating confusion among FACLA members and everybody else. It was good that somebody raised this question in the last GEPNC candidates forum and DONE representative was force to change the rules and remarked, “they will even honor a gym card.”

3.. What is more revealing is the letter from the former GEPENC treasurer Connie Acosta tells about something that is going on. Let’s read it:


What person at DONE sent you Jose’s (Sigala’s withdrawal on Friday, March 24) as you stated in your email, when I knew about his Election’s withdrawal on March 25th.

Whomever was working at DONE and accepted the withdrawal form forgot that this was an important election to the stakeholders of our community. As a result, this only brought confusion to Echo Park and people are now more separate than before.

Even in your disorganization, by Friday, once you knew that Jose was not running, you could have crossed out Jose’s name on Saturday morning before the elections so not to mislead the stakeholders.

See a copy of the email sent to [email protected]



4. The last and the worst is that there was no Filipino-American who speaks and can interpret or translate in the poll machinery of Empower LA that conducted the elections.

Instead the poll clerks were former GEPENC officers and the bad thing is that they were extra cautious and to the point of harassing Filipino-American seniors menacingly asking for ID cards.

Mrs. Jovy Alejandrino, an 86 senior and a member of FACLA remarked; : ” I see this as racial discrimination. There was no Filipino-speaking poll clerk and they are harassing us.”

We are calling the attention of the City Mayor, Our Councilman Mitch O’ Farrell and the Department of Neighborhood and Empowerment (DONE) on this matter.

Is the DONE now becoming an agency of racial discrimination and disempowerment? Is DONE becoming a tool of politicking and vested interests/

So, it begs the question, why were we marginalized at the 2014 elections in GEPENC?

It’s easy to see. The former GEPENC Board change the rules without even informing the public. They remove the voting by absentee ballot thus denying a lot of Fil-Am senior citizens to vote. Another thing, they changed the definition of ‘ a stakeholder” sowing confusing on the stakeholders.

It’s all tantamount to marginalizing and discriminating against the Filipino-American community.

Thus we have another GEPENC elections with the lowest turn-out. Only 500 people voted this GEPENC elections But we were able to put up a good fight.

No to the marginalization of the Filipino-American Community!

Fight for community empowerment!


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