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Photo by Jonathan Olivares

Photo by Jonathan Olivares

Leaseholders at Ramona Gardens have until Sept. 15 to nominate candidates for the five posts on the governing board of the Resident Advisory Council (RAC), in anticipation of elections scheduled for Oct. 15.

All residents recently received an elections notification from the League of Women Voters ”“the non-profit, non partisan group that will manage the process”“ along with a nomination ballot for the positions of president, vice president, secretary and sergeant-at-arms, which will all serve a three-year term beginning in December. Signed and dated ballots must be deposited in an election box located at the Ramona Gardens management office by the deadline date for the nominees to be considered. A final nomination opportunity will be given at a meeting to be held on Sept. 15 at the Ramona Gardens Recreation Center’s Gymnasium.

The role of the RAC

Resident Advisory Councils at public housing complexes in Los Angeles are federally mandated bodies made up of volunteers that serve as a liaison between residents and management –in this case, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA).

“Our RAC members serve as exceptional leaders in our public housing sites, including Ramona Gardens,” said Eric R. Brown, Director of Intergovernmental Relations at HACLA, in a written statement sent to Boyle Heights Beat.

Brown, whose responsibilities include managing the RACs, added that the bodies “help improve the quality of life of families, encourage resident participation and keep our residents informed through monthly meetings. RAC members are committed to representing the voice of the residents they serve by volunteering in various capacities throughout the communities and providing advice to the Housing Authority on resident issues.”

In its current form, the Ramona Gardens RAC also organizes a number of activities for residents ”“from Cinco de Mayo celebrations to Día de los Muertos commemorations”“ and is heavily involved with an active senior citizen club. The RAC shares community and office space with other agencies at a trailer in Ramona Gardens.

Nominees who meet qualifications will appear before residents at a Sept. 29 candidates’ forum, and preliminary results from the election will be announced on Oct. 15, though it will take a few days for them to be certified. Election results will be eventually posted by the management office.

Who qualifies

According to the elections notification, all residents “in good standing” who are 18 years and older qualify to run for the RAC governing board, although only one member of a household can run for office during a given term. The document details what constitutes to be in good standing, which includes abiding by HACLA residency rules and not have been convicted of committing a felony during the previous seven years, not being on parole for a felony or being a registered sex offender.

Board members can serve a maximum of two three-year terms on the board, a rule that disqualifies current RAC president Maggie Aguilar from seeking reelection. But Aguilar told BHB that a group of residents will ask HACLA to allow them to nominate her for a third term, and that if that were to happen she would accept the nomination.

“We do this because this is our community, this is where we live,” Aguilar said of the current board. “This is where I was raised and where my kids and nephews are being raised. You do this not for the recognition but because you really want to better your community.”

“I have a lot of dreams and I want to continue working for the community,” she added.

Upcoming dates

Sept. 15 Nominations meeting; deadline to submit nominees

Sept. 29 Candidates Forum

Oct. 15 RAC Elections

Residents with questions about the nominations and elections process can contact the League of Women Voters at (213) 368-1616 or [email protected]

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