Residents cast their votes. Photo by Kris Fortin.
Over 300 residents of Boyle Heights came out to cast their votes on Saturday and elect their newest neighborhood council representatives.
Community members decided on four area seats, 14 community seats and a factual basis position in the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council election at the Benjamin Franklin Branch Library and the Boyle Heights Senior Center.
Aurelia Salgado took the Area 1 seat against opponent Miguel Juvera in a tight race, while Sierra Jenkins beat opponent Jose Aguilar in the Area 2 contest by the slim margin of two votes, the closest election of the day.
Luz Montoya Ruiz and Ernesto Espinoza ran unopposed for Areas 3 and 4, respectively.
Community seat winners were Patrick Kelly, Joel Ulloa, Carlos Montes, Teresa Martinez, BHNC President Edward Padilla, Elvira Del Pozo, Diana Del Pozo-Mora, Joe Diaz, Erika Trevis, Olivia Rubio, Margarita Amador, Francisco Arago, Maryann Aguirre and Jose Alvarez.
Martha Pelayo took the factual basis seat by a wide margin over Geza Gedeon.
Although the turnout for the election fell short of Padilla’s personal goal of 1,000 voters, he was pleased by the numbers. Out of the 317 residents who registered to vote made by mail and at the polling place, 303 cast ballots.
“We got more voters to come out in this election than we did the last time we had an election,” he said.
Padilla added while he had hoped to reach out to more residents, he was encouraged by what he saw at the polls and at Thursday’s Candidates’ Forum.
The forum was designed to give residents an opportunity to meet the candidates prior to the election, but the turnout was affected by heavy rains.
“The rain definitely had an impact on attendance,” said Padilla, who received calls from people who weren’t able to attend because of the weather.
The election was streamed live on the Internet, where more than 1,000 viewers witnessed the proceedings, Padilla said.
Gus Ugalde is a print journalist and Boyle Heights native. He is a graduate of both Salesian High School and East Los Angeles College. With writing as his passion, he has had over 500 stories published at several publications throughout Southern California.