In a close 6-5 vote, the Pacoima Neighborhood Council rejected the appointment of Jaime Arias as the neighborhood council’s Budget Representative. The budget representative is the liaison between the neighborhood council and Budget Advocates, who make recommendations and communicate budget concerns to the mayor’s office.
The vote was a tense moment after people at the meeting burst in protest to Arias’ appointment, saying he does not represent the people of Pacoima. One man, who requested to only be identified as Ledesma, burst out an accusation that Arias’ tactics of intimidating street vendors are not representative of the community. Another attendant, Jenaro Ayala, who claimed to have hosted Arias in his home, agreed with Ledesma and also protested his appointment.
When prompted to give a statement, Arias gave a brief answer that he sought the position to “be involved” and that it was a position that would allow him to better understand how the neighborhood council works.
When is was time to vote, Renter Representative Alex Morales was hesitant in his vote, saying that he was unsure to believe the accusations, but ultimately voted no, which was the deciding vote.
After the vote, Arias told El Boletín he was clueless about the allegations, but believes “everything happens for a reason.”
The neighborhood council also decided to table an item on their agenda that evening pertaining to a possible action on street vending, preferring to hold a special meeting on the matter before taking any actions. President Vanessa Serrano said she hoped to hold the meeting before the next council meeting next month.