Call your nana! Call your hommie! Call your prima! In fact, call anyone and everyone who lives in Barrio Hollywood and make sure they vote this Thursday, July 2nd, 6pm, at El Rio Neighborhood Center to protect their collective voice against the same outsiders that tried to destroy El Rio only a couple of years ago.
I know, I know. They are a determined, petty, little group, aren’t they? They just won’t go away. And they constantly underestimate the residents of Barrio Hollywood. Yet, here they come again.
In a nutshell, outsiders are trying to stop the Fiesta Grande - seriously, what kind of people want to stop the best barrio party in town, even after all the money raised to benefit the neighborhood? – and weaken decision making abilities for Barrio Hollywood residents.
Get this, if they have it their way, Walgreen’s may have the same voting rights as a nana who has lived in Barrio Hollywood for 50 years. So, the real question here is: are you for corporate personhood or are you for nana power? Come on, man, you know you gotta be down with nana!
Instead of allowing outsiders to take control of Barrio Hollywood, let’s support great business owners like CP, the local owner of Mariscos Chihuahua, who constantly plays a very supportive role for all residents in that neighborhood. He understands that his restaurant benefits from the 13 years of branding the Fiesta Grande has provided him. He knows better than to speak for the residents: instead, he is thankful for the revenue he makes from the hard work volunteers put into the annual Fiesta Grande every year and he always finds ways to give back.
But, until we have more responsible business owners like CP stepping up, we need to push back on the outsiders this Thursday.
So, again, call your nana! Call your hommie! Call your prima! Call everyone in Barrio Hollywood and make sure they vote for barrio self-determination this Thursday!
I will write more on this topic soon. But, for now, please take a moment to read the following important background and details on this scheduled vote from Scot Eagan, a Hollywood resident for 35 years.
What is going on in the Barrio Hollywood Neighborhood Association, and why residents attend the next meeting at 6pm on Thursday July 2nd at El Rio Neighborhood Center?
The Barrio Hollywood Neighborhood Association (BHNA) has been in existence since 1989, and in those 25 years the residents of the neighborhood have democratically elected the President and other members of the Executive Committee. In that time, those leaders have been in the forefront in the formation of the annual Fiesta Grande, wrote grants that helped repave Grande Avenue’s median lane, installed park benches and water fountains, and contributed thousands of dollars to keep open midnighthoops at El Rio Center and other programs.
For a relatively poor neighborhood, many good things have been accomplished by BHNA.
Non-residents came and changed everything!!!
Then the strange election of January 2014 occurred, and things changed considerably for the worse. On election night something happened that nobody had ever witnessed in the 25 years before — people who reside outside of the neighborhood (but who own property in Hollywood) came en masse, and using a loophole in the bylaws elected a new President who had hardly ever attended neighborhood meetings or ever helped with all the work in the past. Many of those who voted that night almost two years ago have never even been to a meeting since! They came, they voted, and then left the mess for other to clean up. The person they elected — Kasey Carlton — immediately tried to solidify her power by changing the bylaws to her benefit.
Each Hollywood resident should have a vote!!!
One of the first things Ms. Carlton proposed was a bylaw change that would make it so each HOUSEHOLD would only get one vote, as opposed to each resident (one person one vote). This would give her, as a single resident, twice as much power as a couple, and four times as much voting power as a family of four. The residents of Hollywood stood together and defeated her attempt to destroy the democratic vote of the association, as well as other restrictive voting schemes (for example, she wanted only one member of a family to be on the board: a direct attack on the McKenna family which has been the foundation of both the neighborhood association and Fiesta Grande). Other bad proposals she made were turned down as well by astute residents.
Who should make decisions for Barrio Hollywood?
In spite of these victories, the underlying problem remains: due to the bylaws that were established in 1989, any non-resident property or business owner in the neighborhood can not only vote, but bring other family members, spouses, and even employees to our elections and demand the right to vote and make important decisions – decisions that most of us believe should be left to those who live here. And that, in a nutshell, is what the fight is about.
This is why we need every resident of Hollywood who cares about our barrio, and who support the improvements on Grande and wants to see the continuation of Fiesta Grande to come to the El Rio meeting and vote for the bylaw change to insure that ONLY residents of Hollywood vote. There is no doubt that some of the non-residential property owners will also show up and fight against empowering the residents. We need to out-number them on this vote, or our association will become a captive for outside interests that do not care about the needs of the residents.
What does the other side say?
They claim that by only allowing residents to vote we are not being “inclusive.” They are right – we do NOT want residents from other areas of Tucson to have the same right to vote on our neighborhood issues. We wouldn’t even dream of going to another neighborhood association where we don’t live and voting in their elections, why should they do so in ours? “Inclusive”should not include non-residents “fixing” elections against the will of the residents.
The other side says we are being “anti-business.” This accusation is absurd, considering all the work and effort our people have made in promoting the businesses through Fiesta Grande and the Grande Avenue improvements for the benefit of our local businesses. The fact is that many of the small business owners in Grande have been very supportive of our efforts, and we are supportive of their businesses as well. These fine businesses wouldn’t even think of trying to effect our neighborhood elections, but continue to develop a mutually respective relationship with the residents. There are only a few bad apples in the bunch who are ruining it for the rest, and they have shown no qualms about what is in essence “stuffing the ballots” and even trying to intimidate some of our residents.
It is time for us to take back our neighborhood.
We will be introducing a specific bylaw change that will require that only residents should get to vote for our representatives for BHNA.
I hope you will stand with us and your fellow residents by attending our neighborhood meeting this Thursday, July 2nd at 6pmat the El Rio Community Center and help insure that our neighborhood is representative — first and foremost — of, by, and for the residents who live here.
Thank you for your attention,
Niagara Street, Barrio Hollywood
(Hollywood resident for 35 years)