Some students unaware of Council elections

Los Angeles voters will head to the polls today to vote for seven City Council seats and a range of ballot measures including whether a tax should be imposed on the sale of medical marijuana and whether an oil extraction fee should be instituted.

Although there has been minimal campaigning by advocacy groups for the ballot measures, the race for the City Council’s 8th District seat, which represents USC and its surrounding area, has intensified in the days leading up to today’s election.

Forescee Hogan-Rowles is hoping to oust incumbent City Councilman and former LAPD Police Chief Bernard Parks from the 8th District seat.

Hogan-Rowles is the current President and CEO of the Community Financial Resource Center, a leading provider of financial services for low-income families in Los Angeles.

The two candidates have sparred over various issues including whether raves should be hosted at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The issue became particularly contentious after a teenage girl died of a drug overdose at the 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival.

Parks, who serves on the board of the Coliseum Commission, maintains raves should be held at the Coliseum because they stimulate the economy of the 8th District and reflect the music preference of music listeners worldwide.

Hogan-Rowles, however, argues the dangers of raves far outweigh any economic benefits and are not conducive to the environment the 8th District should be trying to promote.

Both candidates have vowed to increase cooperation with USC and beautify the area surrounding Exposition Park.

According to Parks, his main focus, if re-elected, would be to work on balancing the city’s budget.

Hogan-Rowles, if elected, will focus on bringing more businesses to the 8th District and ensuring the 8th District receives the same benefits as wealthier districts.

One of 10 propositions and charter amendments being voted on today is Proposition M, which, if passed, would establish a $50 tax on sales of marijuana exceeding $1,000. The extra tax revenue would go to the city’s general service fund.

If passed, Measure O would attach a $1.44 tax to every barrel of oil extracted from property within Los Angeles.

Students who are registered voters in Los Angeles, including Eduardo Vargas, an undeclared freshman, were largely uninformed about today’s elections.

“I was unaware there was an election [today],” Vargas said. “I hadn’t heard or seen anything about the ballot measures being voted on.”

Aaron Mick, a sophomore majoring in architecture, said he was aware of today’s election, but has decided not to vote because the ballot measures are not relevant to him.

“I was aware there was an election [today], but I am not voting,” Mick said. “I went through the election booklet and realized there was no issue that I felt strongly about or I felt I could make an informed decision about.”

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