A citizens advisory committee for the North Hollywood redevelopment zone filled nine vacancies in an election Tuesday that was held despite objections of city officials and others about the way the panel chooses members.
The election provided enough members to give the 25-seat committee a quorum, which means it can advise the Community Redevelopment Agency on several projects, including a proposed Vineland-Magnolia shopping center.
The selections were made in a meeting punctuated by catcalls from audience members who wanted all residents and businesses within the 740-acre redevelopment area to have the right to vote. Under the committee's bylaws, the selections are made by existing members of the committee, which is known as the North Hollywood Project Area Committee.
More than 60 people attended Tuesday's meeting, including 33 candidates who vied for the open positions. Critics contend that the citizens committee is a tool of the CRA and business interests.
"They're keeping anyone who criticizes out," said Norton Halper, a Hollywood resident and a spokesman for Endangered Citizens of North Hollywood, which is critical of the panel's procedures.
North Hollywood resident Maria Fant, who was elected to the advisory committee Tuesday, collected 32 signatures on a petition calling on Los Angeles City Councilman John Ferraro to overturn the election. "The whole community should be able to vote," Fant said. "The only reason I was elected was the committee didn't know my feelings."
Donald R. Spivak, director of operations for CRA, said that allowing only committee members to vote is less expensive and much faster than a general election.
On Monday, Councilman Richard Alatorre, a member of the council's Community Redevelopment and Housing Committee, questioned the validity of the vote, saying the North Hollywood group failed to alert potential candidates.