My name is Patrice Berlin. I received the most votes in the Employee/Independent Contractor category in the Studio City Neighborhood Council Election on April 7 and then again after the 63 provisional votes were counted on April 12.
The reason I am writing letter is because the voters of Studio City were robbed of this election. After the provisional votes were counted and Lisa Sarkin’s closest friends learned that she had lost the election, Stu Miller, a long time friend and advocate of Lisa Sarkin, filed a challenge against me and listed LAPD Officer Mike Lewis as a witness to alleged electioneering without Officer Lewis’ knowledge or consent to add credibility to their claims. In essence Lisa Sarkin’s closest friends used the LAPD to get Eric Preven and myself “booted” as the winners in the Employee/Independent category.
I have read all the challenges to the 2016 Election. The ones aimed at me are absolute lies. The environment in the polling place was very hostile towards me. It was very unethical in my opinion to have all Lisa Sarkins best friends running the election. Please let me know if it is necessary for me to provide a detailed response to each allegation.
By the way all the Empower LA employees were very gracious and in no way am I implicating them.
I’m curious how another challenge showed up overnight and Stu Miller was concerned he didn’t get his in on time. Wasn’t there a cut off time and date for submitting challenges?
April 14 9:36AM
I never heard back from Jay or anyone else from Empower LA or the city regarding my attendance being necessary for this hearing. Weeks later still no communication.
On April 15th I received a generic email from Thomas Soong Project Coordinator – Leadership Development Strategist at the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment at 5:31PM Friday April 15th about a Regional Grievance Panel Hearing to be held the following business day (Monday) to review the challenges downtown at 6:30 PM. Since it was not directed to me personally to show up and Jay Handel had not gotten back to me a neighbor attended to record the meeting to see what the grievances were about. We knew we had done nothing wrong.
Let me start out by saying that Lisa Sarkin had her closest friends as “volunteers” running the election inside. We heard from many people that they were being nasty and rude to our voters and fellow candidates when they went in to be registered. There are many claims that Lisa’s friends also gave out the wrong ballots for the categories if they knew people were going to vote against Sarkin. Lisa lost even after the Sportsmen’s Lodge sent busloads of employees to vote.
Lets go back to the grievance hearing. The panel consisted of three Neighborhood Council Presidents from different areas most likely not privy to the long standing close, personal relationship of the witnesses to Lisa Sarkin. They listened to Stu Miller, Reme Kessler, Rita Villa, Mike Szmanski and Lisa Sarkin spin their tall tails against Eric Preven and myself to get us disqualified.They did not file grievances until they found out Sarkin had lost after the provisional votes were counted. They waited so long to file their grievances, that it appears they actually missed the deadlines which is currently under investigation.
After listening to Stu Miller’s challenge and the testimony from those mentioned above, the three panel members disqualified Eric Preven and myself from the election. Gracie Liu stated the decision is final I am told. This was decided without Preven and myself given the opportunity to defend ourselves and bring in witnesses.
We were out…Sarkin back in. I still have heard nothing from the city as to the outcome of this hearing. I heard I was “booted out” by an inaccurate article with a biased headline by “Journalist” Mike Symanski .
When I saw that Officer Mike Lewis was one of their witnesses I was quite disturbed by it. I have known Mike for many years and always had the highest respect for him.
I finally contacted Mike on Tuesday April 19 after I heard I was disqualified. Officer Lewis knew nothing about his being used as a witness to support Stu Miller’s claim of electioneering.
Subject: SCNC Election
Date: April 19, 2016 at 9:36:02 PM PDT
There were still 63 outstanding provisional votes to be counted where voters had to submit additional information. Those were counted in a special meeting downtown on the 12th.9 votes were thrown out from Universal City Employees voting in my category. The final count was Berlin 65, Preven 61, Sarkin 52.That evening was the deadline for filing a grievance 5 days after the election. As soon as Sarkins friends that she had as “volunteers” during the election heard she had lost the election they immediately filed grievances against myself and Preven for electioneering.You were named in the grievance as a witness against us.Friday night at 5:30 I got a notice that they would be having a special hearing to determine the validity of the grievances from those that filed them. The meeting was held last night at 6:30.I had written Jay Handal to notify him that the grievances were all in fact lies and asked if I needed to back up the allegations and if it was necessary to be at the meeting however he never returned my email. There was no where in the notice that included us other than a possible public 10 minute comment at the end. Peter Cole went to record the meeting instead of sitting there for 3 hours listening to their lies. We were told by other parties that Handal didn’t think there was much to the grievances so we felt that we would listen to what was said and then appeal them if necessary.Last night at the hearing Stu Miller stated that Officer Lewis LAPD observed & witnessed me electioneering which led to me most likely being stripped of my win.Both Preven and myself have now lost our seats and Sarkin is back in.
We have been told last night was the final decision and we have no chance to defend ourselves with witnesses and testimony. We have an audio and video recording from last night. If you would like a copy please let me know.
On Apr 19, 2016, at 10:25 PM, MICHAEL LEWIS <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
All I know is that I saw you in the hallway of Walter Reed Middle school during the night of the election and we said hello to each other. We probably talked for less than a minute. It is then I heard somebody (I don’t know who it was) say that it was against the rules for you to still be there because you were a candidate in the election. You then quickly said goodbye and left.
If this is what they are referring to as inappropriate electioneering, I need to talk to somebody because that is ridiculous. This is the only time I saw you all evening and I did not witness any inappropriate electioneering. I don’t know what the rules of inappropriate electioneering is but its the only time I saw you.
I am off tomorrow but I’m back on Thursday. I will also call Stu Miller. I’m reluctant to get involved in theses type of situations but I also don’t appreciate somebody speaking on my behalf, especially when it’s untrue.
Who can you suggest I contact or call in an attempt to remedy this or at least give my side of the story? Or who told you last night that you can’t remedy this situation, call witnesses or remedy the situation?
After waiting many days in hopes of EmpowerLA reversing this decision and reinstating Preven and myself I felt I needed to speak out with the truth. Not a word from EmpowerLA. I have not been given the opportunity to stand up for myself nor to have a fair “trial”. No one has contacted me from Empower LA nor any other city entity even though I know many letters have been sent on my behalf and Eric’s to the City Attorney, Empower LA, Gracie Liu, Jay Handel etc.
The last email from Mike Lewis stated that he had called Gracie Liu and she hadn’t returned his call as of Thursday April 21st.
I am writing to set the record straight. There is nothing in the challenge filed by Lisa Sarkin’s closest friends that is true.
Will city officials and EmpowerLA stand up and make this right?
This election is in limbo and the city is not commenting.
Fixing elections is criminal. Ruining peoples reputations is criminal as well.
Candidate for the Studio City Neighborhood Council
Please direct your outrage in an email to all of the below: