Political ‘Purge’ Is Pure Fiction

Re: “A Push for Autocracy? Plan to shrink Mar Vista Community Council would expel contrarian minority,” News, Nov. 28

I was disappointed to read Gary Walker’s article in last week’s edition. In it, Mr. Walker made numerous statements that are inaccurate and do not reflect my intent or the intent of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) Board of Directors. As chair of the MVCC, I am correcting such statements so that the public, and most especially MVCC stakeholders, have a clear and honest understanding of the operation of their neighborhood council.

The article stated that a proposal was offered at the Oct. 30 meeting of the MVCC Elections & Bylaws Committee “to eliminate the community council’s six at-large seats.” That is categorically false. In fact, the proposal was simply to add a seventh zone. Geographically, Zone 6 is much larger than any other zone and the proposal was being offered to split Zone 6 to provide better representation for its stakeholders. No people were attempting to “purge their
remaining political adversaries from the board.” To suggest otherwise is just plain nonsense.That was clearly explained at the committee meeting.

With regard to recall, the discussion was concerning a proposal to provide stakeholders with a mechanism to remove a sitting member of the board. Currently, no such provision exists. Instead, a two-thirds vote of the board is required to remove a sitting member — making it solely a board decision. In the entire history of the MVCC, that provision has never been invoked.

Finally, there was no attempt to stifle members’ free-speech rights and there never will be. As individuals, members are free to express their views; they enjoy the same First Amendment protections as anyone else. However, they may not speak for the board. According to the bylaws, only “the chair shall represent the MVCC.”

The Mar Vista Community Council welcomes the involvement of all stakeholders, regardless of their individual viewpoints. I encourage people to visit marvista.org, or — better yet —
attend a meeting to learn more.

Elliot Hanna, Chair

Mar Vista Community Council

Editor’s Note: The Argonaut appreciates the chairman’s concerns but stands by our reporting based on information available at the time, which was further limited by a number of community council members declining or not responding to requests for comment or discussion.

The written agenda item for the Oct. 30 meeting included a plan to restrict voting board membership exclusively to zone directors; it was at a Nov. 20 meeting that our reporter first heard discussion of a modified plan that would preserve five of six at-large seats while adding a seventh zone director. Mr. Hanna’s letter contends that the proposal’s language was verbally modified during the Oct. 30 meeting, but our reporter didn’t hear that — as stated in the article, chaotic audience reaction to the written proposal preempted any formal verbal introduction of it by board member Martin Rubin (thus preventing any attempt to verbally modify it from being clearly discernable). Rubin also referred requests for comment after the October meeting to his written proposal.

As for the piece’s overarching assertion that removing at-large board members would constitute a political purge, it is now being argued that The Argonaut should have reported several hurdles to that occurring, including that such action would require: (A) two-thirds approval from the board, (B) approval by the city Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and, most importantly, (C) that any change in board configuration would go into effect only after the next board election and thus not prevent any current board members from fulfilling their current terms. Items (A) and (B) are stated in board bylaws posted on the MVCC website, but at press time city officials had not returned calls seeking confirmation of (C).

Readers with questions or concerns are invited to contact managing editor Joe Piasecki at (310) 822-1629 or jpiasecki@timespublications.com.

Battle of the Billionaires

It would be very interesting to see Michael Bloomberg as the Democratic nominee for president, Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, and Tom Steyer as the Green Party nominee. I can just see the debate conversation: “I know what is best for billionaires,” says Trump; “No you don’t,” says Steyer; “You are both wrong,” says Bloomberg.

If he wins the nomination, a slogan for the Bloomberg campaign might be: “It takes a good billionaire to beat a bad billionaire!”

Robert Matano