The Case of the Missing Agenda

Re: “Political Purge is Pure Fiction,” Letters to the Editor, Dec. 5

As a former Mar Vista Community Council board member I wrote a letter to the current board with concerns about the proposal to reduce the number of board members by eliminating the at-large positions that traditionally have been
won by a more diverse group (in every sense) than those that win the “zone director” positions.

Thus, I was happy to read Mr. Hanna’s letter in last week’s edition of The Argonaut stating that such a proposal was never considered, and that the MVCC “welcomes the involvement of all stakeholders, regardless of their individual viewpoints.”

However, having heard wildly different accounts of that meeting from what Mr. Hanna presented, I went to the MVCC website to refresh my memory about what materials were presented at the meeting and discovered that all materials related to the meeting in question —including the agenda, minutes and every supporting document —have been removed. This is the only meeting that is missing documents (agenda, supporting materials, minutes) since the new board took power this summer.

I’m told Hanna is moving to the South Bay, or has already moved. I hope his replacement as board chair does a better job of being as welcoming to different points of view as Hanna claims to be. After all, it’s one thing to write a letter that MVCC “welcomes the involvement of all stakeholders,” but another to actually do so in practice. A good first step to welcoming people’s involvement is a basic level of transparency, even if that transparency might make political allies uncomfortable.

Damien Newton

Mar Vista

Slanted Reporting Obscured Solutions

Re: “Mar Vista Residents Send an S.O.S. at Homelessness Forum,” News, Nov. 14

I was disappointed by the lack of balance in describing the content of the town hall meeting on homelessness convened by L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin in Marv Vista.

Councilmember Bonin’s opening presentation provided an overview of who is homeless, causes of homelessness, what is needed to end homelessness, and how homelessness is being addressed by the city, county, state and federal governments, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

To imply through quotes that the panel “did not directly answer many of the questions” or that the only proposed solutions were “let them stay on the streets or build them housing” does not recognize the multiple challenges homelessness represents and wide-ranging strategies articulated by the panel.

Although some people in the audience expressed a desire to round people up in a “massive public shelter,” the majority of attendees appreciated the reality that this approach does not consider the nature of homelessness, the legal constraints, and the logistics of identifying a massive shelter location in West Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative Director Phil Ansell indicated that shelters of this type have not been successful in transitioning people to housing. No shelters of this type exist in L.A. County, but the county has studied similar structures in Texas, where placing shelters in close proximity to the homeless populations is attainable.

In summary, I found the town hall to be extremely informative and very helpful in understanding homelessness and the wide variety of approaches being undertaken by the city and the county to find solutions.

Jerry Hornof

Mar Vista

Detractors at Town Hall Behaved Like Children

Re: “Mar Vista Residents Send an S.O.S. at Homelessness Forum,” News, Nov. 14

I would like to voice my true appreciation for L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin and his 15-member team for presenting residents with the facts on homelessness and sharing various possible positive solutions, albeit the less-than-expeditious current pacing in alleviating myriad levels of homelessness issues.

But shame on us for demonstrating less than appropriate behavior to those in the trenches of an issue to which we have all had a hand in creating. Community outreach was inundated by adults — ironically seated in the auditorium of a middle school — who behaved immaturely, uttering nasty expletives about our leadership present, booing and hissing and shouting out unsuitable chants.

Most of this came from European-American males who rose to the call that everyone is entitled to his own opinion. If they are fathers, I hope they would admonish their children for similarly disruptive behavior.

On the bright side, I was beaming with pride to see Councilman Bonin walking the neighborhood to take out a family of six (one mother and 5 children) to dinner and invite his team to help them reach positive solutions before they might be living in the streets.

Petra Celia

Mar Vista resident for 12 Years,

Now Homeless