GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Breached! GGPNC using invalid bylaws

By John F John Jr
The Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) has confirmed that the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council (GGPNC) has been conducting meeting, appointing board members and distributing public funds under the wrong set of bylaws.
It is a staggering violation of public trust. Tax payer funds available to the GGPNC are now being distributed by a board that was wrongly appointed.
This breach of established rules is sadly only one in a long line of nefarious conduct by the board under the helm of Los Feliz Forward for the past year. Whether they are violating their own rules or those mandated by the State of California makes little difference to those in charge. Once again neighborhood stakeholders have been hoodwinked by a small handful of angry men.

Los Feliz Forward was the brainchild of board members Tomas O’Grady and Mark Mauceri, both formerly from New Jersey. Shortly after relocating to Los Angeles they cleverly effected the hostile take over of the GGPNC. It could be argued that this was was achieved by exploiting vulnerable community groups. Disturbing messages of ethnic bias began to pop up in and around Los Feliz, a sort of double reverse hate speak. See [homophobe] and [ethnic].
They then spent the next year passing sweeping changes to bylaws that were once heralded as best practices by DONE. The process for pushing the bylaws to vote often involved cutting off public comment or posting agendas that didn’t meet minimum Brown Act requirements. It was the exact behavior the Brown Act was designed to protect against. Former board member and long term community activist Tom Wilson actually left the board because he was so frustrated with the lack of due diligence.
Ironically they had all the votes they needed to legally pass anything they wished. But it appears that they are so accustom to gaming the process that they are simply unable to play be the rules.
During the May meeting nine new board members were appointed to the GGPNC. They did this under the new set of rules that had been rushed through during the past year. However, the GGPNC neglected to wait for the bylaws to receive final approval from DONE. Nine senior members of the board who had spent decades donating their time to Los Feliz were not allowed to vote under a controversial provision of the new bylaws. This of course affected the potential vote count of every candidate running, some winning a seat by only one vote.
The new bylaws also affected who might have chosen to run for an appointed position. Senior board members had little hope of winning a seat with the” Los Feliz Forward only” voting block. It is safe to say that Tomas O’Grady’s and Mark Mauceri’s Los Feliz Forward has had an unfriendly history with the senior members of the GGPNC board. And in fact the average age of the GGPNC board has dropped about twenty years since the May appointments. The deep well of experience with the neighborhood, the park and with city and state government has been swept away. Now you will find the President allowing painfully long debates over which balloon to choose for a street fair.
GGPNC President Ron Ostrow who use to lecture his predecessors from the Robert Rules of Order as if he were a Parliamentary preacher now has to face the general board and try to wordsmith an excuse for what can be described as a major and unprecedented screw up. One can expect his delivery will be flawless. The only hope for a clean get away is that DONE some how forgives the breach of rules. The fact that to undo this arrogant mistake would be a gigantic mess might play in their favor. To make the invalid election valid would likely take more resources than DONE has to offer.
However it should not take DONE, or endless calls to the City Attorney, or the Code of Civility, or the State Brown Act, the GGPNC bylaws, or even Robert Rules of Order for the most casual observer to concluded that something is habitually wrong with the leadership of this neighborhood council.
The cure in whatever form may have to come from DONE. The leadership of GGPNC appear unable or unwilling to heal themselves.