BACKTALK--In regard to your article on the Brentwood Community Council, I think there are a few things that you got wrong and am rather surprised that you wrote a public piece without doing the investigative reporting such a piece would require.
First a “mea culpa” on our Chair, Michelle Bisnoff. I have to admit that I was not delighted when Michelle ran for this position. I had worked with her on the Executive Committee and found her way too kinetic and ambitious for my taste. Her vision for what Brentwood could become required those around her to devote many hours a week on community issues. I found this offensive and not congruent with volunteer work. I could not support her nomination for Chair and in fact tried to get a candidate to run against her.
I was wrong.
Michelle is the real deal. For one thing, I have never seen her ram through a one-sided position. She goes out of her way to solicit the opinions of others through meetings, community forums and on-line surveys.
By the time issues reach the BCC Board meetings they have been discussed many times by many people. These issues are posted on the website and comment is encouraged. I, too, have been to other NC meetings and they work as fast if not faster than the BCC. In my personal experience we allow more time for discussion than any of the other meetings I have attended. I must disagree with the person who said that “Bisnoff presents items as if they are done deals”.
They did not do their homework. And, if we represent “special interests” I would certainly love to know who they are. In my experience working with Michelle she has assisted the community by getting us funding for a communication system in the hillsides, cleaning up the homeless encampments along Brigham, and so much more. Who, exactly, are the special interests? I can tell you who they are—they are us!!
Ahh—the gavel. Yes, it’s true that she has shut down inappropriate conversation from the audience. How else to retain order when one woman keeps yelling out unsolicited opinions? There is a time and place for dissent— after the Board weighs in or during the Public Comment. The woman who keeps sputtering out her own thoughts is disruptive and disrespectful of others; there should be no place for such behavior in a community meeting.
IIeana, I have to say that I find your letter inaccurate at best and slanderous at worst. I doubt many in our community would find the BCC to be based on “secrecy, lack of open-government ideals and creating a culture of distrust”. Do you live in 90049? If you do you probably know that Brentwood is a difficult community. Very few people want to do the hard work to improve things, but everyone has an opinion. When you ask people to volunteer for a job they suddenly disappear. That’s why so much of the work gets done by a handful of individuals. We are really lucky to have Michelle Bisnoff as Chair. Her energy and vision are a boon to this community.
(Teri Redman Kahn lives in Los Angeles and has served on the BCC Board.)