Clean Hands: NC Outreach Chairs Just Say ‘No’ to 2019 Election

DONE WATCH--Studio City's Outreach Chairs have made one thing perfectly clear: They will not recruit any NC election candidates anytime soon.  And for good reason... 

After being convicted of "electioneering" in 2016 by a NC "Regional Grievance Panel" adjudicating "election challenge" remedies, Studio City NC's Patrice Berlin got "booted;" stripped of her office, reported on in the press (L.A. Times and L.A. Daily News), and shamed across social media as a liar and a cheat.  All because she ran for a NC Governing Board seat and had the temerity to actually win. 

Berlin and Heidi MacKay, now Studio City Neighborhood Council (SCNC) governing board members and its Outreach Committee Co-Chairs, recently noticed SCNC's president they cannot, in good conscience, recruit candidates unless there's some sort of decision regarding DONE's further use of Regional Grievance Panels for NC election disputes, just like the one Berlin endured. 

After being recruited by the very same sort of election outreach, Berlin had no idea she would become the collateral damage of shoddily written city policy.  She indeed won a Board seat, but that's when her object lesson began in the absurdity that is the DONE-BONC-City Attorney "Triangle of Death." 

Challenges were lodged claiming Berlin illegally electioneered.  The person leveling those charges, Stuart Miller, a SCNC stakeholder deemed the "Challenger” who coincidentally happened to be chums with the outgoing SCNC President, Lisa Sarkin, who also coincidentally lost that election to Berlin.  

There were witness statements: One from the Challenger's business associate, one from his daughter, and one from a former SCNC board member, another Sarkin crony.  All swore under the penalty of perjury they indeed witnessed Berlin electioneering.  Those public documents, all aggregated and submitted by the Challenger not only look fishy, they actually stink; especially when examining who signed what and when.  

The type of examination both DONE and the City Attorney not only refuse to do, but have employed active measures to keep anyone else from ever doing. 

During the public hearing, the presiding officer who was purportedly trained in conflict resolution referred to Berlin as an "asshole" and then a "jerk."  It's a ripping yarn of why giving little people a little power is a really bad idea. 

After Berlin proved her due process rights were trounced on-- she wasn't even permitted to speak-- DONE and the City Attorney staged a second hearing on what was previously "unappealable."  After further review, and being afforded her right to defend herself, Patrice Berlin was exonerated and reinstated. 

The Challenger, who had called Berlin the "culprit," and first-runner up cum new winner no more were not happy.  Truth be told, with her reputation tattered, neither was Berlin, as DONE's hallmark of leaving everyone disappointed remained intact. 

When Ryu says "60 Days" he Means, "If You Can Get to It"

Enter councilmember David Ryu (CD4), touting his previous NC experience, and taking over the reins of the newly named, "Health, Education and Neighborhood Councils" (HENC) committee.   As Ryu is not Herb Wesson, he was besieged by complaints about DONE, BONC, the City Attorney, the City Clerk, the kitchen sink and the King of Siam.

Ryu takes up this pesky Regional Grievance Panel issue, requiring DONE, BONC and the City Attorney "report back" on the "legal framework of their quasi-judicial" nature.  Quasi-judicial being semiotic code for: WTF! 

That was over 420 days ago and still no formal response.   Zilch.  As of this writing the City's Administrative Code (the "law") still reads Regional Grievance Panels for determining election challenge remedies are alive and well, and any further examination directed over a year ago, seems to have been swept under the rug where embarrassing municipal episodes go to die. 

Not that we're counting or anything, but Ryu's HENC committee also gave DONE, with help from other city agencies, 60 Days to "report back" on his "Neighborhood Council System Reforms" motion.  That deadline came and went 120+ days ago and it seems like DONE is moving full steam ahead with 2019 NC election cycle outreach, that according to the law, means there can be no changes to the stakeholder definition that's looser than a drunken sailor's stool after three days on shore leave. 

Perhaps Ryu finally got the memo advising him elected city officials should always praise NC's, but NOT actually do anything to help them, as he's batting 1.000 with good intentions, but O-fer in delivering (or hitting a deadline).  Even Wesson at least got NC financial processing yanked from DONE. 

So, with no real reforms happening, Patrice Berlin and Heidi MacKay won't be leading any potential NC candidates down any primrose paths, where they still can still have their reputations bludgeoned by mean spirited folks operating with relative impunity. 

And Grayce Liu still has a job.  Sad.

 

(This advertorial was paid for by the DONE Watch Coalition, founded by Laura Velkei and supported by a coalition of Los Angeles neighborhood council activists.)

-cw