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Santa Monica Neighborhood Group Has One Board and It Adjourned

August 30, 2012

Dear Editor,

As you know from my previous communication with you, I did adjourn the August 20 Wilmont Board meeting after having been shouted down by the group trying to take us over. I did not fail to adjourn the meeting. The other group refused to clear the room after the meeting was adjourned.

("Letters: There Is Only One Wilmont Board," August 24, 2012) for details on what constitutes a valid adjournment.)

They made it clear that they would not permit us to conduct our business. When I adjourned the meeting, we had not completed our business and needed to process items on our agenda. Therefore, as I explained to you when you called me, I had to adjourn to a defined time and place.

We could not possibly schedule a meeting room in time for me to include it in the adjournment with continuation. I announced that call-in information would be available to anyone who requested it by email. If some people could not hear it over the shouting, they could have emailed a question.

We posted the call-in details as soon as we had them. The details were posted in an event calendar item and are still available on the website. (I would have expected you to look under the Event Calendar menu to verify details before you accuse me of having removed it.) One of the features of our website is the ability to automatically display scheduled events in the future.

Again, the other group was not elected to anything. Next time you communicate with them, ask them how an "election" conducted entirely outside the purview of the Wilshire/Montana Neighborhood Coalition could possibly be valid.

As corporate officers, we are required to protect the integrity of our corporate identity. This includes the Board's power and responsibility to conduct and certify elections to be held only at our own legally-noticed Annual Meetings.

We are "the Board" not "the old board." They are not "newly-elected board members." When you use those terms, you harm our corporate identity.

You can also ask them where and how they organized the submission of their petitions for Board. As you know, the petitions were submitted as a group with each petition signed by very-nearly the same group of people. You can ask how a small, tightly-organized group, operating secretly with no transparency can legitimately complain when the elected Wilmont Board takes legal steps to protect our corporate integrity.

I told you that one of the things that made the meeting horrible was that our secretary had been physically hurt by the action of Mr. Gurfield, who then insisted on occupying a seat at the table with the Board. Her pain contributed to our need to adjourn. You simply quoted me as saying that "it was horrible." without telling anyone what made it horrible.

Mr. Kargl joined Wilmont only a few weeks before filing his petition to run for the Board. He never participated in any known Wilmont activity before becoming part of the group trying to take over our organization. Since then, his brief membership has been terminated. As he knows, he is not in a position to speak for Wilmont members.

You claim that our continued meeting covered topics similar to those discussed by the other group after they forced us to adjourn. There were two significant differences. First, we could, and did, pass resolutions and conduct other business as the Wilmont Board. Second, we did not, and would not, have City Council candidates speaking to us. We cannot endorse candidates for election although we can take a position on ballot measures.

At a recent Neighborhood Council meeting, the subject of candidates at Neighborhood Council and organization meetings was discussed. We are in strong agreement that allowing some, but not all, candidates to speak as meeting guests provides them with an advantage, which could be considered a de facto endorsement.

Our agenda for the conclusion of the meeting did include an update on the Post Office. Unlike the other group, we discussed activities related to the resolution we adopted in April. These activities included legal, public representation of the position of the Wilmont Board.

We also resolved to support the Airport Commission's resolution and the associated CASMAT petition. Because we are the legal Wilmont Board, we can now publicly advocate that position and have communicated to CASMAT.

The other important part of our agenda was discussion of our Annual Meeting. We discussed resolutions to present to our members, deciding on several. We also decided not to provide refreshments at that meeting.

You characterize me as evasive on the subject of our Annual Meeting, spending three paragraphs on my refusal to tell you when and where it will be.

We do intend to hold an Annual Meeting. It will be legally noticed. Based on actions of Mr. Kargl, Mr. Gurfield, and others, security for our members and guests, as well as for ourselves is a matter of concern.

We need to know that our members, particularly those who have been members for many years, will not be injured or intimidated by people seeking to damage our organization. There is nothing less than transparent about not announcing the time and place for a meeting before we are certain of it ourselves.

Valerie Griffin
Board of Directors, Wilshire/Montana Neighborhood Coalition

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