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Letters: "Robust Debate" Led to Santa Monica League's Opposition to LUVE

June 13, 2016

Dear Editor:

Mr. Melkonians' comments in your article of June 8, 2016 indicate that he doesn't understand the process by which the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica decides its positions on local ballot measures ("Santa Monica League of Women Voters Accused of Bias," June 8, 2016).

It's not a vote. We come to consensus. It's more like what you may be familiar with when a jury reaches a verdict.

We study an issue. We look at the history behind a measure, situations in which similar measures have been adopted (or not), and we examine the arguments for it and against it. Then we get together to discuss and debate our proposed position (or proposed decision to not take a position).

This is the procedure we used with regard to the Residocracy Initiative.

And there was a robust debate among members of our board in this case. Had the board members decided they could not or did not support it as a group, we would not have reached consensus. We would instead have declined to take a position.

So Melkonians' assertion that four "votes" were assured just does not make sense in light of the procedure we followed.

The consensus meeting was long and various points of view were fully presented and argued.

Our consensus was based on the authority given us by policy positions developed well before anyone could have even imagined the Residocracy Initiative.

This isn't a matter of a handful of people getting together and voting. It's a much more considered and careful process.

We hope this clarifies at least a part of the way we work and reassures community members that our consensus process is thoughtful, deliberate and well-founded.

Ann K. Williams
Director and former President
League of Women Voters of Santa Monica

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