The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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I Resign As Chair of Wilmont

October 22, 2012

To whom it may concern:

I became Chair of the Wilshire/Montana Neighborhood Coalition in January, 2010. Jeanne Dodson resigned abruptly at the December Board meeting, gave me the password to an email account, and went on vacation.

Since that time, I have endeavored to provide community and organizational leadership, even while I was learning how to do that job. I relied on the other members of the Wilmont Board for help and support. Several people started attending meetings, participating in discussion and helping with the organization. As a result, they were offered positions on the Board. Historically, that's how new members have been recruited.

Last May, when we became aware of a takeover attempt against the Wilmont Board. In June, our Community Meeting was threatened and overtaken. It was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life and led to an illegal election. Since, we have had to focus on legal aspects of running our nonprofit corporation. We had to terminate the people who he held the illegal election. Their subsequent behavior made it even more obvious that they did not support the purposes of our organization.

If they had waited, and even helped us conduct a valid Annual Meeting, with an election, some of them could already have been constructive members on a productive Board. It was clear that the attitude of many of these people was that they didn't care what was transparent or legal. All they wanted was "victory now." One of the dangers of mob rule is that people in the mob can confuse their actions with "democracy" after they run off anyone who disagrees with them.

One of the most important things we learned was how important legal notification is for the conduct of a transparent Annual Meeting. Our Bylaws need to tell the Board how to comply with the California Corporations Code. We created a significant revision of our existing Bylaws. Yes, they're longer. That's because so much was left out of the existing Bylaws!

For the first time I know of, we sent out an accurate, legal Notification of the Annual Meeting. Two people applied for the open Board positions. I commend Ivan Perkins and Laurence Eubank who ensured that all of our members could know who had applied and what they could bring to the organization.

At the Annual Meeting, it became obvious that a majority did not care what was legal. They wanted to rescind membership terminations, enlarge the Board, and elect people without providing legal notification to the membership. Earlier, the membership had voted to hold a Special Meeting to deal with Bylaws changes. It was suggested that it would be better, and completely legal, to include these actions at the Special Meeting. The Parliamentarian stated that the actions did not appear to be legal, and would have to be determined by legal counsel.

I cannot be part of a Board of Directors elected under those conditions. I cannot be on a Board with people who have treated Wilmont, other Board members, and me the way we have been treated publicly, in email, and in the press. I know that a majority wants to ignore the legal requirements and associated transparency.

Therefore, I am resigning from the Board of the Wilshire/Montana Board of Directors effective immediately. I will make myself available for a two-month transition period as described in the Bylaws.

Valerie Griffin

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