Chairwoman of Wilmont's Old Guard Resigns

The election of 10 new members to the neighborhood coalition's governing board prompts its leader of more than two years to step down. "Leaving is painful," she says.

Two days after a fringe group won seats on the Wilshire Montana Neighborhood Coalition's Board of Directors, chairwoman Valerie Griffin stepped down, saying she wouldn't work in harmony with leaders she accused of "ignoring laws and transparency."

The newly-elected members of the "rebel group" have made similar criticisms of Griffin. 

Approaching her third year at the helm, Griffin announced her immediate resignation late Monday. "I cannot be part of a Board [of Directors] who have treated Wilmont, other Board members, and me the way we have been treated publicly, in email, and in the press," she wrote in her letter of resignation.

Griffin wrote in an accompanying email that "leaving is painful."

Her decision comes after the coalition's membership voted on Saturday to "forgive and forget the misbehavior" of some 15 members of a faction called the Wilmont Rebels, some of whom were subsequently voted onto the Board of Directors, the Santa Monica Outlook reported

The rebels had conducted a provisional election in June that Griffin challenged as a violation of the coalition's bylaws. Their memberships were terminated.

Many of them sought election this year after learning the coalition's board had voted to endorse a major renovation and expansion of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. If ultimately approved by the Santa Monica City Council, the redo will be the biggest development project the neighborhood has seen in many years.

See also: Council Green-lights Miramar Development Talks

At the same meeting the rebels were forgiven, the membership also voted to reinstate the rebels' memberships and rescind the endorsement of the hotel's renovation. 

In her letter of resignation, Griffin questioned the legality of Saturday's meeting, saying the actions were not properly noticed.

At the 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," she wrote.

"I cannot be part of a Board of Directors elected under those conditions," her letter continued.

It was unclear who would take the reins in her absence.

Brenda Barnes October 24, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I think I don't know Valerie Griffin or any of the other people involved in this. However, any neighborhood group claiming to represent the neighborhood that voted to approve the Miramar expansion and complete change of character was completely out of touch with the tenor of the times, to say the least. I also think all the neighborhood associations in SM need to stop taking money from the City. Their independence as long as they are funded by the current corrupt administration, which will approve and in fact encourage any development project conceivable, is very suspect.
Brenda Barnes October 25, 2012 at 07:24 AM
Amazingly, the current Council wants SM to become BOTH the world's smallest ginormous tourist attraction, AND Manhattan at the Pacific, the latter encompassing Silicon Beach AND Miami Beach West. All in less than nine square miles. It is also a beggar-thy-neighbor policy, creating no new business, instead just poaching from neighboring cities. Given a better offer, such footloose capital will move on again., And once SM destroys its character, becoming an amusement park instead of its historic unique self, the tourists will move on, too. Good luck to us in getting rid of everyone who voted for and supports these ridiculous projects. If it had to begin with Valerie Griffin, so be it. Next: Gleam Davis and Terry O'Day, and Shari Davis who aligned herself with them, plus Ted Winterer and Richard McKinnon, who sent these projects from the Planning Commission without standing up in outrage. It's time for new people who had nothing to do with these approvals and have taken no money or support from developers. Bob Seldon and Jon Mann have agreed to sign a commitment to rescind approvals of destroying Village Trailer Park, moving the Senior Center from Ocean Avenue, and increasing Miramar size and character. I am sure John C. Smith will also sign on. Armen Merkelians has a plan to create a sustainable city without developer money. I think these four are our best bet not to have to fight unlawful developments in court one at a time.


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