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ASNC Votes to Oppose Huizar's Subdivision Motion

ASNC President Martha Benedict says she is opposed to Hermon forming its own neighborhood council.

The Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council (ASNC) voted on Monday evening to submit a community impact statement opposing a motion drafted by Councilman José Huizar that would establish a procedure though which neighborhood councils could be subdivided.

The motion to submit the community impact statement--written by ASNC member Jack Fong--passed by a vote of 10 to five with two abstentions.

Huizar's motion, which has been referred to the City Council's education and neighborhoods committee, appears to open the door for Hermon to form its own neighborhood council distinct from the ASNC. Members of that community have been pushing for such a subdivision for more than a year.

The ASNC currently represents five communities: Hermon, Mount Washington, Sycamore Grove, Montecito Heights and Monterey Hills. Supporters of the Hermon subdvision say that their community has outgrown the ASNC and is in need of more local representation.

ASNC President Martha Benedict said she was in favor of submitting a community impact statement that opposed Huizar's motion, becuase she feels the neighborhood council system is most effective when communities work together instead of splintering.

"I voted for [Jack Fong's] motion because I see no value in separating Hermon from ASNC. Every neighborhood probably has a faction who feel they aren’t getting their way. If each of them were to get their own neighborhood council, the neighborhood council system would collapse," she said. "The goal of neighborhood councils is to find consensus within divergent views. The neighborhood councils are organized around representative democracy. We will never all agree, but our neighborhoods will be strengthened if we make the effort to work together. It is very hard to build unity and very easy to tear it down."

Joseph Riser, a Hermon resident and the Sycamore Grove geographical representative on the ASNC, voted against Fong's motion. He said it does not take into considering the overwhelming desires of the Hermon community, or the ASNC at large.

"Outside of separate meetings in Hermon--where many hundreds of people have been informed--there's been no attempt to inform the vast majority of ASNC stakeholders of the issues surrounding Hermon's overwhelming desire to leave the ASNC structure, or to see if they would support it, oppose it, or just not care either way," Riser said.

Alex S Bowman November 29, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Before negative and rude replies to this post are written, I want to ask each one of you, "Should you be fairly represented?" There was a lot of controversy concerning the previous ASNC Treasurer that lives in Hermon and many people have decided that the Riser family are their enemies, but should the Hermon community as a whole suffer because of personal feelings and alleged misconduct (innocent until proven guilty)? If the Hermon community can be fairly represented within the ASNC, it should stay, but if it cannot be represented, it should fight for it's right to have an unfiltered voice to City Hall.
The MOG November 29, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Alex, Hermon does not have a filtered voice on the ASNC. They have an equal one. Hermon is not big enough to warrant an independent NC. There are other communities bigger, and stronger, that do not have thier own NC. The clamour for an independent Hermon NC is coming from a small corner, of a tiny neighborhood, and a small group of individuals, whose motives and competency has been brought into serious question. Hermon is better served staying within the greater ASNC.
Alice M. November 29, 2012 at 09:29 PM
I think this one's pretty obvious from the statements here, friends. One side, which voted to oppose even considering the possibility of subdivision is saying, "'This is what (me, myself & I) feel is best for all of you.' The other is asking, 'What do our constituents themselves say about it?' That the president - who is not from the community in question - sees 'no value' in this isn't surprising. People already in power almost never see the value of others becoming empowered. In fact, they're usually threated by any move in that direction, and act quickly and reactively to shut it down. (Don't we already have a group elected, by a whole lot more votes, who see it as their job to ignore us - called the City Council?) Without ever bothering to take things like this to the grass roots of each community, a neighborhood council just seems redundant to that.
Alex S Bowman November 29, 2012 at 09:52 PM
MOG, Have you attended an ASNC meeting lately? Why would I consider Hermon's voice filtered? When there was an opening for a Hermon Representative seat last year, many people from Hermon came and made public comments in favor of a Hermon local that is very involved within the Hermon, the Hermon Local Issues Committee voted to have this person represent them yet the non-Hermon board members voted for a Hermon resident who has ties to a certain non-profit like many of the members of the ASNC. Yes, Hermon is small but not tiny. It is larger in population then Monterey Hills yet Monterey Hills seems to hold more power. The percentage of voters vs stakeholders for Hermon was above all of the other communities within the ASNC which makes it seem to be the strongest community with it's boundaries. If you have attended a Hermon Local Issues Committee meeting (the largest Local Issues meeting in the ASNC), you would know that nearly all of the residents support a Hermon NC. Whose motives are you referring to? The Risers? Mark Legassie? I have been involved within the Hermon community for years and the Risers have help make Hermon a community of doers and not just watchers. Did you bother to read DONE's report about Legassie or did you listen to someone that might gain from Legassie's name being tarnished? What would happen if the ASNC board had an outside group to survey the people of the ASNC to see if people cared about Hermon leaving the ASNC and being its own NC?
Mark Legassie November 29, 2012 at 11:50 PM
[Following was copied from another article on Huizar's Subdivision Motion since it's relevant to this one as well] Why does everyone care if Hermon splits off? What's so bad about it? This whole dissension is ridiculous when you think of it. The board members of the non-Hermon communities are acting schizophrenic -- on one hand they don't like Hermon and show it by bullying, blocking all Hermon's funding requests, and blindly voting against any Hermon motion. On the other hand they are stating they don't want Hermon to leave the ASNC and can't live without us. Isn't that two-faced and contradictory? You can't have it both ways, guys. Take your pick and support one side. As it stands now, it's glaringly apparent that these board members' schizophrenic approach is merely a tactic (not even a clever one) to punish Hermon by keeping them under a tight chain and denying any attempts at progress. Their actions in this matter remind me of defiant schoolchildren and hurt the integrity of the ASNC, which is now considered THE laughing stock of Northeast LA (ever since the change in officers occurred last year).
David Lyttle November 30, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I see no value……….. What is of no value to Martha may be beneficial to Hermon. What is of benefit to Hermon may not be of value to Martha.
Christopher Kelly December 01, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Seems simple to me. Let the people of Hermon vote on it. If we choose to form our own NC, then so be it.
nonoise December 02, 2012 at 06:42 AM
Just another $50,000 to throw around to organizations that beg for money. Some organizations do deserve the money. But the NC job is just to be a cash cow and nothing else. Take the money away and then you can have an NC on every block if you want one.
Alice M. December 02, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Interesting idea, Mr. Kelly. . . a "PLEBISCITE" or "a vote by which the people of an entire country or district express an opinion for or against a proposal especially on a choice of government or ruler." [Merriam Webster] Seems like that would answer the question of whether this is simply a "faction who feel they aren't getting their way" as the president suggests, or the "overwhelming desires" of a community that "nearly all residents support" as stated here by other who actually attend their community meetings. But then, maybe the ASNC board can't "handle the truth" (sorry, Jack!) ... which might come from that? (Origin of PLEBISCITE: "Latin plebis scitum - law voted by the comitia, literally, a "decree of the common people.")

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