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Hermon Eyes Formation of New Neighborhood Council

A coalition of Hermon residents has been formed with the intent of forming new neighborhood council.

The tiny neighborhood of Hermon, known for its dog park and community church, has recently undertaken the process of forming its own neighborhood council.

According to Wendi Riser's All Things Hermon newsletter, a meeting of Hermon residents was held several weeks ago where the idea of the Highland Park adjacent village establishing its own neighborhood council was discussed.

"There was overwhelming consensus that we should move ahead with the process of creating a brand new neighborhood council--one just for the Hermon community," Riser said in the newsletter.

Riser said a letter of intent regarding Hermon's desire to establish its own neighborhood council was read into the record last month's meeting of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council, of which Hermon is currently a part along with Mount Washington, Montecito Heights, Sycamore Grove and Monterey Hills.

The letter calls for the redrawing of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council's current boundaries so that they would exclude Hermon, paving the way for the formation of the new neighborhood council.

From the letter of intent:

We are aware that the City has not yet established formal policies for creating new neighborhood councils out of existing ones, but believe the department/commission’s existing policies (boundary adjustments, etc.) provide several options for amicably separating a distinct, historic, and identified neighborhood, which includes local L.A. City service providers -- in order to “increase effectiveness and efficiency.”

Our formation group will also, through the “Hermon Local Issues” standing committee of the ASNC shortly make formal motions to have these changes approved by stakeholders of that council, under the ASNC’s “membership business” and bylaws amendment provisions.  We expect one motion will also call for the ASNC to concurrently apply with the commission for a “boundary adjustment,” one that excludes our proposed neighborhood council’s area.

The letter of intent also states that the coalition hopes to have the new neighborhood council ratified in time for Hermon's centennial celebration, to be held in May of 2012.

From the Letter of Intent

Of note -- next year, in May of 2012, the Hermon neighborhood will celebrate its 100th anniversary as a part of the City of Los Angeles, having been incorporated by L.A. in 1912, after being established as an independent township bordered by L.A. and South Pasadena, in 1903.  We would greatly appreciate being able to commemorate that anniversary by also celebrating the successful completion of this certification.

A community meeting to discuss the potentially formaiton of a Hermon Neighborhood Council will be held at on Sunday, December 11 at 4 p.m. at Hermon Community Church on 5718 Monterey Road. 

Budget Battle With ASNC

In November, members of the ASNC's Hermon local issues committee held an emergency meeting “to protest and appeal” a decision by Treasurer Judy Knapton to file expenses related to Hermon Shakeout: The Play——as specific to the community to Hermon.

Joseph Riser--a Hermon resident who sits on the ASNC--said that Knapton’s categorization of the Shakeout expenses as Hermon-specific, rather than attributing them to the ASNC’s public safety committee, paints an unfair and inaccurate picture of the council’s expenditures.

Though the ASNC’s five communities don’t have budgets, Riser said attributing at large expenses to Hermon unfairly reinforces the notion that the small community receives too much funding.

“This has been an effort to paint an unfair picture of how much the community of Hermon receives," riser said in November.

Knapton, who declined to comment for that story, had argued in public meetings that the ASNC's accounting practices need to be updated, as the current system of "subject based budgeted," which relied on community input, was poorly designed.

"The current budget survey is not scientific," Knapton said. "Community members were asked to pick their priorities from a pre-determined list."

Riser declined to comment for this story.

update

Martha Benedict, President of the ASNC, sent the following e-mail when asked to comment on the proposed formation of a Hermon Neighborhood Council.

"I do not speculate about some Hermon community members’ motivation. All I know is what they disclosed at our last ASNC meeting. I don’t have any feelings about the actions of these stakeholders, who are free to pursue what they think is best for them," Benedict said.

ChickenBoyFan December 07, 2011 at 04:12 PM
It's because there is so much grief between "some of the Hermonders" the and the ASNC that they want to splinter off. I have no idea why Neighborhood Councils fight. Egos, Control issues, Not enough attention as a child? What? The HHPNC used to be a once a month brawl. They are very calm now, and nice to people, from what I've seen.
Rob Schraff December 07, 2011 at 06:37 PM
Maybe money and misallocation of funds? Here's the Emergency Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council Agenda for this Saturday at 10AM, mostly having to do with a city audit based on allegations of misappropriation, particularly for "animal welfare": http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ASNCAlert/message/23748 Mr. Riser of Hermon is also protesting the requirement that all ASNC board members take accounting and ethics training. Here's a link to the relevant documents, including claims that the ASNC President Martha Benedict did not sign documents that her signature appears on: http://www.asnc.us/2011-archives/12-Dec/_1211archives.htm
ChickenBoyFan December 07, 2011 at 07:00 PM
I have always wondered how much that dog park cost. I am told it was very expensive.
Rob Schraff December 07, 2011 at 10:04 PM
I don't know about that - although you have to wonder - but most of the wayward bucks seem to have been "accounted" and signed for by Mark Legassie and, at least on the docs provided, Martha Benedict (With the disclaimer on the ASNC web site that, really, she didn't !?) Funny business, either way. But no wonder the Riser's want to start their own neighborhood council - the ASNC has already been tapped out.
Pat Griffith December 08, 2011 at 07:20 AM
What seems to be the most serious issue for the ASNC right now is that several thousand dollars appear to be spent by the Treasurer on items that were neither approved or even discussed by the ASNC Board. And that the documentation approving these expenditures delivered to DONE did not go through the normal oversight of the President's review. As DONE will presumably not be at this meeting, it is unclear what action DONE will be taking, but whatever happened with the ASNC funds needs to be understood at this meeting.
Rob Schraff December 08, 2011 at 04:22 PM
I see these serious issues as interrelated: - Alleged misallocation of funds and possible forgery. (Notice, I say alleged, possible - because to this layman, this really seems like a potentially serious crime if you take a plain look at the documents and claims on the asnc.us website that Ms. Benedict did not sign them.) Should this be prosecuted? Probably not, again in my humble layman's opinion, at least not criminally. But it's at least an amazing display of arrogance and hubris - all too typical of a few ASNC board members who have used the ASNC as an ATM for their pet causes. (Can we at least get our "thousands" back?) - The controversy surrounding this same individual and the Hermon shakeout, a continuation of years of funding by the ASNC and city of "Hermon" projects driven by the Risers - The "Hermon" Dog Park, The "Hermon" Garden, "Hermon" Monument (sic) Sign, etc, using as justification the highly problematic "budget survey" mentioned in related Patch articles. Indeed, I am now wondering how these "surveys" were conducted, and who tabulated and reported results? The ASNC Treasurer, perhaps? - The Risers' expressions of growing frustration with the examination of funding going to Hermon from the ASNC and their desire to create their own neighborhood council.

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