Democracy, the OB Town Council, and Grassroots Activism

by on August 26, 2010 · 20 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Election, Ocean Beach, Organizing

OB Town Council ballot annou Aug 2010

Here is the official OB Town Council Elections announcement, released August 20, 2010. Notice my name, Frank Gormlie, listed as an official candidate.

Last night at their packed public meeting, I pleaded with the Ocean Beach Town Council to allow me to remain a candidate on their ballot for the annual Board election which has just begun.

They didn’t, and without a discussion or even a vote among Board members, Town Council president Jim Musgrove ruled against me.  Jim Musgrove came into the meeting having already made up his mind: Gormlie was off the ballot.

In the amidst of their agenda, the Council slid into their advertised “Candidate Forum” during which the six remaining candidates – all incumbents and with four of them having originally been appointed – gave very brief statements asking the audience for their vote. One candidate was missing (Dan Allemeier) and the other non-incumbent (Scott Therkalsen) had bowed out of the race.  So that left six candidates for seven open seats.  But no questions were asked for or given during the candidate section of the agenda.

That was not a “forum,” my friends.

The fact that I might have gotten elected to the Board must have freaked out Jim Musgrove and his friends on the Board.  He must have ensured that his friends were present, so the Board had 12 out of 14 Directors present (they often only have 9), most ready to back Musgrove no matter what he said or did.

There had originally been eight candidates for the seven open seats in the Council’s annual election. And I was one of them.  Having joined the OBTC over 3 months ago as an Ocean Beach businessowner (my business, the OB Rag) my dues had been accepted and no limitations placed on me voting (in fact I just received an email ballot today – Thursday 8/26 – and I sent it back blank).  When the call went out for candidates, I urged our readers and friends to run.  No one stepped forward, so I decided to run as a business owner. My letter of intent was accepted on August 16th as required, and the Town Council sent out their “official” ballot and I was on it, including my candidates statement.

But then, throwing a wrench into the works, Scott Therkalsen – the other non-incumbent – took his own name off the ballot for personal reasons.  That left seven candidates for seven seats – I was assured a seat at that moment.  That is when Musgrove had to scramble. He had Nancy Vaughn, the elections coordinator, do some research and look into the bylaws – or something – because Tuesday morning Vaughn called me to tell me I was not eligible because my business did not have a physical location in the 92107 zip code area.

So, on the eve of the elections, I am kicked off the ballot. They had originally accepted my candidacy and waited over a week to bring down the curtain on my great political career.

Let’s repeat this: it was not until it looked like I was certain to be elected to the Board that they moved to eliminate me.

Back at last nights meeting, after the other candidates gave little spiels, I stood up to be recognized, and made my argument to be included on the ballot.

With my laptop in my hand, I tried to explain that “this is my business, a cyber-business. My business is on this laptop, and it goes where I go.  Tonight,” I said, “it’s in Ocean Beach.”  I made a comment that I’m standing up for every mobile office, every consultant who doesn’t have a physical location for their businesses.

When it became evident that the Board was not going to accept this argument, I pulled out a signed commercial lease agreement that I had recently signed with a storefront on Voltaire Street.  I handed it to Musgrove. But that wasn’t enough.  Vaughn chimed in, “he didn’t have it on the 16th.”  So that was it.

Musgrove took a number of questions from the audience, and most asked about the election procedures and the bylaws, and most seemed supportive of my efforts.  Some complained – including myself – that the Council’s bylaws were not being made available.  In fact, at one point during the back and forth, Dave Martin, a long-time Board member made a statement, that because the OBTC is a private corporation, they normally don’t give out the bylaws to non-members.

So, without a Board discussion of my arguments, and without a public vote on it, Musgrove ruled against me. Finally I did walk out of the room with about half dozen supporters.  Others who had told me they supported me, said they needed to stay as their groups were receiving grant funds from the Council later on the agenda.

Earlier this month during a secret meeting, the Town Council had voted on who to give grant awards to.  The OB Rag had submitted a request back in mid-June for money for a new digital camera – we had actually been encouraged to do so by a couple of Board members. But in the end, by a secret vote of 5 to 4, the Board decided not to grant us any money.

With these decisions, it has become increasingly clear that there is a large faction on the Town Council who simply don’t like me, don’t like my politics, don’t like the OB Rag – and they don’t like us because we raise some “negative” issues – like homelessness in Ocean Beach. (We raise many positive issues as well, by the way.)

I’m really at a loss to figure out why there is so much hatred on the Board. Some fear I would have destroyed or taken over the Town Council. This is so far-fetched it doesn’t deserve a response.  But I and this blog/ website have raised issues before the Council, have encouraged OB citizens to attend their meetings and get involved.  Normally, there isn’t that much interest in the Council, and not that many folks attend their public get togethers. But the Rag has galvanized locals to attend and packed their meetings on at least three other occasions – not including last night.

Last night, there were about 60 people in the audience, including 8 who work for government who attended to give reports. (Late comers had to unfold their own chairs, as the Board had not expected that many to attend.)

In the end, the action by the Board last night was certainly un-democratic; it violated their own Mission Statement advertised on their (out of date) website. It was in violation of the spirit of cooperation, fairness, and openness.

The Town Council Is a Little Club

The Ocean Beach Town Council, in fact, has become a little club.  It doesn’t have that many members (3 of my friends joined last night); there is so little interest or caring for the organization in this community, that the Council has not had sufficient candidates to run to fill their seats; this allows friends on the Board to appoint their own friends.  This is cronyism.   The Board has ceased to represent Ocean Beach as a whole.  Overall the Town Council does some good things, around the holidays, the street fair and such. But in terms of truly and genuinely representing an entire community – they have failed.  They have failed because they don’t want anyone on it that goes against what the majority feel is their sandbox.

This is all very petty, and someone said, “this is petty, sandbox politics.”  But it’s also grassroots politics – and for a democracy to work, there has to be democracy at the grassroots level, at the village level.  Sure, the Town Council is a “private” corporation, a non-governmental organization.  And sure Jim Musgrove can have his way, have his little club.  And he’s entitled to it – he’s entitled to have a little club – call it the “Jim Musgrove & Friends Club” – there they can make any rules they want, help or assist anyone they want, go about their own business without interference from the rest of us. But listen, go do that, just don’t call it the “Ocean Beach Town Council.” OB deserves better than to have a little club represent us.  We need a representative body – and this ain’t it.

Why I should have been on the ballot

In case you’re interested, here are a few points in favor of keeping me on the ballot:

Election Procedure was violated by the OBTC

  • My voting membership accepted in May, my dues accepted and cashed.
  • My Candidate Letter was timely and accepted on August 16
  • My name was on the Official Election Announcement sent out

Business Qualifies to be an Ocean Beach business

  • The OB Rag has a PO Box and bank account in Ocean Beach – under one interpretation at least, PO Boxes are accepted under California Civil law to be addresses for businesses;  apparently during last nights meeting, elections coordinator Nancy Vaughn didn’t know that OB PO boxes have a “92167” zip code.  Which is what the Rag PO box has.  Is this why she ruled against us?
  • The OB Rag had signed a commercial lease agreement with an OB business/ storefront on Voltaire to allow it to have an Ocean Beach address;
  • The OB Rag, a cyber business, an internet business, a mobile business, is a legitimate OB business;
  • Half of our readership are OB residents;
  • The OB Rag runs advertisements for OB businesses;
  • The website promotes OB businesses and remarkable members of the community;
  • The OB Rag sells Ocean Beach merchandise;
  • The OB Rag reports on Ocean Beach events, meetings, and issues
  • The OB Rag has assisted, led, been instrumental in graffiti clean-ups, the clean-up last year of the Veterans Memorial, the cleaning of an elderly, disabled Point Loma man’s house, saving the OB Library, OB firepits, alley clean-ups, community forums;

The Town Council could have waived their bylaws for an exceptional situtation

  • As any organization is allowed, the OBTC could have waived their strict guidelines for business membership;
  • Since the issue of a cyber business is new and cutting-edge, the bylaws pertain to old definitions of businesses;
  • What the OB Rag has contributed to the community of Ocean Beach
  • My own decades-long involvement in this community; I was the Chair of the OB Planning Board, have sat on it for 3 years; I was a founding member of the OB Community Planning Group – a forerunner of the Planning Board – and was deeply involved in getting the City to allow for the OBPB back in the mid-Seventies; was a founder and chair of the OB Grassroots Organization which worked with the City Council to determine whether the old waste dump next to SeaWorld was leaking toxins.

OB Grassroots Activism Continues

This is not the first time a chair of the OB Town Council has stood in the way of community fairness and genuine representation of the neighborhood. At least three times in the past, locals have run against the intransigence of a backward or retrograde Board, or the chairs of the Board by their own actions made themselves the issue.  In 1970, Dick Rideneour rode roughshod over the Town Council; in 1972 the chair was Bob Miller, a member of an extreme rightwing organization called Posse Comitatus, and who caused a huge stir by openly calling for the expulsion of demonstrators coming to San Diego for the 1972 Republican Convention and their OB hippie friends.  Then again earlier in this century, OBGO activists tried in vain to work with the OBTC.

As long as the Ocean Beach Town Council has the name of this community in their title, they must be representative of the neighborhood that they say they stand for, and must present a local face of democracy.  It has failed in both of these counts.

To this day, the Board has still not opened their bylaws to show me just exactly what I violated by running as a candidate.   They need to be much more transparent.

The Town Council continues to hold secret meetings and take secret votes – that the community is not privy to – where the Board members talk openly of things, issues and individuals that they want to keep out of the public’s ear.

Open up, Town Council.  Stop your secret meetings. Display your secret bylaws for everyone to see.  Represent the entire community – even those you disagree with.  You must do this, and it’s up to the citizens to ensure you do this.

Or – and there is a way out of this for you – quit using the name of our community.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jack August 26, 2010 at 1:31 pm

You do not reside in Ocean Beach, own property in Ocean Beach or have a business in Ocean Beach (Lemon Grove is not Ocean Beach). Case closed! Quit your sobbing!

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Au contraire, mon ami. I do have a business in Ocean Beach. Thanks for coming on to our website – my OB business – and leaving your opinion.

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avatar Abby August 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm

It’s not called “Lemon Grove Rag”.

The OB rag has been a part of this town for almost as long as I’ve been alive. It showcases the things that make OB a wonderful place to live. It allows those traveling abroad a chance to check in an alleviate a little homesickness. It reminds me on a daily basis that there are still people in the world who care deeply for people and things bigger than themselves.

The Rag and it’s staff have selflessly worked to make OB a better place, cleaning up trash, painting over graffiti and working on local events.

Local businesses advertise on this site, and the Rag regularly promotes local businesses and events.

It is an important part of this town. It is in every way an OB business, made for the people of OB by the people of OB.

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 26, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Obviously, as I said above, the town council does some good things – like handing out grant awards to OB groups that need resources, like the Planning Board, the Historical Society and Friends of the OB Library. Where the board as a whole fails, however, is in standing up to its chair or president Jim Musgrove. To allow him to get away with what he did last night is a failure of democratic leadership. If you’re going to be a leader of this community, you must stand up for what is fair and decent and stand up against the dictatorial machinations of small-minded people who block democratic processes.

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avatar Danny Morales August 26, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Do the above findings bring us at the threshold to sue? Did the head of the TC create a liability by his actions? What recourse does an aggrieved party have regarding the actions of a recognized community organization? How many more such complaints might there be in Our Beach town? “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”, Frank!

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp August 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Frank,

They sure do link to the obrag.org a lot on their Facebook page.

-Ian

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avatar Jon August 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Yes, and they also list their “location” as P.O. Box 7225.

“Hypocrisy: Prejudice with a halo”
-Ambrose Bierce

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avatar Doug Card August 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm

This discussion of the OBTC board “election” has been terrific, a real sign there is still a vibrant interest in grass roots democracy in OB. Cheers for all who have posted comments on these two blogs.

Having been on the first Ocean Beach Planning Board in 1976 as well as the prior committee which drew up the procedures for the first OBPB election, I’m fascinated by all the comments on this item and Frank Gormlie’s other column on the OBTC election.
While most of our original ground rules for the OBPB seem to have lasted the test of time, I guess I should apologize for not having written a rule to cover cyber businesses— which hadn’t even been dreamed of in those days. :-)

We created those procedures out of a sense of inclusiveness, fairness and common sense, something seemingly absent in today’s OBTC’s handling of Gormlie’s case. We recognized even at that time that the OBTC, though active in some good community projects, was sometimes elitist and exclusionary, and we were determined that OB should be represented by a planning board which represented all the people of OB, not just those who favored much more development.
A representative of the OBPB has commented, on the other blog, that he would not have accepted Frank as a voter or candidate in an OBPB election. I would like to think that today’s OBPB and OBTC would sit down and write some new rules to apply across the board to all future cyber businesses, again using inclusiveness, fairness and common sense as the criteria. In the case of the OBPB, the only question would be which district that person would vote or run in. FRANKly, it’s hard enough getting good people to volunteer their time and energy in community organizations these days, and turning away enthusiastic volunteers over some procedural mini-detail is counter-productive.

Rather than squabbling over this issue of cyber business and community, I’d recommend that Ocean Beach folks use this current issue to discuss the link between the communities of cyber space, which typically have no actual geographic local, and traditional geographic-based communities such as OB and Lemon Grove, which do. It’s a fascinating sociological and political science question, with the OB Rag being a perfect example of what happens when questions of cyberspace and geography collide. Some concerns are real, others apparently not. I doubt, for example, that there would be a serious problem of phonies rushing to rent post office boxes just to vote in a community election.

I admire Gormlie for injecting more diversity, interest and enthusiasm in to the OBTC than it has seen for a while, though I still wonder how Frank, the ultimate OB symbol, could have moved out, especially as he still operates the OB Rag.

Though I’ve been gone for many a year, I love the Rag’s take on various OB and SD issues. While I may be up in Oregon, I still feel connected to the OB community thanks to the Rag. I must add, though, in reply to a comment on the other blog that “hippies” are supposedly disappearing from Eugene, as they are SD, that the counterculture is still alive and well around Eugene, in such institutionalized organizations as the Saturday Market, Oregon Country Fair, and Neighborhood Leaders Council. They, like OB, have learned to bend and grow with the times, keeping the idealistic spirit of the’60s and ’70s alive and viable in today’s fast changing world.
All the best to the OBPB, OBTC, OBRag, and the rest of your unique community.

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 26, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Doug Card – great to hear from you again. Your insight from afar is enlightening. For readers unaware of whom Doug is, besides being on the very first OB Planning Board, he was an important activist of the OB Community Planning Group – the forerunner to the OBPB, and a founder of Common Ground, an attempt to unite the different beach communities when they all were in the same city council district.

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avatar Seth August 27, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Appreciate the post, Doug. Those are very nice thoughts. Please allow me to clarify my comment in that other thread about hypothetically not even allowing Frank to vote in an OBPB election by virtue of claiming the Rag as an OB business. Speaking only for myself, and for that board or anyone on it.

First, the public record would show that my own election to the board was a rather contested one that ended up in the City Attorney’s Office. One specific complaint was that voters who lacked proper documentation were turned away rather selectively. Or, in other words, those with more familiar faces were said to be held to a lesser standard than those who were less familiar to those at the polls. I can’t speak to that, but hypothetically, that would possibly/likely be more discriminatory towards (commercial) property owners that might not be in OB on a daily basis. My opinion is that this would not be acceptable, and that the board and co-election chairs of the next year’s election (of which I was one), wanted to just take that off the table the next time. I personally feel that we did, although 4 voters were turned away (one was a current member of the OBTC and OBMA, who quite justifiably reminded me of doing so other night, lol).

Second, the OBPB’s bylaws are pretty explicit about eligibility, for both election candidates and voters. In my own opinion, turning people away was intended to enhance democracy, rather than detract from it. I personally wanted people to vote, but in a fair election. And because parameters were explicitly defined, it would not have been a subjective decision to turn Frank away as a candidate or voter in that particular OBPB election. No gray area existed in that hypothetical. He would not have been eligible by virtue of not having a business license for the Rag.

Third, I can’t speak to the OBTC in this context. Never seen their bylaws, so just speculating here. I’d guess that this sort of thing is similar for them, but different. My personal opinion is that by their nature they are probably a lot less at risk than the OBPB for liability or having elections end up in the City Attorney’s Office, but they do handle more money than us (which they generously share with many community groups), and no question that possible litigation was at least mentioned during this whole shebang at various points. So who am I to judge their interpretation of eligibility, especially given how much good work they do in the community (which should really be the focus of any and all discussion of them once we get past talking about whether or not Frank got screwed)?

Last, hope you are enjoying the last few days of sunshine in Oregon this year. Beautiful place, but you can keep that weather!

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avatar Danny Morales August 28, 2010 at 8:35 am

Seth-THE OBPB IS IN APPARENT VIOLATION OF CITY COUNCIL POLICY AND THE BOARD’S OWN BYLAWS! I really would like to see the public record of your election to the board and your voting record for that matter. However in previous requests to the board and the city for access to board records I have been referred to the board’s website. Council policy (600-24, Art.VI sec.2 ss.(d)iv.) and the Bylaws of the OB Planning Board [Art.VI sec.5 ss.(d)] is specific about retention of records and not only the method of records retention but the board records themselves appear to fall short of the requirements of both council policy and the board’s bylaws.
We’ll see at the next available board meeting wether or not the board is even willing to make their records open to the public. From my last request before the board it appears that that the OBPB like the OB Town Council is willing to skirt the threshold of open, honest community oriented service. We’ll see…

Danny

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Seth, hey that story about the voting is verrrrry interesting. Care to elaborate? Oh, never mind – we don’t need to rehash an old controversy – or do we? I had never heard about it and would like to hear more details. Anyhow, I’ve enjoyed your participation on the Planning Board and your comments here. ANd thanks for sharing your perspectives on the various happenings.

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avatar Seth August 28, 2010 at 5:10 pm

To Danny: You are absolutely right. While our minutes are with one lone exception complete (written minutes for a Project Review Committee meeting last summer accidentally got thrown out within my household), the website is a mess and has not been updated. As Secretary, that is more my fault than anyone else’s. I will collaborate a bit and work on having much improvement in time for Wednesday’s General Meeting.

To Frank: Nothing too crazy. I had just moved to OB after getting a masters in urban planning and saw an article on the front page of the Beacon about how they needed candidates for the OBPB. I figured it was a great way to help out my new community while also getting some helpful experience in my new field. I ran against Dr. Ben-Moshe and beat him in a close race, in large part to support I had from Craig and Julie Klein. Probably fair to say that there was a lot of mistrust on both sides, but I think it was unfounded, personally. I really don’t see Dr. Ben-Moshe as trying to sell out OB and make Newport Ave all corporate. He’s a nice guy, actually, and my wife is very happy as one of his customers. And for my part, I know that I am a committed community member and not just some stand-in. I know that has been thrown out there before, but bottom line is that if Julie wanted that seat on the board back, all she would have to do is run for it. She is very in touch with people on Newport Ave and would basically crush anyone else out there in an election — her husband included!

If that is what Danny is getting at above in questioning my election and voting record, I can just save him some time and say that I vote pretty similarly to Craig and some others on the board, mostly because we share a lot of common ground on how we view OB and to some extent because we represent the same people. But I have not voted right down the line with Craig, even on projects by the architect who designed the Saratoga and Abbott condos. Just not what I am about.

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Thanks to Brenda we have the Pacific Beach Town Council’s bylaws – here’s what she posted in another article:
…………………………..
Pacific Beach’s by-laws which are available to the public.

I believe the PB Toown Council by-laws are a good example of providing guidelines on how to deal with two issues at last night’s OBTC meeting: 1) how to handle a controversial issue and 2) membership qualifications.

Perhaps we might consider revising the OBTC by-laws to include a section similiar to the following paragraph in PBTC’s by-laws:

“Any motion made in a general meeting that is deemed a controversial issue may be tabled to allow for a mail-in ballot to include the entire membership. The President will recommend a mail-in ballot vote for the topic with approval by majority of board members present at the general meeting.”

Secondly, as to membership, PB’s membership requirements are the following:

“Qualifications–Any person over sixteen (16) years of age, firm, corporation, partnership, or estate, who lives, works, owns property, operates a business or has an interest in Pacific Beach may become a member by paying dues, unless previously suspended for other than non-payment of dues. Classes of membership and dues shall be prescribed by the Board of Directors and recorded in the Standing Rules.”
…………………………..
Did you get that? anyone who “lives, works, owns property, operates a business or has an interest in Pacific Beach may become a member…”

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avatar Seth August 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Brief thoughts from someone who attended:

* There really are a lot of people on the OBTC that I like and respect. I don’t know all of them, but collectively it is a group of good people who do good things. Any criticism I have then or now should be taken with that bigger picture in mind.

* Frank is also a good person who does good things. He is representative of an activist community that would seem to me to be an important part of OB’s history. In my opinion, a healthy community group reflects the scope of entire community it serves, and I am hopeful that this whole dust-up ends up with a healthy resolution eventually.

* I went into the meeting figuring the board’s bylaws likely explicitly and clearly defined what an “OB business” was, and further, that Frank likely did not meet this definition by virtue of running this blog. While the board is absolutely within its rights to define for themselves any ambiguity in their own bylaws, and (apparently) even to not provide them to the public, I’m not gonna lie. Their repeated refusal to display or cite those bylaws set my BS detector off a little bit, and gave me the impression that the definition of an “OB business” was likely NOT that explicitly and clearly defined in their bylaws. But whether that definition was explicit or ambiguous, I won’t argue the interpretation of his eligibility, or their right to do so. Their board, their rules, and I respect their decision.

* The bigger question to me is whether Frank was a special circumstance that merited some sort of exception, especially in light of him not potentially displacing another eligible candidate. Surely debatable, but personally, I think he does. I understand the argument made about setting precedent for exceptions to board bylaws, but this isn’t the same thing as someone spending a few years living in the Mission District in SF before moving 500 miles away (no disrespect to that guy or his valid point, just rebutting to it from cyberspace). Frank has been involved in OB for over 40 years, and still is today with this blog. I’m far from being in charge about who is or is not “OB”, but moving a short car ride away to Lemon Grove a few months ago shouldn’t revoke his “local card” from where I sit. You can make a strong case for why he merited a break on the eligibility thing, and especially if the definition of “OB business” was in fact ambiguously defined. The board felt otherwise, and I respect that as well. As I said earlier, all of these people are ones who volunteer their own time and effort to serve the community, and I applaud them for that.

Anyhow, not mad, just disappointed and offering my two cents (again). I’ll stop now before I get to the dime.

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avatar OB Lawyer August 27, 2010 at 10:25 am

I was also in attendance Wed night and would like to put some comments here with these above. I will clearly mark my opinions with IMO…the rest will be my unbiased assessment of the events I witnessed because I don’t represent either the council or the blog.

As noted above, the script was indeed written in advance and somewhat played out in a theatrical manner on Wed night. Each side needing to build their case. Although somewhat interesting that the SDPD blatantly interrupted two times what I felt was a fairly civil exchange between Mr. Gormlie and Mr. Musgrove, it was an almost courtroom exchange between the two albeit clearly the conflict was between those two gentlemen and NOT Gormlie vs. the entire Council.

After thinking this through some and doing only a small amount of research. Here are some comments.

Since the organization is not subject to the Brown Act or other legal recourse except for themselves, it might not owe any answers to the public on how it acts (although this might disenfranchise their members). We are talking about what is WISE or BEST versus “any other” decision a group could make. In this case, only time will tell if the group made the BEST decision to support their goals.

IMO. It was my perception of the events and body language of the group that some kind of decision had indeed been made to make Frank ineligible from running and further that the decision was made to not budge at the meeting. Since Mr. Musgrove was left with the burden of delivering the message, which was spotty and somewhat clumsy because none of us have the benefit of seeing these bylaws, then I can only guess that he had the backing of his fellow board members prior to proceeding or he wouldn’t have taken such a risk on this issue. Although, it should be clear that at no point did it sound like there was a meeting of the council to discuss the issue or that a vote ever took place. Again, only a risky move for an executive IF Musgrove didn’t contact the group privately to ensure his safety. At more than one point, Mr. Musgrove gave looks to certain members of the board when asked if they would consider either suspending their bylaws (which are still not available to anyone to interpret. Note: I find it somewhat unfair to NON-incumbents are not allowed to see the bylaws in advance of the elections in order to ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements. How would the rest of us determine if we are eligible? Are we to assume that we apply for candidacy, run a campaign, and then get told on the eve of the election that we aren’t eligible by ruling of the group or perhaps just one person?) or simply taking a quick recess to discuss the eligibility “ruling”. Since it was clear the people around him didn’t offer Musgrove a way out…then he was left holding the bag of the decision those people had made for him.

I guess it doesn’t take a lawyer or a rocket scientist to see that there is a majority of the council that will support Musgrove on the issue OR who had made the decision for him (see my assessment of the body language above). So, although your effort was valiant, it only served to confirm the fact that a large enough group won’t support you being on the council. (Sorry if I’m pointing out the obvious). Even if a minority of people on the council supported your position, it was clear that they didn’t feel safe to speak up. Note: Rumor would have it that there is indeed a witch hunt underway inside the council for the person who shared the information about the grant vote you mention in your story. I’m guessing that the next shoe to fall will be a report that someone has been “removed” by “majority vote” of the council for some “disciplinary” action.

So…in closing on this point of whether Democracy was utilized. If Musgrove made the decision alone…he will answer to the majority of the council in his next meeting. If the council made the decision through Musgrove…then they will answer to the interpretation of the public (their members) of that action.

Something even more fascinating to this story… I’ve heard through another person in legal counsel that another board of director actually just stepped down recently and if that is correct that the council actually has TWO vacant seats right now to fill.

Seems to me that if people want to help out on the council…that there is a process for application to fill such a vacancy (this was discussed at the meeting) and that the applications will be decided by a vote of the council themselves (vice a gen election). Which may not be a method most suitable for you Frank since they’ve already proven that they will vote against you. But….. TWO seats is an interesting portion to a group this small and politics is not easily affected by short term influence. If that strategy doesn’t pay out for a possible interested candidate(s) (that’s you Frank), then I’m guessing that in next year’s general election that Mr. Musgrove and his club may have some serious competition. In that case…Democracy will win as well and biggest portion of OB will be represented.

Good luck to both the council and to Democracy in general. It may not appear to be fair in this case (or transparent, or ethical)….but it would appear that Democracy “happened” in this case since the primal most operative clause of Democracy is that the Majority Wins. The jury (the public) is OUT to determine if the council (Musgrove) decision was indeed the best for the organization as a whole.

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avatar La Playa Heritage August 26, 2010 at 8:51 pm

OB says No to dense development.

Do you think this decision has anything to do with the OBTC wanting dense development with no parking requirements?

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avatar fss August 26, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Face it Frank the OB Town Council doesn’t like you. Democracy has nothing to do with it It obviously doesn’t exist with the OBTC. I am not sure what the OBTC even does It kind sounds like the Shriners. Do they have funny cars At least the Shriner’s do make donations to the Children’ s Hospital
What will their excuse be next time. I find their excuse this time inexcusable
Keep up the fight whether your right or wrong the should at least admire the fight. I don’t agree with everything the OB Rag says but I certainly support their right to say it.
I’ll buy you a Starbucks next time I see U

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avatar Danny Morales August 27, 2010 at 4:55 am

FEH!

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avatar Debbie August 26, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Well look at what good things came about as a result of all this hupla over the election of VOLUNTEERS for the BOARD of the OBTC:

1. The by-laws will have to be made public. If not, it would be proper for any board members that refuses to release them and they should be asked to resign immediately. I know no one on the board and have no agenda with it but what I do know is this board is suppose to be representing OB. When Frank got the call saying no no can’t do, the board should have provide him with a copy of the by-laws backing up their position. That would have been the right thing to do.

2. It’s great to see more of the community engaged again. Talking is the first step and now people and other media are talking, ….how exciting! Before the Iraq War there were a bunch of OB residents and OB lovers involved in community “stuff” and many friends were made. I can see this is happening again 10 years later and that is WONDERFUL. Activism reborn in OB, new people, new ideas but the same great OB.

3. Frank now has an official OB office address!

Let’s get the party started!

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