Three Cheers for Bill Rosendahl
A few days ago, we received a heads up that the West Los Angeles Democratic Club had intended to hold an event to highlight opposition to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's November special election initiatives. In addition to presenting anti-Arnold speakers, the clubs intent was that this event would be a fundraiser.
All of that in and of itself - nothing wrong with it. However, upon closer examination of the group's eblast and website, we found the event was to be held at the Westchester office of Councilman Bill Rosendahl of the 11th Districtl.
We contacted Mike Bonin, Rosendahl's Chief of Staff for a further explanation. Were the West LA Democrats holding a partisan, political fundraiser on city property?
Bonin was prompt and courteous in his reply to us. He explained to us that the Council Office is part of a larger city facility that includes a park, senior center, library and other city departments. The conference room is available to the community, free of charge, provided a city employee is available to open and lock up. Numerous community groups, city agencies, etc. use the room for a variety of meetings. Even the Association of Square Dancers has set up shop there.
"The City Attorney's office advises that no political or partisan group is allowed to raise money on City property unless they are charged a fee for use of the room. Since we charge no such fee, no fundraising is permitted. That point will be underscored to the groups using the room."Bonin did however have a concern about the Democrats raising funds on the city property. He checked with the City Attorney's office and indeed, this is not allowed. The only exception would be if the Democrats were charged a fee for the room, but as its the Council Office's policy not to charge a fee, the Democrats will not be allowed to raise money.
Mike Bonin, Chief of Staff, Council Member Bill Rosendahl
We salute Bonin for getting back to us so quickly, and for addressing what could have been a very sticky problem for the City.