McCUE’s STATEMENT RE: THE 2010 SCNC ELECTION
I am very happy and grateful to be re-elected to the Residential Renters’ seat on the SCNC Board, especially after the recent dramas our community was subjected to just before our election. My personal “Thank You” goes out to the stakeholders of Studio City who turned out for the election.
For me, one of the most meaningful and beautiful aspects of Democracy is the fact that no matter what problem you are facing…or whatever problem that surfaces…there is always a remedy available when you apply democratic principles. Sometimes that remedy comes from the Law.
If the Law forbids certain actions for an elected representative of the people, then chances are that representative will think twice before they break the law. But…if they do break the rules anyway, for whatever reason, there is always a remedy available.
When voters are upset with incumbent behavior, (and who isn’t nowadays?) some expect the assembled elected body to police itself, some call or write their reps to express their displeasure, some will use recall petitions, or some will even get in the race themselves and run, as I have done.
When there is no oversight to prevent injustice (as with our NC system)—the voters will use the last resort and ultimate weapon they have at their disposal in a Democracy….their VOTE.
Voting is our most powerful remedy.
The recent SCNC controversies were actually a good thing for our community, democratically speaking, because they energized our election!
We know many NC’s that are following the rules, functioning well, getting the job done, while also welcoming input from their stakeholders. We also know that there are many NC’s that are suffering from disengaged leadership, or have embedded, bully-controlled or personality-driven power cliques, who are deliberately, or seemingly unfamiliar with the Ethics laws, By-Laws, etc...
It’s easier for an NC to lose their direction and moral compass than you might think when power is centralized in a small clique.
Neither the City, nor DONE, (nor even the BONC) seem willing or capable of providing proper oversight for NC’s that would keep them on the right track towards real grassroots democracy and that’s a huge issue for us all. Right now, without oversight, it is ultimately up to the integrity of each NC, their board members and stakeholders to police themselves…and that’s difficult.
Thankfully, these are all problems that can be easily solved with proper leadership that reflects a commitment to ensuring that all NC Board members have learned and comprehend all of the State Laws, Ethics rules, by-laws and procedures that govern our NC’s and their Board members.
In Studio City our election provided a few remedies, but there is still much work to do.
The SCNC needs a president who is a strong advocate for the Key Value of Grassroots Democracy. My belief is that we need an advocate president who will attend meetings regularly and build the strength of the SCNC so that we become a legitimate, trustworthy and believable force with City Council, and the Mayor, whom it is our job to advise.
Other NC’s have done this—why can’t the SCNC?
Some board members have been working narrow agendas that are motivated by self-interest, or by partisan politics only, while simultaneously disenfranchising legitimate stakeholder concerns. This is clearly not the way to go.
This is a democracy and the life-blood of democracy is dissent. That’s how it works.
Encouraging debate, and respecting the democratic process, is what democracy itself requires in order to succeed.
If a Board member takes personal offense merely because a fellow Board member or stakeholder disagrees with them on an issue, or blows the whistle on wrong-doing, then they do not belong on the Board.
Contrasting views should be heard. Wrong-doings should be exposed.
If a Board member is daunted or offended by an opposing view; or unpleasant revelation of wrong-doing—instead of using questionable maneuvers to silence or remove that opposing point of view—perhaps it would be better to open your ears to what’s being said, consider the reasons someone opposes your proposal and then, after amending your proposal, or deciding not to amend…make your own case once more in such a persuasive manner, highlighting community benefits, so that all will agree with you.
That’s how it’s done.
If the voters still don’t support you, it may be time to consider the possibility that your point of view could be found lacking in the eyes of others, or even consider the possibility that you may be out-of-touch with your community.
We all have a right to our own opinion. We even have the right to be out-of-touch. We also have the right to change our minds. It’s okay to hold the minority opinion as well. That’s your right. None of this is that complicated and it certainly isn’t personal.
But remember…The stakeholders always have a right to be heard and their representatives at every level have an obligation to hear them out.
Stakeholders should be encouraged to present their opinions and positions that are offering differing views—not discouraged…and they certainly should not be shut out of the process or smeared by personal attacks.
Democracy isn’t easy. Our NC’s are evolving and still getting the hang of it.
Many NC leaders are busting their behinds actively searching for the answers and remedies that we can utilize to make our City function for the benefit of all….and we aren’t even on the payroll!
Our NC’s have come a long way in the last 10 years and we have much further to go.
Adhering to the democratic principle of open debate will help get us there sooner rather than later. Let’s work towards that goal together. Decide the arguments on merit—and not on personalities or partisan politics.
Our 2010 Studio City Neighborhood Council election proves that there is a remedy for any democratic problem, that is, when you are working with a true Democracy.
In your service,
Board Member, Studio City Neighborhood Council