21 Aug 2014
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The Apparently Never-Ending Wilmont Elections Saga

Formal elections for the embattled Wilshire-Montana Neighborhood Association could be held as soon as October—but several months after a disputed election in June.

The Apparently Never-Ending Wilmont Elections Saga

Updated at 2:35 p.m. Thursday with quotes from Valerie Griffin.

It's been nearly three months , but there's been no changing of the guard.

The Board of Directors has routinely met, but the meetings haven't gone smoothly. A group of residents dissatisfied with the board——have continued to show up to the public meetings.

The Wilshire Montana Neighborhood Association, called Wilmont, is one of four neighborhood associations in Santa Monica. It represents residents living between Montana Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard and 21st Street and the beach.

There's been at least three meetings, but none have included an election. The association's bylaws state elections shall be held at its annual meting and that directors are elected in two-year terms.

Chairwoman Valerie Griffin told Patch on Thursday that she expects the meeting will be held in October, but no later than December.

"There are security concerns," she said. "But obviously, we've got to do it this year."

The most recent meeting was conducted Monday via conference call and avoided confrontations between the sitting board and those who maintain they were elected in the unofficial election June 9, the Santa Monica LookOut  has reported.

"They claim this so-called 'meeting' was 'open to the public.' But the notice containing the call-in number was only made public 2 ½ hours before the teleconference began,” Reinhard Kargl, one of the eight who was elected June 9, told the LookOut.

When a meeting in mid-June was canceled in response to plans from the " Wilmont Rebels" to storm into the meeting in protest, Griffin said "there's probably a level of discomfort... we don't want to be yelled at and have our meetings disrupted."

She said this week that the board still needs to find a space where it could meet without disruption. Griffin also noted the annual meeting is important because it's when the membership passes resolutions, such as its 2010 decision to ask the city council to allocate money to enforcing its leaf blower ban.

In the spring, the city manager's office intervened to remind Wilmont—which received a $4,000 grant from the city this fiscal year—to "adhere to their bylaws... to follow the rules and to act in good faith," said city spokeswoman Robin Gee.

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