Friday, November 2, 2007

Editorial: GPNC’s Bradley Must Go

Community is Ill-Served by His Poor Leadership

Let’s consider the question of leadership for a moment. In a democracy, does the true leader lead or follow? Does he or she follow the wishes of those they serve or do they merely follow their own? Does a leader play by the rules or deconstruct them to serve their own ends? Do true leaders make up the rules as they go along?
One of the most unique and precious things Los Angeles has as a city is the Neighborhood Council system—a network of locally based citizen politicians elected by their neighbors. When administered properly, they are a strong and dynamic entity that can pay off with tangible changes in any neighborhood.
Used improperly, as in the case of the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council (GPNC), they can be a neighborhood’s own worst enemy and used only to further the goals of one group, or one person, in this case.
Bradley (He uses one name only), is perhaps the most stunning example of what can happen when ignorant leadership leads a Neighborhood Council astray.
Many in Northeast LA (and beyond) were appalled by his behavior last Spring as he attempted to bar a citizen from videotaping a GPNC meeting, and then simply lying to her as he demanded that she stop or leave the meeting.
It has happened again and again, at almost every subsequent meeting, when he, as an elected official, simply refused to answer any questions regarding his clear conflict of interest in the Victory Outreach Sign matter. He routinely refuses to answer our questions, and we stopped asking a while ago, opting instead to let facts speak for themselves.
Documents clearly show that he was in the employ of Victory Outreach when he was voting (in violation of procedure) in their favor.
He is a manipulative and arrogant leader, but without the strength of knowledge that the best manipulators hold. What we are left with is an ill-informed bully, who has recruited friends and business clients to further his goals and eventually line his own pockets.
To be clear, no one is accusing Bradley of actually stealing, but there is a pattern of action that begins with recruiting members of a church to run for election of a board you hope to control. They pay you to massage their case in City Hall, and your business grows.
What developer wouldn’t hire the chair of a neighborhood council to expedite his case in council chambers?
His poorly planned, unfocused and illegally over-budgeted upcoming Diversity Forum is only the latest example of his not playing well with others. We are not against the concept of a Diversity Forum (though its sounds like a lot of word noise), but we might be more supportive if anyone actually knew what it was.
Add to this his profound ignorance of parliamentary procedure—who can vote when, who can spend and how, and how to hold a meeting—and you have a community that is ill served and at the mercy of a capricious leader.
We don’t expect to see any current members of the GPNC Board rise up and call for his removal. Indeed, the Council amazingly does not have a bylaw mechanism for the removal of leadership.
We would ask them however, to take a good hard look at what is fair, who has benefited from his leadership, and who has lost.
Bradley, for the good of the community and your own future, leave the council of your own volition. Perhaps in the developer/builder/city hall circles you travel in, your coat is still shiny. But take it from us, from where we sit, you are naked.
And we can already imagine your ire at this editorial. And that’s fine with us.
We’re not afraid to say it again. It is time for you to resign.

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