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Agenda Item

REPORT 19-0794 In response to the November 27, 2019 "Cure and Correct" Demand Letter from Anthony Higgins pertaining to the November 21, 2019 Mayor Pro Tem selection: a) Consider whether or not to respond to the demand by: i. Rescinding the action taken on November 21, 2019 to select a Mayor Pro Tem; ii. Accepting public comment; iii. Accepting nominations for Mayor Pro Tem; and iv. Voting on selection of Mayor Pro Tem.

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    Erika Stubstad at December 04, 2019 at 3:17pm PST

    Dear Hermosa Beach City Council,

    I am surprised as a little beach city we are at this cross-roads, and I am disappointed in the newly seated Mayor, Mary Campbell. It seems as though Hermosa beach residents can not trust you to follow simple procedures, such as following a scheduled rotation of mayor / mayor pro-tem that has been in place for 40 years.

    Is this an indication of how you will act with complicated issues that arise? Are you capable of bringing various differing opinions to the table for complicated and difficult conversations? What about transparency to those you represent, the Hermosa Beach residents? I hope you have taken time to reflect on your actions and the resulting questions / concerns that have arisen due to them.

    I would like to remind all those seated on the Council, you hold a public office, which is defined as a position of authority or service, involving responsibility to the public. Responsibility to myself and other 19,707 residents of Hermosa Beach. You have a responsibility to represent us, not just yourself.

    The path forward is simple, admit the lapse in judgement, take responsibility for your actions, and correct this issue by following the scheduled rotation for Mayor Pro-tem, Hany Fangary, so we can move on to more pressing issues this city faces.

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    Leo Barker at December 03, 2019 at 11:14pm PST

    Mr Sousa:
    I am deeply disturbed and concerned about how you believe anyone (except possibly Road Runner of Looney Tunes infamy) might have been able to "make a conscious decision to state his concerns or disagreement with the motion" in the all of 0.97 second available to ANY of the Councilmembers before ex-Mayor Armato seconded her motion?

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    Kevin Sousa at December 03, 2019 at 11:00pm PST

    Dear Hermosa Beach City Council,

    I am deeply disturbed and concerned that a member of the council, in disagreeing with a motion that passed him over to become mayor pro-tem, made a conscious decision not to state his concerns or disagreement with the motion (as all council members were given an opportunity to comment) in the meeting but decided to wait and state his case on social media. It would seem more appropriate that our elected officials conduct the business of governance in a public forum, preferably from the dais. Turning to social media to state a case or intentionally inflame and stoke the fires of misinformation in a vain attempt to drum up support or feign victimization feels petty at best and cowardly at worst. I trust that the upcoming facts of the situation and the decision making process behind each council persons’ vote on this motion will create a clearer picture to as to why he was passed over and I look forward to this discussion in an open council meeting with all members present. Can we please address this thoroughly as well as expeditiously so we can get on with the impending business of the city?

    Kevin Sousa

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    Debbie Sanowski at December 03, 2019 at 3:28pm PST

    To: Hermosa Beach City Council

    I strongly object to the unprecedented action of Mary Campbell passing over Hany Fangary for his rotation as Mayor Pro Tem at the November 21, 2019 meeting. Not only was this action a break from a 40 year practice of how Hermosa rotates the positions of Mayor and Mayor pro tem, it was not properly noticed to the public or Mr. Fangary, no discussion took place, and the vote was rushed through by the new Mayor based on her personal opinion of how things should be. Simply stated, this was an unwarranted backstabbing of Mr. Fangary, and an unsubstantiated attack on his character and professionalism that not only wrong, it could subject this City to needless future litigation.

    On Nov, 21st, Mary Campbell made the motion to skip Hany and install Justin Massey as Mayor pro tem. The motion was quickly seconded by Stacey Armato, Mary immediately called for a vote without discussion. Hany and the audience were stunned and the motion passed. This is not how Hermosa Beach should conduct business, it is not reasonable, it is not decent, and it may not be wholly legal.

    Mr. Fangary was to be installed as Mayor pro tem at the Nov. 21st meeting as along with Mary Campbell as Mayor. As evidenced in Howard Longacre’s Exhibits submitted above, the City Clerk had officially published Mr. Fangary’s rotation into this position two years ago, way back in December 2017 finding :

    “Thurs. 10/10/19 – Thurs. 10/29/20 = Mayor Campbell (MPT Fangary) = 385 days
    Thurs. 10/29/20 – Thurs. 11/18/21 = Mayor Fangary (MPT is 2019 #1 winner) = 386 days”

    Additionally, the Agenda for the Nov. 21st meeting states that:

    “City Clerk recommends that the City Council make the following appointments, consistent with the current rotation policy for Mayor and Mayor pro tempore “ (emphasis added)

    Based on 40 years of precedent, the Dec. 2017 City Clerk documentation, and the current agenda, Hany Fangary was to become Mayor pro tem. That is what Mr. Fangary expected and that is what every voter, everyone who watched or attended that meeting expected. To stray from this published practice and precedent would require some very good reasoning and evidence, but absolutely nothing was provided.

    Ms. Campbell’s later stated reasoning was that Mr. Fangary did not interact with the most recent City Manager, (in her position since August of 2018) in a productive manner is not for Ms. Campbell to decide, nor is she entitled to craft a punishment that she sees fit. Remember Mr. Fangary is an elected official, equal to Ms. Campbell. And even if true ( assuming arguendo), Mr. Fangary is entitled to defend his good name and professional actions.

    Personal disagreements and even animosity amongst City Council members, or those members and City Managers is not a new thing here. Mr. Fangary does not vote lock step with his fellow Council members, and to many of us voters that is a good thing, not something to be punished for. Additionally, rotations should not be changed to benefit the current members such as Ms. Campbell and Mr. Massey in this instance. Rather as in other situations, any such voted change should only occur for future Councils.

    The Nov. 21st action needs to be unwound. It was improperly noticed and executed. It is not for Mary to decide that Hany cannot do his job. A breach of 40 years of precedent needs to be handled properly, and any proposed change should be properly noticed to the Council and citizens and apply to future Councils only. I urge Justin to step aside, so that Hany can assume his duties as Mayor pro tem. Hany is a professional who was elected to a second term by the City voters and we expect that he will handle his duties appropriately.

    Regards,
    Debbie Sanowski
    3rd .street

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    Miyo Prassas at December 02, 2019 at 8:53pm PST

    Hermosa Beach City Council people Mary Campbell, Stacy Armato and Justin Massey are disrespecting the voters of Hermosa Beach when they try to marginalize another city council member who does not share their opinions. The people of Hermosa Beach have elected and re-elected Hany Fangary to provide an important moderating voice to Hermosa Beach governance. Hany Fangary represents a large percentage of the Hermosa Beach electorate who value his leadership. The political game that Mary Campbell, Stacy Armato and Justin Masses are playing at is to try to insure that everyone on the City Council acts in lock-step and becomes a rubber stamp for the “approved” course of action. Democracy and governance works best when there are dissenting opinions and compromise. If we want lock-step governance and decision making we can move to a totalitarian country.