Roots council okays new bylaws, instant runoff
By Rob Wasserman
April 15, 2004
The Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council board voted
Wednesday, April 7th, to amend the Neighborhood Council
bylaws but chose not to consider a stakeholder petition with
more than 100 signatures and an accompanying draft of the
proposed bylaws changes.
The board voted against a motion that would eliminate the
office of Grass Roots Venice president but it redefined the
The president's duties now include coordinating all of
the Neighborhood Council activities and serving as the chief
liaison between Grass Roots and other Neighborhood Councils
in Los Angeles.
The defeated motion suggested eliminating the president
and installing a third vice president. The offices of vice
president and second vice president of the Neighborhood
Council already exist.
The duty of chairing general, board and executive
committee meetings would have been rotated every two months
among members of the executive committee if the motion had
"If you have ever been out to sea, a ship with three
captains would be impossible," said board member Dede
Audet, who voted against the motion.
The board adopted "instant runoff voting" for
elections in which there are more than two candidates.
Instant runoff voting will have voters indicate second,
third and fourth choices on the ballot to ensure that the
winner in an election has received a majority vote.
If no candidate receives a majority vote, the candidate
with the lowest vote is eliminated and the second-choice
votes of voters for that candidate are divided between the
This process continues until a candidate has received a
majority of the votes.
The board voted to have a third party supervise the
election, such as the League of Women Voters.
The board adopted a form of self-affirmation for
stakeholder voting. The change to the bylaws reads:
"Stakeholders will affirm by signature at the time
they request a ballot that they meet the criteria to be a
stakeholder and the reason why they hold a stake in Venice
(live, work, etc.)."
To prevent the Grass Roots Venice council from a repeat
of last year's stalemate of the Neighborhood Council
conducting business after election challenges, the board
approved the following amendment:
"Board members shall remain in office past the July
1st expiration date for their terms if newly elected board
members are not seated by then due to election
The board also voted to split the Communications and
Outreach Committee into two separate committees.
The Communications Committee will be chaired by the
communications officer and the Outreach Committee will be
chaired by the second vice president.
PROPOSED BYLAWS —Venice resident and business owner
Robert Feist told the Grass Roots board Wednesday that he
had a stakeholders' petition with more than 100 signatures
and a draft of those stakeholders' proposed bylaws changes
that Feist wanted the board to discuss and act on.
The board did not discuss or act on the Feist petition or
the stakeholders' proposed bylaws except to say that several
changes the stakeholders proposed, the board proposed as
According to Feist, under the group's bylaws, Venice
stakeholders may petition the Grass Roots board to change
any existing bylaws by submitting a petition with at least
50 signatures and a draft of the proposed changes.
The board then has between 30 and 90 days to convene a
special election meeting to let Venice stakeholders vote on
the bylaws changes, according to Feist.
The vote requires a two-thirds majority for passage and
is only open to those present at the special meeting,
according to Feist.
One major difference between the stakeholders' petition
bylaws changes and the board's bylaws amendments is the
definition of a stakeholder.
"I feel that stakeholders should live, work, or own
property," said Feist.
The board definition of a stakeholder includes living,
working, or owning property in Venice, but includes persons
having "active and regular participation in
organizations, institutions, or branches of those
organizations and institutions that are based in
The bylaws proposed in the stakeholders' petition would
also have eliminated absentee balloting, which is accepted
under the bylaws.