- Reporters Desk
By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor
The San Pedro Booster Club-sponsored volleyball tournament scheduled for June 28 was suppose to be a summer event filled with nice clean fun on Cabrillo Beach. Instead, it is just a mess.
The proverbial mess hit the fan May 6, when the San Pedro High School Pirates Booster Club found itself having to choose between two volleyball tournament proposals: one from former Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council board member Frank Pereyda, Ed Pluemer and Scott Carter, and the other from Dave Behar. Pereyda’s group were under the impression that they were the only ones on the agenda. The booster club voted to work with Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council president Dave Behar’s proposal to produce the summer event.
What followed were accusations being thrown alleging co-opting of the event, the misappropriation of Los Angeles logo on promotional fliers and members handing in resignations from Coastal’s Recreation and Parks committee in protest. And over the past weekend, the San Pedro High School Pirates Booster club announced in a forwarded email they were no longer sponsoring the event.
Ed Pleumer resigned over the weekend in the wake of the fallout, but from his references to the the discontinuation of the Max 246 bus on Paseo del Mar not being address and the good work the committee has done so far, it was not clear that his resignation had anything to do with the volleyball tournament.
Nevertheless, the volleyball tournament issue goes back to this past year, when Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council voted to support the installation of two temporary volleyball courts in addition to the three existing courts on the inner beach of Cabrillo Beach. Pereyda said Coastal’s Recreation and Parks committee began discussing the idea of hosting a volleyball tournament shortly after the board voted in favor of the volleyball court installation.
Recs and Park committee members, including Frank Pereyda, Ed Pluemer, and Scott Carter chose to not organize the event through the council and instead do it themselves with the sponsorship of the San Pedro High School Pirates Boosters club. Dave Behar was also a part of this committee, though later Random Lengths interviews revealed there wasn’t much communication between the parties.
Frank Pereyda said it was originally his idea and resigned from the board not long after Behar’s involvement on the Recreation and Parks committee following the board’s vote for the courts. In February 2014, he went to the San Pedro High School Boosters to sponsor the event and worked under the tacit assumption that he had their support.
Pereyda said the initial conflict over the tournament was over the scope of the event.
Pereyda and Carter said that the organizing of the event didn’t begin in earnest until the end of January 2014, when they began reaching out to the booster club. By April, Carter said permits from Los Angeles Recs and Parks had been secured and parking issues had been addressed. By the May 6 meeting, Carter had a flier and an agenda prepared for the booster club meeting, believing he was the only one presenting to the board that evening.
Instead, he found his group was competing with Behar’s Digster 2014 Sand Pedro and Behar’s polished agenda and flier of his own complete with logos of Los Angeles and Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, along with the San Pedro Booster club’s and his own ION Network logo.
Dave Behar is the founder and chief executive officer of ION Network, a media company that specializes in creating original local content on local cable stations and online.
Behar has organized previous volleyball tournaments, particularly in the mid 2000s.
Carter has previous experience organizing Windsurfing events, including this past year’s event at Cabrillo Beach in conjunction with the San Pedro Yacht Club.
Pereyda’s and Carter’s group intended to donate all of the proceeds to the booster club. Behar’s Digster would have funneled all proceeds to the 5-year-old nonprofit based in Hermosa Beach, Dig 4 Kids. Carter, who was in attendance at the May 6 meeting, said the board and Behar would work out the details to ensure that the event also benefited the booster club.
According to the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council minutes, it doesn’t appear that the board ever discussed volleyball tournament of any sort since the installation of the temporary courts. The Port of Los Angeles also denies ever sponsoring the event.
Behar disputes the notion that any impropriety occurred and that the fliers he presented were for presentation purposes only.
“These were some mockups that were done,” Behar said in a phone interview.
Behar said he didn’t want to comment directly against the allegations but noted that this past year’s event was just a “test” event. He wouldn’t elaborate exactly on what that meant. He didn’t explain how last year’s test event would ostensibly different from the event that would have happened June 28.
However, this year’s and this past year’s event was listed on Behar’s website, www.highschoolvolleyball.com, along with a registration form.
He credits the conflict to some committees sucking on sour grapes and suggested that Pereyda and Carter may have violated some Brown Act laws.
“They know what they did and where they went wrong,” Behar said. “I’m just trying to do the right thing. I just happen to know a lot about volleyball.”
Behar wouldn’t elaborate further on the alleged Brown Act violations, but was adamant that nothing about his dealings with the volleyball tournament were improper.
“If stuff like this happens then it shouldn’t be in this town and I shouldn’t waste my time,” Behar said. “I’ve done some good work while I’ve been on the board. I was trying to be supportive [of Pereyda’s and Scott’s efforts]. I’m not going to be reprimanded for doing the right thing.”
Random Lengths contacted the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment for clarification of the issues, but was referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office. Community Engagement and Outreach Director Rob Wilcox said his office could not comment directly on the issue because it would be a breach of attorney/client confidentiality since the city attorney’s office are the attorneys for the neighborhood councils.
At the end of the day, however, the mess that was made in organizing the tournament resembled a team unable to play together. Usually in such cases, it is the whole team loses. When the home team loses, the whole town loses.