CeSPNC President Defends Herself Against Possible Censure

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Neighborhood Council Round Up
By Hunter Chase, Reporter

At the Feb. 11 meeting of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, the board voted 6-0 with three abstentions to authorize treasurer Linda Nutile to speak to the Los Angeles city attorney about potentially censuring board president Maria Couch. This means the board would formally say that Couch had done something wrong and following that, they could remove her from her position as president.
The reason the board is attempting to censure Couch is because she authorized outreach services from Moore Business Results, which were not authorized by the board. Moore Business Results was only authorized to redesign the website and it locked out The Mailroom, the council’s vendor, preventing The Mailroom from posting agendas.
Couch said that the outreach services she is accused of authorizing were the posting of the council’s agendas by Moore Business Results during the time The Mailroom was locked out. Board member Jeff McBurney also emailed The Mailroom requesting that Moore Business Results post an agenda and Couch asked why he was not being censured as well.
“The ultimate goal, which was already set at the agenda-setting meeting, is to get rid of me,” Couch said. “It’s not even about what’s happened, what didn’t happen, whether to pay the woman or not.”
Shortly before this, the board voted 5-1 with three abstentions to pay Moore Business Results $828.12 for said outreach services. Paying Moore Business Results for these services was on the council’s agenda twice before, at their November and October meetings, but did not pass until their February meeting. The council had previously approved paying Moore Business Results for the website redesign.
The board also voted 6-0 with three abstentions to authorize Nutile and board vice president Carrie Scoville to speak to the city attorney about potentially censuring Khixaan Obioma-Sakhu, the outreach and communications officer. The reason the board is considering censuring him is because he failed to produce $1,540 worth of items that were purchased from Mina’s Printer. These include 10 aluminum signs and 10 large format plastic signs, Nutile said.
The council does not know who ordered the items or where they were delivered, Nutile said. The responsibility of the items falls on Obioma-Sakhu because he was the designated cardholder. Mina’s Printer delivered them more than six months ago, but was told not to divulge details by Couch, Nutile said.
Couch says she never spoke to Mina’s Printer and that the signs were not supposed to have been ordered.
Board member Linda Alexander suggested that Couch should speak to Mina’s Printer, as it may be willing to speak to her.

Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council

At the Feb. 10 meeting of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council, the board passed a motion requesting that trees on the sidewalks of Los Angeles be protected from unnecessary removal. On some major streets, the city has removed trees for sidewalk construction, even though the sidewalks need the shade, said board member Gwen Henry.
The Sidewalk Repair Program draft environmental impact report proposes the removal of 12,869 trees, decreasing the amount of trees in the city by 1.5 percent over 30 years, the motion says. These trees are necessary because they provide a defense against extreme heat days. The removal of trees also lowers air quality, reduces the habitat of wildlife that lives in trees and lowers property values.
The Defense Logistics Agency is storing tanks of diesel and aviation fuel underground in San Pedro, but said tanks are leaking and the Navy is in the process of cleaning them up, said Gregg Smith, public affairs officer of the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. The agency was storing the tanks in San Pedro but stopped using the tanks in 2014 and put them underground. In 2018, the Navy began an environmental assessment to lease the property where the tanks are stored for commercial and military use. There is soil contamination from the tanks, but not water contamination. The agency is using a process called soil vapor extraction, which involves blowing air onto the soil, vaporizing the fuel and sucking it back up. The process will bring only minimum further contamination, as it is expected to have less environmental impact than spilling a gallon of gasoline.

Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council

At the Jan. 21 meeting of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, the board voted 11-1-0 to oppose the use of digital billboards, with board member Bob Gelfand opposing the decision. In 2002, the Los Angeles City Council banned the installation of new billboards in 90% of the city, said board member Robin Rudisill. However, the city is now asking that digital billboards be allowed almost anywhere in the city without the requirement of an environmental impact report, content restrictions or neighborhood approvals. The use of digital billboards contributes to congestion and disrupts wildlife and human sleep patterns.
There was a 5 % increase in overall crime in Coastal San Pedro in December 2019 compared to December 2018, said Dan Brown, senior lead officer of the Los Angeles Police Department. However, crime went down overall in 2019 compared to 2018, with 200 fewer part one crimes. Except for aggravated assault, every category of crime went down substantially. Unfortunately, crime at the beginning of 2020 has been problematic, including a couple shootings.
There were five reported rapes in Coastal San Pedro during December 2019, which is unusually high, Brown said. In a couple of the cases, there was not a specific allegation of rape, as the female victims were using narcotics, fell unconscious and were taken to the hospital where they felt pain in their genitals. Both cases are pending DNA tests and may later be reclassified. There were no homicides in the Coastal San Pedro area during December 2019. There were four robberies, which was unusual since there were none in December 2018. Aggravated assault was up 37 percent and Brown did not have any insight as to why it has increased. Burglaries went down by 77 percent, as there were 4 in December 2019 as opposed to 18 in December 2018.

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