The Hollywood Media District elected its officers at yesterday’s Board of Directors meeting and you can watch the whole thing here. Mike Malick, current president and chairman of the nominating committee, presented an approved slate of candidates, chief among which were Grub-meister Laurie Goldman as president of the Board and also, possibly due to Kissinger’s law,1 Mighty Mike himself as vice-president. Then, as is not only customary but probably legally mandated, Mike asked for nominations from the floor and Bang! Off went the fireworks. Not only was there was a fascinating dispute about the corporation’s bylaws and Brown Act requirements but also, O rarest of Board meeting events! an unexpectedly contested election which installed hand-picked putative shoo-in candidate Laurie Goldman as Board President by a mere one-vote margin, setting a tense and bitter tone for the rest of the meeting, perhaps the rest of the year.
First, and for some reason, some show folk whose names we didn’t catch chose this moment to ask about how board members are replaced and could they get their compatriot in. Mike Malick explained that candidates were recommended by the nominating committee to the board. This prompted a response from Ron Groeper about the legality of the process proposed by Mike which included a reading from the bylaws, never a feature of the meetings of an organization which is harmonious and happy. In any case, the Brown Act precludes board action on non-agendized matters, and so, says Mike Malick, on to the election!
Next, in what seemed to be a move completely unexpected by the members of the internal HMD power-elite, long-time BID-fellow and recently elected Board member Ferris Wehbe nominated upstart Hollywood photographer and board member Ron Groeper for president2 Finally, Carol Cassella was an off-slate nomination for Vice President, which is significant because she was on the official slate as a candidate for secretary, which seems to be a less-esteemed position. And the race was off!
If you watch nothing else, watch the counting and tallying of the ballots for some fine, bureaucratic drama. Ron and Laurie traded leads throughout, with Ron ending up just one single solitary teensy-weensy vote short of overturning the whole, oh-so-carefully-arranged, card table. We don’t actually know what the issues were here, but we have to say, we’re always on the side of the non-slate bylaws-reading people, at least on boards we’re not members of!
And there was sarcastic needling-by-vote, as when someone went off-the-chain and waaay-off-the-slate by voting for Laurie Goldman for secretary. Is this too subtle of a gibe? Not for our Laurie! She showed her hand by, during the actual vote-counting, declining to assume the office!
Ah, what does it all mean? On the one hand we suppose it’s a sign of a functioning board that they don’t all agree on stuff. On the other hand, it’s a sign of a dysfunctioning board that they can’t keep their hostilities, even in victory, in check. Watch her affect carefully after Laurie takes the throne. Her first official act was to thank Ron Groeper, which came off as the functional equivalent of that old Southern mainstay, “bless your heart”: “Ron, thank you very much. A worthy adversary. We will work together on everything.” After which, she proceeded to pick at him for the rest of the meeting. Watch for yourself, friends, cause we’re done. We’ll see you next month at the Musicians’ Union!
Image of Laurie and Mike is by John Tenniell, is available here and lots of other places, and is squarely in the public domain despite the best efforts of Disney and the MPAA. IMage of Ron Groeper is ©2016 MichaelKohlhaas.org.
- “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Ick, O ick, Henry! Ick.
- Or for chair, confusion seems to reign for a while there and we’re not going to disturb it; watch for yourself and explain it to us in the comments. Especially see Laurie Goldman and some guy getting into it over whether or not one can be both President and Chair.