After hearing from a number of Manhattan Beach residents complaining that Mayor Nancy Hersman (above left) put a permit fee waiver for the “Lights for Liberty” pier vigil (which many perceived to be a political event, as it clearly was) on the July 2 City Council agenda, she took responsibility and apologized for this error in judgment at the July 16 Council meeting.
She also apologized for having Councilperson Hildy Stern, an event organizer, advocate for a waiver of all permit fee requirements for the event from the Council dais (a clearly inappropriate conflict of interest).
You can view the City Council session here; Nancy's prepared statement begins around the 8-minute mark.
You can also see our letter to all MB City Council members, which apparently started this whole controversy, by clicking here.
One positive outcome of all this is that city staff has now been instructed to flesh out their special events permit regulations to include political gatherings like the LFL vigil in the future.
However, one has to wonder, as election season kicks into high gear next year, if this brouhaha might be a harbinger of future conflicts between the partisan instincts of some councilmembers and the historically nonpartisan stance of the Manhattan Beach City Council.
Someone Needs to Chill
Indeed, injecting divisive national political issues into our City Council chambers can be toxic.
Here’s an incredible statement posted on-line on Next Door by a “Lights for Liberty” supporter and Manhattan Beach resident who clearly didn’t like the fact that some of her fellow neighbors and residents were objecting to Council’s preferential treatment of this political event:
You’re all pathetic. Same people babbling the same nonsense over and over again. No wonder why you’re all old and alone in your outdated houses. Your grandkids are just waiting for you to die so they can sell your properties and never tell their friends how racist you really are.
Apparently, somebody got up on the wrong side of the ideological bed.
Next Door has since removed her statement and given her the boot but I screen-saved her comment as an object lesson on the kinds of animosity that can get stirred up when Council starts taking sides politically.
Slacker Bros at the Podium
The July 16 Manhattan Beach Council meeting wasn't all seriousness.
As if sensing the need for some levity, two comedians - Chad Kroeger (real name, Tom Allen, pictured above) and JT Parr (John Parr) - appeared in their slacker surfer personae (something they've cultivated at other cities' council meetings) to voice their support for a 2nd Independence Day holiday on July 2 ("the same day the movie Independence Day with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum came out").
This was actually their second appearance before our Council, having previously dropped in to request naming the city's water treatment facility in honor of Britney Spears (don't ask).
In their latest appearance, Chad started with a hearty "Whaddup Council" and proceeded to regale everyone with his escapades of this past July 4th, including downing Bud Heavies and playing beer pong with his GFF in his blazing eagle kimono as reason why we need more legal holidays for him and his bros to 'rage.'
Next up was his slacker pal JT, wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with Team Debauchery '19 and greeting the Council with "My dawgs" before eventually launching into an off-key a cappella rendition of Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten." (You can see more of their performance in the City Council video at around the 25-minute mark by clicking here.)
There's some talent there and a lot of cojones but we've seen this act before with Wayne and Garth and, even farther back, Bill and Ted. In fact, the latter duo, in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure", traveled through time from one historical venue to another with the aid of a time-traveling phone booth whereas, with our comic slacker duo Chad and JT, we're picturing them simply traveling from one city council venue to another in a beat-up Kia searching for some free city-supplied video exposure.
Using the slacker vernacular, we'd probably review their performance with "Sorry, bros, the act is more basic than dank."
Hey, dawgs, we're just truthin' it.