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GPNC Holds Diversity Forum. Jews Not Included.

[Image by flickr user flingitman]

Just in time for Rosh Hashanah! Our favorite single-named neighborhood council chair, Crazy Bradley, is at it again. This time the target isn't videographers , or Glassell Park Neighborhood Council meeting attendees with the misfortune of sitting eyes-to-scrotum level of our dear chair. This time it's the Chosen People who seem to have invited Bradley's ire with the insane request that a Diversity Forum be re-scheduled from the Holiest of all Holy Days, Yom Kippur. When the request for rescheduling was brought to the Human Relations Commission, the sh*t hit the proverbial fan. What follows in the email exchange includes allusions to a Jewish Conspiracy (sometimes we like to take a break from our cabal for world domination and focus on Crazy Bradley just to mix things up) and a few well-worn bromides (he even managed to upgrade the "some of my best friends are Jewish" to "his distant relatives.") Well played, Crazy Bradley.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gary De La Rosa
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 5:54 PM
Subject: Yom Kippur

Hi Bradley,

Hope you're doing well today.

I am sorry to be the carrier of bad news, but there is an issue about the Sept. 22nd date we didn't see before today. Being that our executive director is also a Rabbi, we had a discussion of the upcoming high holidays for September so that we wouldn't schedule any events, etc on those days.

What we found out today is that Sept. 22nd is the second day of Yom Kippur, a high holiday event (from both our office meeting and an e-mail I received). Since the topic is Race, Religion, and Culture in the Northeast... it would not bode well for some community members (not just those observing Yom Kippur) if this event was held on that date. We (HRC) didn't see that conflict at the time we spoke with you about the event. We knew we'd missed Rosh Hashanah and the start of Ramadan, and Sukkot, but completely missed this date.

HRC has to point out that this date is too strong a holiday to over look, and thus regrettably recommends that this event be postponed to a later date. While we know your by-laws state the NC needs to have two meetings a year, perhaps we can help organize something else for the immediate future, and move this to a time that will allow this effort to get the deserved attention it should. Or just move the event to another date this year.

Please feel free to phone me at 213-216-9873 to discuss this further.



And Bradley's response:
To: Gary De La Rosa
Sent: 9/12/2007 7:07:21 AM
Subject: RE: Yom Kippur

Okay, this is not good at all. All the Banners are up, posters, flyers, electronic e-mails and extensive outreach has been completed. The budget for this event has been exhausted already and the food, volunteers, and main assembly hall has been confirmed. All the religious institutions in the area have been outreached too (Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Baptist, etc) and the youth groups have also been provided with flyers for the events. 20,000 flyers to be exact, 200 posters, 12 Banners at substantial costs..

I am more than furious. This is not only an unexpected chain of events but this is also an embarrassment to the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council, the NC process, and a major insult to those of us that are not Jewish and to those of us that are Jewish that have commented that they look forward to the event.

I am further appalled that a series of phone calls from a few individuals disgruntled with NC's, the will of the community to elect a GPNC Board representative of the community, and rejects empowering others in general believe that the selfish needs of a few out-weight the rights of the many in the Northeast Community. Equally puzzling is the ability of a few individuals to strongly influence a governmental city agency like the Human Relations Commission that is supposed to meet the needs of all equally.

I would like to know what the HRC's record is on not holding events on all faith-based, cultural, and secular holidays including Kwanza I also have a right to know how this came about, who made the calls, and how influential are a few residents that they would be so influential with Rabbi Freehling? Or am I and others in the Northeast to believe that one secular belief is more important than another? Are the needs of the few much more important than serving the needs of the many of Angelenos living in Los Angeles?

You cannot believe my anger and disbelief with this chain of events. Horrified cannot adequately express my feelings accurately. To know that my faith and the faith of others must take a back seat because a few individuals feel their selfish needs and religious affiliation are more important speaks volumes to many of those I will have to express the cancellation of this event. Is the GPNC's success to mobilize and outreach to the whole of the community so threatening to a few individuals that they would use the Race and Religious Card to establish influence? My distant Relatives (Jewish and otherwise) are rolling over in their graves knowing that a city entity such as Human Relations would be easily swayed that one set of beliefs influences the decisions of the many. This speaks Volumes!

GPNC Chairperson

(PS: I have to CC the city entities in support of the Diversity Forum to keep them in the loop - not as a slight to you or HRC)

And the response from Patricia Villasenor, Deputy Director of Field Services, Human Relations Commission

Hello Badley:

First, our emall was a recommendation and ultimatley your neighborhood council has the final the decision on how it chooses to move foward.

Second, it has been a long practice of HRC to discourage community events to occur during any religious holiday in order to respect the diverse communities inLos Angeles and encourage maximum participation fromall communities.

Third, there is no conspiracy. Due to the overwhelming capacity issues of staff and the reason HRC was initially brought in, it was overlooked. However, we would be remiss in our responsibility if we did not recommend cancelation once we discovered our oversight.

Again, we take responsiblity for our oversight, however, we feel our recommendation is valid. Of couse the neighborhood council is free to conduct business as it sees fit.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call.