For more info, visit stepdownrussbrown.wordpress.com
On March 17, 2010, the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council held a Grievance Hearing to address complaints of ethical violations by Russell Brown, DLANC's President, surrounding the Downtown LA Art Walk non-profit. The hearing was not posted on DLANC's calendar, nor was it included in their community email announcements -- a violation of the ethics clause of DLANC's bylaws. Such posting is the responsibility of VP of Communication and Outreach Patti Berman, "at the direction" of President Russell Brown.
This randomly selected Grievance Committee was formed in response to complaints that prior to February 2010, Russell Brown would have been permitted to sit on the committee that investigated ethics complaints against his own behavior.
In this annotated video of the secret March 17 grievance hearing, you will see Russell Brown personally admit that he used text messaging during the December 2009 DLANC meeting to summon an accomplice to dissuade community members from speaking out about his behavior regarding Art Walk. He also admits that he and Bert Green agreed in June 2009 not to sign over the intellectual property of the Art Walk to the newly forming non-profit, and that Russell Brown determined that the galleries, DLANC and HDBID (Russell's employers) would not support the new non-profit. You will also see footage of the unpaid corporate sponsorship placement of Cadillac cars and SUVs at the November 2009 Art Walk, which Russell Brown arranged privately, against the wishes and without the knowledge of the non-profit's Director Richard Schave.
Gunnar Hand, Chair of DLANC's Grievance Committee stated at the end of the March 17 hearing that while DLANC's bylaws call for Russell Brown to "endeavor" to behave ethically, that was a suggestion and not a requirement, and so the Committee would not vote on if they disapproved of his behavior or if he should be censured.
As community members whose full-time volunteer efforts to better the Art Walk were smeared over many months by this individual who represents himself as speaking for the community, and who ultimately had to resign from the Art Walk board due to his dishonest and constant attacks on our professionalism, we respectfully disagree with Mr. Hand's interpretation. Also, see below for another dissenting view from attorney Maurice Kane.
Ethics are not voluntary, and Downtown LA deserves better than Russell Brown. For more information on this situation or a link to sign the petition calling for Russell Brown to resign from DLANC, please visit - stepdownrussbrown.wordpress.com
-Richard Schave & Kim Cooper, founding Director and Curator/Treasurer of the Downtown LA Art Walk non-profit
Attorney Maurice Kane offers the following interpretation of DLANC's ethics clause:
This language in Bylaw, Article XII: "The DLANC, its Directors, and all Stakeholders will endeavor to conduct Council business in a professional and respectful manner. The DLANC is committed to developing a system whereby pertinent information transmitted through the City's Early Notification System will be disseminated or made available in a timely manner to every Stakeholder. The Council, its Directors, and all Stakeholders will refrain from violating Board rules and shall abide by the Plan and all City, County, State, and federal laws that apply" must be read in its fullest context to mean that the persons covered are obligated to proceed in "a professional and respectful manner" and such persons are further directed to adhere to Board rules and the other sources of authority listed, i.e., the Plan and all City, County, State, and federal laws that apply"
Its actually a broad and binding ethical mandate and not a narrow, circumscribed, restricted, do-what-you-can guideline as they would prefer.
Also, from an etymological standpoint, "endeavor" includes "duty" and strenuous effort and when one juxtaposes that word to the remainder of the Ethics Bylaw, its clear that the DLANC, its Directors, and all Stakeholders have to do the utmost to obey the Board rules, the Plan and laws (County, state, federal)
The terms "professional" and "respectful" have meaningful, substantive content that have to be followed in a good faith manner, especially when you consider the State of California's Ralph Brown Act, parliamentary procedure such as Robert's Rules of Order, etc
Main Entry: 1en·deav·or
Inflected Form(s): en·deav·ored; en·deav·or·ing \-v(ə-)riŋ\
Etymology: Middle English endeveren to exert oneself, from en- + dever duty — more at devoir
Early 15c., lit. "in duty," from phrase put (oneself) in dever "make it one's duty" (a partial translation of O.Fr. mettre en deveir "put in duty"), from O.Fr. dever "duty," from L. debere "to owe" (see debt). One's endeavors meaning one's "utmost effort" is from late 15c.
1350–1400; ME endeveren, from the phrase putten in devoir to make an effort, assume responsibility; cf. AF se mettre en deveir.
transitive verb 1 archaic : to strive to achieve or reach
2 : to attempt (as the fulfillment of an obligation) by exertion of effort intransitive verb : to work with set purpose