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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Matt Fisher Removed from VNC Board at First Meeting of 2020

By Angela McGregor

Prior to the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC)February Board meeting, a large crowd gathered outside of Westminster Elementary School cheering their support for Matt Fisher and calling for Board President Ira Koslow to step down. Later, at the call to order, this group entered the auditorium, loudly yelling. As the Pledge of Allegiance commenced, a small group of self-identified “indigenous persons” at the front of the room pulled out instruments and an amplifier and began reciting what they referred to as a “prayer”, holding up the meeting for at least 20 minutes. Stakeholders who complained were told they were “immigrants” who had “no right to be in this country”. Eventually, order was restored such that those present who had filled out speaker cards could state their case, and most were supportive of Fisher. Dozens of public comments ensued, and it was not until after 9pm that the motion was finally open to Board commentary.

Ira Koslow began the board discussion by laying out the case against Fisher, who was accused of violating the Board’s Code of Civility as it appears in the most recent version of the VNC Bylaws, as follows:We collectively and individually agree to abide by the following Code of Civility to the best of our abilities.

1.I will conduct myself in a professional and civil manner at all times as a representative of the Venice Neighborhood Council,

2.I will treat each member of the board and members of the public with respect at all times, regardless of an individual’s opinion, ethnicity, race, sexuality, age, disability, or religion.

3.Even in the face of disagreement or differences of opinion, I will demonstrate esteem and deference for my colleagues and the public.

4.Under no circumstances during Neighborhood Council meetings, functions, or events will I engage in or threaten to engage in any verbal or physical attack on any other individual.

5.I will commit to communicate my ideas and points of view clearly, and allow others to do the same without interruption.

6.I will not use language that is abusive, threatening, obscene, or slanderous, including using profanities, insults, or other disparaging remarks or gestures.

7.Derogatory language about an individual’s ethnicity, race, sexuality, age, disability, or religion is not acceptable.

8.I will take responsibility for my own actions, and will work to fulfill my role and responsibilities as specified in the bylaws.

9.I will commit to learn the applicable laws that govern Neighborhood Councils, including bylaws, standing rules, the Brown Act, ethics rules, city ordinances, and the City Charter, and will not knowingly violate any of the above.

10.I will abide by the Neighborhood Council’s meeting procedures or rules in order to create a safe and effective environment for conducting business.

11.I will promote and enforce a safe meeting environment at all times. At moments when members of the public become disruptive and violate the rules of civility that we have pledged to follow. I will join my fellow board members in demanding that the persons conduct themselves in a respectful and orderly manner even if I agree with the point of view that is being expressed.

12.I will seek to present information truthfully, and will not knowingly misrepresent, mischaracterize, or misquote information received from others.

13.I pledge to truly listen to and hear other points of view.

14.I will practice the art of being able to disagree without being disagreeable.

15.If I find myself representing my personal interests before my community’s interests, I will publicly disclose the differences and recuse myself from voting on such matters.

16.I will commit to good faith efforts to resolve any grievances that come before the board as specified in the bylaws.17.I owe it to my fellow board members, the public, and the decision-makers who we are trying to influence to make the best effort to understand the issues before me. I will “do my homework.”

Koslow displayed visual evidence showing that Fisher had posted, in the comments section of a post by Mike Bonin, that video evidence would show that Board members Mark Ryavec and Jim Murez had planted bombs around the MTA lot. In a comment to a post on this website, Fisher had stated that he was “constantly offered bribes” in order to “screw over the homeless.”. He refused to attend a recent VNC Board retreat due to what he termed “funding discrepancies,” implying an illegal use of funds. In an email to Koslow, he accused fellow Board member Charles Rials, an employee of Safe Place for Youth, of being a “fake homeless person” and accused his employer of “child abuse.” The Board received a letter from Fisher’s attorney stating that they would, like Fisher’s prior employer, soon all be sued due to “whistleblower violations.”

Fisher responded that the comment on Facebook was protected free speech, and insisted the comment on Venice Update was not him, or at least could not be proven to be him since comments on this site are not validated before they are entered. He said the email from his attorney wasn’t actually from his attorney, and that his comments regarding Rials and SPY were “not public” and came after Rials was made Chair of the Homeless Committee, passing over Fisher, who had drafted the original motion to form the committee.

More public commentary ensued, all of it opposed to the motion. Among the major points made:

Fisher alone represents the dispossessed and downtrodden on the VNC Board. His opinions, therefore, may well be unpopular but in no way merit his removal.

His removal gives him grounds for a lawsuit.

The incidents presented in Koslow’s argument for his dismissal were inadequate and unconvincing. Furthermore, they were not posted on the VNC website in advance of the Board meeting, as promised at the AdComm meeting wherein the motion was place on the agenda.

Board commentary came next. Koslow stated that he had been in contact with the City Attorney’s office for weeks regarding the issue, and was told not to present his case against Fisher online in advance of the meeting. He said that, in light of the fact that he was elected to represent all of Venice and not simply the homeless, he felt he had no choice but to file the motion because the majority of the Board it should be filed, and said so at the AdComm meeting.

Charles Rials said that the evidence presented was insufficient and that Fisher should face censure and enter remediation instead. He also felt that both Mark Ryavec and Jim Murez should be forced to recuse themselves from the vote due to their involvement as the victims in Fisher’s online targeting.

Sima Kosvetsky maintained that Fisher — who had accused her via a conversation with Koslow of misappropriating funds meant for the Holiday Sign Lighting — did not have the right to “decry and bully” his fellow Board members. She also chastised the crowd for using terms such as “Hitler” and “Apartheid” to describe the views of board members who did not agree with them, calling such name-calling ignorant.

Brian Averill maintained that the Facebook post was clearly meant “as a joke” and that the evidence presented did not amount to grounds for removal.

Alex Neiman stated that many other board members were guilty of “actual” ethics violations (he listed accepting free restaurant meals and failing to recuse from voting on motions wherein they had a financial interest) and that what Fisher had done paled in comparison, in his view.

Chris Wrede refuted Averill’s claim that the Facebook post was unserious, and reminded him that Mike Bonin had perpetrated the narrative that “radical anti-homeless people” were responsible for “terrorizing the community.”

Finally, George Francisco reminded the Board that past boards had brought members up for simply doxxing stakeholders online, which at the time was viewed as totally intolerable behavior. Fisher’s actions, he stated, reflected an “unbelievable lack of civility” and a “continuous set of lies and intimidation” had been going on since June. The Facebook accusation was, in his opinion, an “aggressive, hostile act.”

The vote — which came at 9:45pm — was 12-4-1 in favor of Fisher’s removal, more than the 2/3rds vote needed to pass.

After a five minute break during which most of the crowd disbursed, Board Secretary Melissa Diner motioned to table the agenda’s remaining motions to the next meeting, but this motion failed. The meeting then continued until 11:45pm, and included the passage of a motion that had been added to the agenda by petition after its failure to pass the Homeless Committee (see: https://veniceupdate.com/2020/01/18/raucous-homeless-committee-meeting-fails-to-deliver-motion/). Also a vote of no confidence for Councilman Mike Bonin failed to pass and a motion to provide K-rails around the MTA lot was passed.

The next VNC Board meeting will be Tuesday, March 17th at 7pm.


Comments (19)

  1. Jimmy Valdez

    Anyone know where Matt Fisher hangs out? I’d like to run into him in person sometime.

  2. Angela McGregor

    The video of the meeting is still available online at https://www.facebook.com/VeniceNC/videos/183622936239361/

    I would encourage anyone with questions about the veracity of my reporting to watch it. Sima’s comments about people referring to Ira as “Hitler” were based on emails the Board had received prior to the meeting.

    • Mike Bravo

      Let’s not forget that video and audio cut out frequently. And doesn’t follow people around the room. Also, just like Ira’s “evidence“ none of these comments allegations are proven. Just more lies to push white supremacy on the board.

      People can watch another video perspective here


  3. Ryan McDonald


    Why don’t you and your girlfriend go live your dream on an Indian reservation? You can beat your drums, pray all you want, and tell people (who actually care) how long you’ve lived on US soil. That way the rest of us can go amongst our daily lives without having you deal with you and your anti-Caucasian hating friends mooching off our tax dollars. And take that dirty hippie David with you

    • Mike Bravo

      First off you’re a bitch. Feel free to come say it to my face. I’m easy to find. Just like most of the posters here and the board I think you’re really that stupid and ignorant or you just choose to be, either way please don’t conflate our dislike for racist, coward like yourself for hating the general good white folks out there. But alas, I guess that’s what ignorant cocksuckers like yourself do I suppose.

      • Ryan McDonald

        Mike, I’d say it to your face if you weren’t so busy doing your rain dance at Westminster and kept running around like a crazy little Indian filming the VNC meeting. What do you do with all the content? Do you play it on the tv for Lydia to watch while you’re munching on her nasty carpet?

  4. Wow Angela,
    I haven’t engaged with you on social media for a while but your comments are as racist undertoned as ever. Don’t forget to mention Wrede berating police officers or forget to list all the bylaw and civility violations by Ira and your friends just from last night alone. Also no one called Ira Hitler, again, more unsubstantiated allegations (lies) to distract. Jewish or not Ira and the homogeneous board continue to reinforce and advance white supremacy in Venice via dishonorable procedure, lies, and the taking of first amendment rights from already marginalized peoples.

  5. Jake The Snake

    I thought that little twerp from the tenants union (Jacob?) was a nice touch. I appreciated his “boo-hooing” the man in the grey suit.

    I wonder if he left that meeting boo-hooing himself since his millennial, snowflake punk ass didn’t get his way.

    • I love all the shit talking with a fake name, hilarious. That’s the definition of twerp. If we lost how come youre the one on here making snowflake comments under and anonymous snowflake profile name? hahaha

  6. Paul Fanning

    Who’s hosting the open bar to celebrate Matt being voted off the VNC? I’d prefer some place posh so we can flex our NIMBY muscle.

  7. Melissa Stokes

    Will we continue to see Matt at the ribbon cutting ceremonies?

  8. Vicki

    Good distillation of the whole scene, Angela. Rather than the nice cookies and fruits along with the coffee in the back, I suggest the VNC get edibles donated from MedMen next time.

    • Conveniently forgot the part about Christian Wrede berating a Black police officer and other mostly Latino LAPD officers when they wouldnt bow to his white privelege tantrum because they didnt remove or arrest us (which technically they cant) in a public space.

  9. Max Morris

    Good riddance. I watched online… Matt Fisher’s “supporters” certainly did not help him, yelling profanities the whole meeting, threatening violence against board members, and shouting down people who took the mic. These homeless acted like thugs, and I’m personally glad they have one less voice on the council. Hopefully they learn their lesson for the next VNC election. Reasonable people don’t behave like this.

    • Sorry. Unfortunately for you unhonorable haters the internet is not the real world and the VNC is only an advisory board. Sorry to disappoint you.

      • Max Morris

        Great, so if the VNC is just a little advisory board, why did you summon the army of lazy, misbehaved assholes to fight so, so hard for Matt to continue is bad behavior on the board.

        Remember… “it’s just an advisory board.”

        • Max Morris, (nice anonymous snowflake profile name btw) I’m flatterred that you think so potentially of me that I could just summon people at will like that. Im honored. You know i really wish one of you coward kook posters would write a blog about how it feels to be such a bitch that u cant even post your real name.

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