On February 15, 2022, nine of the eleven board members of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council (HSDNC), chose to resign rather than sponsor and support an organization with close ties to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. This ended my seven and a half years of service on the HSDNC board.
Eight of the board members, including myself, signed this joint letter of resignation: PDF
Fellow board members, committee members, and stakeholders,
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the board of the Hollywood Studio District Council (HSDNC) and represent our community in local government. However, due to the actions of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE), we are no longer able to both continue that service and follow our conscience.
On February 8, 2023, at a special meeting of the HSDNC board, Mario Hernandez of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment informed the board that:
- The HSDNC would be sponsoring an event held by the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation;
- The sponsorship would include $4,000 in funding, more than 10% of the HSDNC annual budget; and
- Any HSDNC board members who did not attend would be removed from the board.
The board members and stakeholders present vehemently objected to sponsoring or participating in this event because of the violent, white-supremacist, criminal gang activity historically and currently perpetrated by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
Despite the fact that no HSDNC board members or stakeholders had been involved in this decision, Mr. Hernandez informed meeting participants that it was “not open for negotiation.”
Given the choice of betraying our values or ending our service to the HSDNC, the decision is clear. We, the undersigned, do hereby resign from the board of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council, effective immediately.
Black Lives Matter.
Michael Tessler, HSDNC Board Chair
Laura Graves, HSDNC Board Vice Chair
Damien Burke, HSDNC Board Secretary
Kali Mutty, HSDNC Board Member
Hayden Bernard, HSDNC Board Member
Frankie Holt, HSDNC Board Member
Cathy Hood, HSDNC Board Member
Nitzan Levinson, HSDNC Board Member