ANC 6B Executive Committee Finds Three 6B Commissioners in Violation of Bylaws – Votes to Correct the Record with Historic Preservation Review Board on Hine
by Larry Janezich
Monday night, at an emergency meeting of ANC 6B’s Executive Committee, three ANC 6B Commissioners – Dave Garrison, Kirsten Oldenburg, and Norm Metzger – were found to have violated ANC 6B bylaws in presenting a joint statement to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) during a June 30 hearing on the Hine Development. The three commissioners made a statement strongly supportive of the project, in contrast to the official statement of ANC6B which raised numerous issues with the project and recommended several major design changes. The three were charged with failing to explicitly state that their testimony was not representative of ANC 6B; failing to explicitly state whether and when their testimony was contradictory of official ANC positions; and of seizing an “opportunity to stress several points not made in ANC 6B’s formal testimony” without stating that at least one of those points addressed an issue that the Commission had not yet deliberated upon.
Of the three Commissioners found to have violated the bylaws, Garrison was the only one present for the meeting. At various points in the occasionally contentious discussion, Garrison stipulated that he had violated the bylaws, but insisted that he had done so unintentionally and without consequence. He added that he had corrected the record with HPRB by correcting his testimony after the hearing. In fact, the corrected testimony filed after the fact differed only in that it included the disclaimer “We are not speaking on behalf of ANC 6B.”
Though prompted by his colleagues at several points, Garrison offered no apology. ANC 6B chair Neil Glick went so far as to characterize Garrison’s representation before the HPRB as “dirty testimony.” Glick and others belabored the “lack of contrition,” as Commissioner Brian Pate put it, in both Garrison’s remarks during the meeting and Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg’s effort to correct the testimony after the fact, which she presented to constituents as a clerical error (“I goofed and attached the wrong version….”) rather than as an effort to correct a violation of ANC 6B bylaws.
While the discussion of contrition elicited the strongest remarks, the most pointed part of the meeting came when Commissioner Garrison insisted that the punitive sanctions for infractions against the bylaws listed in ANC 6B bylaws (Section 2 of Article Six) did not apply to the violations he admitted committing, so ANC 6B had no authority to impose any. If it did so, Garrison threatened, the Commission would have to “talk to my lawyer” and “answer to the Attorney General.” A close reading of the paragraph on sanctions reveals ambiguity regarding exactly which infractions the sanctions apply to, depending on whether the language is interpreted broadly or narrowly. The Executive Committee opted to recommend to the full ANC that a letter be sent to the HPRB detailing the violations of the bylaws and correcting ANC 6B’s position on the Hine Development for the record.
ANC 6B will discuss and vote on the recommendations put forward by the Executive Committee on Tuesday night during its regularly scheduled meeting. Voting in favor of the findings of fact that violations of the bylaws had indeed occurred and voting in favor of a letter to HPRB as the proposed remedy were Commissioners Critchfield, Frishberg, Glick, Green, and Pate. Commissioner Garrison abstained from all votes. Though the complaint originally lodged by Commissioner Pate listed only Commissioner Garrison as having violated the bylaws, the Executive Committee amended the findings of fact to list Commissioners Metzger and Oldenburg as having violated them as well.
Perhaps more than any other issue, deliberation over the Hine Development has introduced tension on ANC 6B. At the meeting Monday night, Commissioners Pate and Glick referred back to the efforts made to include or accommodate Commissioners Garrison, Oldenburg, and Metzger, first in the original Hine resolution, and later in the memorandum reiterating components of the ANC 6B position on Hine for the benefit of the second HPRB hearing held to discuss it. It was at the latter hearing that the bylaw violations occurred. Garrison offered no rebuttal or comments on that point, instead arguing that the gathered Commissioners “were beating up on us” and using procedural arguments to critique substantive positions. In defending his testimony as representing Oldenburg and Metzger as well, Garrison said only that “a sense of efficiency” encouraged them to consolidate their positions – though he also insisted that doing so did not constitute a “minority report.”
Tuesday night, ANC6B will take up the motions put forward by the Executive Committee, along with its regularly scheduled business including a special exception to permit a Chipotle on Barracks Row and final action on the recommendations of the Retail Mix Committee. The meeting will occur at the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, 522 7th Street, SE, (The Old Safeway Building), 7:00 p.m.