Things might not be any more peaceful for the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) now that a disgruntled group of members supportive of revisiting the neighborhoods zoning regulations have broken away and formed their own alternative group. Thats because while they may have gone their separate ways, it appears as if a least a few members of the newly-minted Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA) are sticking around to make their presence felt. Both Ronald Biondo and Albert Hasson attended Marchs meeting of the MBCG. held at Kingsborough Community College. Biondo, former president of the MBCG, is now treasurer for the MBNA. Hasson, coordinator of the MBCGs private security detail, has also agreed to join the breakaway group, according to MBNA Secretary Edmond Dweck. At the last meeting of the MBCG Hasson challenged the groups rule requiring new items to be submitted seven days in advance of a meeting for inclusion on that nights agenda. Al Smaldone, former co-chair of the now defunct Quality of Life Committee, and new member of the MBNA, made his own challenge to another procedural issue at a previous meeting. MBCG Assistant Secretary Francine Olk defended the notification requirement, saying that it allowed for more meaningful and peaceable meetings and had been in place for years before being overturned by the late Dana Borell when she was president of the group. Zalcman said that the advance notice made planning the agenda easier. It is the president that writes the agenda with approval from the board of directors according to Roberts Rules of Order, he said. The entire notification issue was ultimately tabled. Zalcman later said that the group was entering uncharged new territory. Were going to have to make it up as we go along, he said. Whatever we do will be a decision by the board of directors. Biondo told the Bay News that he doesnt intend to be a thorn in anybodys side but will continue to be a presence at MBCG meetings and contribute in any way that he can. The first meeting of the new MBNA will take place at P.S. 195 on the evening of April 7. Up until recently, the Manhattan Beach School located on the corner of Shore Boulevard and Irwin Street had hosted MBCG meetings in its auditorium for many years. According to Zalcman, the jump to Kingsborough Community College occurred after the school decided to double the cost of renting out the auditorium and space at the college was offered for free. The MBCG president said that no one from the MBCG would be attending the April 7 meeting in an official capacity. Im certainly not going to disrupt their group meetings and I expect the same, Zalcman said. District Attorney Charles Hynes and City Councilmember Mike Nelson are expected to attend the MBNA meeting, however. Nelson, who did not attend the last meeting of the MBCG, has made no secret about his estrangement from the groups leadership. Some just spit in my face and wanted me to think it was raining, Nelson said last week. Theres nothing in the city charter that says I have to deal with people that have insulted me. This week Zalcman denied any such slight. Our group has always treated Mike Nelson with respect and we have no idea what hes talking about, the MBCG president said. He should concentrate on being the councilman of the entire community and not just a few. Manhattan Beach consists of about 2200 households on just 1.3 acres of land. The MBNA says it already has 150 people signed up for the new group. The MBCG, meanwhile, is now embarked on its own membership drive and just introduced a couple of new hospitality programs. New homeowners and those recovering from illness should expect a cheery plant or the like courtesy of the groups Sunshine Committee. Critics of the group argue that the MBCG is trying to increase membership while limiting eligibility. The current group wasnt going in an inclusive direction, Biondo said. The purpose of the new group was to have an alternative. Despite the turmoil, Zalcman said the 67-year-old MBCG would still be around long after the feuding parties are long gone. Everything thats happening in this community is for the best, Zalcman said. I think the Manhattan Beach Community Group is very strong. Were going to do well.
©2008 Community News Group
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