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Beverly Hills School Board's 'Blunders'

December 12, 1991

I am truly dismayed at the recent actions leading up to the resignation of Peggy Goldwyn from the Beverly Hills school board. There is plenty of blame to go around in this unfortunate drama.

In the first place, the earlier resignation of Fred Stern (my close friend and colleague), did not help. By resigning in the middle of his term, albeit for unimpeachable motives, he innocently created a dangerous precedent. After all, "If Fred Stern can do it, why can't I?" other board members, including Peggy Goldwyn, can say.

Next, we have the spectacle of a board trampling on tradition. Historic board practice dictated a rotation of officers based on seniority. It was poor judgment on the part of an inexperienced board to discard that tradition. The new board is sorely in need of lessons in boardsmanship.

But then, the board having made its decision, the accepted traditions further dictate that board members graciously accept and support the decision. This was Peggy Goldwyn's duty. Even though the board was wrong, a board member does not resign her position over such relative trivia. The welfare of the school district does not depend on who is sitting as president of the board. The president has no special powers. He or she is the chairman of the meeting--that's all. In my opinion, for Peggy Goldwyn to place gratification of her own ego above the best interests and welfare of the district is bad boardsmanship.

Now the board is considering scheduling a special election costing $30,000 to $60,000. Such an act would constitute neglectful waste, particularly when an election was just held and a candidate--AJ Willmer--missed being elected by 20 votes. Mr. Willmer should be appointed immediately and serve until the next regular election. The people have already spoken. Mr. Willmer has presented himself to the public; he is not an unknown entity.

I say this without having any brief for Mr. Willmer--I did not endorse him or support him. Every penny the district has must be jealously guarded. To disregard the effect of money in this matter would be compounding irresponsibility.

Hopefully, the board will learn from the above cascade of blunders. I know a blunder when I see one; I made enough of my own when I was on the board. Let's hope the board will learn, shape up and act appropriately in the future.

JERRY WEINSTEIN

Beverly Hills

Editor's note: Weinstein was a member of the Beverly Hills school board from 1977 to 1985, and was the board president for two of those years.

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