The City Council voted against a plan to open its meetings with a nondenominational prayer, but agreed to consider using an opening invocation that does not refer to a "higher power."
While many South Bay city councils begin meetings with prayers, Hermosa Beach does not. Councilmen J. R. Reviczky and Sam Y. Edgerton supported the plan, arguing that an opening prayer would set a reverential tone for each meeting.
But Mayor Robert (Burgie) Benz and council members Julie A. Oakes and John Bowler opposed the plan.
"We have one government meeting after another that begins with a prayer and turns into hypocrisy and infighting," Bowler said.
The council vote disappointed Hermosa Beach resident Karen Johnson, who told the council she recently organized a prayer group in the city. She hopes the council will soon come to an agreement on an opening invocation, she said.
"It was a simple vote," she said. "You're either voting in favor of godliness or godlessness."