Home > News and Politics > MARCHESE ACCUSED OF TRYING TO GET NON-PROFIT WETLAND GROUP’S MAILING LIST FOR HIS CITY COUNCIL CAMPAIGN

MARCHESE ACCUSED OF TRYING TO GET NON-PROFIT WETLAND GROUP’S MAILING LIST FOR HIS CITY COUNCIL CAMPAIGN

 

TOM MARCHESE
Tom Marchese not only lopsidedly lost his battle for re-election to the Board of Directors of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust (LCWLT) Tuesday night, but questions raised about his ethics in a letter from the organization’s esteemed founder may have cost him any realistic chance to be elected to the Long Beach City Council on April 13. 

Don May, who helped create the LCWLT some three decades ago and has remained the group’s guru since moving to Hawaii several years ago, endorsed Janice Dahl for the seat that Marchese occupied on the Board of Directors. She won easily, receiving 48 votes to join Phil Lohman (54), Jericho Poppler and Stephanie Loftin (52) and Steve McCord (51) on the board. Marchese received 19 votes. 

But more damaging than the endorsement of Marchese’s opponent were May’s charges that Marchese could have endangered the not-for-profit LCWLT’s very existence by trying to use his seat on the board as a tool in his city council campaign. 

“Tom has often been helpful in the past, but his more recent actions preclude his ability to serve on your Board,” May wrote in his letter. “Tom has every right to run for office, but the ethical thing a potential public servant does is to resign or at least suspend membership in advocacy groups that may perhaps one day have some business before that office, and to preclude any suggestion that the organization’s assets or membership might be used in electioneering, which could lead to the loss of LCWLTs tax status. Tom not only did not withdraw from LCWLT Board, he demanded your membership list and threatened to sue you for withholding it. As you have witnessed, the Board is unable to function with him on it.” 

Marchese could not be reached for comment. Messages left on his telephone answering service were not returned. 

Marchese has been basing his candidacy for council on his reputation as an environmentalist and his allegations that current Third District Councilmember Gary DeLong has used the position to grant favors to friends and powerful insiders. 

But reached by telephone in Hawaii, May’s description of Marchese’s behavior as an LCWLT board member sounded similarly self-serving. 

“I don’t like to cast stones, but it is not endearing to me when someone threatens to sue the organization for doing what it is supposed to do,” said May. “Tom threatened to sue the Land Trust for refusing to give him membership lists [that members feared he intended] to use for electioneering. 

“If that had happened it would have endangered our tax status as well as our certification to receive public funds to buy wetlands. For someone to have been able to show that our membership list had been used for electioneering would have endangered everything we do. Tom has done exactly the things a board member is not supposed to do—including speaking as if he speaks for the board.” 

Comparatively, May spoke glowingly of Dahl as he accounted for his endorsement of her candidacy for the board. 

“Janice is a known quantity. She helped found the group, playing a major role from its days as a task force to when we filed the DBA to when we formed the corporation and wrote the by-laws. She’s always been dependable and trustworthy person. 

“And then, we have Tom.”

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  1. Lee G
    March 31, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Some have said Marchese will threaten a lawsuit to get anything he wants; now there is proof. Tom is just a bit “unbalanced” in his approach and demonstrates he is not fit to serve on the City Council.

  2. Janis Populi
    March 31, 2010 at 6:45 am

    I see no proof here. Just an accusation that Marchese intended to use the membership list to send out campaign materials. The membership list was requested because of complaints that the LCWLT was not following it’s bylaws and was in danger of losing its nonprofit status because of mismanagement. The petty nastiness and arguing is driving many people out of the LCWLT. I would suggest that you clean up your own house before you attack someone who has his heart in the right place.

    • Howardx
      March 31, 2010 at 9:13 am

      your anecdotal information about what the list was going to be used for also does not constitute proof of anything.

      • Janis Populi
        March 31, 2010 at 9:40 am

        True. But again I am not attacking a person’s reputation because of WHAT THEY MIGHT DO. Marchese as a director of the LCWLT has a right (per the bylaws) to review the membership list. Nor am I printing an article which attacks someone without allowing them to defend themselves.

        Being on a nonprofit board while running for public office is not illegal.

        I understand the LCWLT concerns but they have handled this issue very verly poorly.

        • March 31, 2010 at 10:02 am

          Hello Janis. Just to be clear, I did allow Mr. Marchese to defend himself, leaving a message on his answering service last night asking for his response to the letter and his side of events. Mr. Marchese, who has phoned me many, many times in other circumstances, so far has not responded in this one.

          • Janis Populi
            April 1, 2010 at 6:59 am

            I am disapointed in you Dave. Are you writing objective articles or just using people and ruining reputations to get attention? Now we have two great people and community advocates, Tom Marchese and Mike Ruehle with their names in the toliet. Makes me question the validity of your hit piece articles on DeLong, Dean, Beck, etc.

            The press and the community would benefit if we spent less time attacking each other’s pesonality and more time learning about others concerns and issues. Real power does not come from stuffing boards and alienating members.

            Sadly, the Enviros need to come down from their self anointed throne and admit that they are just another special interest group with their own ethics and transpancy problems. Keep you minds and hearts open to each other.

  3. March 31, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Still awaiting Mr. Marchese’s response.

  4. wrongbeachjohn
    March 31, 2010 at 10:45 am

    No wonder we get stuck with politicians like blob and delong et al. With all the urinating contests most decent people with honorable intentions have no stomach for the BS that goes along with public office.
    See how Gerrie gets trashed and marginalized for doing the right things? I am amazed she sticks with it. Maybe Tom is receiving a favor as I would bet he could live quite well without being on either the LCWLT or the shitty council.

  5. Joe Weinstein
    March 31, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Wrongbeach is basically right – but the issue goes far beyond our beloved city of Wrong Bitch.

    What’s revealed is the absurdity of an obsolete system of government by long-term elected oligarchy, whereby massive public policy decision power is concentrated in the same few people over long periods. This absurd and needless situation – decision by the same few instead of many different decision teams involving us all – forces otherwise sensible people to move the discussion focus away from where it belongs – public policies – and instead to a topic which shouldn’t have to matter at all – the fitness and foibles of particular people.

    We don’t need expensive and divisive elections to pick a few all-powerful decision makers. We need a system of decision-making by many different citizen teams. We could start by demanding independent review (with veto power), by a different randomly chosen team every week, of every City Council decision.

  6. Joe Weinstein
    March 31, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I fully understand and utterly sympathize with Don May’s concerns for the integrity of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, and moreover he likely remains extremely well informed by email and phone from many sources, even if physically he is in Hawaii.

    But there’s another and ironic aspect too. Namely, everyone’s excited over the possibility of Marchese saving a few nickels and dimes by getting a relatively small mailing list.

    Meanwhile with hardly a whisper uttered, the LBPOA CONTINUES to waste tons of money to mail ‘write in Tonia’ everywhere in town. Yesterday, days after they said they would ‘correct’ the ‘problem’, here in the 8-th district – with no Council race at all – I got my ‘write in Tonia’ blurb from LBPOA.

  7. Laura
    March 31, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    It is too late for Don May to unring the bell on the damage his offensive letter
    did last night. One wonders if he knew this letter was to be handed out as a political ploy at a non profit organization’s election? It was one of the most political meetings I’ve ever attended!!!!

    Tom requested the membership list 4 times but it was for us-the members.
    We have asked before and been ignored. The by-laws state a director can have immediate access and even copy the list.
    The by laws also state that 20% of the membership can petition to place a member on the ballot for the LCWLT Board. But what is 20%–300-500-1000? We who petitioned for Mr. Marchese felt the LCWLT did us a big diservice by not disclosing–we could only guess at the membershp numbers!! I have never hear Tom use the word sue in connection with this. But then I’m not privy to secret board meetings.
    Also, Mr. May must know that there are other board members who indeed have direct access to the lists and are very partial to certain candidates. Take that a step further……

    • March 31, 2010 at 5:27 pm

      Laura, I like Tom Marchese for this district, it is sad to see this go down like this.

  8. Mike Ruehle
    March 31, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    The timing of Don May’s well orchestrated letter and the past and current actions of the LCWLT Board should cause people to wonder whether this is a political attempt to benefit the election chances of the incumbent Councilperson by discrediting one of his political opponents.

    • Howardx
      March 31, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      good to see you mike, how have you been?

      • March 31, 2010 at 5:26 pm

        I agree! Good to see you Mr. Ruehle…how have you been?

    • Dwight K Snider
      March 31, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Mike! Good to see you. How have you been?

    • wrongbeachjohn
      March 31, 2010 at 6:43 pm

      Business as usual here. Tom fighting for the list is very much one attribute the third district desperately needs, and the buddy-buddies know it. Their gain and LB citizens loss if they get traction from this one. I hope Tom and Mike Ruehle never get disgusted by the never-ending actions of the scumbags and walk away from it all.

  9. Dancing Queen
    March 31, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Dave,
    You were not at the meeting. I was–always best to be on location when
    writing about it. The debacle started when it was discovered that Carmen
    Rosas, one of Janis Dahl’s best friends was passing out a campaign letter which endorsed Dahl and slimed Marchese. The letter was penned March 30-YESTERDAY- by Don Ho from Hawaii–the ladies Big Daddy. And get this–letter was addressed to Mary and the Nominating Committee. When confronted, the board feigned ignorance although both the President and Vice-President were on the nominating Committe. As for Ms. Rosas, she said the letters were just given to her by an unidentified driver who stopped at the clubhouse!??. I know-hard to beleive.

    And Janis (missing in action for the past two years) Dahl–what was her response to all of this?? Oh, she was a no-show. (MIA again!) It is kinda scary watching someone be destroyed!! Conscience? However, Adrea Stoker, a former boardmember
    took up the slack for Janice–reading parts of that damn letter again for her endorsment. Wow.
    It seemed T-O-O obvious that the LCWLT Board fearing that Marchese would be voted on the board went to desperate measures–on the day of the election– to assure this didn’t happen. Did it work–sure.
    And then the fighting broke out–completely out of control!!! Although Mel Nutter, was surrounded by angry members and promised to look into this scandal, I’m not holding my breath. A really rousing entertaining meeting but very sad too-I had to go home and wash thoroughly with strong disinfectant soap. And that’s what happened Dave–you should have been there.
    The Queen

    • Janis Populi
      March 31, 2010 at 6:37 pm

      You forgot to mention the part where the president of the land trust resigned, again. This is the 2nd president in a row who has resigned. Sure wish this group would get their act together.

  10. Andy Kincaid
    March 31, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Congratulations, Janice Dahl. Well done.

    • Mike Ruehle
      April 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

      Not a suprising comment considering your endorsement of DeLong (below link) and considering you were on DeLong’s secret seadip committee (2nd below link) to develop the wetlands. Pretty much what one would expect from the DeLong camp which appears to include Janice Dahl and Don May. It appears to me that people are more concerned with their personal egos than protecting the wetlands. I wonder if they are concerned it may tarnish their hero status.

      http://garydelong.com/endorsements.html

      http://www.longbeach.gov/news/displaynews.asp?NewsID=2427&targetid=56

  11. Dancing Queen
    March 31, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Janis,
    Sorry about that. Another memorable moment was when the President, Ann Denison got in a red-faced loud fight with a trust member which shocked everyone. Good times. Then she had to accept flowers for her resignation-later dumped on the sofa in the back.
    Lots of laughs, like watching a B movie and thinking. this could never happen.
    Perhaps Don Ho should make a trip back to the mainland, and see what is really happening. Only news he gets is from the LCWLT Board…and well..you know.

    Oh, and Andy, you weren’t there. Janis did nothing. She let the Board and Don Ho speak for her and she didn’t even show at her own coronation.

  12. Janis Populi
    April 1, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Janis Populi :I am disapointed in you Dave. Are you writing objective articles or just using people and ruining reputations to get attention? Now we have two great people and community advocates, Tom Marchese and Mike Ruehle with their names in the toliet. Makes me question the validity of your hit piece articles on DeLong, Dean, Beck, etc.
    The press and the community would benefit if we spent less time attacking each other’s pesonality and more time learning about others concerns and issues. Real power does not come from stuffing boards and alienating members.
    Sadly, the Enviros need to come down from their self anointed throne and admit that they are just another special interest group with their own ethics and transpancy problems. Keep your minds and hearts open to each other.

    • April 1, 2010 at 9:48 am

      Sorry to disappoint. On the other hand, I don’t think this was an example of me “using people and ruining reputations to get attention.” The newsworthiness of the story is this: 1) a candidate for city council who is perhaps best known for his work with prominent environmental groups (he cites this work in his campaign literature and appearances) is lopsidedly defeated in his bid for re-election to the board of directors of one of the groups he frequently cites; 2)the esteemed founder of the group, a man who the candidate frequently cites as a mentor and an ally, writes a letter endorsing the candidate’s opponent for the board and sharply rebuking the candidates behavior–going so far as to say the board cannot function with the candidate as a member. I contacted the organization’s founder in Hawaii and I attempt to contact the candidate; I print the founder’s further comments and the fact that the candidate does not return my phone call. How is all of this not legitimate journalism?

  13. Anonymous
    April 1, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Janis Populi :I am disapointed in you Dave. Are you writing objective articles or just using people and ruining reputations to get attention? Now we have two great people and community advocates, Tom Marchese and Mike Ruehle with their names in the toliet. Makes me question the validity of your hit piece articles on DeLong, Dean, Beck, etc.
    The press and the community would benefit if we spent less time attacking each other’s pesonality and more time learning about others concerns and issues. Real power does not come from stuffing boards and alienating members.
    Sadly, the Enviros need to come down from their self anointed throne and admit that they are just another special interest group with their own ethics and transpancy problems. Keep your minds and hearts open to each other.

  14. Mike Ruehle
    April 1, 2010 at 9:04 am

    And people actually ask me why I requested and received a refund of my membership money from the LCWLT as allowed by the LCWLT bylaws. Maybe it’s time other members demonstrate their disgust for the political actions of the LCWLT by also asking for a refund.

    According to the Secretary of State, the LCWLT has over $1.6 million in its “nonprofit” bank account. So seeking a refund won’t hurt the LCWLT. However, it may indicate members non-support of the Board’s political agenda in support of the incumbent Councilperson and his attempts to develop the wetlands.

  15. JOAN hAWLEY-MCGRATH
    April 2, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I agree with you Mike and I too will remove my membership from the LCWLT as I no longer can be associated with a group that is so bias in their nomination process and heartless in their attempts of destroying the reputation of a former Director.

  16. wrongbeachjohn
    April 2, 2010 at 11:39 am

    The sad thing is that the LCWLT needs to be a thriving, expanding, activist kick-butt organization to get the best results. Aggressively doing what must be done requires people who are willing to mix it up at times, people like Tom and Mike, who have their hearts in the right place. That really matters. But they get the bums rush?
    With their disgusting petty manipulations some connected with the LCWLT are doing nothing but hurting the cause.
    Could the LCWLT have been infiltrated by the opposition? Anyone there a member of the chamber of commerce union?

  1. June 8, 2010 at 7:20 pm

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