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The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Studio City Neighborhood Council members resign

The SCNC collapsed after a newly confirmed Board Member was outed as registered sex offender.
Max Turetzky
Ian Mitchell King (center, partially obscured), registered sex offender, joined the Studio City Neighborhood Council on Aug. 16.

11 members of the Studio City Neighborhood Council (SCNC) resigned Aug. 21 after Ian Mitchell King, a newly seated councilmember, was revealed to be a registered violent sex offender. The SCNC Board unanimously confirmed King to fill a vacant Employees/Independent Contractors seat at a public Board meeting Aug. 16.

According to the California Department of Justice Megan’s Law website, which tracks information about registered sex offenders, King was convicted of three sex offenses in 2008 and released in 2021.

HW Media Director Jen Bladen served on the SCNC Board until she resigned after learning about King’s conviction. Bladen said King was more easily appointed because he joined the Board in between election cycles.

“For the second meeting of the fiscal year, we had three candidates ask for seats,” Bladen said. “There was a Residential Homeowners seat, an Employees/Independent Contractors seat and a Youth Member seat for people that would like to be involved. And because it’s between election cycles, we don’t waste taxpayers’ money. The Board votes to bring those people in or not.”

Bladen said she did not know about King’s history when she voted to confirm him, though she felt unsettled by him.

“I had this creepy feeling from the moment I saw that guy,” Bladen said. “In the moment, he was very smiley in a ‘trust me’ way, not in a nice way. I was very much creeped out in the moment. But we voted ‘yes.’ I’m alphabetically first [for roll call], and so I kind of also feel like I set the tone for a lot of votes.”

Bladen said she discovered that King was a convicted rapist after other Board members began resigning en masse Aug. 21.

“Monday morning, I checked my email and Treasurer Kim Clements had resigned,” Bladen said. “Dean Cutler, the Board member who sits on her right, resigned. You just know that two people don’t resign on the same morning for no reason. At 7 p.m., my phone rang and it was the Board’s president, Scott Mandell. Scott proceeded to tell me about what happened with Ian Mitchell King. He has a Megan’s Law rap sheet. He’s a violent sex offender.”

Bladen said Mandell, who voted to confirm King, knew about his previous charges before his appointment, but could not legally prevent him from running for office.

“Scott had been talking to the City Attorney’s Office, all leading up to this,” Bladen said. “The President of the [SCNC] and City Attorney’s Office kind of came to the conclusion that, as a formerly incarcerated person, Ian King had every right to run for office in California. You can go to jail and do whatever you want after. You can vote, you can get a loan, you can get a job. We have very strong post-conviction rights for formerly incarcerated persons. So Scott [thought], ‘What do we do?’ They talked about a bunch of different options. What Scott personally decided to do was resign.”

KTLA reported Sept. 12 two other council members, including Clements, discovered King was formerly incarcerated before voting yes. Clements said to KTLA she was hesitant to confront him in the moment but felt pressured to vote yes.

Bladen said Mandell believed it would be illegal to privately inform the SCNC about King’s circumstances before the vote. She said the remaining council members, including herself, individually resigned after learning about his past.

“I personally decided to resign because of the stickiness of the situation,” Bladen said. “Especially, I had [my students] in mind. My day job is not with the [SCNC]. My day job is being around people who are under the age of 18, and I didn’t want to spend one Wednesday a month hanging out with somebody who is a Megan’s Law registered sex offender.”

A spokesman for Paul Krekorian, President of the Los Angeles City Council, said Krekorian was looking into the situation.

“The Council President will be meeting with former members of the neighborhood council to determine exactly what happened,” the spokesperson said. “In any case, a full neighborhood council will be reconstituted and members who previously resigned will be eligible to serve again.”

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Max Turetzky, Assistant Opinion Editor

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    Brandon MorinoSep 24, 2023 at 2:09 pm

    The Brown Act isn’t punitive, it’s corrective. A serial meeting may only result in a “cure and correct” notice. If the President knew in advance, and informed the Board prior to the agenda item, the worst case scenario would have been a strongly worded letter, if that. In addition, Robert’s Rules of Order (part of the SCNC Governing Structure) allows the motion of “Postpone to a Certain Time”. With new information present “after” the posting of the agenda, postponing the item until September would have been In Order, allowed the City to take corrective action, and would not have denied King employment if he desired to take that legal route (though volunteerism as employment is debatable). In fact, Mr. King stepped down on August 25th according to the LA Times, so the City WAS able to fix the situation. The motion of “Postponing to a Certain Time” is a regularly utilized motion, so it was familiar to the president. The big question is, why didn’t he employ it?