Nafissi declines to appear at League of Women Voters District 3 forum

by Garth Meyer

A District Three city council candidates’ forum planned by the League of Women Voters for Feb. 15 will not be held because candidate Candace Nafissi has declined to participate.

The candidate said she is willing to do a forum, but not this one, since it was to be co-hosted by the North Redondo Beach Business Association.

The group’s president is Tonya McKenzie.  

“Incredibly negative, pettiness, biased,” Nafissi said of McKenzie, who ran for the District Four council seat last fall in the event of a recall of Zein Obagi, Jr. 

Nafissi cited McKenzie’s social media posts among the reasons for refusing the forum.

“I don’t mind doing a forum at all, I welcome it, but LWV should do their due diligence in securing partners that are respected. The South Bay Chapter (of LWV) has a lot of challenges making the right decision.”

According to Jeanne Hamilton, voter services chair for League of Women Voters Beach Cities, the group asked the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce and the North Redondo Beach Business Association to co-host. The Chamber passed but the NRBBA accepted. 

Hamilton said that, especially since both open city council seats are in North Redondo, the League went ahead with the plan.

(In District Five, planning commissioner Scott Behrendt is running unopposed). 

In LWV candidate forums, co-hosts provide the location while the League moderates, and reads questions from the audience.

 “They run it. We were just getting the room,” said McKenzie. “We had no role in the debate. As a resident of the city I would have been there to watch.”

Nafissi challenger Paige Kaluderovic accepted the invitation.


Paige Kaluderovic seeks public office for the first time in the race for District Three representative. Photo courtesy Kaluderovic campaign


“I’m confused as to why (Nafissi) is dropping out. If Tonya is not a moderator or anything, I don’t really see the conflict,” Kaluderovic said

McKenzie has been on the city’s General Plan Advisory Committee with Nafissi for the past five years.

“The LWV format requires that a League member moderate the forum, and we would have provided the other volunteers to make sure it followed League protocols,” said Hamilton. “We asked the co-host to provide a location, the physical set-up and some publicity.”

The LWV does not put on single-candidate forums, thus both candidates would have needed to participate to continue with the event. ER



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