After a storm of protest by animal rights groups, a Los Angeles City Council panel Monday rejected one of Mayor Richard Riordan’s appointees to the Animal Regulation Commission, contending that she has consistently opposed animal rights reform.
Van Nuys resident Lynne Exe was rejected 2 to 1 by the council’s Public Safety Committee after animal rights advocates portrayed her as a vindictive apologist for the beleaguered Department of Animal Regulation. Her confirmation will go before the full council next week.
Exe, an animal rights advocate, acknowledged that she has parted ways with some animal rights groups on several issues. But she said she is committed to protecting animals and believes that she has the right to disagree.
Exe, recommended to the mayor’s office by Councilman Nate Holden, was a vehement opponent of a charter amendment approved by voters in April that boosted the authority of the commission to which she was appointed, changing it from an advisory to a policy-making body.
She also stood by Robert Rush, the former director of the Animal Regulation Department, as the department came under criticism last year. Amid mounting complaints, the City Council called on the grand jury last year to investigate the department’s operation and Rush retired. The investigation never occurred.
The mayor’s office said it was aware of Exe’s controversial stands but still intends to lobby on her behalf before the council.
“The mayor nominated her and will stand by her,” Riordan spokeswoman Annette Castro said.
The committee’s rejection of Exe comes less than two weeks after another controversial Riordan appointee, Latino activist Xavier Hermosillo, was turned down in his bid for the Fire Commission. Scores of other Riordan nominees have sailed through confirmation.
If Exe is rejected by the council, it will give Riordan another opportunity to diversify the Animal Regulation Commission. All five of his nominees are white women and none is a veterinarian, a fact that has prompted some grumbling in City Hall.
Although much of the criticism against Exe was unspecific, animal rights advocates lined up one after another Monday to oppose her nomination, accusing her of being uncooperative and unstable.
Sharon Gregg of the Humane Civic Assn. said Exe called her and threatened her for opposing Exe’s nomination. Raquel Roger of Precious Life said Exe has told people that she works for the CIA or FBI as a way to intimidate them. Jamie Pinn of the Pet Assistance Foundation accused Exe of having a “negative approach to positive change.”
Exe vehemently defended herself, saying opponents were resorting to lies to scuttle her nomination.
Exe volunteers for Mercy Crusade, an anti-vivisection group that has worked closely with the Department of Animal Regulation.
Backed by several supporters at the committee meeting, Exe described herself as a tireless advocate of animals who has used her money to help find owners for animals and who has taken in strays herself.
Councilman Marvin Braude, who chairs the committee considering Exe’s nomination, said the number of organizations against her nomination and Exe’s opposition to reforms in the department concerned him.
Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas also voted against Exe; Councilwoman Laura Chick supported her nomination.
Two council members not on the committee also entered the debate. Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, a staunch animal rights advocate, urged the committee to oppose the nomination, while Holden spoke in support.