Concerned with the proliferation of advisory commissions, the Santa Monica City Council determined Tuesday that some boards may have overstepped their authority.

During a discussion on the need for 19 commissions and 140 commissioners, the council discovered that at least one commission was involved in politics.

The city’s Commission on the Status of Women had co-sponsored a meeting with the National Women’s Political Caucus. The commission also had used city stationery to write a letter to Gov. Pete Wilson, criticizing his stance on affirmative action and withdrawing its support for his Conference for Women, according to city staff.

“I don’t like that [the letter] is on city letterhead with the inference that it has City Council approval,” said Councilwoman Ruth Ebner. She asked that staff members evaluate all the commissions to see if they were “obsolete or running amok.”


Instead, the council majority asked its staff to look into devising policies banning commissions from political involvement.