Dr. Victor Dorodny said his next step is to get the Malibu City Council members recalled. If that doesn’t work, he’s running for council in 2006.
By Jonathan Friedman/Assistant Editor
Blaming what he called resistance and hostility from the city, Dr. Victor Dorodny has stepped down from his position as director of the Malibu Medical Reserve Corp. Dorodny’s resignation came after a heated e-mail exchange between he and City Manager Katie Lichtig over a private grant he wanted the city to apply for on his behalf, but for which Lichtig said he was unqualified to receive under its terms.
Dorodny has been heavily criticizing the city recently in the local press about the city’s preparations in case of emergencies. City leaders have said his claims are unfounded, and say that perhaps there is another motive, other than concern for the community, behind his criticisms.
Dorodny formed MMRC earlier this year for the purpose of strengthening what he said was a weak emergency preparedness program in Malibu. In August, Dorodny sent an e-mail to Malibu Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Brad Davis about the city applying on MMRC’s behalf for a $150,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Program. The next month, Davis sent a letter to Lichtig stating that MMRC was not qualified for the grant because, among other things, a grant-receiving organization needed to be serving “undeserved and isolated populations,” (Davis said in a telephone interview that this did not describe Malibu) and the person heading the organization needed to be working for local community health causes for at least five years (Dorodny has lived in Malibu for less than one).
Dorodny said he did not learn about why the city denied MMRC the grant until The Malibu Times informed him. In response, Robert Donin, MMRC director of Government and Legislative Affairs, sent correspondence by e-mail to city staff and councilmembers challenging Mayor Sharon Barovsky to a debate about the benefit of MMRC. He also suggested the city had something to hide in refusing to help MMRC with the grant application. Dorodny sent another e-mail to the city asking for it “to compensate the MMRC for $150,000 of lost grant moneys.”
Lichtig fired off a response to Dorodny with an e-mail reiterating that it was the city’s position MMRC was not qualified for the grant. She wrote, “Your service did not qualify for the grant. I can understand your disappointment (especially since a personal stipened is allowed as part of the grant) and regret that you have hard feelings about the decision.”
Dorodny responded that Lichtig had taken a “cheap shot” and that he was qualified for the grant. Dorodny later explained in a telephone interview with The Malibu Times that he was qualified because, although he had been involved with Malibu health issues for less than a year, he had been involved with community health issues in other cities for many years.
Dorodny’s next e-mail communication to the city was that he was resigning. Mayor Pro Tem Andy Stern said he had never seen conduct from another citizen like the type exhibited by Dorodny.
“Sadly, this is a man who’s looking for a $150,000 gift from the city of Malibu,” Stern said. “We don’t know what his group does and we don’t know what he wants to do with the money, yet he keeps insisting he wants $150,000 from the city.”
Dorodny said Stern had deliberately avoided looking at the MMRC Web site because he did not want to find out that Dorodny actually had a plan. Dorodny said his intentions with the MMRC were to create a secondary response team for the city, to build a 24-hour emergency room facility and to improve emergency preparedness in the city, including bringing more defibrillators to Malibu.
Dorodny said he will still remain active in Malibu, but as a regular citizen. He said he believes he will accomplish more by doing this. The first item on his agenda, Dorodny said, is to look into how to get the current City Council recalled because he said it had failed to look out for the Malibu citizens’ health and welfare, which is the council’s primary job. Dorodny said if he cannot accomplish this, he would run for a council seat in 2006.
An Internet search to find out more about Dorodny led to the discovery that he sometimes goes by the alias “Peter Berg.” Dorodny said he never uses that name in his medical practice, but only when he is writing science fiction. Another Internet search on Dorodny revealed that he was associated with penis enlargement surgery. Dorodny said he had no connection to penis enlargements, and that his name was connected with that because he had been a victim of identity theft a few years ago. He said he has tried to get his name removed from the site, but was unable to do it.