Venice Voters Go To Polls Next Month:

    The Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council (GRVNC) will hold an election for its 21-member Board in September.

    The 21-member Board, which receives funding from the City of Los Angeles, has a seven-member Executive Committee, seven at-large members and seven members who represent geographic districts within the Council’s territory. At press time, there were 54 candidates.

    According to the GRVNC website, three candidates are running for President. DeDe Audat hopes “to achieve a fair and transparent neighborhood council…different points of view must be respected without domination by factions.” She served on the 2003-2004 neighborhood council and the Venice Town Council in the 1970s and 80s. Jim Smith, who has been the Council’s treasurer for two years, is running to address “concerns including traffic, housing, development, getting our fair share of city services, and promoting the arts and free speech.” Also running is Leila Jean Levi but no candidate statement was available from her.

    The only candidate for Board Vice President is Naomi Nightingale. She has “experience in community relations and government affairs, knowledge and skills in organizing community forums and developing liaisons with community leaders, public and elected officials, as well as individuals who live, work, and enjoy the lifestyle of the Venice Community. These are some of the strengths I would bring to the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council.”

    Three candidates are running for second Vice-President. Don Geagan wants “to prevent over-development in the Venice area and preserve our shrinking amount of affordable housing.” If elected, Yolanda Gonzalez will work on gang prevention, homelessness, advocate fair land-use policies and be a role model for the Latino community.

    A statement from the third candidate Levi Meir Clancy was not available.

    Phil Raider and Alice Stek are running for board secretary. Phil Rader was secretary of The GRVNC Land Use & Planning Committee in 2003-4, He is “passionate about ensuring that the unique character of Venice, its sense of community that tolerates diverse personal expression while fostering creativity, is protected.”

    Alice Stek has been on the GRVNC Board since 2002, first as Canals/Peninsula district representative, then as 2nd and 1st Vice President, and has also sat on the Conservation and Outreach Committees. She is “dedicated to preserving a unique, economically, racially and culturally diverse Venice, community control of development, affordable housing for all, environmentally sound transportation plans, and protecting the natural environment.”

    The Board position for Government Relations has three candidates. L.J. Carusone has a background in civil rights and hopes to use that background “to strive for L. A. City Council support of GRVNC positions through lobbying, grassroots organizing and alliance building with other neighborhood councils.” Alan Ross, an on-air personality on KPFK and NPR, hopes to work on parking problems, by “pressing developers and finding other solutions for traffic congestion” as well as homelessness issues. A statement from the third candidate, John R. Michael was not available.

    Running for Treasurer are Edward Ferrer and C.J. Cole. Ferrer would like to use GRVNC resources to “move stakeholders into voicing their concerns on the quality of life issues and nurturing the diversity that make Venice worth fighting for.”

    C. J. Cole has “no political agenda or motivation.” Her goals are “to maintain honest computerized books, prepare regular reports that are at all times available for public scrutiny, and hold the line on expenditures and the budget.”

    Richard Myers is one of two candidates running for the Board as their communications officer. He has worked on the Venice Forum website and his “primary goal will be to dramatically increase the outreach ability of our neighborhood council.”

    Erin Grayson supports “affordable housing, functional public transportation and preservation of historical and ecological resources like Lincoln Place and the Ballona Wetlands.”

    Sixteen candidates are running for the seven at-large Board seats. Stewart Oscars is “running for GRVNC because we need board members who will base their decision on protecting and advancing the integrities of our neighborhoods.” Rick Selan believes “as Venice goes through this period of real estate development, it is crucial that this neighborhood council be the driving force to carry on the traditions and the values of the Venice first century.”

    Colette Bailey in her candidate statement notes, “our streets are congested and in need of repairs and upgrades. Property development has increased dramatically and needs to be addressed in a well-informed and responsible manner. Our schools are in need of improvement and more community involvement. Venice has a large senior citizen population that needs additional services.” Joseph Gross is a candidate because he believes “GRVNC represents – a barricade to those who would overrun our Venice community with high rises, malls and pastel boxes of gentrification.” Melanie Berry has been “Executive committee member of Surfrider Foundation Malibu Chapter for five years” and is interested in working on issues effecting surfers and skateboarders, Venice’s diverse cultures and history and art and environmental issues. Diana Pollard would like to “creatively address the community’s ever intensifying environmental demands.” Vessy Mink is running “to communicate the needs and wants of this enchanting place, we call home.” Lisa Ezell hopes “to empower the community’s ability to make choices; whether it be to protect important architectural and social resources like Lincoln Place, decide on civic art for the Venice Circle, or keep big development at bay.”

    Lowell Safier is running so that Venice can “engage in improved dialogue over our similar issues” with Marina Del Rey and “recognize those issues that are unique to each specific area of Venice.” Linda Lucks believes “GRVNC leaders must be independent, experienced and level-headed with an historical and broad-based perspective of our community.”

    Candidate Kelly S. Willis wants to reduce the development, traffic and economic impact “as the City of Los Angeles grows around Venice.” Michael King believes “GRVNC leaders must be independent, experienced and level headed with an historical and broad based perspective of our community.” Candidate Peter Force hopes his “experience as an economic analyst can contribute to the plans for rational economic development within Venice, and the eventual connection of Venice to the proposed light-rail system in the county.” Rebecca Tafoya hopes “volunteering her time and effort to work with other people with the same objective in preserving Venice and addressing the gentrification of our community is how I see myself as part of the ‘solution’ to saving Venice.” Karl Abrams wants “to help protect affordable low-income housing, historic buildings, locally owned businesses, and the artistic uniqueness that is Venice.” No statement was available for candidate Rob Stone.

    21 candidates are running to represent the seven Venice geographic districts . Ingrid Mueller is seeking the District 1 (Penmar/Lincoln Place) seat to preserve Lincoln Place. District 2 (Rose/North Beach) has four candidates. Susan Papadakis is running because “developers need to hear from local residents since the built environment affects us all. I want to expand low rent opportunities for small independent businesses to prevent Venice beach from becoming another mall. I want to make sure that there are always opportunities for artists and creative people to work and live in Venice. Safe neighborhoods come about by participation and improvements.” Jan Sproull “wants to preserve the natural beauty and not become the Disneyland of beachfronts.” Gwen Howard wants Venice’s “voice to be heard…so it can influence the votes of our elected officials.” Jamie Cantor Ginsberg wants to help Venice’s “community grow in a progressive manner while keeping the integrity of the neighborhood.”

    There are five candidates in District 3 (Central Venice/Oakwood). Amber Hartgens wants “to ensure that the residents of Oakwood have a voice within the neighborhood council and thus an active role in the decisions that affect Oakwood and Venice as a whole.” Tom Chou is running because, in his view, “drawing the line against zealous over development is the most important issue vis-à-vis preserving quiet, safe, and congestion-free residential neighborhoods in Venice.” Statements for Brian O’Connell, Stan Muhammad and Edward Dabbs were not available.

    One of the two candidates for District 4 (South of Palms/East of Lincoln) is Mindy Taylor Ross. If elected she will “will explore ways to preserve social and economic diversity, promote smart growth, and protect Venice’s heritage.” Jill Prestup, the second candidate, hopes to bring her “broad community involvement background” to GRVNC.

    There are three candidates for District 5 (Windward Circle/Abbot Kinney/Milwood/Walk Streets. Sylvaine Dungan supports “sustainable developments, community approved and benefiting all; small local businesses along Abbott Kinney; comprehensive programs to help the homeless; transportation planning preventing gridlock, air and noise pollution; social and cultural events encouraging community building and local artists; and community involvement in choosing public art from the Windward Circle to Abbott Kinney and Venice Blvd, through district 5.” Howard Saxe is running “to cut back on traffic and pollution and safeguard the current way of life. I believe in growth and progress but not when it means sacrificing the character of our neighborhood and the rights of our neighbors.” A statement was not available from Cynthia McGuineas.

    District 6 (Oxford Triangle/Silver Triangle/President’s Row) also has three candidates. Candidate Howard Wiggett wants “to assist in developing appropriate plans for District 6 that maintain a friendly and safe neighborhood by enhancing its living environment. To assist in reviewing and commenting on proposed developments from both government and private groups. To assist in determining how much city and other funds are available and how we can influence its expenditures for the benefit of the Venice community.”

    Jeffrey Fritz would “would implement a monthly communication forum for stakeholders to table district concerns and initiatives.” Additionally, he would launch a “D6” community festival to boost sharing of ideas and community. He would also work with the board of the GRNVC “to communicate with City Council on the possible transfer of DWP power lines underground on Lincoln Boulevard, and move forward with a ‘Lincoln Beautification Project.’ ”

    Challis MacPherson wants “to fight against inappropriate land use policies, stifling traffic, and other woes that continue to plague us.”

    District 7 (Canals/Peninsula/South Beach/Silver Strand) has 4 candidates but only Junius Brown’s was available. He wants to work on traffic/speeding, parking, flooding on Speedway, litter/trash, graffiti, and security. The other candidates are Sunny Bak, Bret Miller and Nicole Midwin.A candidate forum will be held at Venice High School, 13000 Venice Boulevard, on September 7 from 6 to 9 P.M. The election will be held on September 10 and 11 from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M., also at Venice High School.