The June 2 neighborhood council elections attracted high voter turnouts in Venice and Mar Vista, with at least one contest still in need of a tiebreaker and elections administrators investigating several allegations of election rule violations.
VENICE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
In Venice, incumbent council president Ira Koslow fended off a challenge by outreach officer Hollie Stenson with 1,045 votes to her 632. Venice Chamber of Commerce President George Francisco, Melissa Diner and Hugh Harrison will return as vice president, secretary and treasurer of the council, respectively. Alix Gucovsky finished four votes ahead of Daffodil Tyminski to chair the council’s Land Use and Planning Committee, and Sima Kostovetsky edged out Joslyn Williams for outreach officer.
The at-large community officer contest, in which voters could support only one of 36 candidates seeking 13 open seats, produced 12 winners and a tie. Venice Stakeholders Association President Mark Ryavec topped the field with 195 votes, followed by Venice Dogz organizer Jim Robb, Fight Back Venice organizer Christian Wrede, Brian Averill, James Murez, Alex Neiman, Charles Rials, Nisa Kove, C.J. Cole, Matt Fisher, Jaime Paige and Robert Thibodeau. Venice United organizer Travis Binen and architect John Reed tied for the final seat with 55 votes.
MAR VISTA COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Seven electoral challenges emerged in Mar Vista, ranging from electioneering within 100 feet of the polling location to using city logos or funding in support of candidates. The council’s June 11 meeting was canceled pending the outcome of challenges.
Vote totals, however, make clear that the big winners of the day were the Standing Up for Stakeholders Slate, who positioned themselves as independent voices willing to push back against policies of L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin. Incumbent Council President Elliot Hanna defeated challenger Adriana de la Cruz with 716 votes to her 584, and Stakeholders allies Stacey Shure, Mary Hruska, Armond Seretti, Michelle Krupkin and Christine Stemar (all but two of them incumbents) won each their races, securing majority control the 13-member council that will also include vocal Bonin critic Selena Inouye.
Only two of the seven Mar Vista Makes Waves candidates, critics of the current council, won at-large seats: Andrea Ambriz and Gabriel Hill.
NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL OF WESTCHESTER-PLAYA
Turnout wasn’t very high for the Westchester-Playa election, with contests impacting only 11 of the council’s 31 seats. The highest vote total — 310 — belonged to incumbent Kimberly Fox, who along with Garret Smith retained two at-large seats in an eight-way race. Winners also included Michele Cooley-Strickland, Zach Siglow, Andrew Watkins, Sylvia J. Wilson (who defeated longtime district director Alan Quon), Cord Thomas, Dennis Miller, Paula Gerez, Sue Fisher and Naomi Waka.
DEL REY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
Incumbent Matt Wersinger, who ran unopposed for council president, won the most votes in Del Rey — 203, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you consider that only 64 people turned out three years ago. Krishna Gupta defeated incumbent Brendan Nelson for communications officer, and Joslyn Treece defeated incumbent Thom Taylor for an area director seat. Eric DeSobe, Melissa Aczon, Gary Haddock, Daniel Perez, Doug Barish, Daniel Wierzba, Thomas Bangert, Milena Jankovick, Travis Tucker and Enrique Hernandez also won election to the council.
— Compiled by Gary Walker and Joe Piasecki