By Holly Jenvey
In a countdown to voting, the East Venice Neighborhood Association (EVNA) held its final town hall where candidates shared why they would be a good fit for the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC).
Held on May 11, the town hall spotlighted a variety of candidates to take a spot on the VNC. This meeting hosted those seeking a position on the At-Large and Community Interest seats. 51 candidates are up against each other for an At-Large seat on VNC and two are running for Community Interest. There are 13 At-Large seats available to be filled, 15 candidates were supposed to speak during the town hall and the term would be for two years.
“This is a very competitive race,” said Kate Scanlon-Double, a board member of EVNA, who opened and closed the event.
The At-Large and Community Interest positions vote on board motions and are required to chair or work on a standing committee devoted to specific issues (i.e. event planning, art, or budget and finance) or serve on new or ad hoc committees. The candidates spanned from a variety of backgrounds, some who have served on the VNC before, others who have conducted service around the communities, and some running to learn more and listen.
One of the topics brought up to the first round of candidates was how board members will be voting on land use issues. They were asked about the importance of the Venice Community Plan update, which monitors growth for the next 10 to 20 years. The candidates were to speak particularly on how the plan affects East Venice.
Lisa Redmond, a candidate who has attended all VNC meetings over the past two years, believes there needs to be more outreach for spreading awareness about the Venice Community Plan.
“Getting the news out about the community plan update are not being done well enough and I think it’s the VNC’s job to keep their constituents and stakeholders informed about that,” Redmond said.
Redmond said she would like to see information placed on the VNC’s website, as well as the newsletter being restarted and that people are told about the hearings. This way, they can express their sentiments towards the community plan update. She also said that infrastructure and traffic must be considered when making decisions, as over the past 10 years places like Glendon have become like a speedway.
Chie Lunn, a candidate and resident of East Venice, said she would like to see more representation from her community in solving issues.
“I feel that East Venice has not been represented, it’s been a lot of west of Lincoln, and I think by me being a part of the PHSC Board and living in East Venice, I can help bring those two bridges together,” Lunn said.
Lunn explained that there need to be updates on parks with lighting and grass so that children can play there, as well as similar changes to streets.
Clark Brown, a recent retiree from real estate, municipal law, and land use and a VNC candidate, addressed how providing housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income people would help the plan’s objective to increase social, economic and racial diversity.
Brown explained that there are two ways that housing can be provided: by increasing housing density, and to repair and renovate existing housing stock. He explained that this can be done given the current structures in Venice. Brown gave the examples of the multiple family units along Penmar, the multi-family housing on Venice Boulevard, and the opportunities to have mixed uses of commercial and residential uses along Lincoln Boulevard.
“Mixed commercial and residential uses have been very successful in the east, they’ve been successful in Europe, and they can be made successful here,” Brown said.
Tima Bell, an architect who works throughout LA, has dealt with community plans with regards to housing. Like Brown, he discussed the topic of housing density and incorporating the community in decision-making while gaining labor to carry out these plans.
“Working on community plans is about future thinking while addressing the current population. It’s something I have a lot of experience with,” Bell said.
Voting for candidates for VNC will be done virtually. The last day to apply for a vote by mail ballot is June 1 and ballots must be postmarked by June 8.
You can request a mail ballot at: www.VeniceNC.org. Otherwise, a dropbox will be available Jun. 4-8 at Venice Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library, 501 E. Venice Blvd. For questions regarding the application process, you can contact the Los Angeles City Clerk at: (213) 978-0444
To learn about all the candidates and positions in election for the Venice Neighborhood Council, email: EVNA.Venice@gmail.com for all the webinars.