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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

VNC Election 2016

Election Events to Come:

May – Delivery of the VNC Election Guide throughout Venice and before Candidate Forum
1, 2 June – Candidate Forums
5 June – VENICE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL ELECTION, 10 am to 6 pm
8 June – Deadline for provisional voter supporting documentation
10 June – Deadline to request recount or challenge

VNC Election “Madness” or “Ingenuity” is Moving Along
If the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) election does not top the ballot record this year, the Venice Update will be surprised.

Candidates remember you can’t overdue the campaigning. One candidate has a flyer, a poster, a slate, a flag, and maybe a convertible with a parade is forthcoming. There was talk of a band.

VNC Candidates and their responses
The candidates were asked different questions depending on the offices they sought. Candidates did have the option of answering their own question. Putting information from the candidates about the candidates hopefully will help you, the voter, choose the one that you feel fits the position. Each office is listed with the question and those responding and their responses.

It was a pleasure to put this together … to see such talent, desire to serve, and with such forthcoming, gracious comments. Venice Neighborhood Council will be in good hands. Hopefully, this will help you, the voter, select the candidate most suited for the job you have in mind.

Questions will be repeated with candidates’ responses. Those who chose not to respond will also be listed.

Last week candidates for VNC president were presented. Two weeks from now, hopefully those running for At-Large Community Officer and Community Interest/Community Officer will be queried and answers will be printed.

Vice President
Kelley Willis, who is also running, never responded.

Question: One of the biggest functions for the VP is to conduct the neighborhood meetings. What do you plan to do to increase input and participation from the diverse neighborhoods?

George Francisco
Our current VP has done an excellent job of organizing the committee and keeping it activated. I would hope to build on the current successes and engage and expand on the diversity represented there. I would hope that my leadership will empower committee members to go back to their neighborhoods with the inspiration to undertake more hyper-local projects and progress that can uniquely benefit each of those particular areas.

Sue Kaplan
Ask not what the neighborhoods can do for the Neighborhood Committee; ask what the Neighborhood Committee can do for all our neighborhoods.

The way to build participation is to learn what each of our diverse neighborhoods wants and show how the Neighborhood Committee can help achieve it. I am going to all the neighborhoods, introducing myself to people and asking what their concerns are, what they’d like to see changed and what they want to protect. I’m seeking out leaders and asking them to introduce me around, meeting with neighborhood associations, churches, tenants’ groups, PTAs, youth sports groups, anyone with an emotional investment in the neighborhood. Most of all, I’m listening.

If we build it, they will come.
I want to find people for the Committee who will make us the VNC’s true grassroots in every neighborhood, a committee of doers who are also good listeners, so everyone will know we are there to help solve neighborhood problems, connect them with resources, make sure they are heard at the VNC, and advocate for them with the City. And we’ll be here to discuss Venice-wide issues with them from the perspective of the neighborhoods. In other words, our Neighborhood Committee needs to be their grassroots ombudsman.

NEIGHBORHOOD is what I’m all about!
I know how to get people to participate. I’m a good organizer, because I listen to my neighbors. I find out what’s needed and who’s got ideas.

I do this as head of the Venice Walk Streets Association, which I co-founded eleven years ago. My neighbors often used to squabble over relatively minor things like fence height, but they’ve come together to join in neighborhood improvement projects – from small but important things like making sure cleanup bags are always available for dog walkers to establishing a neighborhood watch based on prevention and not vigilantism.

One of the ways we help bring about awareness and involvement in my neighborhood is by putting on several social events that bring us all together such as neighborhood dinners and our summertime open-air family movie nights. I use these as opportunities to get to know my community. I introduce neighbors to each other, building bonds, I learn what they are interested in and find ways to apply their interests and skills in our neighborhood. I hope to see other neighborhoods take on such activities.

Hard work works
As Chair of the VNC ad hoc Committee on Mass, Scale & Character, I brought people with opposing points of view to sit down together and do the hard work, month after month, of finding common ground to make sure Venice development will be neighborhood-oriented. It’s something the City was supposed to do years ago, but it dropped the ball – so we picked it up.

I have also been a supporter and volunteer at Westminster Elementary School for 11 years because good public schools make good neighborhoods. And I serve on the Oakwood Park Advisory Board because neighborhood parks should be for everyone.

I’m proud of my dedication to these community activities and grateful that they earned me the Spirit of Venice Award. Launching a project is exciting, but my success comes from follow-through. My particular experiences and skills are all about nurturing neighborhoods and building on their strengths. That is exactly why I am running for Vice President.

If you share my belief in the value of neighborhood and the importance of each unique and special community in Venice, I hope you’ll vote for me, Sue Kaplan, a proven champion of neighborhoods.

Mark Lipman
First, let me extend my sincere thanks to the Venice Update for this opportunity to speak with your readers on this very important question regarding our neighborhoods and community participation.

What after all are our neighborhoods if not the neighbors around us, the people and families that create the social fabric of what we call community?

Without participation from the widest range of voices, how can the Neighborhood Council truly represent what is in the best interest of us all?

None of us are blind to the rapid re-engineering of our community. Our neighborhoods are struggling to survive and maintain their identities. Neighbors, primarily seniors and disabled people on fixed incomes are being displaced at alarming rates, while underground hotels are operating in our residential neighborhoods – often taking over entire apartments and houses – diminishing the quality of all of our lives and Venice – the cash cow of Los Angeles – doesn’t see any of the money generated from our exploding tourist industry.

Right now, our Councilman – who happens to be on the Budget and Finance Committee – is talking about converting the Vera Davis Center into a yoga studio – I kid you not – because “the demographics of the neighborhood have changed so much that it no longer qualifies for HUD (Housing Department) grant funding,” and he’s looking to partner with a non-profit to take over the center.

What our Councilman fails to mention is that it was the policy driven by our very Council Office – giving Big Tech Companies, like Google and Snapchap – some of the richest companies on this planet – these massive 80% Tax Breaks (“Incentives”) — our money — that should be invested into our public services – to move here and drive our rents through the roof, while our local family run businesses are forced out of town to make way for the next bar as a result.

And who profits the most from all this? The Real Estate Developers, land speculators and their agents, who are tapping into this well of high-paid clientele in order to drive the transformation of our neighborhoods into isolated building block fortresses.

So much money is being made at the expense of the integrity of our neighborhoods.

On the other end of the spectrum, let’s talk about Poverty and Crime, about struggling home owners and struggling renters trying to make ends meet. Did you know that we are in a Displacement Crisis right now? Our community is disappearing. For every one who is evicted, through a domino effect, someone becomes homeless. For a senior or disabled person an eviction literally is a death sentence, for many of them due to the added stress and all contributing factors, fall victim to greater health ailments and chances of homelessness.

Right now, Venice has a burgeoning unhoused population and the numbers have only increased. For a decade now we have heard a lot of “Long-Term” promises from our Council Office and City Hall. We have spent tens of millions of dollars on street sweeps and “Policing-the-Problem,” – and the problem has only gotten worse.

By the County of Los Angeles’ own numbers, it costs us $20 Thousand Dollars Less (per person/per year), simply by providing permanent supportive housing. We can do the morally, ethically right thing to do … and get a tax break too.

First though two things must happen. One, we need to re-align our budget priorities, to fund first and fully our neighborhoods and needed community services. In order to do that, we, as a community, will need to stand up and say that these incredibly, obscenely rich companies that are taking over our neighborhoods need to start paying their Fair Share — not in PR stunts and Sponsorships — but in taxes.

We, not the corporations – need to have a say in what and where our money gets spent.

As a Neighborhood Council we can play a very important role in all of that. By opening up these conversations, engaging and having a real public discourse on the issues facing our combined future as a community, we can find the solutions that work and push those needed changes forward.

Not only can Venice overcome any problem or obstacle put in our way, but together, with all of the brilliant, creative minds that call Venice home – we can be the shining example of how to do it right. Let us aim for greatness, shall we?

Right now, Venice is at a crossroad. If we truly desire to preserve and protect our existing community, we must go in a different direction from the path we are currently on. That will take courage, and it may just be the poet in me, but Venice – I believe in you. I believe that together we can accomplish anything. So I am asking you to cross that canal with me and vote on June 5th.

Treasurer
Hugh Harrison was not queried because he has more or less institutionalized himself as the “treasurer.” He ran uncontested. But he did respond.

Hugh Harrison
My only statement is that I am honored to continue serving the VNC and trying to make sure the finances are maintained accurately and the funds spent as voted by the Board.

Secretary
Question: What kind of improvement can you make for the position of Secretary?

Stefanie Holmes
I chose to run for Secretary because it is where I can add the most value as a member of the Venice Neighborhood Council.

As an attorney, I draft complex legal documents and negotiate deals—I’ve even drafted hundreds of board resolutions and minutes. Therefore, effectively preparing agendas and producing minutes are tasks right in my wheelhouse. I would go further by updating the formatting of each agenda and minutes to make them more complete and easier to comprehend. The VNC’s Bylaws and Standing Rules contain typographical errors and inconsistencies, which I could easily revise and correct (with approval from the other Board members, of course). The more complete, professional and thorough our documents, the better impression the VNC makes on Venice stakeholders. I have always taken immense pride in my work—whether while waitressing to put myself through college or drafting a multimillion dollar purchase agreement. I’m a perfectionist, and the documents I produce as VNC Secretary will be professional, pristine and user-friendly.

Some have warned me that being Secretary of the VNC is a lot of work. As a mother of two young children and a lawyer, I am completely up to the task. I am not afraid of hard work, and I’m no stranger to being busy—in fact, it’s where I excel. I am a quick thinker, a fast typist, and excellent at multitasking. The VNC Secretary is also required to log and correctly route all correspondence to the VNC members. I am highly organized and would efficiently perform this task. I believe this duty is currently completed with the help of an outside consultant—with me as Secretary, the VNC would not need to budget for that added expense.

As Secretary I will engage, listen and represent the interests of all Venice stakeholders. I am very responsive in all aspects of my life, and I am passionate about our community. I know how frustrating it can be to feel like you are not being listened to or your interests are being ignored. I will make myself available and encourage an open dialogue among Venice stakeholders—that way I will be equipped to best represent their interests during my tenure.

Highly sophisticated companies and pro bono clients alike have relied on my judgment and intelligence to make tough calls and draft and negotiate complex legal documents. With my experience and can-do attitude, the VNC and all Venice stakeholders can depend on me to perform my duties as Secretary passionately, professionally and efficiently and to go above and beyond what is expected.

Matthew Beltran
Upon moving to the area off of Rose after graduating from UCLA in 2008, my neighbors enlightened me to the greater issues that both Los Angeles and the beach community face. With the communities help, I would like to address those items I have seen and experienced, and work to inform those interested through the VNC as Secretary.

I plan to expand on the Administrative Committee for additional help with motions and board requests by the public, and report the City’s actions on those passed. The Secretary takes a big part in the Ad Com Committee and the Board Meetings and I want to make sure that the community can voice their opinions timely and have the tools that make their ideas a reality so that items are vetted by our neighbors before drafted into concrete motions.

Recently, a resident posted on the VNC’s Facebook Page that her son wanted to repaint the benches at the Westminster Dog Park. For some time, I’ve been wrapping my head around the idea of covering the many community areas in Venice through the VNC. My proposal is a committee dedicated to Venice recreation and athletics to assist in expediting events through the necessary City and County departments and promote athletic events such as the many teams and exceptional student athletes at Venice High School.

One of the biggest items our community faces right now is the development of the Venice Local Coastal Program. I will work to monitor this Program, and provide updates for public comment to be relayed appropriately. My feeling is that the City should have open comment on the projects they do in Venice before they work to create a program, then bring it back to Venice for more community feedback when a plan is being finalized.

I will strive to promote affordable housing at the bus depot on Sunset Avenue, that short term rentals don’t remove housing and rental stock from the area, and neighbors are protected from irresponsible development. When I first moved to Venice, one of my elderly neighbors was harassed for his apartment being rent controlled. My next apartment began converting rooms into hotel bungalows, and I want to make sure these items are addressed before they get out of control.

Please consider me for the Secretary seat on the VNC’s board and I will work to represent all of Venice fairly and equally.
Contact me any time at matthewbeltran-community@outlook.com or @Beltran4VNC
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Beltran4VNC/

Melissa Diner
Secretary is a thankless job. I don’t think I saw our last Secretary at anything other then meetings he had to be at. For that reason, if I win, I will put together a committee of organizers to help manage the duties of the position. I already told the other candidates that win or lose I hope we come together and share the burdens of the Secretary of the Board position together, posting and drafting agenda and minutes, not only for the monthly board meeting but also for the adcom meeting which sets the agenda.

I have already shared this strategy with my opponents and win or lose will serve and recruit others to help with these tasks not only for the board but for standing and adhoc committees. We all are dynamic people with so much to offer our community. Serving as Secretary doesn’t have to be all consuming if we make it efficient and in doing so allow others to learn and get involved, an integral part of our duty as board members.

The first election I ran in I lost and Thomas Elliott, the then chair of the Ocean Front Walk Committee asked me if I would be the Secretary of the Ocean Front Walk Committee helping him to create agendas and draft minutes. This teamwork laid the foundation for the rebirth of a diverse group of people that came up with ideas and functionally got things accomplished. I want to help other committees replicate this by delegating. Whoever wins as secretary should continue to engage and participate in other areas of community service the VNC offers by managing their work load with a team.

Lastly, I am a connector and facilitator by nature. Many times I will respond directly to people that email the entire board from our website. Most of the time I ask these people that inquire, “did anyone else reply,” the answer is, “no.” This is unacceptable and an easy fix with someone like me that will commit to responding and connecting with every person that reaches out to the VNC and direct them to the best place I know for their inquiries. When I don’t know the best place, or even sometimes when I think I do, I will still consult with other board members to come up with the best place to start.

Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) Chair
Brian Silveira said he would submit info but never did.

Question:This is the granddaddy of all the VNC committees and is definitely the most important committee the VNC has. Although advisory, this committee helps shape the Venice scene and can make it easy or difficult for architects, advisors. With this in mind, how do you envision running this committee. And for Robin since she is an incumbent: Summarize how you envision the direction for LUPC and what you would do differently if re-elected.

Matthew Royce
As Chair of LUPC I would make it my priority to find common ground between those who have different visions for the future built environment of Venice. Our neighborhoods and the City of LA as a whole are in urgent need of solutions to difficult issues and we need those solutions to benefit all. As a community I believe we can come together and find ways to allow new development to fit harmoniously alongside the genuinely historic architecture we all love and admire. Under my guidance, LUPC will be run efficiently, professionally and with respect for the law.

Robin Dudisill

Transparency & Outreach:
First, I want to point out that the current Land Use & Planning Committee (LUPC) is a fantastic, talented, and first-rate group of Venetians. I value each member tremendously. We have varying opinions, backgrounds and available time, but every member has made a very significant contribution. The amount we have accomplished in less than two years is amazing. Together we managed to hear and make meaningful recommendations on nearly every Venice case going through the City Hearing process.

We uncovered the mishandling of Mello Act Determinations, which was causing our affordable housing to disappear; we got the City to change its procedure and follow the law. We brought focus to the Coastal Development Permit process and the need for adequate Findings for “access” to the coast and for protecting the unique character of Venice. Our community was designated by the Coastal Commission in its 2001 Land Use Plan certification as a Special Coastal Community, which is something to be protected at all costs. The Commission had largely lost sight of this until we brought it back into focus by attending Coastal Commission meetings every month, no matter where in the State they were held, and consistently delivering our message. We also made significant progress on exposing and fixing the exception and exemption processes – VSOs and Coastal Exemptions (CEXs) – which have been seriously misused and abused to allow overdevelopment and removal of affordable housing, especially in Oakwood. Also, from the beginning of my term I made it my policy to record every meeting, prepare timely minutes, be transparent with all cases and case documents, and give more time and respect to those coming to the LUPC hearings to express their issues and concerns. Breaking with previous LUPC practice, I decided the committee should take the trouble to transparently review “de minimis” cases, as defined in our VNC Standing Rules. These policies will continue.

In my second term I will work more closely with the Neighborhood Committee in order to improve community outreach and empower them early in the process by providing land use information important to the neighborhoods at the time when it is first received. I have found that with both our project case work and on important land use issues, the earlier and more proactive our communications the better.

Culture of Ethics a Priority:
It’s vital to make a culture of ethics a priority. To accomplish this, strong leadership, education and awareness are needed.

I recently came across the December 9, 2013 issue of the Venice Update, which included four letters blasting the city for its non-responsiveness to the serious land use-related concerns being raised by the community over time. Reading it reminded me that we cannot tolerate inaction by our government officials. According to the City’s ethics code, they have an obligation to take action or report on improper governmental activities within their knowledge. Only if we make a culture of ethics a priority can we eliminate the implied complicity resulting from this obligation being ignored. With ethics made a priority, the integrity of land use decisions will significantly improve. It must be a priority for our public officials and city employees to follow and honor the City of L.A. Code of Ethics.

Focus on Improving Processes, Efficiencies, & Controls and Major Planning Initiatives:
We’ve laid much groundwork in getting our arms around the processes and issues and identifying the problems. As we move forward, this allows us to increase our focus on improving processes and gaining the resulting efficiencies, adding reliable internal controls and necessary checks and balances, and being involved in major planning initiatives. Regarding process improvement, I know that processing time for land use permits can be significantly shortened and I will make it one of my highest priorities to work with city and state to make that happen. Also, now that there is a wider and more cohesive understanding of the State and local laws, policies and processes for development in the Venice Coastal Zone, we are having more and more success in working out issues between concerned neighbors and applicants early in the process rather than later in the process using appeals. This helps everyone and is something I will continue to our focus on more and more.

In addition, over the past two years we, the LUPC/VNC, have proposed numerous excellent non project-related recommendations to our Council Office, City Planning and the Coastal Commission Staff. These recommendations serve to improve processes and proposed regulations and/or add important checks and balances. I will stay on top of these recommendations and work with Council Office, City and State to bring them to fruition.

I’m anxious to find a LUPC member for this next term who is willing, able and motivated to be even more involved in Venice land use and planning, with whom I can share some of the administrative but important work, such as allocating cases to committee members, coordinating with applicants, researching and resolving issues, recommending proposed VNC de minimis projects, submitting reports to the VNC Board and City, and attending City public hearings.

Sharing much of this work will allow me to not only increase the empowerment of the committee but it will allow me to focus more on the things mentioned above, such as improving processes and controls and sorting out applicant issues early in the process. It will also give the LUPC some breathing room to focus on major planning initiatives in the pipeline. In addition, Venice needs to have a strong, knowledgeable voice at the table for the implementation of the new Mello Act Ordinance, for protection of our coastal housing, especially affordable housing, and also for tightening up the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance for Venice east of Lincoln. The biggest land use issue of all will be the development of the Venice LCP (Local Coastal Program), which will implement the Coastal Act at the local level. It’s essential that someone with a deep understanding of city and coastal laws, who has the Public’s Trust, is involved on behalf of the community to make sure we build in strong protections for our unique coastal community.

I thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts and plans for a second term as Land Use & Planning Committee Chair of the most special coastal community in California, if not the world.

For the love of Venice…

Thomas R. Sauer
In regards to your questions: Fraud Deterrence and Prevention

Please refer to my LinkedIn profile for additional specifics…

http://www.linkedin.com/in/trsauer75

Outreach Officer
Question: What are the duties of the Outreach Officer and how do you pan to do those duties and improve the position.

Hollie Stenson
My job as the Outreach Officer, first and foremost, is to engage and listen to the Council’s stakeholders – the community. The unique thing about this position, however, is that the very fabric of this notion is woven into the job description. Engaging the community is the primary focus of the Outreach Committee, and as its Chair, I will commit fully to the task.
This neighborhood is a living and breathing organism, and it’s safe to say we can all feel that we’re in a strange transition period. There are the longtime Venice natives, and others who were drawn to our fair beach community more recently. Yet, we all love Venice.

My job is to bring all of these different factions of folks together and to expose people to a different culture within their own communities. We may not all agree on how to strike the perfect balance between development and maintaining Venice’s historic culture, or how to deal with our homeless friends on the streets, but we’re all people – and the one thing that brings us together is our love for our very eclectic, artistic, and vibrant neighborhood.

The job of the Outreach Officer is to organize several events per year to achieve this cross-pollination of cultures and opinions. I have a Masters in Social Entrepreneurship, and one of our core competencies in graduate school was community building and outreach. I have a ton of ideas for specific events that will bring our community together. In addition, having been an integral participant and volunteer already of the current Outreach Committee’s 2nd annual Green Venice Expo this year, I plan to continue that tradition. I’d like to grow and deepen the event. It has wide appeal and offers extremely informative, creative and useful solutions for everyone in the community.

As Outreach Officer, I also plan to create a VNC project called Voices of Venice. This project will give all people of the community an opportunity to tell their story of Venice, why they love it, and what brought them here. This is not a place for negative rhetoric or complaints; we have plenty of outlets for that sort of speech already. This will be a project along the lines of Story Corps, or Sounds of LA on NPR. A place where we can share in the thrill, the curiosity, and the sheer moxie of folks who either moved to Venice long ago, or even last month! People move to Venice for a specific reason – it’s not like any other neighborhood in LA. And to me, there’s nothing more interesting than hearing how our 96-year old neighbor found herself in Venice, as well as what my 16-year old neighbor feels about being a teenager in this magical place.

As the Director of Outreach for the Students Stand With Malala campaign (a collaboration of the Malala Fund and Participant Media) I had the wonderful opportunity to outreach to many different communities both domestically and internationally. It was such an honor to work on behalf of the young Nobel Peace Prize winner’s mission to educate girls worldwide, bringing together refugee populations and students domestically to raise awareness for every child’s right to a free, safe and quality education. This experience will easily translate into my position as Outreach Officer.

Also, as President of the non-profit FILManthropy Society and Executive Director of the subsequent FILManthropy Festival, hosting events and gatherings is second nature to me. I’ve hosted countless charity and other outreach functions, including TEDxVeniceBeach, in my 16-year career in the entertainment and non-profit fields.

Taking on this position in the Venice Neighborhood Council is truly my best way deliver the most value while serving the community. This is what I’ve done my entire career, and I would be honored to do so for the neighborhood I so passionately advocate for – Venice.

Matthew Kline
As someone who has served as a board member for 5 years, both as Outreach Officer and Community Officer, I understand the responsibilities of this position better than most. The primary role of the Outreach Officer is to build awareness of our organization. That’s because growing our organization and making in stronger means we’ll have more influence upon our city officials and representatives, in order to ensure they’re looking out for our interests. While Venice is the face of the California to the world, at the end of the day we’re only 1% of the City’s population and we’re located as far West from City Hall as possible. That means we need to work harder to be heard.

I’ve lived and worked in Venice for the better part of a decade and I’ve built a network of relationships with neighborhood organizations, non-profits, schools, and businesses big and small. Those relationships and my relentless ability to continue making new ones is how I’m able to help the VNC grow.

When I was Outreach Chair, the VNC had its best elections turnout in our history. I led and produced the most popular events our organization has held, including the town hall on the Emergence of Silicon Beach that drew the biggest tech companies in the area out of their offices and into face-to-face communication with residents. Venice has a lot of new residents and businesses. We can accomplish a dialogue only if they are part of the process. At the same time, those with tenure must stay involved in order to help preserve the unique aspects of this great community that we hold dear.

If I’m elected Outreach Officer again, I will look to improve the communications between VNC committees. Information is a key asset of our organization and while the VNC is limited in what it can promote and communicate, I would like to develop a partnership between the VNC and this newsletter in which Neighborhood Committee reps and the Outreach Committee are providing Venice Update with weekly blurbs about the news and events from their specific areas. This will ensure that residents are getting access to the same information that the VNC has.

At the same time, I will encourage my committee to re-instate its policy of developing press releases on a regular basis to inform the community of our agenda items and our positions on those items.

Lastly, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to Reta for all her work to help keep our community informed. I love read Venice Update and want to make sure we’re doing everything possible to support it.

Matthew Kline
As someone who has served as a board member for 5 years, both as Outreach Officer and Community Officer, I understand the responsibilities of this position better than most. The primary role of the Outreach Officer is to build awareness of our organization. That’s because growing our organization and making in stronger means we’ll have more influence upon our city officials and representatives, in order to ensure they’re looking out for our interests. While Venice is the face of the California to the world, at the end of the day we’re only 1% of the City’s population and we’re located as far West from City Hall as possible. That means we need to work harder to be heard.

I’ve lived and worked in Venice for the better part of a decade and I’ve built a network of relationships with neighborhood organizations, non-profits, schools, and businesses big and small. Those relationships and my relentless ability to continue making new ones is how I’m able to help the VNC grow.

When I was Outreach Chair, the VNC had its best elections turnout in our history. I led and produced the most popular events our organization has held, including the town hall on the Emergence of Silicon Beach that drew the biggest tech companies in the area out of their offices and into face-to-face communication with residents. Venice has a lot of new residents and businesses. We can accomplish a dialogue only if they are part of the process. At the same time, those with tenure must stay involved in order to help preserve the unique aspects of this great community that we hold dear.

If I’m elected Outreach Officer again, I will look to improve the communications between VNC committees. Information is a key asset of our organization and while the VNC is limited in what it can promote and communicate, I would like to develop a partnership between the VNC and this newsletter in which Neighborhood Committee reps and the Outreach Committee are providing Venice Update with weekly blurbs about the news and events from their specific areas. This will ensure that residents are getting access to the same information that the VNC has.

At the same time, I will encourage my committee to re-instate its policy of developing press releases on a regular basis to inform the community of our agenda items and our positions on those items.

Lastly, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to Reta for all her work to help keep our community informed. I love read Venice Update and want to make sure we’re doing everything possible to support it.

Communications Officer
Nicole Ellingston did not respond.
Question: What do you envision for this position and how do you plan to make it better. If I were Communications Officer, I would improve the office by _____.

Mike Bravo
I am a 5th generation Venetian, Native American spiritual youth counselor, web & graphic designer, and internet marketer. I believe it’s important to fulfill and shine in the administrative functions and responsibilities of this position, but it is equally important to consider the community representation and advocacy dynamic one brings to any position on our neighborhood council, especially in a time of diminishing diversity in Venice.

I envision an expanded and more inclusive stakeholder audience for our neighbor council to connect and communicate with. One that truly considers and acts on diversity as well as increases overall numbers for community engagement. I also envision a website revamp that implements modern up to date web design, functionality, and visual communication standards. I will also improve the underutilized social media channels that we have available to us to better engage our community in general but also with some emphasis on the young adults in our community. It is also my vision to upgrade all visual and informational communications for our neighborhood council in general, perhaps even creating a new logo if the feedback welcomes it.

The Communications goals work complimentary to, and overlap in some intentions, with the Outreach Committee goals. I would improve on the Communications Officer responsibilities by..

Expanding Stakeholder Audience – This can be accomplished in many ways, some examples:

* creating more visually appealing communications be it web or printed literature. As a generational Venice local, contemporary artist, and digital creative I know what it takes to accomplish this.
* with upgraded visual presentation and enhanced social media presence it will encourage more civic engagement and also encourage participation from younger members of our community
* expand communications to Spanish speaking residents and stakeholders. It is approximated that 20% (if not more) of the Venice stakeholder population speaks Spanish as a primary language.
* increasing physical locations of where Agendas are posted- currently the Agendas are only posted at Beyond Baroque and the Venice Library both of which are on Venice Blvd. and not equally distributed or centrally accessible.

Revamping the Website- Let’s face it, the website needs some serious help. The visual style and layout is outdated by at least 5 years, bland, and cluttered and the speed is horrible. To make it worse, the VNC website is not even Responsive/Mobile ready. In a community with a tech savvy population and the fact that Mobile devices account for at least 60% of internet use, this is unacceptable. I will make sure the website is upgraded using modern design techniques, functions, and layout standards. The user interface will be more logical and appealing as well as having the presentation of all VNC news items on par with that of our local news outlets.

Overall the formula is to be more inclusive of all people and put more love and energy into how we present ourselves as a neighborhood institution. That love and energy will attract the same. Please vote Mike Bravo for Communications Officer on June 5th.

Evan White
I view the role of VNC Communications Officer with great regard! There
are over 40,000 residents in Venice, and 1,000′s more come here to
work everyday. This position is a voice to, and for, the entire Venice
Community. Keeping everyone informed will be my number one job, and I
will do this using the skills of the 21st Century. For a decade it has
been my job to help businesses, brands, celebrities, and entrepreneurs
tell their story to the world, and I am excited to do the same for the
VNC. Through email, social media, events, and getting out into the
neighborhood I plan to ensure all of Venice has a voice, and is heard.

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