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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Update Offers Candidate Platform with Questions—Presidential Candidates Respond

Venice Update is offering candidates for VNC office a platform. Questions were submitted last week for all offices except Treasurer, Community Interest/Community Outreach and the 47 At-Large Community Officers.

This week responses from the presidential candidates will be given and next week responses from other offices will be given. The 47 At-Large Officers and the Community Interest/Community Outreach office candidates will be queried if time allows.

Responses for President of the Venice Neighborhood Council are below. The three running for president are: Ira Koslow, Lydia Ponce, and Rick Selan. Lydia Ponce did not respond to email. Ira Koslow has posted the questions that Update submitted to each presidential candidate.

Ira Koslow

As president, what do you feel your role will be/should be as the leader of the VNC?

I feel my role as leader of the VNC is to foster an environment where everyone feels they are being heard and wants to fully participate in the process. We are a unique community with diverse interests and opinions, but the underlying unifying factor is that we all want to create the best Venice possible. This occurs not just at the Board meeting, but in the committees and events, something that I have seen get lost over the last years. The more in depth work that the committees do, the more informed are the Board members, and the clearer and specific are the actions we take. Events can become the showcase for disseminating information or just local get-togethers that foster community. I can list the problems in Venice as most other candidates do, but the solutions are not just mine. I want to bring all stakeholders to the table to engage in the VNC system and harness the combined brain power to make things better. This might seem a bit idealistic, but the tendency to have one issue people creating divisions and sides, will not and has not worked. Not everyone can get everything he or she wants, and rather than give up, create enemies or drop out, let’s work together. I have lived in Venice for over forty years and all of us have created an amazingly diverse, artistic and dare I say Bohemian community, desired by all as a great place to live. Our job now is to keep our community character while welcoming newcomers of all economic backgrounds.

Two years from now and looking back at your tenure, what would you like to see that defines that period?

The neighborhood councils are supposed to be a two-way conduit between the stakeholders of Venice and the city government. Defining success would be the successful actualization during my tenure. I would hope that we maintain and increase good relationships with the CD11 office and all the commissions and committees in city government. We are advisory only and our power comes from our influence in the decision making bodies. I want respect for and confirmation of our resolutions, decisions and policies. Also I want to make sure we keep our stakeholders advised of issues that are of interest to them which are being devised on all levels of government. I would most importantly like to see serious progress in the two diametrically opposed problems that are causing the most dissension in Venice: homelessness and mansionization. As I stated above, Venice is drawing people in all economic strata, and we have to develop systems that help keep our community diverse and vibrant.

Rick Selan
39-Year Venice Resident – Retired Math Department Chairperson and 15-year United Teachers of LA Chairperson at Mark Twain Middle School

Pro Bono Special Education Advocate for low-income, under-represented children of color in Venice and Mar Vista.

Whistle Blower, Educational Advocate and Private Tutor

A Return to the Passion of “Grass Roots Venice”

The current VNC represents a small portion of Venice Stakeholders. VNC refuses to respond to filed grievances and PRA’s (public records requests). Venice belongs to all the people; not just those with personal agendas and dollar signs. A working grievance and complaint process needs to be rewritten so neither individual nor individuals in Venice are denied due process.

The first order of business under a Selan Presidency would be to establish a full rewriting of the Venice NC by laws that were written for the good of a few with special interests and to focus on exclusion rather than inclusion. A 180 degree change is a very difficult process, but doable as we have no choice.

All VNC Meetings will be posted on the VNC web calendar 72 hours before the meeting, or they will be postponed. All Venice residents deserve the right to plan ahead.
It is time for Collaboration among all stakeholders in Venice to participate and feel comfortable rather than permit the continued “Structured Chaos” and Confrontation, by a few, to deny fair play that has been pattern and practice for the past 8 years in VNC.

An Ethics, Values and Morals Committee needs to be established where Venice Stakeholders might receive assistance and help
rather than being ignored with” No Voice and No Visibility” .

The education and arts/ culture committee needs separation and two different committees formed; one for Education and one for Arts and Culture.

The Education Committee needs to focus on kids’ needs first, before adult self interests. Parents and guardians have choice of sending their child to a traditional community public school or charter public school. VNC Education must focus on both traditional and charter public schools in Venice.

The election rules must be re-written as the current policy permits the voter to vote for only one of 13 At-Large Community Member positions, and in this election, with 50 candidates running for thirteen positions, this is a travesty.

Mean Spirit needs to be eliminated and replaced by those seeking a positive Climate Change within VNC, BONC and DONE .

The results of the Venice-DONE Hearings held for a year and half which included DONE Administrators, 2 City Attorneys, LA Human Relations and CORE-Ca. regarding the lack of ethics and values in the current VNC need to be documented and used in a positive change process.
The Penmar and Oakwood area of Venice have been treated for a decade as “the step children of VNC”. Penmar and Oakwood deserve full inclusion.

A serious question is: What has transpired in Land, Use and Planning for the past eight years and the difficulty by those within who continue to work toward integrity in creating “honorable” change but are overwhelmed by those of affluence?

Might a full eight-year independent audit of Land, Use, and Planning be established with the help of city government and agencies to enforce change as taxpayer money is involved
and integrity challenged ? I am not sure yet.

Rather than have another two years of promulgating “Homelessness in Venice “ with no solutions, it is time to bring in more with alternative ideas from higher learning; city, state and federal government and business leaders who will work the “whole” community to assist to find solutions so homelessness, as we know it, is reduced at least 50%, if not more, in the next two years.

Rather than focus on the needs of the politicians and developers, focus must be placed to create quick housing alternatives for those in harms way and provide guidance for those in need of physical and mental health support. This is a challenge to help the homeless and the residents who have serious issues with the homeless and their property. As a homeowner, I hear the cries of the residents. As an advocate for those in harms way, I hear the cries of the homeless.

I am the candidate who will give all Venice Stakeholders ‘Voice and Visibility’ including the “stepchildren” living in the Oakwood and Penmar communities of Venice.

Return Venice to the Community bringing back the passion of the first Grass Roots Venice. Peace. Forward. Change.

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