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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

New VNC Takes Office … Nick Says the More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

By Nick Antonicello

As New York Yankee legend Yogi Berra would have described last night’s
meeting of the newly constituted Venice Neighborhood Council as “déjà vu all
over again,” the animosities of winning and losing spilled over just a bit
as new President Ira Koslow took over the reins of this fractured and
fragmented grass roots arm of city government here in Los Angeles.

As outgoing President Mike Newhouse graciously handed the gavel to Ira
Koslow, there seemed to be an initial sense of unity and political calm at
least for a moment.

But this is Venice, the home of six opinions with only five people in a

As I scanned the faces of the new board members there was sense of pride in
being elected and having the ability to serve while others seemed resigned
to a notion they were in the distinct minority in more ways than one!

With little diversity and fewer women, does the new board reflect a more
affluent and different Venice?

Maybe so, but the only constant in life is change and the growing pains of a
different Venice will be part of this board’s maturation process.

While the board has some institutional faces such as Koslow, Treasurer Hugh
Harrison and new Community Officer Jim Murez, this board is dominated by new
faces and a more pro-homeowner, pro-business point-of-view.

And while some have criticized the influence of pro-business types
dominating the new board, is it fair to say these new members won a
convincingly easy victory and in many ways have a mandate to govern?

What was obvious is that the face of this new board is younger, different
and somewhat new to this process.

While some hostility initially boiled over (and some would say rightly so)
for remarks that could be deemed insensitive no matter who unintentional,
the election is now over and it’s time to govern and advise the City of Los
Angeles what Venice is thinking.

Key appointments to the Neighborhood Committee and LUPC withstanding, the
Administrative Committee was seated and it seems many members as well as
stakeholders will want to review the current By-Laws for revision and

Yours truly has already submitted two proposed changes with one being the
formation of an Ad-Hoc Committee to study the viability of Venice Cityhood
while the other aims to reform the election of Community Officers.

In the election you were only allowed to select a single community officer
despite the fact thirteen were elected meaning stakeholders were selecting
less than half the VNC. Most of those elected Community Officers were
elected with less than 100 votes when over 2700 voted on June 5th!

There is something wrong with that math given the size of the board as well
as the turnout.

President Koslow came across as reasonable and willing to work with all
sides on this contentious body of community advocates and volunteers. What
was apparent is that Venice has a deep
bench of talent far beyond the new members that will enable this system of
committees to function and flourish in a way like never before.

For the neighborhood council system is a proving ground for political and
governmental talent that is active and engaged. That’s good news for Venice
and even better news for the prospect of Cityhood sometime down the road.

Comments (4)

  1. Angela McGregor

    This new VNC will need the active support of those of us who voted for them. I was happy to be there for the swearing in, and hope that my neighbors will show up, show their support and let their opinions be known over the next couple of years.

  2. This is why we need more low income housing and homeless housing in Venice. http://www.savevenice.me

  3. Again, I totally disagree with you Nick A. What you are really trying to prove is that the VNC is a power players club for the rich and wealthy elite. The prospect of City Hood is just that. Nothing but a Real Estate Prospectors club under the veil of “City Hood”. Read from L.A. Weekly: It’s unclear exactly why homelessness continues to grow at such a rapid pace, though experts generally agree that the rising cost of housing is a significant factor.

    “The only thing that makes people non-homeless is housing,” Gary Blasi, professor of law emeritus at UCLA, recently told KPCC. “Antipathy to development strangles the housing market.” Read rest of article here: http://www.laweekly.com/news/the-one-issue-that-angelenos-most-want-the-city-to-solve-7039479

    • Nick Antonicello

      These are my personal opinions and you certainly have a right to disagree with them. Under city-hood the political playing field is far more balances in that there are more tenants in Venice by a 60-40 margin. Tenants would have new found political power and clout under city-hood if registered and engaged, no different then SMRR in Santa Monica.

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