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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

New VNC Board Sworn In; Committees Established at VNC Meet

Two former VNC Presidents, DeDe Audit and Linda Lucks, swore in the new board members.

By Angela McGregor

(19 June 2019) New members of the board for the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) were sworn in Tuesday night by past Board presidents Linda Lucks and DeDe Audet, and serenaded with a song entitled “Everything’s Normal in Venice” (advertised in the evening’s agenda as Venice’s “new anthem”) by local chanteuse Suzy Williams with piano accompaniment by Brad Kaye.

The VNC has an online survey for stakeholders about issues they feel the new Board should focus on over the next two-year term. It can be found at venicenc.org/survey.

Suzy Williams sings “Everything’s Normal in Venice.”

Members of AdCom (Administrative Committee) were voted on from the nine Community Interest members who placed their names in contention. CJ Cole, Mark Ryavec, Jim Murez and Charles Rials will join Ira Koslow, George Francisco, Melissa Diner and Hugh Harrison in setting the Board meeting agenda each month.

Applications are currently being accepted for both the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) and the Neighborhood Committee. To apply for LUPC, visit: https://www.venicenc.org/user_docs/LUPC_Application_2019-21.pdf. To apply to represent your neighborhood in Venice, visit: https://www.venicenc.org/neighborhood-committee.php. The deadline for submitting an application and having it posted on the VNC’s website is 8 July 2019.

During the course of the meeting, new LUPC chair Alix Gucovsky stated that she and outgoing chair, Matt Royce, are continuing to conduct LUPC meetings in lieu of new committee members.

The Board then moved on to the renewal of Ad Hoc committees, including Discussion Forum, Resiliency (aka emergency preparedness), and Parking and Transportation. Local photographer (and frequent VNC critic) Margaret Molloy stated that she and a number of fellow activists had filed a grievance with EmpowerLA requesting the dissolution of the Parking & Transportation. She did not state the grounds for the complaint, but did mention that it was “over 100 pages long” and asked that the Board postpone the renewal until EmpowerLA had resolved her issues.

Ira Koslow replied that he had not had a chance to review the complaint, and that “anyone can file a complaint,” and that he would wait until “something comes from EmpowerLA.” The vote proceeded, with Board comments focused on the necessity of having such a committee regardless of who was in charge, and the committee was renewed.

The Board considered a motion to create an Ad Hoc Homeless Committee. The specter of the last Homeless Committee, which ultimately resulted in its dissolution and the resignation of its leader after its embrace of a number of unpopular and contentious positions, hung over both the public and the Board discussions of their new committee mission statement, which was approved at AdCom. Mark Ryavec spoke about his previous service ten years ago, serving as the co-chair of a similar committee with a much more limited mission statement that mandated the participation of both homeless advocates and resident representatives. It was more limited in scope, albeit successful in putting forth motions that ultimately benefitted the homeless population. He urged the Board to postpone the vote and, at a future meeting, put forth a similar motion but with a more focused mission statement. Matt Fisher responded that the mission statement was “intentionally vague” because “we are going to be covering a lot of issues” and stated that Ryavec should “not be allowed to even be talking about this with all [his] lawsuits against the city, so [his] opinion is illegal; I really don’t care about it, and he will be reported.”

President Ira Koslow stated he would speak to the City Attorney to verify Fisher’s contention. Jim Murez asked for a motion to postpone the motion for a month, in order to explore Ryavec’s objections. Alex Neiman, speaking against postponement, said it was clear that the VNC needs such a committee, and that the mission statement need not “contain the agenda.”

Ira Koslow also felt that the mission statement “should be vague.” George Francisco offered a history of the previous committee, which in 17 months passed 17 motions ranging from opposition to homeless storage at Westminster Park to support for Bridge Housing at the Metro Yard. He described the list of motions they passed as “balanced,” and pointed out that “not one of those motions had any impact at all,” implying that the formation of such a committee could, as did the last committee, result in nothing but contentiousness and arguments. The motion to postpone failed 7-8-2. The original motion, to form the Committee with the mission statement on the agenda, narrowly passed, 8-7, with 3 abstentions.

Two motions to regulate motorized devices in Venice, which came out of the Ocean Front Walk Committee, finished up the evening. One would limit the number of such devices (both scooters and bikes) to 550, or 50 per company of those currently operating here; the other forbade film permits to companies filming motorized devices on the bike path and boardwalk, where they are now forbidden, and where built-in geo-fencing makes them unable to be operated.

The meeting ended with a reminder from President Ira Koslow to his fellow board members that they had all taken an oath to be civil with one another.

The next meeting of the VNC Board will be held July 16th, 2019.

The new board is shown below.  Missing are Sima Kostevetsky, outreach officer, and Hugh Harrison, treasurer.

Left to right are: Matt Fisher, Brian Averill, Bradley Avery, Charles Rials, and Bruno Hernandez.

Chris Wrede; Alix Gucovsky, chair of Land Use and Planning Committee; George Francisco, vice-president, and Ira Koslow, president.

Melissa Diner, secretary, and Teresa White, communications officer.


Jim Murez, Jamie Paige, and Robert Thibodeau.

Left to right: C.J. Cole, Mark Ryavec, Nisa Kove, and Jim Robb.

Comments (2)

  1. Vicki

    An ad hoc homeless committee could be helpful if it is more defined than the last one, which ended up being a platform for the chairman’s career. If it can’t be defined and purposed, then have ad hoc committees on sanitation and LAPD relations, both of which are the most crucial for both residents and the unhoused.

  2. Nicholas Antonicello

    New board. New faces, new opinions, fresh perspectives. Thank you for your service!

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