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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

VNC Election Vote Finals–Unofficial

The following are the winners of the recent Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) election as provided by Ivan Spiegel, member of the election committee.  Those with the asterisk are the winners.

VNC Election Candidate/Slate Forum

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) election is happening now!  It is a vote-by-mail only this year.You must register to get ballot by 1 June, 5 pm, and you must vote by 8 June, 5 pm.


This writer emailed his registration and verification to the city 3 May.  It is 20 May and a ballot has not been received.  This writer  called and was told that it “just needs to be mailed out.”   This writer asked if that was a big deal and was told that there are other council elections that they are handling.   It has been so frustrating that this writer has told several people he would volunteer to run the VNC election next time for free.   Venice overflows with talent.

Because it is a vote-by-mail election many of the candidates have grouped together and put out literature.  Many individuals have just written something.  The Update will print all election literature, individual or collective.

So far the groups or individuals represented include: Common Sense Venice,  Venice Canals, Soledad Ursua,  Mark Ryavec, Fight Back Venice, CJ Cole, 1 Venice, Benjamin Decker for President, and Yolanda Gonzalez.  Send in your slate or your individual info about running and it will be added.

Common Sense Group

Melissa Diner for Secretary; Michael Jensen for Chair of LUPC; Daffodil Tyminski for Vice President; Vicki Halliday for Communications; Sima Kostovetsky for Community Outreach; Andrea Boccaletti for Treasurer; Jim Murez for President.

Hello Venetians —

This is the team at Common Sense Venice checking in to make sure you know about the upcoming Venice Neighborhood Council Election.

Did you know that registration for the election is currently underway for people that live, work, or own property in Venice? This year, you have to register to receive your mail in ballot, even if you are already registered to vote in our general elections.
We are a group of experienced, longtime stakeholders who want to hold our city government accountable for its failed policies, clean up our streets, and support our homegrown businesses struggling to recover from the pandemic.
Thank you for your support and registering to vote for Common Sense.
The Common Sense Candidates for Venice Neighborhood Council
Register to Vote by June 1st!


From Venice Canals

The 2021 Venice Neighborhood Council elections voting process has begun.

After thoughtful consideration, the Venice Canals Informative has the following suggestions for candidates with the most common interest of preserving the safety and well being of our community.

The ballot application period closes on June 1st. Your ballot must be postmarked by Tuesday, June 8th. Since there is processing time needed and your ballot is mailed back to you, please send your application ASAP.


Click below for the ballot application.


Note: This Information is for using email by phone to get your ballot.

You can still use email if you don’t have a phone or send it by regular mail.

  1. Fill out your application.
  2. Take a picture of the application with a phone.
  3. Take a picture of your driver’s license with the phone showing residency (or show utility bill or property tax bill).
  4. Forward the pictures of the application and the license to the election clerk email with the subject line : VNC BALLOT APPLICATION.
  5. Clerk’s email address:  Clerk.ElectionsNC@LAcity. org


Soledad Ursua for VNC At-Large Community Officer

Voting is all done by mail, so please apply for a VNC ballot today!! You can read more about the process here.
As you all know the VNC elections are upon us! I am running for an At Large Community Officer position (you can only vote for 1) and I am hoping to get your voting pledge. Most of you know that I am not a Democrat nor a Republican, I am Libertarian. I have very different views than most people, and for that reason I am running on my own, independent of a slate.
I am awful at campaigning but here goes—-
I have been an active member of this group since its inception. I live in North Venice, right by Bridge Housing. Last May there was an open seat on the VNC Board and as a frustrated homeowner, I ran and was elected to represent the community. Although I have only served on the board for less than a year, I understand the issues, which I have effectively expressed to the media. I take every interview opportunity that I am offered, even if I am concerned over how I will be portrayed. I believe that getting our voice heard is the most important thing that a VNC board member can do.
In November I pushed to reinstate the dormant Public Health and Safety Committee, and was named the Chair. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity and have worked very hard to chair this committee as professionally as possible, and bring up issues that matter to stakeholders. In just 6 short months of meetings we have tackled some important issues-
-Moderating enforcement discussions between LAPD, LAFD, LA SAN, Parks and Rec.
-Creating a fire safety buffer resolution which has now been adopted by the Wilmington and El Sereno NC’s.
-Running a joint PHSC meeting with the Mar Vista Community Council (a historic first!)
-Hosting LA Controller Ron Galperin to present directly to Venice Stakeholders
-Taking on storm drain issues and environmental beach hazards
If you like what I have done in the past year, I hope you will give me the opportunity to come back and represent you again. I have learned so much and I am just starting to hit my stride.
WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO ME– is not to simply be elected, but to be elected alongside a group of amazing Community Officers. The fact that we can only vote for 1 At Large Community Officer makes electing good people incredibly difficult. For that reason, I am spending time to help bring on new people who I believe will best represent all of us.
CJ Cole and Nico Ruderman are both long time VU members who have represented this group. Mark Standring is the husband of Gila Standring, also an active VU member! Let’s make sure to get our own elected!! (sorry if I missed someone on here)
Please let me know if I can count on your pledge to vote for me. I am trying to get enough pledges to put me in the clear to be re-elected, and then I will work to make sure enough votes are spread out among all these great people as well!
Additionally, there are many new faces to the community that are not part of our Venice United group, and people that we will want to represent us! I am co-hosting an event tonight with 
Chie Lunn to hear directly from stakeholders. Please feel free to join us, and yes… laptop streaming of the VNC Executive Forum is available.
Thank you, and I hope I can continue to represent you!!
Soledad Ursua

Mark Ryavec Recommends

Brian Averill

Vice President
(No recommendation)

Melissa Diner

Andrea Boccaletti

Land Use and Planning Chair
Alix Gucovsky

Vicki Halliday

Community Outreach Officer
Sima Kostovetsky

At-Large Community Officers (vote for only one)
To assure that as many of our pro-resident/pro-public safety candidates are elected as possible to the VNC Board, please vote for the candidate below who is from your geographic area of Venice.  This will spread out our votes and help get more of our candidates elected.

CJ Cole or Alley Mills Bean

Nico Ruderman

Abbot Kinney/Windward Circle-Adjacent
Stan Ansar Muhammad

Silver Triangle/Presidents Row
Elizabeth Clay

Penmar/East Venice
Chie Lunn

Boardwalk/Walk Streets
Mike Folkert

North Main Street/Pacific/North of Rose
Soledad Ursa

Milwood/Eastern Walk Streets
Carlos Zubieta

Fight Back Venice

While there are many threats facing Venice, our view is that the greatest, most urgent threat is the unchecked expansion of the permanent homeless infrastructure in Venice, because once it goes in, it cannot realistically be removed even if Bonin (as we hope) is unseated in Fall 2022.

That permanent infrastructure includes not only Mike’s Monster on the Venice Canals, but also Mike’s Even Bigger Monster coming soon to the 3-acre MTA Lot a block off the beach on Main Street.

After interviewing candidates and researching the VNC voting records, we believe the following candidates will fight hardest to stop Mike’s Monsters (and other such infrastructure projects in Venice) and unseat Bonin in the November 2022 elections.

President:  Jim Murez
Vice-President:  Daffodil Tminski
Secretary: Melissa Diner
Treasurer:  Robin Rudisill
Land Use and Planning Chair: Alix Gucovsky
Communications: Vicki Halliday
Community Outreach Officer:  Sima Kostovetsky
At-Large Community Officer (vote for only one)
South of Venice Boulevard:      CJ Cole or Alley Mills Bean    
North of Venice Boulevard:      Soledad Ursua   

CJ Cole for At-Large Community Officer

Hi Neighbor …

The Venice Neighborhood Council election is currently underway; and I hope you have applied for your vote-by-mail ballot. If not, you can find all the information here.

I am running for a second term as an At-Large Community Officer and am hoping for your support … you can vote for ONLY ONE of the 53 candidates for this position on the ballot. The 13 highest vote-getters will be elected. (Just so you don’t get lost …see below for a picture ofthe ballot for the A-Large Community Officers and where to find my name.)

To learn more about my qualifications and my “platform,” please visit my website … CJforVNC.com.

Hoping I can continue to represent you !!!

Thanks so much … CJ Cole

 CJ Cole for VNC

310 773 6945 … CJforVNC.com


1 Venice Slate


We are eight longtime Venetians running together for the Venice Neighborhood Council. We love this community and we are deeply concerned by its current slate. Violent crime has skyrocketed. Over 2,000 people are sleeping on our streets. Our pleas for help to city officials have been largely ignored. It’s clearly time for a new era of leadership and neighborhood unity. we all have strong, proven track records in this community and we are 100% committed to healing this neighborhood actively addressing the current crisis and holding our LA city officials accountable.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s election is entirely vote-by-mail. You must request a ballot from the city clerk before June 1 at 5 pm with proof that you live or work in Venice. Learn more about us and request a ballot at: 1venice.com.

Benjamin Decker for President

First VNC Zoom Board Meeting is an All Night Effort; Says “No” to Lincoln Apartments

By Angela McGregor

Despite previous VNC Zoom meetings of the AdComm and LUPC Committees, there were still a few technical difficulties to be ironed out on May 21st as the Board and hundreds of attendees “arrived” to the Board’s first meeting since February.

It was 7:30pm before all Board members had logged in and popped up on screen, settings were adjusted, audio problems were ironed out and home computer issues were resolved (with the expert assistance of Empower LA’s Jasmine Elbarbary). 

Former VNC Board member Nisa Kove, now the Venice liaison for Councilman Bonin’s office, announced that the Councilman is well aware of the rapid growth of encampments in Venice, due in part to the lack of bulky item pickup service and CDC’s recommendation that homeless be allowed to remain in their tents during the pandemic.  Bonin has recently met with neighbors of the Rose Avenue encampments and, in Kove’s  words, “discussions are underway”.

With the removal of Matt Fisher and Nisa Kove’s departure to take the position in the Councilman’s office, there were two vacant, at-large Board seats to fill.  Nine candidates applied, and after two votes to break a tie between the two second place finishers, Vicki Halliday (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ZNp3zfH_Tme9exl66U1twLMl88NAdGDs) and Soledad Ursua (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ZNp3zfH_Tme9exl66U1twLMl88NAdGDs) were elected to finish out this term.  They will be sworn in at the next meeting, once they have received the mandatory ethics training.

Jim Murez’s request to move his Parking and Transportation motions to the front of the agenda, given his required, early morning, presence at Friday’s Venice Farmer’s Market, was granted.  First up was a motion to send a letter to the City requesting a Department of Public Works “Street Vacation” of the now unimproved (and overrun with encampments) sidewalk along Rose Avenue between Frederick St. and Glen Avon, handing control of the space to Parks and Recreation to create an “official” walking and running trail.  Public commentary in favor of the proposal noted that, until recently, that path had served as the “heart of the neighborhood” which had been lost to the encampments, many of which featured criminal activity.  Opposition to the proposal came from homeless advocates who insisted the motion be amended to include a mandate that any homeless who were displaced by the project be offered housing.  Jim Murez pointed out that the proposal was to set in motion a process at the City that would take several months to complete, and so wasn’t designed to offer immediate relief from the encampments.  The motion passed, 14-3-2.

A motion to put K rails on the east side of Main Street failed, 8-8-3, and a motion to re-instate overnight parking restrictions on Main Street passed, 13-5-1.

The night’s “main event” was the consideration of LUPC’s motion to deny the VCHC’s Lincoln Apartments project at the site of Safe Place for Youth’s current facility at 2567  Lincoln Blvd presented at their meeting last week (see:  https://veniceupdate.com/2020/05/15/lupc-rejects-lincoln-place-apartments-at-special-meeting/), and public commentary did not commence until 11:30pm.  Consideration of the motion was restricted to an hour, and each commenter was granted 30 seconds to speak.  According to Ira Koslow, the Board has, to date, received about 2000 emails regarding the project, and in the interest of time management he stressed the need for stakeholders who had already expressed their opinions via email to not repeat themselves by raising their hand on Zoom.  Nevertheless, dozens did, and their observations followed a similar pattern to those given at the special LUPC meeting:  opposition cited numerous incidents of violence and harassment of the children who attend both Coeur d’Alene Elementary and St. Mark (including several lockdowns of both campuses due to threatening behavior by SPY’s clients).  Proponents of the project characterized such objections as without basis in fact and defended VCHC’s refusal to consider criminal background checks of prospective tenants to be justified by  “fair housing laws”, and their refusal to forbid drug and alcohol consumption and the retention of deadly weapons within the facility as accepted best practices.

The VNC Board agreed with LUPC that the project, as presented, should be denied, and voted to approve the motion 14-0-1 shortly before 1 am.  The project will now go before City Planning on 28 May.  (see https://planning.lacity.org/pdiscaseinfo/search/encoded/MjMyODgy0).


VNC Meet Scheduled for Thursday, 21 May, Not Tuesday

MAY Board Meeting is THIS THURSDAY, May 21st at 7pm via Zoom.💻


📱iPhone one-tap US: +16699006833,,94446299755# or +13462487799,,94446299755# 

+1 (669)900-6833,, 94446299755# 
+1 (346)248-7799,, 94446299755#
Webinar ID: 944 4629 9755
International numbers available at: https://zoom.us/u/aczD2Vhg6d

📃Please click for Agenda here. 

LUPC Rejects Lincoln Place Apartments at Special Meeting

By Angela McGregor

Land Use and Planning Committer (LUPC) held a special meeting Thursday (14 May) exclusively to hear input and issue a decision on the Lincoln Place Apartments project prior to the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC} 19 May Board meeting and the Planning Commission 28 May online meeting (see: https://planning.lacity.org/dcpapi/meetings/document/66666).

Over 120 persons attended the online meeting.

At its 26 February meet, last pre-pandemic meeting, LUPC sent Lincoln Apartments applicants — Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC) and Safe Place for Youth (SPY) — back to the community for more input before rendering a decision on the project.

Since then, City Planning has fast tracked approval of the project, apparently using the current pandemic to bypass the Venice Neighborhood Council usual approval process, especially for such a large and controversial project.

The meeting opened with VCHC Director Becky Denison delivering a somewhat revised presentation on the project, stating that VCHC had met with representatives from St. Mark School (which is adjacent to the project), who made 26 recommendations for the project, of which VCHC incorporated just 12 (the rest they deemed “unreasonable”).

This including adding some greenery and a gate to overcome the fact that the project’s roof deck offered direct line-of-sight above the school’s playground and insisting that there had been “no firm decision” on whether or not the project would be built with Prop. 2, “No Place Like Home”, funds, which would mandate that (according to VCHC) roughly one third of the residents be suffering from severe mental illness. VCHC then offered several examples of what they said were similar projects that had either been granted the kind of density bonuses they are requesting (over 100 percent, as well as a 22-foot height increase and waiver of step back provisions).

Public commentary was overwhelmingly opposed to the project, and continued for over two and a half hours. Speakers (many of whom are active participants in the St. Mark parish programs to benefit the homeless) primarily emphasized the historic threat to public safety and the poor track record of SPY in ensuring that their clientele did not terrorize the surrounding neighborhood and the children at the two nearby schools. In neighborhood discussions with VCHC, the applicant had refused to take Prop 2 money off the table, promise to screen prospective residents in the sex offender database, or add parking.

Project has questionable safety provisions
In three years, there have been 117 calls to police and fire for incidents at SPY, which include violent crimes that resulted in school lockdowns, and the record for the SPY Bridge Housing project on Main Street is even worse — 202 police calls in two months, including one SPY client who was allowed back into the facility after vandalizing multiple cars and assaulting two women.

Lincoln Apartments would not require sobriety or treatment (several speakers mentioned SPY clients openly using drugs near SPY’s current facility). At a projected cost of $500K per studio apartment, opponents contended the project was an unconscionable waste of money in light of the nearly 60,000 homeless in Los Angeles. Finally, Venice has more current and planned PSH and affordable housing projects than all of CD11 combined: Five units of affordable housing per 100 people.

80 percent of residents within 500 feet say “no”
In all, at least 80 percent of residents who live within a 500-foot radius of the project oppose it.  There was much less public commentary in favor of the project, mainly from people who identified themselves as board members or volunteers for either SPY or VCHC. Their comments were less specific to the project and focused on the overall need in Los Angeles for this type of housing.

Longtime VCH representative and former VNC Board President Linda Lucks stated that “VCH will be managing the property, and VCH is not SPY. They have a good reputation for managing their properties, including full-time, onsite social workers.”

SPY representative Alison Hurst stated that the problems at the Bridge Housing were due to challenges posed by the pandemic and the stress it was putting on residents, “especially vulnerable youth. We need to say yes to housing of all kinds!”

Board commentary opened with questions for the applicant. LUPC member Tim Bonefeld, who was the LUPC staffer on this project, stated that he lived very close to the Bridge Housing, and that, in his estimation, “incidents are through the roof.” He asked whether onsite security guards would be hired for the new project, to which Becky Dennison responded that that was “not considered best practices” and that “people underestimate how effective social service managers are in providing security.” Alison Hurst then stated that Bridge Housing is a “very different model” from the proposed project, and does have full time security officers on site.

Both LUPC Chair Alix Gucovsky and LUPC staffer Shep Stern cited the “overwhelming and unprecedented” outpouring of opposition to the project in the form of over 800 letters, many of whom were clearly very heartfelt, from parishioners and parents torn between their sense of obligation to the less fortunate and their responsibilities as parents for the safety of their children. By contrast, the letters in support of the project, of which there were hundreds, were clearly auto-generated, many with the same name and verbiage, and over 48 percent of them came from outside of Venice.

Bonefeld suggested that, in light of the upcoming hearing at City Planning wherein the project would likely be approved, LUPC make a motion to support the project, but with a long list of recommendations that would address residents’ concerns. However, the other board members seemed to feel that the project was irredeemable, given that its primary fault was its location so close to a school and the undeniably poor public safety record of SPY. At around 10:30 pm, three and a half hours after the start of the meeting, LUPC voted to dismiss the project, 5 votes to 2.

The project will now be taken up by the VNC Board, at their online meeting on May 19th at 7 pm.

VCHC Goes Directly to Planning with Lincoln Apartments, Leaps Past Neighborhood, LUPC, and VNC Approvals

Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC) leaps past Venice neighborhood critiques, and both the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) and the VNC approvals, according to Fight Back Venice, a neighborhood group opposed to the project as presently presented.

Many times a project is already set for a planning hearing so the planning director, if they hear the project, will normally say subject to approval by the VNC. The project is on the agenda to be heard by LUPC 14 May, and normally, will be heard by the VNC at the next scheduled meet, which would be 18 May.

At the last meet of the LUPC, LUPC directed the VCHC to work with the community and do more outreach. The community showed a large amount of disapproval for the project and LUPC, instead of voting it down, asked that VCHC take the project before the neighbors and try to work out some of the problems. Now according to Fight Back Venice, the project is using the Corona Virus to secure approval from the City Planning Commission without further outreach, without approval from LUPC, without approval from VNC.

The City Planning Commission is meeting to vote on the Project in a strictly virtual meeting on May 28. Information regarding the meeting is available here: https://planning.lacity.org/dcpapi/meetings/document/66666

Fight Back Venice says “since Venice has no friendly representation whatsoever at City Hall, we need to get as many emails on file opposing the Project as we possibly can by Friday, 15 May.

“Our goal is 1,000 emails, so please, take 10 seconds to send the one-click email yourself and rally as many friends and family members as you possibly can to do the same by taking 3 more seconds to forward this email to them.”

A short video about VCHC’s Lincoln Apartments Project is available here: https://www.fightbackvenice.org/

VNC Ad-Com Meet to Use Zoom, 11 May

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) will meet via zoom at 7 pm, Monday, May 11.


Please copy and paste the link and password below to join the webinar:
Password: 297659

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16699006833,,95369000257#,,1#,297659# or +13462487799,,95369000257#,,1#,297659#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 929 205 6099 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799
Webinar ID: 953 6900 0257
Password: 297659
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/axm4IEQyE

Please view agenda here: https://www.venicenc.org/docs/34484747-8720.pdf

We ask for your patience as we navigate this new territory amidst our new reality during the COVID-19 crisis and resume the important work of our Neighborhood Council.
Stay tuned for more information on our May VNC Board Meeting Announcement and for the individual Committee Meetings.

Stay Safe, Stay Home, Stay Healthy!

-Your VNC

LUPC Goes Zoom

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) will hear the 77-unit apartment building at 1600 – 1614 Venice Blvd (with 43 parking spaces) and the auto repair/retail complex at 2499 Lincoln Blvd via ZOOM as well as others at the first zoom meet, 7 to 10 pm Thursday 30 April.

Dear Venice Community,

As we start to implement Virtual and Telephone meetings for The Venice Neighborhood Council Board and its Committees going forward, the VNC is proud to announce its First Virtual Meeting, via the Zoom Platform, of the Land Use and Planning Committee this Thursday, April 30th from 7pm – 10pm.

To JOIN this meeting, Please Use This Link:

OR ZOOM US AT – MEETING ID: 860 3314 3804
PASSWORD: 157287

+1 (669)900-6833,, 86033143804#,, #, 157287#
+1 (346)248-7799,, 86033143804#,, #,157287#

Please click on Agenda Link:

To submit public comment please use the “Raise Hand” feature on Zoom. If you are dialing in by phone, please enter #9 to raise your hand. Public comment is limited to 2 minutes per speaker, unless extended or reduced by Chair of the meeting.

Alternatively you may submit public comment via email in advance to:
Chair-LUPC@VeniceNC.org and LUPC@venicenc.org.
For troubleshooting during the meeting please email: LUPC@venicenc.org

We ask for your patience as we navigate this new territory amidst our new reality during the COVID-19 crisis and resume the important work of our Neighborhood Council.
Stay tuned for more information on our May VNC Board Meeting Announcement and for the individual Committee Meetings.

Stay Safe, Stay Home, Stay Healthy!

-Your VNC

Venice Neighborhood Council

If you have a meeting, check before you go; It may be cancelled

LUPC, scheduled for this Thursday, was cancelled because of the coronavirus. Look for other meetings to be cancelled. The VNC is still scheduled for 17 March but the feeling is that the cancellation is forthcoming.

Many places in Los Angeles are shutting down due to the virus.

Venice Update Publicly Apologizes to the Men and Women in Blue

By Reta Moser

Even when one does opinion pieces, one should checkout both sides. I personally and publicly was discourteous to the police force for not stopping the chaos at the Venice Neighborhood Council Tuesday night. I wrote an Opinion piece for the Venice Update berating the police for standing down.

Then I questioned one of my all-time favorite LAPD Pacific Division captains, Captain Brian Morrison, about the incident. He said they were protecting both side’s rights of the First Amendment. Then I understood immediately; who would want it otherwise. The VNC should have handled it by calling a recess; setting another day; taking a break, etc.

I publicly apologize to all the men and women in blue.