“I believe then and I still do that the key is that you don’t let any neighborhood become so exclusive that ordinary folks can’t live here.”
The list of accomplishments linked to Ruth Galanter during her 15-year stint as a councilwoman in Venice is astonishing. Under her leadership, the Venice canals were restored, the pier preserved, the Ballona Wetlands protected, the development of Playa Vista reduced, the Coastal Act enacted, and the future of the beach skate park put in place. Galanter, who was just a runner-up during the city’s council elections before she was stabbed, understood that Venice had a thorough line that needed to be protected, and a template that had to be preserved. What she never anticipated was that her efforts to bring Venice back to life would be co-opted by real-estate speculators who would repackage them to their liking. From its inception, the allure of Venice has been formidable, attracting people that have managed to give the neighborhood a true American spirit of self-determination, creativity, and independence.