June 25, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Shorts: “V” for Venice Volunteer

Media professional, local business owner and Dad, Eric Alan Donaldson is defined by his volunteerism and love of Venice.

By Nick Antonicello

VENICE – Eric Alan Donaldson is one of those special individuals who prides himself on lending a  helping hand.

Whether it is volunteering his time and energy as an executive school board member at Saint Mark School or coaching North Venice Little League Baseball, Eric is a reliable and valued community leader with a positive and nurturing attitude.

A resident of Venice since 1995, this single Dad has two school-age children and recently took on the task of being the new administrator to the Venice Community FACEBOOK page where they have nearly 5,000 followers.

A graduate of Santa Monica College and lifelong Angeleno, Donaldson founded NINETEEN87, a Venice based media firm that creates socially and environmentally conscious content that boosts diversity, equity and inclusion. Donaldson is proud to note that he employs 50-70% women as well as driving sustainability by implementing practices that reduces food and construction waste production.

Donaldson has created campaigns and partnerships with global brands such as LEXUS, NIKE and Red Bull as well as organizations such as the NBA and NFL. Donaldson also serves as CCO of the educational non-profit, Heroes Journey.

I spoke to this very engaged and busy individual who was happy to answer some questions regarding this VNC race and campaign:

How long have you lived in Venice? 

I was born and raised in Los Angeles.  I moved to Venice in the mid 1990s after working on Apollo 13, and a few other films at Digital Domain (Formerly in what is now Google, Venice).  I opened my first production company in Venice in 1997-ish, and Venice is home to my current production company, 1987 (1-9-8-7.com).  I raised my children in Venice (now teenagers), and serve on the school board at their school in Venice. I go to church in Venice, where I volunteer in the community regularly. I have a unique understanding and connection to this town, and communicate regularly with both business and resident stakeholders in all walks of life.

What drove you to run for the VNC? 

Having raised two kids in Venice, I feel I can bring some value to the neighborhood council  by speaking on behalf of parents and families.  I went to my first VNC meeting when L.A. Neighborhood Councils first started, around 1999 or 2000-ish.  If I remember correctly, the meeting was in the Venice Library.  There was a little indifference, and occasional name calling at that meeting, but it was mostly civil.  One of the biggest gripes was that restaurant goers sang “That’s Amore” on the hour, every hour, at C&O, and the neighbors behind the restaurant were sick of it.  Flash forward 23 years and Venice faces much bigger issues than a celebration song at the local joint.  I would like to use my voice, and the love that I have for Venice, to help create a more safe, vibrant and sustainable future for all Venetians, in particular, kids and families.

Why did you select the position of Community Officer? 

I am running for Community Officer, a public servant, because I care deeply about this incredible seaside town, and I believe the political system of the past has failed our neighborhood. It’s time to leverage our strength as a community and reestablish our voice in the City of Los Angeles, in a way that only Venice can do, so that achievable goals can bring sustainable change.

The VNC is an advisory body. What specific goals and objectives do you have to make your time on the VNC useful and effective? 

While it’s not hard to find 10 opinions from five different Venetians, I will listen to stakeholders, and will work together with neighborhood council members and committees, so that we can once again be a true, and credible voice for all of Venice, and an effective partner to our new CD-11 Councilwoman Traci Park.  If we can accomplish that, Venice will have a solid future, and a collaborative voice downtown.

Are you looking forward to in-person meetings again? 

I am looking forward to in-person meetings again.  While Zoom meetings are more convenient, I think that meeting in person is an important part of building a stronger community.  And when the mudslinging starts, my hope is that a fresh, new board will be able to listen to stakeholders, communicate as leaders and show that by working together as a community, we can accomplish greater goals.

Homelessness and the encampments are a universal concern here in Venice. What can you do as a Community Officer to stem the tide of new or enlarged tent structures in the Venice neighborhood? 

Enlarged tent structures, and encampments in general have proven to be dangerous on many levels.  Fires, drug dealing, prostitution, homicides.  As small as Venice is, it’s not possible to know what’s going on in each individual district, 24/7, without communicating with stakeholders.  As a Community Officer, I want to know about new structures as they go up, so that we can work with our partners in the city and county, to inform them of our local issues in real time.  I want to hear the concerns of the Silver Triangle, as much as North Venice, Oceanfront Walk, Oakwood, Silver Strand, Oxford Triangle, East of Lincoln and everywhere in between.  I will be an advocate for all of Venice. 

What quality-of-life issues concern you the most? 

As a parent, safety and traffic are my biggest concerns.  My teenage children were raised from birth in Venice.  They’ve gone to school in Venice from Kindergarten to 8th grade.  There is no reason a child should not have a clear, safe path to get from their house or apartment, to the front gate of their school.  There’s no reason children should not have some guardrails in place that can help protect the perimeter of their schools. I would like to work with the community, and city, to find a better way to protect the kids in our neighborhoods.  And traffic… Walgrove, Penmar, Palms, California, 7th, Oakwood, Abbot Kinney, Mildred, Ocean, Pacific.  With Lincoln, Venice and Washington constantly jammed from Santa Monica to Playa Vista, and from the beach to Culver City and West L.A., our little streets have become major thoroughfares.  Multiple persons have been hit by cars, racing to get around the traffic.  With all of the new housing developments in Santa Monica and Marina del Rey, we need to take a long, hard look at the “housing shortage” vs. our maxed out infrastructure, and the effects it’s having on Venice.

What is your impression of Oceanfront Walk and what can be done to bring activity, commerce and tourism back to the beach? 

Oceanfront Walk is a destination attraction that is enjoyed by tourists, and locals alike.  We need to continue to keep the grass medians clear of encampments, so that they can return to the inviting green spaces they once were.  And safety.  The images and news stories shown around the world about the criminal activity and lawlessness on the boardwalk have done great damage to the businesses that survive on tourist dollars.  A boardwalk that is quirky, creative, entertaining, fun and safe is The Venice Boardwalk that we should all support.

Name three things you would like to accomplish should you win and serve? 

The three things I would like to accomplish as a Community Officer are as follows:

I want to work with stakeholders and neighborhood council members to help establish a strong VNC partnership with Councilwoman Traci Park, so that Venice has a voice downtown.

I want to create some guardrails and added protections for school-age youth, and all schools in Venice.

I want to work to find realistic solutions to the traffic congestion Venice faces as a crosstown thoroughfare. 

There are 37 candidates seeking a Community Officer position, but only 13 will serve and voters get to choose only one. Would you support a change that allows stakeholders to elect all thirteen officers? If not, why not?

I support stakeholders being able to choose all 13 Community Officer positions, so I do think a reform is in order.  And if not all 13, I would support stakeholders being able to vote for any number of positions from three – 13.  I think that a choice of three candidates should be the very minimum. Being able to choose only one candidate blocks stakeholders from truly exercising their right to vote.  I also think that the voting process for neighborhood councils needs to be reformed as well.  Everyone who is a registered voter shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to vote in our local election. 

Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian who is covering the March 26th VNC Election which will be located at the Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California Avenue and the polls will open at 10 AM. Have a take or a tip on all things Venice? Contact Antonicello via e-mail at nantoni@mindspring.com

in Opinion
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