May 27, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Vote This Sunday in the Venice Neighborhood Council Election!

Vote in-person at the Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California Avenue. Polls open at 10:00 AM

By Nick Antonicello 

VENICE – Democracy begins here in Los Angeles at the grass roots level where Venetians will cast ballots for who will serve as the first line of local government on the Venice Neighborhood Council this Sunday (www.venicenc.org). 

Twenty-one board positions are up for grabs for a two-year term with 37 candidates seeking 13 positions as At-Large Community Officers along with the executive positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, LUPC (Land Use & Planning Committee) Chair, Communications Officer as well as Outreach Chair. 

The final position on the ballot is for Community Interest Officer. 

The race for President pits current Vice-President Daffodil Tyminski, a local attorney versus Brian Averill, a former board officer who two years ago lost a close contest for president against the current incumbent James Murez, who opted not to seek reelection, but run for Community Officer instead. Murez who ran with Tyminski two years ago has endorsed Averill as his successor. 

Averill is a surfer, photographer, author and 21-year Venice resident. 

The race for Vice-President is between current Communications Officer and Homeless Committee member Vicki Halliday, who is Tyminski’s

running-mate versus current two-term Community Officer Jim Robb, as Averill’s VP hopeful. Robb is a 30-year Venetian who serves a Chairman of the Oceanfront Committee of the VNC and Halliday is associated with the local website, The Westside Current, formerly known as The Venice Current

There are over 50 candidates in total and several incumbents are seeking reelection including Jay Handal for Treasurer, Sima Kostovetsky for Outreach Chair, Michael Jensen for LUPC Chair, and Alley Mills Bean, Clark Brown, Chie Lunn, CJ Cole, Soledad Ursua and Robert Thibodeau all seeking another term for At-Large Community officer. 

After nearly three years in ZOOM purgatory, the VNC will once again hold meetings live and in-person come the April meeting. 

Some members have served their entire time in office under COVID-19 restrictions compounded by severe homeless conditions around the community that included a deteriorating relationship with former council member Mike Bonin who was replaced in December by Venice local Traci Park, who has won over many locals with her quick and swift action regarding encampments that saw nearly 200 individuals offered indoor housing that ended tent living on Flower, Hampton and Third. 

Councilwoman Park is the first Venetian to serve on the LA City Council since the days of Ruth Galanter, and her alliance with new LA Mayor Karen Bass has resulted in swift and quick action on an issue like homelessness and encampments that is complex, difficult and slow to solve. 

Most, if not all of the VNC candidates seem to agree on one thing, and that is working hand-in-hand with the new Councilwoman who’s swift action on homelessness has been both admirable and impressive. 

So with new city leadership, Park has made it clear she wants to work with these local community officials that are mandated by the Los Angeles City Charter and play an influential role on land use issues as well as buffer between the local council office and the other neighborhoods that make-up CD-11. 

ZOOM discussion forums were held this week with the candidates when the location for an in-person event had to be canceled due to the LAUSD strike between school board members and the some 30,000 custodial workers and other part-time employees. The teacher’s union is honoring the picket line as of this writing. 

One does not need to run for a board position to get involved in the neighborhood council committee system that includes both standing and ad-hoc committees. 

To learn more about getting involved and joining a committee, e-mail the VNC at board@VeniceNC.org

If you applied for a ballot, you can drop it off on Sunday or simply opt to vote in-person. Please be sure to provide a photo ID as well as a utility bill or some other document that verifies you are a Venice stakeholder. 

Should you have any questions, e-mail Elections@VeniceNC.org

All board members serve as volunteers and Venice historically has a higher than normal turnout when compared to other councils. 

In 2021, nearly 2,000 Venice stakeholders casted voted in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All pandemic restrictions have been waived for Sunday’s contests and all Venice residents are urged to come out and vote.

Nick Antonicello is covering the 2023 VNC elections for Yo! Venice. Have a take or a tip on all things Venice? E-mail him at nantoni@mindspring.com

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