May 22, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Shorts: Averill Defeats Tyminski 63%-37% to Become President of Venice Neighborhood Council

In second bid for top spot, surfer/photographer Brian Averill coasts to an easy win against Venice attorney and outgoing Vice-President Daffodil Tyminski!

By Nick Antonicello

In an abbreviated election cycle that followed months of intensive campaigning for LA Mayor and a successor to Mike Bonin on the LA City Council in 2022, Brian Averill defeated VNC Vice-President Daffodil Tyminski by a vote of 557 to 326, or a 26-point margin. 

It seems political slates, slogans and the status quo in some ways were rejected, while those who served in the past had a leg-up in other contests. 

In a race that seemed to never really generate stakeholder interest, the turnout was anemic when compared to 2021, when 1,925 Venetians casted ballots in an all vote-by-mail affair. 

In this year’s race, roughly 350 casted votes-by-mail and the rest showed up in-person on Sunday, March 26th at the Oakwood Recreation Center which resulted in a staggering 54.3% decline in turnout from the 2021 cycle.

This year the total vote didn’t even reach 1,000, as just 970 stakeholders casted votes according to preliminary figures released late Friday evening by the LA City Clerk’s Office.  

For many believed the turnout was impacted by what many described as “election exhaustion” after nearly two years of intensive campaigning beginning with the Bonin Recall election in 2021 and the race to succeed him in 2022 as Venice attorney and political newcomer Traci Park edged out fellow Venetian and lawyer Erin Darling by a vote of 52%-48% with nearly 100,000 votes cast, the highest of any council district last year. 

For Averill, the second time around proved to be the ticket as he shied away from forming a slate and rather built what he described as “personal coalitions” with several candidates including James Robb who was elected Vice-President and Helen Fallon, who was elected Treasurer. The election took a wrong turn at the end as a live candidate’s forum was canceled at the last minute due to a strike by the non-instructional employees of the LAUSD that was supported by the teacher’s leaving the VNC forum without a venue. 

But the VNC in a rare moment of action moved the forum to a two-day, ZOOM presentation in which yours truly was selected to serve as the moderator which at least offered voters a chance to see the candidates side-by-side in a sober and non-confrontational environment.

For Averill, who captured 63% this time versus just 42% 18 months ago, was humbled by the results and in a brief phone interview looked forward to serving the community. 

James Robb, the popular two-term Community Officer captured 57% of the vote over rival Vicki Halliday, the outgoing Communications Officer by a vote of 491-378 as Halliday ran ahead of her presidential running-mate. In comparison to her 2021 campaign, Halliday fell way off the 68% she received when she defeated Helen Fallon by 39 points. 

And what seemed to be a shocker of sorts was the very competitive three-way race for treasurer that saw Helen Fallon cruise with 61% of the vote over longtime NC veteran  Jay Handal, and first-time candidate Eric Hartnack by a vote of 528 for Fallon, and just 233 (27%) for Handal and 101 (12%) for Hartnack. 

Handal, who is a local business owner and not a resident of Venice was appointed by the VNC to the post of treasurer when Andrea Boccaletti resigned and Handal filled the remainder of his unexpired term of office.

Fallon, a 49-year Venice homeowner, wife, mother and grandmother who recently retired, is a regular at the VNC’s virtual ZOOM monthly meetings and has been critical of the board’s past practices and currently serves as a member of the Budget Committee. Fallon, who already has successfully taken the training to hold the office of treasurer was a strong supporter of the 2021 Bonin Recall along with her husband Bert. An early supporter of Councilwoman Traci Park, Fallon ran an effective grass roots effort that resulted in a fairly lopsided victory. 

In a race that seemed sleepy until the waning days, a hard-charging Gabriel Smith lost in a close contest to Land Use & Planning Chairman Michael Jensen (LUPC) by a vote of 420-386, with Jensen being elected with 52% of the votes cast. 

Smith, who reminded voters of his family’s long connection to Venice and opposition to uncontrolled growth and unbridled height increases along Lincoln Boulevard, positioned himself as the candidate who would fight further gentrification of this urban beach enclave. 

Originally from back east, Jensen was defeated in 2021 by a vote of 1,045-823, but the winner resigned and the VNC appointed him to fill the unexpired term. 

A member of LUPC since 2016, Jensen is an attorney by occupation and was able to reverse the results of 2021 in what was another close contest. By far the most responsible and technical of positions, Jensen was able to lead LUPC in the most difficult of times with the pandemic raging and homelessness rampant in and around the Venice neighborhood community. 

In the race for Secretary, Tima Bell ran unopposed and received 641 votes. A local architect, Bell was an unsuccessful candidate in 2021 for Community Officer. 

In the race for Communications Officer, current Community Officer Nico Ruderman ran unopposed capturing 640 votes. 

Ruderman was the chief organizer of the 2021 Recall Bonin campaign and in 2022 was an unsuccessful candidate for the California Assembly in the newly drawn 62nd AD. A husband, father and homeowner, Ruderman is viewed as fiercely independent as he took no position on the race for president between Averill and Tyminski. 

In the race for Outreach Officer, two-term incumbent Sima Kostovetsky bested Brian Finneran by a vote of 501-267 or 65% of the vote. Once again Kostovetsky received the highest percentage of the vote of all the candidates running, but failed to match the 79% she received for reelection in 2021. 

In the race for At-Large, Community Officer in which 13 are selected, but stakeholders could only vote for one, saw a large field of 37 vie for these slots as several incumbents were reelected with a strong mix of new faces that will assume office. 

Allie Bean, the longtime resident of the historic Venice Canals and the widow of the iconic television personality Orson Bean led the field by another impressive margin as she collected 127 votes, double that of her nearest competitor. 

Best known for her role on The Wonder Years, Bean once again displayed her popularity and political strength at the polls. 

In 2021 she received 208 votes and dominated all challengers. Despite a much smaller turnout this time around, Bean actually increased her overall total of the vote from 11% to 14.3%, and thus the most recognizable candidate on the 2023 ballot. 

In another mild surprise, homeless advocate and RAND employee Lisa Redmond, a frequent and vocal voice on VNC ZOOM meetings finished second with 61 votes. In 2021 Redmond was just nosed out by local architect Robert Thibodeau for the final community officer slot receiving 52 votes. 

Thibodeau was reelected to the VNC finishing third in the At-Large race for Community Officer followed by Erica Moore who unsuccessfully sought the position of secretary in 2021. Incumbent Clark Brown was also victorious followed by MDR newcomer Steve Bradbury, who made an issue of the voting complexities of just having a single vote cast for Community Officer in what many now believe as a flawed and misguided election procedure. 

Bradbury will join Kostovetsky as the second Marina resident on the VNC. 

Longtime community advocate and activist Yolanda Gonzalez is back followed by newcomers Deborah Keaton, Eric Alan Donaldson and local Realtor Amara Hordt who came on strong in the campaign’s closing days. Hordt greeted stakeholders with a welcome table on election day and is with the Venice based firm, Pardee Properties. 

Rounding out the rest of the apparent winners are incumbents CJ Cole, Chie Lunn and Soledad Ursua. CJ Cole is a longtime realtor while both Lunn and Ursua were elected two years ago and have become close allies on the VNC as both are strong advocates of public safety and in particular support for the LAPD as community officers. 

Bruno Hernandez, who was seeking reelection as a Community Interest Officer won by a vote of 17-7-4 in that three-way contest. 

Outgoing VNC President James Murez, who opted to seek an At-Large Community Officer position instead of reelection has apparently lost according to preliminary figures with 24 votes. Community Officer Jason Sugars, who was seeking reelection failed in his bid with just 16 votes. 

Certified results are expected to be announced on April 10th

For more information about the VNC, visit www.venicenc.org

Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian who covered these biannual elections as well as everything Venice. Have a take or a tip? Contact Antonicello at nantoni@mindspring.com

in Opinion
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