When It Comes to Homelessness, Having a Venetian on the Cd-11 Staff Certainly Makes Sense Politically as Well as Governmentally Speaking.
By Nick Antonicello
As the old saying goes, “all politics is local.”
While the iconic former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Thomas “Tip” O’Neill didn’t originate the quote, he certainly practiced it as one of the more clever legislative leaders who understood the process of galvanizing support and legislation to get things done.
That meant working both sides of the aisle and surrounding himself with a legislative team which was results-driven with an American icon in the White House named Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Here in Venice, easily the hardest hit by homelessness and crime as statistics indicate, why doesn’t this new and improved CD-11 office have a single resident of our community working constituent services and being the one individual on staff that Venetians know, recognize and trust?
When it comes to homelessness, having a Venetian on the CD-11 staff certainly makes sense politically as well as governmentally speaking!
Venice has a plethora of professional talent, be it in the public or private sector, and there’s no reason to staff the Venice liaison position with someone who does not live here and is learning the neighborhood as they go along.
I brought this to the attention of a Traci Park staffer on a recent ZOOM call and the reply was that since Councilwoman Park lives here, there was no need to add at least one Venetian to this council staff.
That could be a mistake.
A staff of which a majority does not live in CD-11 and not a single Venetian is the wrong message back to this community ravaged by the homeless challenge.
Afterall, it was Venice that drove the 2021 Bonin Recall effort and the two finalists to succeed Mike Bonin were both from this neighborhood, and on the campaign trail the unsuccessful candidate Erin Darling stated he would in fact appoint a Venice Deputy that was from this neighborhood.
While Park never made that promise, she should at least consider one Venetian as her next hire.
Someone the neighborhood knows and trusts versus the typical downtown insider that jumps from one staff to another like political musical chairs.
Sources said the Park Transition team was inundated with serious inquiries for employment and many Venetians applied for posts with Team Park, but none were selected.
Given the amount of political support that came primarily from Venice during her campaign, it’s almost head-scratching that not a single Venice resident made the cut for local public service.
Moreover, a clear majority of hires came primarily from the former staff of defeated council member Mitch O’Farrell, and most of these new staffers do not reside in CD-11, much less Venice.
The same can be said of other legislative staffers that came from the office of ex-council member Joe Buscaino, the unsuccessful candidate for mayor who dropped out to support billionaire developer Rick Caruso who in turn lost to Mayor Karen Bass by a fairly wide margin when you consider Caruso’s massive financial war chest of well over $100,000,000 only to be soundly defeated.
Councilwoman Park has every right to hire who she pleases, but practically speaking wouldn’t it make sense to hire at least one (1) Venice local to represent the issues that affect this urban beach enclave the most like homeless encampments and crime as prime concerns?
For if 50% of the homelessness issue still remains isolated here in this neighborhood, wouldn’t it make sense to hire a local who would hit the ground running?
While bureaucratic and governmental experience matters, didn’t the results of this past election reject an extension of the status quo, and that a fresh set of eyeballs and skill sets reflected the kind of change voters demanded, and not the same old, same old?
There is certainly no vacuum or void of talent that supported the Park agenda for a better CD-11 here in Venice.
And considering the revolving door of past bureaucrats not from Venice in the prior council office, wouldn’t a familiar face that has the confidence of the community go a long way in building concrete relations with this new CD-11?
Mayor Bass and Councilwoman Park have done an admirable job of clearing, sweeping and cleaning the low hanging fruit that existed on Hampton, Third and Flower.
But the hard work has just begun and with the future of Bridge Housing now permanent and the Median Project still in limbo, wouldn’t a familiar face that locals know and trust be a better and more effective fit as the local point person for this Venice neighborhood?
Does living and knowing Venice like a local be a prerequisite for employment on this council staff when it comes to representing Dogtown?
But considering what is at stake moving forward, a known commodity that has the respect of Venice would go a long way.
Yes, all politics is in fact local.