My philosophy as a member of the VNC will be defined as a “thoughtful pragmatist.” Pragmatism is a mindset that focuses on practical approaches and solutions – those that will work in practice rather than based on a theoretical principle or ideal. Pragmatism looks at real-world conditions or circumstances asking what can realistically be done in lieu of an optimized, theoretical course of action. The objective is then to find a middle ground that moves the needle. A successful negotiation is one where everyone walks away with something, rather than when one side gets everything and the other has nothing.

Issues We Care About

Safety & Security: Everyone wants to feel safe in their community. Yet many of us perceive a real need to supplement our safety with private security services. All the while, crimes against the person and property (break-in, catalytic converter theft, package burglary, etc) continue unabated. What does this mean for the future? We and the local government both own this responsibility. Why is there not an LAPD sub-station on Washington Blvd to protect both merchants and residents? Why are elected officials not expressing concern about the lack of basic city services? Why do people continue to use locks that don’t protect bicycles from theft? Why are packages left in unsecured areas that send a clear “take me” message?
Practical Homelessness Solutions: Los Angeles cannot simply build itself out of this tragic, multi-faceted issue. There are financially responsible solutions (i.e.: tiny homes, shelter programs, safe camping, housing built from shipping containers, RV parks, etc) that will make a material impact sooner than later. $500K+ units and the Bridge Housing on Main St are not the answers. People who need and seek services should receive them with compassion differentiated from those on the grift. There is no blanket permission slip to set up camp on the street or live in a vehicle without regard for the impact on others. There are laws on the books. They should be enforced.
Fair Representation: Is your community fairly represented on the VNC? Maybe, maybe not. There are nine defined areas within the VNC boundaries. For example, Marina Del Rey (the Marina Peninsula, Silver Strand, Oxford Triangle, and Lincoln Business District) accounts for 15-22% of the total Venice population yet there is only ONE member who lives south of Washington Blvd. In fact, more than half of the current VNC lives in the North Venice or Oakwood neighborhoods. How is this fair representation? What about your neighborhood? Who is looking out for your interests? I propose there be a minimum of one Community Officer representing each neighborhood within the VNC. This is how almost every one of the other 98 Los Angeles neighborhood councils is structured. That one change would make the VNC a more fairly representative entity. Separate but related, how is it fair that there are 13 Community Officers yet all Venice stakeholders can only vote for one candidate?
Infrastructure Needs: What does our community need today? In five years? In ten years? Planning is taking place at several levels. How much input is being provided and by whom? How much information is flowing to our community? How do feel about the impact of removing height restrictions on Lincoln Blvd? How about the installation of 8-foot-tall digital ad structures on LA sidewalks under the guise of assisting tourists? What about the maintenance of the Lighthouse Bridge, which is an iconic part of MDR and has been recommended for historic-cultural monument status by the city? When will this be approved?
Climate Change/Resilience/Preparedness: Profound changes to our environment are not just coming, they’re already here. What could have been prevented decades ago can only be partially mitigated today. Don’t even ask about tomorrow. Are you prepared? Do you have a plan in the event of a natural disaster? Are we as a community prepared?
City Services: If all businesses were run as inefficiently as our city government has historically been operated, there would be no more businesses. Among the many issues are accountability and communication. In my experience fighting LADWP on the VAPP project (Venice Auxillary Pumping Plant) city employees often (not always) seem too busy or above the community. They conveniently ignore the point that stakeholders pay their salaries. Collectively, we can and should do a far better job of managing services, energy, water, waste, etc. Hopefully, Traci Park, whom I supported during her campaign, will have a lasting, material impact.
Local Economic Development: What stores and business/consumer services do you want on Washington Blvd? Abbot Kinney? Lincoln Blvd.? What is missing? Will you support them if investments are made? How can the VNC more effectively collaborate with the Venice Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations? Who is asking these questions? What are the possible answers?
Transportation Issues: Many questions, few answers. Do road diets deliver intended results or are they an impediment to quality of life and economic development? Why did the city install a four-way cross at Washington & Pacific when the community requested a left turn signal from Washington onto Pacific? How can we finally address cars speeding down Via Dolce or Via Marina? Why did the Department of Transportation (DOT) remove multiple parking spaces on Hurricane St without public input? Why doesn’t parking enforcement ticket/tow people who double park on streets near the jetty, especially in the summer? I plan to join the Parking & Transportation Committee if elected to the VNC.
MDR (LA City) vs MDR (LA County): How can the city and county collaborate more effectively as it relates to issues like development, infrastructure, parking, and traffic, especially where the two government entities have to coexist? For example, there is insufficient parking for Marriott Courtyard/Brizo employees on-site so workers park along Via Marina, which limits residential parking. Also, motorcycles race down via Marina to & from the Marina Jetty at high speeds. There have been multiple accidents, some with fatal consequences.
Community Communication: There is so much discussion and information flowing from VNC committees and the board itself. Community outreach efforts, while substantial, can be expanded. For example, can there be a more regular presence at the local farmer’s markets? When was the last time members of the Neighborhood Committee communicated with their neighborhoods? Do you recall the last time the VNC community was polled on an issue? There’s clearly room for growth when you consider that, during the 2021 VNC election, the most votes any candidate received was 1,355, and an At-Large Community Officer was elected with 58 votes. These are the results for a total stakeholder community of 35,000+.
Overall Quality-Of-Life: What issues are impacting your quality of life that can potentially be addressed by the VNC? For example, some stakeholders in the Oxford Triangle have shared concerns about beer bottles being left on their streets by patrons of the Firestone Walker taproom. Has your life in Marina Del Rey (and across greater Venice) improved over the last 5-10 years? Yes, the pandemic has thrown an unexpected wrench into almost everyone’s way of being. Life is not the same as it was. Yet, looking forward, are you a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty person? What one realistic change could the VNC support on your behalf that would cause you greater optimism?

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