Candidates for 2005 GRVNC Board

declared as of August 21, 2005


Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Leila Jean Levi

What makes the best as President for the GRVNC. As a professional, I bring committees, councils, and stakeholder groups together in an accountable and representative manner. I understand difficulty of access and develop outreach techniques through e-mails, phone and fax. I work as a Title I Coordinator and my job coordinates the Bilingual Committee, Site Council, and Title I. These are very diverse populations with very different needs, but the committees give voice to stakeholders’ involvement. These are the characteristics everyone needs in leadership, someone with experience and an understanding of underserved populations, building community, evaluating, reaching stakeholders, and a passion for the communities they serve.

I was voted into Title I because a hundred professionals believed that my leadership, knowledge, education, experience, bilingualism, and doctoral degree in at-risk populations create leadership. I advertise meetings in at least 5 locations, keep all records to make available to the public, train stakeholders to enable and empower them to participate and take responsibility for their community. It would be my honor to extend these professional skills in the community I have loved and lived for 20 years.

Phone 310-305-9113, Fax 310-306-5974

Qué hace el mejor como presidente para el GRVNC. Como profesional, traigo a los comités, a los consejos, y a grupos del tenedor de apuestas juntos de una manera responsable y representativa. Entiendo la acceso y me convierto excedo técnicas a través de E-mail, teléfono y fax. Trabajo mientras que un coordinador y mi trabajo coordina el comité, el consejo del sitio, y el título bilingües I. Éstas son poblaciones diversas con necesidades diversas, pero los comités dan voz a la implicación de los tenedores de apuestas. Éstas son las características que una necesita en la direcciónñ-experiencia, una comprensión de poblaciones, comunidad del edificio, evaluando, alcanzando tenedores de apuestas, y una pasión para las comunidades sirven.

Me votaron en el título I porque cientos profesionales creyeron que mi dirección, conocimiento, educación, experiencia, bilingüismo, y doctoral en poblaciones del en-riesgo crean la dirección. Anuncio reuniones en por lo menos 5-localizaciones, guardo todos los documentos para poner a disposición el público, entreno a tenedores de apuestas para permitirles para autorizar para participar y tomar la responsabilidad de comunidad. Sería mi honor para ampliar estas habilidades en la comunidad que tengo amé y viví por 20 años.


DeDe Audet

To achieve a fair and transparent neighborhood council I believe different points of view must be respected without domination by factions.  The council should be a place where Venice stakeholders can come together in a commitment to good faith and reconciliation.  Having served on both the 2003-2004 council and the old Venice Town Council of the 1970’s and 80’s, my experience tells me that it is possible.  With more than 40 years put into living and loving this community, it is my desire and I believe I have the ability to bring Venice together.  GRVNC must include everyone in a responsible, accountable, and credible way.  It will aid in the flow of city services to the community.  It will aid the council district by providing an accurate reflection of the community.



Jim Smith

It's been 37 years since I came to Venice, and decided that I never  wanted to leave. At the same time, I don’t want our community to  become indistinguishable from the rest of Los Angeles.

I’ve been the Neighborhood Council’s Treasurer for the past two years. I’ve also been involved in Venice issues - opposing over- development, promoting affordable housing and our unique culture - for many years.

I want GRVNC to be a strong advocate for all Venetians, be they rich or poor, young or old. While Venetians will never agree on everything, I will encourage people to work together when they do  agree, and when they disagree, to do it respectfully. I will do my  utmost to bring us together for the good of Venice.

As President, I will be accessible to everyone. My phone number is 399-8685.

I’m confident that we will have an excellent working relationship with the progressives who have been elected to the City Council and  as Mayor. With our Venice Progressive candidates representing GRVNC,  we’ll be able to address everyone’s concerns including traffic,  housing, development, getting our fair share of city services, and  promoting the arts and free speech.

Vote Venice Progressives.

He vivido en Venice la mayoría de mi vida y he sido proprietario desde 1985. No quiero nunca salir de esta comunidad única, y no deseo que ella se cambie a ser indistinta del resto de Los Angeles.

He sido El Tesorero de El Consejo del Vecindario de Venice por los dos años pasados. También he participado por muchos años en asuntos de Venice -- oponiendo el sobredesarrollo de construcción, promoviendo viviendas económicas y nuestra cultura distinta.

Quiero que GRVNC sea un fuerte defensor de todos Los Venecianos, que sean ricos o pobres, jóvenes o viejos. Aunque Los Venecianos nunca estarán de acuerdo en todo, yo les animaré a las personas que trabajen juntas cuando están de acuerdo, y cuando no son de la misma opinión, que desconvengan con respeto. Haré todo lo posible para juntarnos por el bien de Venice.

Con la representación de nuestros candidatos de Los Progresistas de Venice en GRVNC, podremos prestar atención a los asuntos de todos, incluyendo el tráfico, las viviendas, el desarrollo, de recibir nuestra porción justa de los servicios de la ciudad, y de promover el arte y la libertad del discurso.

Vote Progresistas de Venice.


Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Naomi Nightingale

There are some truly great and committed folks in Venice and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want what they think is best for the Venice Community. One really big obstacle in achieving success with this well-meaning aspiration is the lack of leadership and a common forum to bring people together to listen, hear, discuss, and decide what really is best (and perhaps that means considering many variables and choosing the best of the options) and how to effectively achieve what we say we want. My experience in community relations and government affairs, knowledge and skills in organizing community forums and developing liaisons with community leaders, public and elected officials, as well as, individuals who live, work, and enjoy the lifestyle of the Venice Community are some of the strengths I would bring to the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council.

I share the passion of the voices that say, “Venice is my community” and I am committed to doing my best to ensure that Venice continues to be the best of communities with all of its character, diversity, culture, artistry, and love for what it is and who we are.



Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Don Geagan

Like Bill Rosendahl, I'm a Progressive. That's why I worked hard in his election campaign. I agree with him and other Progressives that we need to prevent over-development in the Venice area and preserve our shrinking amount of affordable housing.  

Yolanda Gonzalez

I am a Venice resident and property-owner who is interested in seeing the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council function fairly and successfully following the LA City Charter of Neighborhood Councils.  My background as the first vice-president of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council in 2002 and as a graduate of CORO  (a nationwide civic training organization stressing that the real world is the classroom) give me the hands-on training needed to serve the Venice community as the Second Vice-President.

My primary focus will be on:

  1. Enhancing the gang-intervention program based on my experience with the Hollenbeck police department and Police Advisory Board.
  2. Supporting the Handi-Work Program by making sure funds are properly appropriated and used.
  3. Providing multiple ideas and approaches to solve the homelessness problem based on what I learnt at the LA City and County Homelessness Summit of 2002.
  4. Continuing to attend City Council hearings so as to provide a voice for Venice regarding the issues addressed there. I will advocate fair land-use policies as well as defend property owners and tenants from eminent domain and the systematic code enforcement excesses.
  5. Setting a role-model for the Latino community as it exercises its civic responsibilities.

Levi Meir Clancy

My name is Levi Meir Clancy. I've lived in Venice my entire life, and love it for it's individuality. It has become a part of me. I started college when I was 7 years old, and I had to overcome severe discrimination due to my young age. However, I was comforted knowing that some of the people who supported me the most were fellow Venitians. Even looking through the list of candidates, I see some of the people who have helped make me who I am today. I am a scientist now, researching prostate and breast cancer, while studying full-time at UCLA. Although I am 14 years old, I understand responsibility and maturity.

GRVNC is becoming an increasingly powerful force in Los Angeles. That's why it is so imperative that it works with Venetians by helping Venice improve, gentrify, and mature. As Second Vice President, I will use my unique skills and experiences to make sure that as GRVNC amasses power, it retains it's focus on what the community wants.

To find out more about me, please feel free to or e-mail me at



Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Phil Raider

As a Venetian for almost 25 years, I know we are now at a critical time in the struggle to keep Venice, Venice. I’ve seen a lot of change. I still love where I live.

While change is inevitable, I am passionate about ensuring that the unique character of Venice, its sense of community that tolerates diverse personal expression while fostering creativity, is protected. I’m committed to working diligently to create and sustain a robust, democratic, representative Neighborhood Council.

I have been a community advocate since moving to the Oakwood neighborhood in 1986. As past President and Chairman of two Oakwood Neighborhood Associations I have continually worked to preserve and enhance our vibrant and diverse community. I am a board member at Mishkon Tephilo Synagogue in Venice and serve on several committees there. I’m happily married with two grown daughters. Currently a self employed remodeling contractor, I have experience in both large and small organizations.

As Secretary of The GRVNC Land Use & Planning Committee in 2003-4, I demonstrated my ability to accurately record and disseminate meeting minutes in a timely manner. Then, as now, I was dedicated to preserving what make Venice a truly exceptional and cherished place.

Como «veneciano» por casi 25 años, yo sé que estamos en un tiempo crítico en la lucha para guardar la Venecia como la Venecia. He visto mucho cambio. Me gusta todavía donde vivo.

Aunque el cambio este inevitable, mi entrega a la causa de mantener el carácter único de la Venecia es total. Quiero proteger nuestra comunidad la cuál tolera y fomenta la libertad de expresión personal y diversa. Estoy dedicado a trabajar diligentemente para crear y sustentar un ayuntamiento del barrio que sea enérgico, democrático y representativo del vecindario.

He estado un defensor de nuestra comunidad desde cambiarme al barrio do Oakwood en 1986. Como presidente anterior de dos ayuntamientos de Oakwood, he trabajado constantemente para preservar y aumentar nuestra comunidad vibrante y variada. Soy miembro del consejo de la sinagoga Mishkon Tephilo en Venecia y sirvo en muchos comités ahí. Soy muy feliz en mi matrimonio y tengo dos hijas ya hechas y derechas. Actualmente, trabajo por cuenta propria como un contratista de reforma, y tengo experencia con organisaciones y grandes y pequeños.

Como secretario del comité GRVNC Uso de la Tierra y Planeado en 2003-2004, demonstré la abilidad de anotar y diseminar el acta de las reuniónes en una manera oportuna. Anteriormente, como ahora mismo, era dedicado a conservar lo que hace de Venecia una ciudad verdaderamente excepcional y preciosa.

Alice Stek

Venice needs to be a diverse community where everyone can live. The Neighborhood Council now has the opportunity to work productively with our new city council representative and mayor toward these goals. Along with my fellow Venice Progressives, I am dedicated to preserving a unique, economically, racially and culturally diverse Venice, community control of development, affordable housing for all, environmentally sound transportation plans, and protecting the natural environment. See our website for our full platform. Contact me at

In my work as a faculty physician in obstetrics and gynecology at LA County + USC Medical Center, I focus on the care of HIV-positive pregnant women, teaching, and research. I am eager to continue working with the Neighborhood Council for a healthier Venice. I have served on the GRVNC Board since 2002, first as Canals/Peninsula district representative, then as 2nd and 1st Vice President, and on the Conservation and Outreach Committees. I am a homeowner in the Canals for 8 years. I am a founding member of Voice of the Canals, an organization of renters and homeowners, and of Venice Progressives.

Protect our home; keep Venice a unique and dynamic community for the next 100 years. Vote Venice Progressives.



Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

L.J. Carusone

I am running for the Government Relations position because I believe my professional and life experience, combined with my deep commitment to the Venice community, will assist in creating a foundation upon which all of us may stand more firmly. In this time of massive Westside development, the Grassroots Venice Neighborhood Council (GRVNC) has felt its own growing pains through retrofitting and demolition. I want to help rebuild GRVNC, and preserve our unique sense of place that has attracted visitors worldwide to our shoreline and eclectic lifestyle. If elected as the Government Relations representative, I pledge to strive for L. A. City Council support of GRVNC positions through lobbying, grassroots organizing and alliance building with other neighborhood councils. My background as an activist on civil rights issues includes many years experience working with local and state politicians, as well as coalition building with groups such as Planned Parenthood, NOW, ACLU, NAACP, UFW and the California Council of Churches.

Your vote for me will ensure passionate and articulate community representation within city government and commitment to seeing the quality of life raised for all Venetians.

To contact me, please call 310-625-1481 or e-mail

John R Michael

(statement not yet available)  


Alan Ross

A 15-year Venice resident, my long-standing commitment is to maintain its unique, cultural, historic qualities.

I campaigned actively for Bill Rosendahl’s Council race and have devoted time and resources to Ballona Wetlands and the Heartfelt Foundation (providing services for underprivileged Venice Families).

A widely known on-air Radio Personality on KPFK and NPR, I have worked closely and influentially with government officials.

I earned my business degree from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, my Masters at University of Santa Monica and Doctoral Candidate, Peace Theological Seminary, L.A.

As Publisher of Natural Resource Directory, I’ve earned wide respect promoting the environment and social responsibility.  A 30-year political activist, I’ve led struggles for equal rights, clean environment and healthcare freedom.

An active participant at ALL meetings of GRVNC’s 2005 new Election Committee, I’m dedicated to fair-and-open elections.  I’ve worked to improve parking, seeking conscientious relocation of for-sale, abandoned and “motor-homeless” vehicles from residential streets to legal alternatives.  I intend to press developers and find other solutions for traffic congestion.  I’ve explored fair and compassionate homeless programs including S.F.’s “Care-Not-Cash” program which has made a tremendous difference there.

I commit to listen with my heart and advocate for Venice stakeholders.

Contact: 310-560-3932,



Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Edward Ferrer

The late sixties is when I got comfortable with Venice. The cultural and economic diversity I experienced as an expansion of Freedom. I was raised with the principle of Benito Juarez: “Peace is the respect of other peoples rights”. This milieu spawned an island of tolerance that I valued.

I was fortunate to buy my house in 1972. I do not plan to sell. I do believe Venice Of America is worth fighting for.

We have a Venice Community Plan that many developers seem to view as simply a bureaucratic obstacle to their vision of success. The work of the communities of Venice that produced the Venice Community Plan has to be respected.

I graduated from Loyola H.S. and U.C.L.A. I have been arrested with the Catholic Worker many times. I am a Venice Progressive.

Tom O’Connor turned me into the treasurer of the Free Venice Food Coop. He also got me started in what is now Armadillo Trading Co., Inc. I am its president.

The resources the city entrusts to us should be used to move stakeholders into voicing their concerns on the quality of life issues and nurturing the diversity that make Venice worth fighting for.

C.J. Cole

A resident and property owner in Venice since 1965, CJ grew up in New York and Ohio. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with majors in economics and mathematics. Her diversified business background ranges from computer systems to publishing; retail store operation to real estate sales. Since 1972 she has owned and operated her own businesses, responsible for both operations and profitability.

CJ has had extensive experience in community service, in both the private and nonprofit sectors. She has been a Realtor® since 1987 specializing in Venice residential properties. CJ's interaction with the Venice community as a real estate agent has kept her in touch with local needs. Her community involvement is extensive, volunteering her time and talents to numerous community organizations including the Venice Chamber of Commerce, the Venice Garden Tour and the Venice Canals Association.

"I have no political agenda or motivation. My goal is to maintain HONEST computerized books, prepare regular reports that are at all times available for public scrutiny, and hold the line on expenditures and the budget. As to my position on Venice issues, I will make all my decisions only after thorough research and investigation." ... CJ Cole

Phone: 310.823.3129 … Email:



Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Richard Myers

If elected, my primary goal will be to dramatically increase the outreach ability of our neighborhood council.   My mission will be to involve every member of our community in the issues facing Venice by communicating widely, accurately and in a timely manner the activities of our neighborhood council.

I bring to this position strong organizational skill gained from 20 years as a software engineer and scientist.  This experience will allow me to effectively maintain the membership database, web site, and other membership resources of our organization.    My work on the Venice Forum web site offers just one example of how I have donated my time and ability to involve more people in the many important issues facing Venice.

As a board member I will be a strong advocate for local quality of life issues and solicit input from all segments of our community.  I will uphold the Venice Specific Plan on issues of development, work to find creative solutions to our traffic/parking problems and support public safety efforts.  Only by building strong mutually respectful working relationships among council members, stakeholders and city government will we be able to protect and enhance the Venice we all love so much.



Erin Grayson

As a second generation native Los Angelina and a four year resident at Lincoln Place, I am willing to fight for the preservation of diversity in the Venice community. After living in over six countries in Europe and Asia, I realize the world is right here in Venice. I am running for Communications Officer with the intention of utilizing my professional skills as a graphic designer for print, motion and web related media to facilitate the communication between Venice Beach residents and the government. Communication is the key to understanding our interdependence between all human beings, animals, plants and the planet.

I am a Progressive who upholds the slate including affordable housing, functional public transportation and preservation of historical and ecological resources like Lincoln Place and the Ballona Wetlands. Low density and high diversity can pave the way for a massive amount of creativity. Freedom of expression is a Venetian Constitutional Right!



(7 seats)

Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Stewart Oscars

I am Stewart Oscars. My wife and I have lived in our home on Angelus Place since 1995. I am a self employed carpentry/building contractor.

I love my neighborhood and Venice and am running for GRVNC because we need board member who will base their decision on protecting and advancing the integrities of our neighborhoods. That is my goal and promise.

From talking with my neighbors, I realize we all want a peaceful Venice in which to live. I will work within GRVNC to further that harmony.


Rick Selan

I have lived in GRVNC District One for 26 years and have taught math at Mark Twain for twenty of those years. I have always been active in my community, with a special emphasis on local educational issues. Several years ago, our community rallied to prevent Walgrove Elementary from having a private high school built on it. I am an advocate for the return of community youth to community schools. If I am elected I will continue to take back our local schools and to establish a joint educational sub committee with GRVNC & MVCC. Kids represent our future!

Venice is a very special place as it has always accepted the “individual” for whomever he or she is and carries a mystique that very few American cities can offer. As Venice goes through this period of real estate development, it is crucial that this neighborhood council be the driving force to carry on the traditions and the values of the Venice first
century . The history of Venice needs to be implemented into the curriculum for all Venice school children when they study California history so names of civil rights activists like Pearl White and Flora Chavez are never forgotten.


Colette Bailey

As a 22-year resident of Venice I want to help Venice come together as a community. Our strength is our diversity and culture. We have an obligation and opportunity to make Venice a role model for the rest of the city. But first we have some work to do.

Our streets are congested and in need of repairs and upgrades. Property development has increased dramatically and needs to be addressed in a well-informed and responsible manner. Our schools are in need of improvement and more community involvement. Venice has a large senior citizen population that needs additional services.

The neighborhood council’s power is in its ability to influence the elected city officials. We need to have a council that is credible and has a good relationship with our elected officials.

I have 15 years experience in management and team building.
I want to work towards improving city services for all of Venice residents.
If we can bring our resources together we can make this community a place that we can all be proud of.

Thank you and I hope I have your support.


Joseph Gross

Participating in the community of Venice is a necessity. Ignoring that necessity means losing the community to inside and outside weasely entrepreneurs that fin profit-making life’s utmost satisfaction.

Only a conscious and united community can stop these weasels. And that is what the Grassroots Venice Neighborhood Council represents – a barricade to those who would overrun our Venice community with high rises, malls and pastel boxes of gentrification.

I’ve lived in Venice for fourteen years, and I like living here, and I want a say in the direction Venice is going. I don’t want weasels in control of that direction, so I am running for the post of Member At Large of the Neighborhood Council. I’m retired and at large most of the day and evening.

Thank you


Melanie Berry

Having strong neighborhood connections and roots going back 30 years, living in Venice this time around for 10 years, and working exclusively in Venice for the last 5 years, I sincerely am a face and voice of Venice.

I have 10 years committee and council experience including:

Executive committee member of Surfrider Foundation’Malibu Chapter for 5 years, in addition to secretary for 1 year and advisory committee member for 3 years.

Executive committee member of Boarding House Mentors for the start-up year.

Heal The Bay speaker for 8 years.

I have been active in my community including:

Working to help the soon-to-be-built Venice Skateboard Park, attending City Council meetings, GRVNC council meetings, and community design meetings, including co-coordinating efforts with participating parties and the community.

Worked with local government and community in regards to the Venice Breakwater storm drain reconfiguration and continue working with the storm drain maintenance so wildlife, surfers, and beachgoers have a healthier environment.

I am down for:

Local surfers and skateboarders.
Our diverse cultures and history.
Art and environmental issues.

As an At Large member, I am about my community and ensuring what and how my community thinks is represented in council.


Melanie Berry


Diana Pollard

Our challenge is to retain Venice artistic soul, while creatively addressing the communities ever intensifying environmental demands.  Having rented, owned and practiced in Venice for over 20 years, I know we can only retain our artistic core if we continue to have a community that encourages all viewpoints. Having contributed to community groups as varied as the Venice Chamber of Commerce and Los Angeles People for Parks, I bring a breadth of creative experience that will help Venice retain our special artistic environment. Experience:

Diana Pollard AIA is a principal Architect and co-founder of STUDIO OF ARCHITECTURE with her husband Michael King AIA. Diana has an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture and graduate degree from UCLA Planning and Architecture. With over 20 years as a licensed Architect, she has designed projects as varied as the Venice Boulevard Plantings to the City Terrace Park Master Plan & Recreation Building in East L.A.

Vessy Mink

Having lived in Venice for over 7 years now, I find myself very grateful for this ocean born town filled with possibilities.  I am a singer/songwriter who has happily spent a great deal of time and energy creating my dreams come true in this free flowing, artistic beachside community.  Venice rocks, and it does so because of the pluthra of communicative neighborhood networks, like GRVNC, that enable it to creatively vibrate at a frequency which allows artists of all financial brackets to co-exist.  Venice is an abundant environment that supports low-income housing, the arts, excellent energy saving public transportation systems, small business's and whatever it is that you will create for yourself here.  Anything can happen and Venice Beach surely promotes individuality.  My favorite part of Venice are it's people. Diverse and fearless, pro-active and genuine, Venetians are for real.  I would love to represent Venice Beach for Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council(GRVNC), and will do my best to communicate the needs and wants of this enchanting place, we call home.
Contact Info:


Lisa Ezell

I am a native Californian and a Venice resident since 1997.  Why Venice?  I like living in a politically and culturally charged community with creative individuals.  My love for Venice, her art, people and architecture, impassions me to empower the community's ability to make choices; whether it be to protect important architectural and social resources like Lincoln Place, decide on civic art for the Venice Circle, or keep big development at bay.  As an at-large council member, I will defend our community from the global corporate monoculture that threatens the authentic Venice entrepreneurs.  Venice needs the  fresh and courageous leadership of the Venice Progressives now more than ever.  Gentrification will never drive away Venice's soul.  

Lowell Safier

A 30 year Marina resident. " Let's keep our beaches clean and decrease crime with a strong community watch ." Currently Director and past President of the Marina Peninsula Neighborhood Association, V.P. Marina Boat Parade, and the Auxiliary Coast Guard. Involved in Marina Peninsula community organizations since their inception.
Successful events with Heal the Bay, community meetings and parties with residents, LAPD Pacific, and Fire Department. Organized "A Taste of Washington " involving local restaurants supporting worthy causes. Improved the traffic situation on the Peninsula by supporting crosswalks, signage, and traffic enforcement. Interfaced with the community. Helped with clean ups for our area. Interfaced with our community regarding the Least Tern Reserve. Meet with the Coastal Commission. More local polling places to improve voter participation. Attend meetings with the CD11 City Council office for solutions including dual force water main, street flooding, underground utilities, and property encroachments.
I would like to see all of Venice engage in improved dialogue over our similar issues, and recognize those issues that are unique to each specific area of Venice. I support the Arts and Local business, and believe we can all work together reasonably to improve Venice.


Linda Lucks

GRVNC leaders must be independent, experienced and level headed with an historical and broad based perspective of our community.  My strong commitment to Venice as 35 year resident/homeowner and community activist is clear.  I served as a City Council Venice Field Deputy; was the first woman President of the LA County Beach Advisory Commission, and I chaired  the Venice Beach Area Police Advisory Committee from 1992-96;  As co-founder  and co-chair of the Venice Garden Tour, almost $1 million has been raised for the Neighborhood Youth Association’s Las Doradas Children’s Center .

I  served on the boards of the Venice Community Housing Corporation and Neighborhood Youth Association and on the volunteer committee of the Venice Family Clinic.  In the mid 1970’s I was a member of the Free Venice Beachhead Newspaper collective.  I am a proud recipient of the “Sprit of Venice” Award given by the Abbot Kinney District Association.

I earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and worked as an elementary school teacher in Pacoima, where I grew up.

My life outside of Venice also includes a strong commitment to family and to volunteer efforts on behalf of Democratic candidates, most recently


Rob Stone

(statement not yet available)  

Kelley S. Willis

Venice is my home. It has been for twenty years. It will be for the rest of my life. I want to do my part to help it stay livable, stay eclectic, stay Venice!

As the city of LA grows around us, the pressure to become more like LA increases, and threatens the unique character of  Venice. To reduce the development impact, I support the Venice Specific Plan, and want to work to reduce the number of variances given out to developments that don’t adhere to the Plan. To reduce the traffic impact, in addition to adhering to parking requirements for new development, I support the promotion of mass transit use, from the Parking Shuttle to the Green, Gold and Expo Metro lines. To reduce the economic impact, I support multi-use development, and multi-unit rental development, to maintain the mix of economic strata in Venice, which contributes to the small-town, strange-town, beach-town sense of my home, Venice.

I have served this community through neighborhood groups, events, political campaigns and clubs, for several years, and wish to continue this service as a member of the Neighborhood Council.


Michael King

Livable, sustainable communities need to encourage intensity of experience over thoughtless density. Having rented, owned and practiced in Venice for over 20 years, I know we can only successfully represent the community if we have an inclusive approach to community building. Having extensive Venice Planning experience from the original LCP/LIP Process, to the Specific Plan Process I bring a depth of practical knowledge to help Venice remain our special artistic environment.


Michael King AIA is a principal Architect and co-founder of STUDIO OF ARCHITECTURE with his Wife Diana Pollard AIA. Michael has a professional degree in Architecture specializing in Urban Planning. He also maintains professional associations with NCARB, NCIDQ, and is a past board member of ASID. Michael was a Peace Corps Architect in the Middle East specializing in low-income housing.  With over 25 years as a licensed Architect, he has designed projects as varied as the Horizon Avenue Lofts in Venice to the Carolyn Rosas Park Recreation Building in East L.A.

Peter R. Force

I have been a resident of Venice for over 25 years.  I am retired from the State of California after having worked for thirty years as an economic analyst.  In this capacity I studied long- and short-term economic trends within Los Angeles County.  These tasks required my ability to follow local economic developments that affect the availability of jobs for residents aswell as for trends in the general economic growth of the area.

Currently I am active with the Los Angeles Transit Coalition, an advocacy group which works for the development of light-rail transportation within our county.  Besides supporting the expansion of our Blue, Green, and Gold commuter rail lines, this group has helped in the efforts to plan theconstruction of a light-rail system which will connect Santa Monica (and Venice) to downtown Los Angeles, and--through connections to the other existing light-rail lines--to other key areas of the county.

My hope is that my experience as an economic analyst can contribute to the plans for rational economic development within Venice, and the eventual connection of Venice to the proposed light-rail system in the county.

You may contact me at 821-0879.


Rebecca E. Tafoya

I have been a resident of Venice for 43 years; I am a third generation Venetian and my children are fourth. I recall my childhood in Venice very vividly: there were many other children to play with on West Washington Blvd. (now Abbot Kinney Blvd.) and I remember the families. I’ve seen many changes in my community and have only stood back and watched as they occurred. The long-standing local families are consistently leaving and my own children cannot even go outside to play because of increased traffic and strangers, especially from the bars.

I have been complaining about problems in my community for long enough— now I want to be part of the solutions that can contribute to bringing back the harmony and uniqueness of the “true Venice”. I believe my voice and concerns are important to the future of Venice and its surviving families and children. Volunteering my time and effort to work with other people with the same objective in preserving Venice and addressing the gentrification of our community is how I see myself as part of the “solution” to saving Venice.


Karl Abrams

Having lived in Venice in the 1970s, 1980s, and presently, I have come to love this unique and diverse city.  I feel moved to work with other Venetians to help protect affordable low-income housing, historic buildings, locally owned businesses, and the artistic uniqueness that is Venice.  It is for this reason that I am running for GRVNC Representative-at-Large.  With my background as a tenured chemistry professor and textbook author, I am emphasizing a democratic, grassroots approach to progressive change. We can all work together to help protect Venice from the ravages of chain-stores, gentrification, and other forces which may adversely affect Venice's multi-cultural uniqueness.  


Penmar/Lincoln Place

Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Ingrid Mueller

In 1988, I very consciously chose Lincoln Place Apartments for their beauty, the open space, and especially the quiet far from the maddening traffic.

For some 15 years, LP tenants have taught me too much to let it  ‘go to waste’:

Some  successes for Lincoln Place may assure Venetians that relentless research, stubborn perseverance,  love of Venice and  all  it stands for can get us not only around the GRVNC table, but increase curiosity about each other, and see green eye to black to blue to brown eye to celebrate our various worlds!

54-year old Lincoln Place was just found officially eligible as a California Historic

Resource. Formerly happily populated by 3,000 neighbors from around the world, of now 170 remaining households, 100 vigorously defend their rights against Ellis Act Evictions.

That adjacent commercial ‘Lincoln Center’ proposal was first rejected in 1998, again in 2004 by GRVNC’s Land Use & Planning Ctee. (LUPC).  Yet the developer pushes on without the requested EIR or community involvement.

We have work to do! We’ll be totally suffocated by too many projects, but can finally help our progressive Councilman realize our combined visions!


Rose/North Beach

Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Susan Papadakis

I am running for the District 2 representative. I am 8 year resident of 4th Avenue. Before that I lived in Ocean Park for 6 years. District 2 has unique problems that need solutions: inadequate space for artists on the boardwalk, lack of affordable housing, neighborhoods undergoing transformation, and Santa Monica airport noise.

As co-chair of the Ocean Park Community Organization from 1993-1995, I helped to generate a plan for new street trees on Ocean Park Blvd from Lincoln to Main Street, supported the need for the Main Street Farmer’s Market, and did not support the Santa Monica Civic Center plan.

I want to be active in GRVNC because:

- Developers need to hear from local residents since the built environment affects us all.
- I want to expand low rent opportunities for small independent businesses to prevent Venice beach from becoming another mall.
- I want to make sure that there are always opportunities for artists and creative people to work and live in Venice.
- Safe neighborhoods come about by participation and improvements

District 2 needs to be supported by people who share these ideals. Please support these goals by giving me your vote.


Jan Sproull

In 1969, from down the coast at Seal Beach and Los Alamitos High School, I visited Venice.  It became the dream come true to live here as a mature adult.  Share your dream with me:  310-401-0408.

In freedom, creative expression and cultural change, the people of Venice have always faced the challenges of nature’s nexus with an advancing humanity.  Our year, 2005, is a time where having a heart politically can mean diverse things. 

But to me, 2005 calls for listening to individual and community concerns, moderating strong emotions and participating in wise decisions.   Venetians put the arts in motion, give voice to social movement, and enjoy the grand simplicity of sunset at the beach.   If we want to preserve the natural beauty and not become the Disneyland of beach fronts, the political energies of Progressives will be needed.  Being part of the Progressives slate follows my first career in legal and corporate consulting (University of Virginia, J.D.), and later work in theological healing, interfaith ministry and artistic expansion.   With you to join us, Venice Progressives lead the way, to show the country and the nations what’s possible from the grass roots up.

Gwen Howard

My Venice is a state of mind, inhabited by memories, fascinating people, glowing future. Mom set a three-year-old Gwen on the warm sand. She came back to discover a freckle-faced kid, who loved the beach, the freedom and the never ending horizon. I admit to being a true Venetian, freckles and all. Venice High reflects many milestones in my life: Graduating both ninth and 12th grade acting in “Arsenic & Old Lace” and singing a song from “South Pacific” .
      20 years ago I found myself back in Venice after working and traveling while building a career in television and marketing. Home again and, amazingly, just a few blocks near Dad’s former business on Dudley.
      The 1985 move led me to community service with the Venice Action Committee, Chamber of Commerce r , Police Advisory Board , Recreation & Parks Advisory Board and Friends of the Venice Library board and many months with Venice Centennial Steering Committee.
      As a dedicated Venice resident, I plan to continue contributing to this energetic, diverse and historic community. This GRVNC is a platform for public service and involvement. Will its voice be heard and to influence the votes of our elected officials?


Jamie Cantor Ginsburg

I, Jamie Cantor Ginsburg, am looking forward the opportunity to become the representative of District 2 on the Grassroots Venice Neighborhood Council. I moved to the area almost 4 years ago and immediately knew that I wanted Venice to be my home because of its rich history and traditions. Since then, I have moved into District 2 and Venice has become my home personally and professionally. I own and operate a small cookie business in Venice which tries to support and promote other local businesses.


As a representative of District 2, I will bring a fresh, intelligent voice to the Council. I have a vested interest in helping the community grow in a progressive manner while keeping the integrity of the neighborhood. Venice has always been and remains the home of forward thinking individuals, creative thinkers, and artists. We need responsible people who are looking forward to growing with the community. I pledge to uphold this vision and do my best to further the neighborhood.

Please feel free to contact me at the following e-mail address:

Thank you for this opportunity,

Jamie Cantor Ginsburg



Central Venice / Oakwood

Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Amber Hartgens

My primary goal as a candidate to represent Oakwood-District 3 is to ensure that the residents of Oakwood have a voice within the neighborhood council and thus an active role in the decisions that affect Oakwood and Venice as a whole. Over six years ago, my partner and I chose to buy a house and raise our sons in Oakwood because we wanted to live in a neighborhood that was culturally, racially and economically diverse. It is that diversity and intermixing of cultures that makes Venice such a unique and lively neighborhood and what I hope to help maintain as a representative for District 3.

My experience as a neighborhood activist is limited, however, I was very active in the effort to keep the city from cutting down the sycamore trees in the north end of the Oakwood recreation park and thus retaining the one green and shady public space in Oakwood. Although successful in keeping the park green, the experience made me realize how important it is to have an informed and active resident base in order to protect those qualities of life that make living in Venice enjoyable. That process also made me realize how vital it is


Tom Chou

My name is Tom Chou, I am a professor of mathematics at UCLA, and I have purchased my one and only residence in Venice. Therefore, my efforts as District 3 representative will reflect my self-interests. Hopefully, these interests will be commensurate with yours.

In my opinion, drawing the line against zealous over development is the most important issue vis-à-vis preserving quiet, safe, and congestion-free residential neighborhoods in Venice. Current housing valuations have compelled developers to build $500,000+ condos in large, dense complexes that will negatively impact noise, congestion, sanitation, and pedestrian safety.  These impacts will annihilate the peaceful, residential character of much of Venice. Variances are often granted under the guise of increasing “affordable” housing. Both the developer and the City (through higher tax revenue) benefit. Only the current residents suffer the negative impacts.

As representative forDistrict 3, I will not barrage you with spam; I simply want to keep you informed of the developments encroaching on our neighborhoods and write effective, thought-out appeals from the zoning variances requested by developers. I will also go to Coastal Commission meetings (as I did on Aug. 9) to present our case against over-development in our backyards.


Brian O'Connell

(statement not yet available)  

Stan Muhammad


I have lived in the Venice Community all of my life. In fact, I am a 4th Generation Venetian. I believe that Venice belongs to the people of Venice and it is my desire to help those who feel they do not have a voice in their community to become active, to unite, and to be involved in the planning, development, and implementation of community actions. My goal as the District Three-Oakwood representative on the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council is to bring people together to help improve the quality of life for all people, especially in District Three.




Edward Dabbs

(statement not yet available)  


South of Palms / East of Lincoln

Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Mindy Taylor-Ross

Candidate for District 4 Representative on the Progressives Slate

I've been a resident of Venice most of my life. I attended both Walgrove Elementary, and Mark Twain Jr. High schools. When I was a girl, I lived in the Historic Lincoln Place garden apartments. I've lived in District 4 for over twenty years. I became aware of the Grass Roots Neighborhood Council when I got involved with the community in opposition to the Lincoln Center redevelopment project in early 2003. A number of us got together and formed the Venice Community Coalition (VCC). VCC has been instrumental in increasing community awareness about development issues along Lincoln Boulevard. VCC put on Envision Venice, a design workshop that brought the community together to explore design possibilities along Lincoln Blvd. VCC also approached our former City Council member Cindy Miscikowski to establish a Community Design Overlay along Lincoln Blvd. This one-year process will bring the community together in designing a Lincoln Blvd. we can all be proud of. 

If I am elected District 4 Representative, I will explore ways to preserve social and economic diversity, promote smart growth and protect Venice's heritage, which is important to us all.


Jill Prestup

One of her first endeavors Jill Prestup did when she moved into her neighborhood 20 years ago was to organize and establish a Neighborhood Watch. She received a certificate of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for her efforts. She was on her way to community involvement.

Prestup’s Neighborhood Watch group organized and has maintained graffiti removal, spearheaded a campaign to have new street lights and traffic signs installed, saw to it that everyone in the community received a flyer with area emergency numbers and met with local school officials to see how the residents could work with the schools to help alleviate the gang problems.

Sensing the need and desire for more widespread community involvement, Prestup was elected President of the Pacific Area Action Committee, a community-based policing group and shortly after, elected to the Mobility Action Committee, a city traffic improvement program. In recognition of her work, Prestup was named Citizen of the Year, by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Currently, Prestup is a board member of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Venice Historical Society (where she just received a grant from the city for historic improvements), the Westside Women’s Political Caucus



Windward Circle/Abbot Kinney/ Milwood/Walk Streets

Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Sylviane Dungan

I was born, raised and educated in Paris and came to the US 30 years ago. I am a progressive environmentalist, and art lover. I enjoyed living in district 5 for the last 15 years, between the beach and Abbot Kinney, next to the Windward Circle, and am dedicated to preventing gentrification from robbing Venice of its identity. Venice is a unique artistic beach community. Small yet diverse, it contains many sub communities which love it, and must live and thrive together in peace and dignity. I will promote the interaction and representation of these different groups so we can express our needs and hopes, and inspire each other to protect the future of all. I will support only sustainable developments, community approved and benefiting all; small local businesses along Abbot Kinney, comprehensive programs to help the homeless; transportation planning preventing gridlock, air and noise pollution; social and cultural events encouraging community building and local artists; community involvement in choosing public art from the Windward Circle to Abbot Kinney and Venice Blvd, through district 5. Listening to stakeholders’ needs I will strive to help us find sustainable answers together, to be shared within the Venice Neighborhood Council -


Howard Saxe

I am Howard Saxe, a teacher and administrator in a large public school in downtown Los Angeles, a Venice property owner and a candidate for District 5.

My opponents and I agree on almost every main issue. We believe in our community and in maintaining its integrity, history and culture. We want to cut back on traffic and pollution and safeguard the current way of life. We believe in growth and progress but not when it means sacrificing the character of our neighborhood and the rights of our neighbors.

So which candidate is the best qualified? Who has the experience working with diverse groups, businesspeople, parents, students, and government officials? Who knows how best to negotiate? Who can get those in power to meet and agree on common grounds and terms?

I am that person. Though any of us in the election will have the integrity and honesty to fairly represent our community, I have the most experience in dealing with opponents from outside and within and can best promote positive results for the future of our community.

Yo soy Howard Saxe, maestro y administrador en una escuela pública grande en el centro de la ciudad en Los Angeles, dueño de propiedad en Venice y un candidato para Distrito 5.

Mis antagonistas y yo estamos de acuerdo en casi cada problema principal.  Nosotros creemos en nuestra comunidad y manteniendo su integridad, historia y cultura.  Nosotros queremos reducir el tráfico, polución y mantener el estilo de vida actual.  Nosotros creemos en el crecimiento y progreso pero no cuando significa sacrificar el carácter de nuestro barrio o los derechos de sus vecinos.

¿Qué candidato es el mejor calificado?  ¿Quién tiene la experiencia que trabaja con los grupos diversos, impresarios, padres, estudiantes, y los oficiales gubernamentales?  ¿Quién sabe mejor negociar?  ¿Quién puede conseguir que aquéllos con poder se encuentren y esten de acuerdo en puntos y condiciones comúnes?

Yo soy esa persona.  Aunque cualquiera de nosotros en la elección tendrá la integridad y honestidad para representar nuestra comunidad justamente, yo tengo la mayoría lexperiencia tratando antagonistas de fuera y dentro y puedo promover los mejores resultados positivos para el futuro de nuestra comunidad.

Cynthia McGuineas

(statement not yet available)


Oxford Triangle / Silver Triangle / President's Row

Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Howard J. Wiggett

I submit my candidacy to represent  District 6.

My qualifications are as follows: Oxford Triangle resident since 1986 with a business in the neighborhood since 1987. During this time I was both a participant and officer in it’s Neighborhood Association.

I have extensive experience in volunteer condominium and professional associations. My activities included organizational structures, short and long term planning in budget, finance and tax matters.

I wish to participate in the Council to assist in developing appropriate plans for District 6 that maintain a friendly and safe neighborhood by enhancing its living environment.

To assist in reviewing and commenting on proposed developments from both government and private groups.

To assist in determining how much city and other funds is available and how we can influence its expenditures for the benefit of the Venice community.

To be available for input from District 6 residents and businesses to put  forward their ideas and thus facilitate open free flowing and constructive discussions.

To protect the history and character of Venice neighborhoods by developing a positive motivation program.


Jeffrey J. Fritz

Let me share my excitement in running for the District 6 seat. The GRNVC existence and sustainability is imperative in planning a positive future for Venice.

I have lived and worked in Venice for 3 years and look forward to residing here in the future. I love the culturally and ethnically diverse community that makes Venice the pearl of Los Angeles.

As chair of District 6 I would implement a monthly communication forum for stakeholders’ to table district concerns and initiatives. Additionally, I would launch a “D6” community festival to boost sharing of ideas and community.

I will work with the board of the GRNVC to communicate with city council on the possible transfer of DWP power lines underground on Lincoln Boulevard, and move forward with a “Lincoln Beautification Project”.

I will research the need for more cross walks connecting the north & south sides of Washington Boulevard.

I will work with the board to create a RENEWABLE ENERGY committee that can help create a resource for green information and initiatives in our community.

As chair of District 6 I will whole heartedly work to better our community.
Please contact me at 310-577-6435 or


Challis MacPherson

I have been fighting for the betterment Venice since 1973.  As District 6 representative I shall continue to fight against inappropriate land use policies, stifling traffic and other woes that continue to plague us. It is my goal to help create a Venice Neighborhood Council that will reflect the diversity of our wonderful community.

In 1981, I defied the LA County planners that wanted to put a freeway through Venice and across the Santa Monica Bay.  That started Oxford Triangle’s first residents’ association.Venice Town Council: Planning and Land Use Committee. Sued Summa Corp.C.O.A.S.T.  Many westside community groups that successfully sued Summa Corporation and stopped that particular development.

Friends of Ballona Wetlands: from their inception.  Sued Summa Corporation/Maquire Thomas partners/Playa Capital to carve out a fresh water marsh and reserve all Playa Vista land west of Lincoln as wetlands.

PLANLA: Activists determined that our city could work better, changed the LA City Charter and initiated the Neighborhood Council movement.PVJOBS:  Extremely successful jobs program to help the at risk population. Over 90% success rate.

CPAC: Nine years.  CPAC continued the work of the Planning and Land Use Committee of the VTC. CPAC directly influenced Venice development.



Canals/Peninsula/South Beach/Silver Strand

Name Candidate Statement Declaración en español

Sunny Bak

I am a NY born photographer and have been self-employed with my own photography business since 1976. I have lived in Venice since 1994. I listen to the neighbors talk about the community and know what their concerns are. Safety, security and sanity in the community are at the forefront of my concerns. Encouraging others to live green is the future. Listening to others in the community and working together is what I believe needs to happen to make GRVNC work as a organization.

This is my first foray into neighborhood community service. I am looking forward to an opportunity to contribute and give back to the neighborhood I call my home. Working with other people in the neighborhood would be a privilege. As a committee member. I hope to inspire other community members to contribute to their own neighborhood by doing the little things that make Venice a more beautiful, safe, clean place. Venice is diverse and colorful. We should keep Venice a pleasurable place for the thousands of visitors we get from all over the world to visit.


Brett Milller

I am a long time Venetian and want District 7 to be a safe place to live and play for everyone. We need more cops just like every area in Venice. As ordinary citizens we can strengthen our neighborhood watch with improved communication between groups. Serious crime, as well as graffiti, vandalism and even littering can be reduced with increased vigilance. As a realtor, actor and former pro football player, I see the real value in keeping the beaches clean, and the area crime-free. I am for permit parking, more traffic signage on Pacific and Speedway, and want to see a more pro-active drainage system in place to prevent flooding on the walk streets. Walk streets on the peninsula and canals can be beautified and should be for walking, not driving and parking. Although there is no total solution for the homeless problem, I would like to see these unfortunate people get the real help, instead of just shuffling them from one spot to another. Finally, we need the different city entities to be accessible to address these issues and I will cultivate our already solid relationships with LAPD, FireDept., Beaches and Harbors, CD11, and Fish and Game.  

Nicole F. Midwin

(statement not yet available)



Junius"Jerry" Browne

Junius ("Jerry") Browne

You've probably seen me walking with my two whippets, Cinnamon and Raisin.
I live at 2625 Grand Canal and walk my dogs through the canals and peninsula
area at least twice a day. I see and hear, first-hand, the issues that are
important to the residents of District 7.

My Qualifications:

~ 40 year resident of the Venice Canals and Peninsula;
~ Retired real estate broker;
~ Member of the "Venice Canals" and "Voice of the Canals" Associations;
~ Local graffiti spotter working with property owners/tenants to swiftly
remove graffiti.

Some Pressing Issues:

Flooding on Speedway

As a representative of District 7, I will serve as an active liaison between
community members and the GRVNC to insure that the voices of our
neighborhood are heard. There is much work to do; some projects may be
readily solved, but others will require long-term efforts. Nevertheless, I
am committed to working diligently to help achieve the quality of life that
we all seek as residents of District 7. The GRVNC provides all of us an
opportunity to work together, within a system that can provide real change,
and realize our shared goals.



* For any additions or correction, please contact Dante Cacace at .