Neighborhood Council elections are even more important than we might think at first glance.
The people we vote onto the Board end up speaking for us downtown at City Hall and we need to trust that they will best represent our views and goals for the City and, as what happens in LA rarely stays in LA, our goals for the planet.
The Mar Vista Community Council was honored with a 2012 EmpowerLA Award for its "green program" and for "your achievements in engaging your community stakeholders in civic participation, and making City government responsive to your local needs. Awardees reflect the highest ideals of inclusiveness, transparency, nondiscrimination and independence... Your Neighborhood Council was chosen from among the entire system of 95 Neighborhood Councils as an exemplar of the goals and ideals other Neighborhood Councils can look to for inspiration and ideals."
My goal with my endorsements for the Mar Vista Community Council election TOMORROW at the Mar Vista Farmer's Market and for the Palms Neighborhood Council election TOMORROW at the IMAN Cultural Center, is to keep our communities on the same strong path of thoughtful and effective sustainable community-building, for which we're known at City Hall and across the City.
PALMS NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL - This is a terrific council and I simply want to make one quick endorsement:
Eli Lipman for President of the Board. Eli has been Chair of the Palms Green Committee and has supported numerous important citywide green initiatives, including the Native plants initiative for which Palms has become well-known, Proposition 37 (the vitally-important GMO labeling initiative), the citywide plastic bag ban, a moratorium on fracking in CA (which is taking place right in our backyard: above Culver City), and SB-568 (state Styrofoam food container ban). Eli is passionate about sustainability and ready to step up to this important office.
MAR VISTA COMMUNITY COUNCIL
AT LARGE - There are 7 candidates for 6 seats. This will be a close race and every vote matters.
Sharon Commins - Sharon has recently stepped forward to be Chair of the MVCC board and has done a terrific job filling the large shoes left behind by Albert Olson. She says she will continue to encourage our award-winning MVCC Green Committee for its imaginative, innovative leadership and practical solutions to sustainability issues for which Mar Vista has become recognized citywide... and I believe her. I have witnessed her advocacy and representation of Mar Vista at regional meetings and at City Hall and know that she will continue to represent Mar Vista's views and values in a way that commands respect and fosters collaboration. Most important for me, she has been a strong supporter of the green initiatives the Green Committee has put forth, while insuring we have successfully addressed the issues in their entirety. Sharon has my strong support for the board and for continuing as Chair.
Melissa Stoller - Vice Chair on the active and influential Green Committee. We definitely need a strong Green Committee voice on the MVCC board to replace our excellent Green Committee founder, Laura Bodensteiner, who moved away. Melissa single-handedly ran the Soles 4 Souls Shoe Drive for 2 years, recruits the gardens for 4 of the 6 zones on the annual Mar Vista Garden Showcase tour, and is the lead organizer and editor for the fantastic Green Tent, which provides new and cutting edge Sustainable education for all of us weekly at the Mar Vista Farmer's Market.
Yvette Molinaro - She has had a powerful and active first year on the board, supporting green initiatives along the way. Definitely a keeper.
Mitchell Riche - As Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice, he works every day to protect California's natural resources for future generations. He is aligned with green values -- supports community home solar programs, which will be a big part of LA's next decade -- and brings with him insight into planning and public land use management. He has two young boys and a wife who is a school principal... which means educational issues will also be well-considered by him.
Bill Duckett - He was new to the board this year and I don't know him well, but he threw himself into the Fall Festival and has supported our green motions. That wins me over.
Bill Scheding - He generally opposes green motions, which seems a bit out of touch with his tireless work to close down the Santa Monica airport over the years, but somebody has to be Treasurer, and he has stepped up for that thankless task. He is definitely a better choice than the remaining candidate.
While I'm generally not one to strongly advocate against people, the remaining candidate, Chuck Ray, in his Patch candidate profile, called himself the voice of reason in what he believes is an extremist MVCC. I see that as an insult, not only to the other boardmembers, but to the tremendous and award-winning work the MVCC has done over the years. He mentions the Green Garden Tour, yet voted against funding it, and has voted against each and every Green Committee initiative I have been present for, yet considers himself the right person to represent Mar Vista at City Hall meetings. He also said in this Patch article that he understands how City Councilmen and their staff think: that "Two things turn them on: money and votes." His words are also an insult to those of us who work long hours every day at City Hall (for no overtime pay) doing work we believe is making a positive difference, not only to the City, but to the world. If he sees award-winning, sustainable community-building as extremist, he has no place on the MVCC board.
MVCC COMMUNITY DIRECTORS
John Kutcha - After hearing his presentation at the Candidate Forum, even the other candidate, Susan Klos, has thrown her support to him. He supports alternative transportation such as bicycling and mass transit. His youthful energy will be a tremendous asset to the board.
MVCC ZONE DIRECTORS
Zones 1 through 5 are all uncontested and the candidates deserve your vote. Kate Anderson, Bill Koontz, Michael Millman and Alice Park all work hard and have been very supportive of Mar Vista's sustainability initiatives. Bill Koontz, in particular, is always a strong voice of support for green and sustainable issues during sometimes contentious discussions, which I always appreciate. I also appreciate Kate Anderson's generosity and thoughtful approach to the issues.
Zone 6 has three candidates. Of the three, Roy Persinko has worked tirelessly for MVCC without holding a seat on the board, supports our green initiatives, has worked hard to save our historic fire station as a community center and attends nearly every community event donating his time and photographich skills. Valerie Davidson also seemed impressive at the Candidates Forum and aligned with green values. Patricia Peterson, on the other hand, is a strong advocate of keeping the Santa Monica airport open and seems out of sync with the MVCC community.
Mar Vista has been held up as an example of succesful community-building in a city that would like to encourage more of the same in neighborhoods across Los Angeles. I want to see it continue to flourish and lead one of the world's great City's toward a vitally-important sustainable future. Your vote will help get us there. Please show up for the elections and let your voice be heard.