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Nominees for 2011 Venice Patch 'Person of the Year'

Be sure to participate in our poll and leave comments to help us choose the 2011 Venice Patch 'Person of the Year.'

The nominees for the 2011 Patch "Person of the Year" for Venice have been submitted and we'd like your feedback to help us decide.

We'll use the poll below to help measure the community's thoughts, so make sure to vote and also leave comments to help us with the decision.

The poll and comments will be open until 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27. We'll follow up with a profile of the 2011 Venice Patch "Person of the Year."

The nominees (in order of nomination) include:

  • Edizen Stowell, the co-founder, chief creative director and photographer for Venice Paparazzi. The photography team at Venice Paparazzi covers an average of 150 events annually and has more than 120,000 archived photos. The nominator said their Web site "offers the most complete event listing there is for Venice" and they also said a weekly e-mail blast to keep fans informed and show off pictures of recently covered events.
  • Oscar Galan, designer of "Hecho en Venice." The nominator of the designer of the ubiquitous locals logo kept it simple and said, "Community spirit!"
  • Fran Camaj, the owner of Gjelina restaurant on Abbot Kinney Boulevard and the adjacent Gjelina Take Away, take-out eatery. The nominator said, "Despite all obstacles, Fran has pushed ahead with his businesses and greatly contributed to the Renaissance of Venice's Abbot Kinney Blvd." The nominator said Camaj has overcome "snitch" tactics over parking from neighbors who also violate the same rules. The nominator also said Camaj has taken the high road and also nominated him as Venice "Humanitarian" of the year.
  • Jim Smith, the current publisher of the Venice Beachhead. The nominator said that Smith has been a "longtime beacon for representative government and an independent Venice." The nominator also noted that Smith "has found a way to bring together Venetians from all hues of the political spectrum to save the Venice Main Post Office and its priceless mural inside."
  • Steve Clare, of the Venice Community Housing Corporation. His nominator said that under Clare's leadership his group "opened an apartment building where formerly homeless people will live permanently, with ongoing supportive services to help them manage their mental illness and other chronic diseases."
  • Carol Tantau, owner of Just Tantau on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Her nominator said that Tantau is a "long time member of the Chamber of Commerce, founder of the Abbot Kinney District Association, as well as the Abbot Kinney Festival." She also has been a tireless advocate for abused women with Sojourn Services for Battered Women. Tantau goes out on domestic abuse calls with polic and helps place women and children into shelters to keep them away from their abusers. She is also the chairperson of the Los Angeles Domestic Violence Task Force, where she regularly reports to both the City Council and the Police Commission.
  • Samantha Page, founding editor of Venice Patch. One nominator said that Page covered, "Venice news and events better than any other local resource, with an honest and unbiased voice." Another nominator said, "In a short period of time she established Venice Patch as a reliable news source and a place for civil conversation over current local news and events."
  • Armando Diaz, past president of the Playa Venice Rotary Club and relentless advocate for children and families in Venice. His nominator said that Diaz works long hours and attends hundreds of meetings "to figure out how we can get more support and resources for the children and teens in the community." He has helped secure funding for after-school programs at Venice High School such as band, tutoring and after-school fitness. Diaz also is a member of the Venice Chamber of Commerce where his nominator said "he engages local businesses in an effort to garner support on behalf of the Club and its members."
  • Sunny Bak, owner of Sunny Bak Studio in Venice. Her nominator said that Bak is "vey active in the Venice Art Crawl, rescuing animals and just being a promoter of Venice and its denizens."
  • Lili Flanders, a volunteer at nonprofit 826LA, which helps local students ages 6 to 18 improve their writing skills. Her nominator said, "A Julliard-trained actor and former English teacher, Lili brings life and experience to 826LA's After-School Tutoring program. Her warm personality and storytelling skills make her a natural favorite in the writing lab. When students come in and see Lili is there, they beg and plead to be put at her table. Lili can get even the most reluctant of students to laugh and smile while doing multiplication tables." She also recently headed a workshop at Mark Twain Middle School that introduced students to different kinds of poetry and had the students write their own poems.
Helen Loulakis December 20, 2011 at 02:19 PM
Edizen is so dedicated and motivating with a heart of gold! She puts 101% into everything she does. Great work girl!!
Della Franco December 20, 2011 at 05:25 PM
Jim Smith is a long time Venice Activisit, and dedicated member of the Beachhead Newspaper. He helps inform the Venice community on subjects from politics to poetry. I think Jim Smith helps keep Venice true to its original form. Free and unique!
meg gibson December 21, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Lili Flanders is pure light. Volunteering is her source! With Lili, giving is infinite. We are all so lucky to have her among us.
Kelly Furtado December 27, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Edizen @ Venice Paparazzi is a HUGE asset to this community. She keeps us in Venice current on all the community events,charitable causes and updated on all meetings and activity to help us participate in making our neighborhood the best it can be. Venice would not be the same without her!
Jr December 31, 2011 at 01:43 AM
We have some amazing people in the running!! Venice is blessed and a better place because of them!

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