Over 40 people gathered at the candidate recruitment kickoff reception at the Canal Club on Thursday to hear from Venice Neighborhood Council board members about the election process and the duties of board members.
The entire board is up for grabs in the October election, including the positions of president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, community outreach officer, communications officer, a land use and planning chair, 13 community officers and one factual basis community officer which is the only position that can be filled by a person who does not live in Venice but must have an interest in the community, according to Venice Neighborhood Council Vice-President Mark Saltzberg.
“If you run for office, you’re going to sometimes have to make difficult decisions,” Venice Neighborhood Council President Linda Lucks told the crowd.
Ira Koslow, chair of the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Rules and Election Committee, echoed that sentiment.
“You have to get used to the fact half the people will hate you whatever you do,” he said. “You have to have a thick skin whatever you do.”
The election is open to anyone who lives, works or owns property in Venice, and each person running must have the documentation to prove it, said Tony Wilkinson, who will oversee the election as an unbiased Independent Election Administrator.
The Venice Neighborhood Council was created ten years ago when the city first established the 95 neighborhood councils, according to Ivan Spiegel, parliamentarian for the Venice Neighborhood Council.
“I do believe this is one of the best neighborhood councils because everyone’s so involved,” said Cecilia Castillo, a field deputy from Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office.
Noah Lewkow, who works for The Arbor Collective, has already decided he wants to run for a variety of reasons.
“It benefits our business as well as familiarizes the community with our brand,” he said. “I just want to get involved in the community, just to be able to have a voice for 20-somethings in the community.”
Longtime Venice resident Daryl Bennett stopped by just to observe the event and said she appreciates the work the council does.
“They spend a lot of time helping to make Venice better,” Bennett said. “I know how much work goes into it.”
The goal is to get local residents more involved in the community as well as to help serve the 16 million tourists who flock to Venice every year, said Matt Kline, chair of the council’s Outreach and Event Planning Committee.
“Our slogan is, ‘it’s your Venice, get involved,” Kline said.
Applications are due Sept. 28 and are available on the DONE Venice Neighborhood Council election site or at the Venice Farmers’ Market on Friday mornings. The election will be held on Oct. 28 at Westminster Avenue Elementary School.