Editor’s note: This is one of several articles in a series of profiles on Mar Vista candidates that Patch will be running leading up to the election.
What have you prioritized during your time, and what will you focus on if re-elected?
I became Chair quite surprisingly in late 2011 due to a sudden resignation during a board meeting. I took immediate responsibility to lead MVCC that night: I completed the meeting; kept MVCC steady; made sure our financial commitments were met.
Accordingly, I am not an unknown quantity in this election. Our MVCC stakeholders know I am level headed and able to respond swiftly, effectively, and decisively when faced with the unpredictable. They also know when they ask for leadership, they get leadership.
And persistence: sometimes a bureaucracy’s initial response to a stakeholder or community request is negative. Then the challenge is, to get to the ‘yes’.
I work hard to get to the ‘yes’.
In terms of community priorities, Historic 62 Community Center is our major project which will provide gathering space to the community. Profound thanks are due Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and his staff, as well as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his staff, for sharing our stakeholders’ vision of what the decommissioned station might be utilized for and supporting MVCC in efforts to creatively reuse the building. It will be the Mar Vista Community ‘home of our own’ we’ve all dreamed about. Fundraising efforts are under way. We now have a community based 501c3, the Friends of Historic Fire Station 62, which has raised nearly $6,000 to date in partnership with Whole Foods West Los Angeles and other contributing stakeholders.
I support the closure of Santa Monica Airport. What happens to the airport will have significant impacts on surrounding communities, so we must continue to network with Santa Monica neighborhood associations and other area neighborhood councils going forward.
I support traffic calming. People still speed through our residential neighborhoods far too often.
I also am keenly interested in inspiring the growth of small businesses in Mar Vista. I would love to see an association formed encompassing both our home based and brick/mortar small businesses.
I 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.
In terms of administrative priorities, I made simple changes to our Board agenda for effective meetings. All funding motions now appear under the Treasurers report. All committees with policy motions are at the front of the Committee Reports section. My feeling is stakeholders should not have to wait all evening to hear their item of interest discussed.
I set out to increase the number of Community Impact Statements filed by MVCC. These appear directly on the City Council agenda in the council file. They are one of the strongest ways to be heard on issues. MVCC received praise recently because out of 95 NCs, we were the only NC to have filed a CIS on the proposed Waste Hauling Franchise program and we passed it last March.
Finally, on my watch, MVCC was honored with a 2012 EmpowerLA Award along with 6 other NCs. The award was particularly for projects stakeholders brought to us and which we supported and nurtured over time to success: Green Gardens Showcase; Mar Vista Farmer’s Market, and of course, saving Historic 62.
Who are your primary supporters?
Ken Alpern; Joseph Treves; Bill Koontz; Demetrios Mavromichalis; Michael Millman; Kate Anderson; Stephen Boskin; Steve Wallace; Sherri Akers; Sarah Auerswald; Rachel Swanger; Judy Deutsch; Roy Persinko; and Jerry Hornoff amongst many others.
What issue do you feel most strongly about and what’s your position?
I have two issues: land use and safety/security. With regard to land use: In addition to watching what happens with the Santa Monica Airport property as 2015 approaches, monitoring the upcoming rewrite of the City’s Zoning code into so called ‘form based’ code is critical. That will have major impact on what our community will look like many years from now. It will be MVCC’s job to educate our stakeholders on this change. I participate in an informal working group including representatives from Palms and Del Rey NCs. We are presently working with LMU planning students on what impacts form based zoning code might have on our residential areas and our commercial districts in our Palms/Mar Vista/Del Rey Community Plan area.
With regard to safety and security, latest realignment releases from state prison resulted in crime spikes across the northern Valley. I would like to see every block in Mar Vista operating an active Neighborhood Watch.
What's one thing most constituents don't know about you?
“What is Essential”, my art quilt tribute to UNICEF’s work championing the rights of children, hangs in the entryway to Henry Labouisse Hall, the major assembly room of UNICEF House, New York. http://www.unicef.org/people/people_19326.html The title of the work is taken from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
In order to truly see, ‘what is essential’ is to see with one’s heart.
Sharon Commins is running for At-large Director, a two-year term. To read more candidate profiles, click here.