Editor’s note: This is one of several articles in a series of profiles on Venice candidates.
What would you prioritize if you were voted in?
I would like to see the original, working class character of Venice retained, fences restricted, and the neighborhood strengthened though greater outreach and tenant rights’ protections. Venice is changing via an influx of new arrivals and money – which is both encouraging for the economic health of the city, but also worrisome in that less affluent Venetians are being driven out by exploding rents and over-development.
Who are your primary supporters?
Renters, artists, dog lovers, motorcycle enthusiasts.
What issue do you feel most strongly about and what’s your position?
The shock troops of gentrification are being driven out. There has been a marked disintegration of our historic neighborhood over the past decade, and I would like to slow that down. I am for supporting the people that made Venice so wonderful in the first place. Venice is known for its artistic community and laid back surf culture. Where are these Venetians now? I've seen so many of my neighbors evicted and driven due to rampant greed and a complete disregard for the community at large. Diversity is being erased!
I lived in Lincoln Place for 8 years and fought to have it listed as an historic landmark, and fought to keep it from being demolished. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Lincoln Place Tenants Association, it is still standing and in the process of being rehabbed. I also have fought to take down and restrict the video billboards that have been installed up and down Lincoln, and have spoken and written letters to the zoning board about this issue. To date, many of the billboards have been removed, though I’d like to see them ALL gone eventually.
What's one thing most constituents don't know about you?
I’m an avid motorcyclist and promote all forms of two-wheeled transportation, motorized and non. Before moving to Venice in 1996 I lived in Chicago, New Orleans and Paris. I've seen the ravages of unchecked gentrification, and it isn't pretty.
Why did you decide to run?
I campaigned for a candidate when the VNC was first formed and always thought it would be a good idea...someday. Then I entered a motorcycle in the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club Rally a few weeks ago, and the lady at the VNC booth convinced me to run. She said the Council “needs people like you!” And voila!
Heather Priest is running for At-Large Community Officer on the Venice Neighborhood Council. To read more candidate profiles, click here.