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 am not an incumbent and I think that is a strength – I believe we constantly need new blood and new ideas to keep our VNC vital and I am an enthusiastic proponent of new, better ideas.
My priority is to involve and engage more people with the VNC. Use of the communications tools of the VNC (website, e-mail list and social media) is not being maximized – their murkiness does not serve the average user and I strongly believe that everyone should be able to access information about the neighborhood easily and quickly.
I look at these tools just like the majority of Venetians do – and am frustrated that they are not more user-friendly. Since I am an avid user of social media and have my own (anonymous, non-political) blog (the platform for which I taught myself and which I update regularly), I am certain that I am the person with the skill and passion to make sure the VNC's communication tools become and remain all they can and should be.
Specifically, as Communications Officer, I intend to improve the following:
- Website: Expedite major re-model which has been pending far too long and ensure timely updates of all sections. Encourage feedback via the website. Venetians need easy, accurate and complete access to relevant information and the opportunity to make themselves heard.
- Emails: Implement changes to the extremely long, poorly formatted e-mails -- shorter/cleaner/clearer emails will engage Venetians.
- Social Media: Convert VNC Facebook page from group to fan page (which allows monitoring of use and fine-tuning of reach). Promote use of VNC Twitter account for speedy information distribution (as of this writing, it only has 18 followers and 6 total tweets!).
I want EVERYONE to have my ear when it comes to issues before the board and to have the opportunity for their concerns to be heard.
Who are your primary supporters?
I hope and believe my primary supporters are my neighbors and fellow stakeholders – I think the majority of us want the same thing: to make Venice the best it can be. I want Venetians to be able to engage with me directly so I created a campaign page at http://facebook.com/HelenforVNC
What issue do you feel most strongly about and what’s your position?
My most passionate issue? Well, that is like asking a mother who her favorite child is! I love everything that Venice is. I do think that there are several issues which are at a critical balance point in our community and a few things are particularly important. In addition to my primary goal of working to get more people involved in the process, I want my neighborhood to be safe for me, my neighbors and our guests (including tourists…and my grandkids!). I want art and artists in our community to be encouraged and nurtured. I want to keep our community moving forward while retaining our special character. I want local businesses in Venice to thrive. Finally, I want EVERY Venetian's life to be the best it can be.
What's one thing most constituents don't know about you?
I volunteer at the information booth for the Venice Art Crawl nearly every month and have for a couple of years. I love the chance this gives me to talk with neighbors and I particularly like using my vantage point in front of Danny's to interact with and help visitors. We have also hosted two mural painting events at our house in connection with the VAC. I believe that promoting arts in Venice benefits all of us.
Why did you decide to run?
I have wanted to get involved with the VNC since shortly after I moved here years ago in order to give back to the community that I love so much. I have now committed to take the time to devote to that involvement and I am diving in, excited to get started to help make things better for all us.
Helen Stotler is running for communications officer on the Venice Neighborhood Council, a two-year term. To read more candidate profiles, click here.