Editor’s note: This is one of several articles in a series of profiles on Venice candidates.
What have you prioritized during your time, and what will you focus on if re-elected?
I'm running for another term as Outreach Officer because I would like to build on the groundwork that I put in place over the past eight months that I've held this position. Educating and informing residents about the local issues that the Venice Neighborhood Council deals with has been a big focus for me, starting with the most basic things like issuing press releases, compiling information for our e-newsletter and updating our social media outlets.
Strengthening the size of our organization has also been a big action item for me. In order to recruit new members, it's been important for me to help provide residents with a strong understanding of what our organization does and how it functions.I've helped recruit many dozens of people into the VNC Committee system and led the candidate recruitment efforts for these elections in which there was a nearly 50% rise in candidates from the last elections.
Similarly, I've made it a priority to reach out to and create relationships with the many new businesses that are calling Venice home. It's incredibly important for the VNC to be connected with these companies and their employees in hopes of incorporating them into the fabric of Venice. I want to leverage these bonds for the benefit of all those living and working in Venice in order to preserve the unique characteristics of Venice that everyone cherishes. April's Emergence of Silicon Beach Town Hall, where over 500 residents attended a showcase of 30 local companies, is a great example of how this process is already underway.
I've also created and begun implementing a plan to use technology and social media to help the VNC expand its reach. Specifically, within the next year the VNC will begin to provide free WiFi at its Board Meetings. We will live-stream our meetings on the internet and record them. Eventually, we'd like to be able to take questions and hear comments from residents over the web. We realize that many residents are not able to attend our meetings for one reason or another, but they still care about the issues and have a right to know what's happening and engage with us. I'm very excited for this program.
Who are your primary supporters?
That's a tough question because there's no one answer. The support I've built over the past couple OF years is diverse and comes from meeting a lot of Venitians and doing a lot of listening -- whether it's at the Dollar Store, the Venice Farmer's Market or Hal's. Every day I try to meet new residents from different backgrounds and neighborhoods to hear what the important issues are for them. They respect my willingness to be a voice for them when it comes time to vote or requires action from the Councilmember's office or City Hall. My supporters understand my passion for this community and share my vision to have Venice grow in way that is beneficial for all.
What issue do you feel most strongly about and what’s your position?
I want to keep Venice local and preserve the unique characteristics that make Venice what it is. That probably means something different to everyone, but to me that means a fun, creative, diverse place, with a enduring history of being home to innovators of all types. I also realize that Venice hosts over 16 million visitors every year and provides an enormous amount of revenue to the city of Los Angeles. The infrastructure of our city was built over 100 years ago and is in need of drastic improvement. Trash all over the ground, no public parking garages, and streets that haven't been paved in 60 years just aren't acceptable. I would like to continue to bring together the leaders of our community to remind residents and business owners that these improvement won't be made without their involvement.
What's one thing most constituents don't know about you?
I own a 12 pound chihuahua that I rescued from a local shelter. And yes, I always pick up his poop.
Matt Kline is running for Community Outreach Officer on the Venice Neighborhood Council, at two-year term. To read more candidate profiles, click here.