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?
As Land Use and Planning Chair, my priority would be to represent the neighborhoods. We all want to participate in deciding the future of Venice—old and new residents alike--and I will see that the community does have a voice in the process.
With all the growth in Venice, we need balance. How do we as a community maintain the vibrancy of Abbot Kinney Blvd and Rose Avenue with the quality of life issues for the existing neighbors. As head of the Walk Streets neighborhood, I know how to facilitate those kinds of tough conversations so everyone walks away a winner.
I would create a clear, understandable process that invites neighbors and project developers to participate, not one that is skewed toward the developer like many residents have complained of these last two years.
LUPC should be a resource for the community, not just for project owners, but an ombudsman-like outlet for community members to ask land use questions so their concerns are known all along.
People don’t necessarily want to show up at every meeting or to be actively involved, and we need to understand that. That is why they want trusted, fair and accessible leaders. A lot of people have felt that there was not a place for them at LUPC’s meetings. I want to see a committee that people can trust that will hear everyone fairly and openly.
Who are your primary supporters?
Everyone who cares about neighborhoods. Venetians understand that it is important to safeguard our neighborhoods during this time of development and that is why they’re supporting me. We understand that protecting what is here does not preclude thoughtful growth and the vital architectural scene that makes Venice so unique.
What issue do you feel most strongly about and what is your position?
As LUPC Chair, I will care strongly about the integrity of the various Land Use Plans in the Venice area. I want to see that LUPC committee members understand and honor these documents. After all, they were created by the people of Venice. They are not perfect, there is some lack of clarity but they are tools to protect neighbors and neighborhoods and to guide growth.
I want to see that a balance is established between the existing and new neighbors. Facilitating neighborhood discussions, I’ve seen that such a process doesn’t pit neighbor against neighbor. It can be a win all around. In my neighborhood we have successfully facilitated positive outcomes between neighbors. Contentious situations have been averted simply by engaging in productive, constructive dialogues that resulted in projects that met everyone’s concerns and needs. I understand nobody wants to be told what to do with their property but these are our neighborhoods. It is important to look at how new projects affect the neighbors in the immediate neighborhoods. This is LUPC’s job: representing the neighbors and neighborhoods to the City where the decisions about projects are made.
What is one thing most constituents don’t know about you?
I am a research librarian.
Why did you decide to run?
Every issue in Venice I look at, I ask “What is good for the neighborhood?” For the past 8 years, I have worked with my neighbors to build a neighborhood association. I have organized Movie Night where we come out to the street and watch movies simply because bringing together neighbors makes good neighborhoods.
For the past seven years, I have supported Westminster Elementary School and have volunteered in a classroom every week because good schools make good neighborhoods.
I love the local businesses here and frequent them as much as possible because good businesses make good neighborhoods.
I have built good relations with many City personnel that will help in conveying LUPC’s programs and decisions to the people that matter because good relations make good neighborhoods.
A good LUPC makes a good neighborhood.
Sue Kaplan is running for a seat on the Land Use and Planning Committee, a two-year term. To read more candidate profiles, click here.