Last week an email was sent to the Venice Neighborhood Council Board by a woman supporting a friend who had the courage to air her discomfort about VNC board member and presidential candidate Jim Murez’ alleged sexual harassment and bullying. Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise to many in the community who have known about his misogynistic tendencies for a good while. How this has gone unaddressed for so long is ridiculous and shameful. It speaks to the harmful culture that has become characteristic of the collective VNC board the past 5 years.
On Jun 2, 2021, at 12:03 AM, Aimee > wrote:
I apologize for the brevity of may email but I’m traveling and have been on airplane wifi as I’m getting requests for the official compliant. I have attached it to this email…
On Jun 1, 2021, at 8:23 PM, Aimee wrote:
Dear VNC and women leaders of Venice,
In the process of learning about the candidates running in the upcoming election, I pulled up the application for my ballot by mail and started reading about the candidates on the website. As I scrolled to the next presidential candidate I was shocked and horrified to see Mr. James Murez is running for president and I immediately moved to action to put this together for the women of our community. Each of us are exercising our first amendment right to speak up about this issue.
A few months ago a very close friend of mine that I have known for over 20 years (my old college roommate) called me after some terrible incidents occurred while she was helping her father with his olive oil business during the pandemic at the local Venice Farmer’s Market. In her time at the market, she experienced several incidents of the Manager speaking to her in an unwanted sexual nature to the point where she felt uneasy and (after consulting with her father) they decided to leave the Venice Farmer’s Market despite the otherwise positive experience with the members of our community. As her friend, I listened to her experiences in horror and I urged her to move forward with documenting her complaint despite all the fear and anxiety that comes with facing such a man directly. I have attached her email she asked to be shared with the women leaders of Venice in hopes that her story will resonate with you. This behavior is a liability to the VNC at a time when I would imagine working together with all genders and races is more important than ever. She is willing to share her complaint originally sent to the California Department of Food and Agriculture and directly to Mr. Murez.
Since Gina came forward with her complaint another woman has also come forward, but she is fearful of losing her job. Her anonymous complaint is attached below Gina’s email. I understand this is a sensitive time and a sensitive topic, but I urge you to read each of these ladies’ words and read them from the perspective of a friend, of a father, of a husband, and most of all as a fellow woman.
I hope after you take the time to do this that you will choose to support an alternate candidate that will collaborate with all people equally. The behavior described in these ladies’ emails is toxic and detrimental to progress for Venice at a time when I believe positive progress is imperative.
I appreciate your time and I look forward to a positive future for our Venice…
Begin forwarded message:
Subject: Re: Letter from Gina
Date: June 1, 2021 at 11:20:35 AM PDT
Hello women running with Jim Murez for VNC and other women leaders in Venice who may see this:
My name is Gina. A very close friend of mine alerted me that there are important elections in Venice right now for the Neighborhood Council, and to her horror she saw that Jim Murez was running for President and immediately called me.
She knew that I had been a vendor at the Venice Farmers Market because I had confided in her about uncomfortable experiences working with Mr. Murez in 2020 and 2021. After 3 different occasions of what I felt to be inappropriate work behavior, I quit the Venice Farmers market and documented my reasons with a detailed letter sent to Mr. Murez as well as the governing body of the markets, the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
My letter refers to only my personal experiences, but I will say that on more than 10 occasions, vendors and customers told me that his behavior was recurrent with other women. Some of the male vendors told me that they had to warn their female staff about his attitude and unwanted flirting. When I told a few of the vendors about my encounters with him, they told me that was common behavior for Jim.
I am willing to share my letter that was sent to Mr. Murez and the California Department of Food and Ag, but I’m not sure what is legally allowed.
Thank you for listening. This was not easy for me to do earlier in the year when I came forward the first time and it is equally difficult now.
Jane Doe email:
To whom it may concern
I was at work and overheard a co-worker speaking at a farmers market and she had mentioned that the Venice Beach farmers market manager was potentially running for public office and I felt like I had to speak up. I am afraid of retaliation and so do hope to remain anonymous.
I worked at the market in Venice Beach for several years. There was always tension and angst. Racism, hatred, sexual harassment, nepotism, abuse of power. The majority of the people who worked along side me were undocumented and silences by fear. I was afraid also and I have citizenship but tgr loss of income kept me silent for a long time. But not no longer, once I found out Jim.coukd potentially run or even have a bit of influence in running Venice Beach a land mark city in our most amazing State. I had to speak up! I’ve been a target of Jim’s and have seen what his anger and ignorance can do and hus influence. Conduct an investigation ask a few people and not “his friends” but minorities or common folks ask them about Jim I bet you would be shocked to hear what they say. One day he was yelling at me in my face spit flying everywhere, he said. “I am the law when you are here (talking about farmers market parking lot) I run the show”. Well that’s his mentality he is in control and doesn’t want to listen or work with anyone. How can somebody who is a nightmare to work with lead a city!
Also sorry for typos I am dyslexic and struggle severely with spelling.
This message from the victims of Jim Murez’ to the VNC was sent last week on June 1st. The only known acknowledgement of the email regarding Murez’ sexual harassment claims from a VNC board member was from Alex Neiman who responded with support. Current VNC President Ira Koslow has been silent as well as Jim Murez and the all the women on the VNC and his “Common Sense” Venice slate. What a disgrace.
Not only have they and all his supporters turned a blind eye and concern to all his racist tendencies (first baptist church of venice, Mexican american traquero monument, etc.) but they’re even unconcerned about the safety of women. Wait. Wait… You mean the “Clean and Safe” common sense slate is not addressing violenc, bullying, and rape culture towards women? 🤦🏾♂️ . The men and women on the VNC or “Common Sense Venice “can’t even address safety issues within their own circle but they wanna lead it for the community?
Pretty clear even they don’t believe their own bs.
The women who had the courage to address this concern for a second time were slightly discouraged because they thought people would take it as merely political instead of the heartfelt concern that it really is. Reminder, this is not the first time these women have brought up this issue looking for justice and resolution nor has it been the first time women in general have complained about Jim Murez bullying behaviour..to no avail. Enough with enabling misogynist behavior in our community and our city sanctioned public forums. Will the real responsible humans who care please step up?
Demand to VNC and/or EmpowerLA:
please send emails to: