By Erica Snowlake
I felt honored to attend the first meeting of the revived Town Council Friday night,May 23 at the Venice United Methodist Church Auditorium on Lincoln Blvd.
Nearly 50 people and one mellow dog gathered in a heptagonal round to re-animate “the Body.” Anticipatory excitement filled the air as we shared a communal feast courtesy of Food Not Bombs, while listening to the soothing homespun tunes of Venice bard Peter Damien, (praising those immortal shopping bag ladies).
Demetrius and Peggy Lee Kennedy co-inspired a marinara for the hemp seed topped pasta, with a green salad and sweet pineapple chunks for dessert.
We introduced ourselves in a go-around, heard announcements, then chose a facilitator/ chair and secretary/note taker for the evening.
Jim Smith led us in a comprehensive reading of the “Resolution,” stating the aim and purpose of the council; specifically “Whereas, The people of Venice need a forum for expressing themselves, and making decisions, on the important issues affecting them.”
This not-for-profit organization will consider placing anyone’s item on the meeting’s agenda, though you must be a Venice resident, i.e. local, to vote. All decisions are (hopefully) agreed upon by consensus, otherwise a vote of hands or a carrying aye or nay will do. The Venice Town Council plans to meet once a month, yet people are so fired up with the urgency of the issues at hand the group moved to meet again in two weeks! (due to scheduling problems at the auditorium, the meeting will be held on June 13 at 7pm).
And the issues are: Solutions for Homelessness, Venice Boardwalk Ordinances and Lottery, Beach Environmental Protection, Permit Parking, Save the Venice Art Walls, Venice Cityhood, Protection for the Trees of Venice, Police Relations, red curbs that go on forever, and perhaps most importantly, a renewed Moratorium on Development.
The Town Council has already taken positions on several important issues, including saving 28 rent-controlled apartments at the Venice Manor, and opposing Proposition 98, which would ban rent control in California. We also voted for very democratic rules to run the organization, including having a rotating chair/facilator and secretary.
The previous VTC enjoyed a nearly 20 year run and organized very effectively against unsustainable development in Venice, influencing L.A. City Council decisions and the Coastal Commission reviews.
So dear Venice is embodying a Body once more, of and for the people. A group mind with limitless power to create and uphold a healthy and happy sustainable community for all, a forum in which to discuss the details of our timely co-existence.
Manifestations of true democracy, free speech, and free assembly for the respectful sharing of ideas and actions in equality and dignity to ensure we live in a land of harmony and longevity.
Indeed, the evening was fairly merry-spent, lastly, we thanked one another for coming out to participate, caring enough to leave, at least for the evening, car commercials and war machines far behind. The next meeting, scheduled for Friday, June 13, 7 pm, again at the Venice United Methodist Church Auditorium, 2210 Lincoln Blvd., promises more lively fun and unity, please join in!