Neighborhood Council Election Coming Soon

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By Greta Cobar

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) had a candidate recruitment kick-off party on January 17 at the Electric Lodge. More than 40 possible candidates showed up to meet each other and find out what they need to do to run for office. New candidates had the chance to talk to past and present members, drink some wine and have a good time. The terms of all twenty-one board members are expiring, so all positions are up for grabs.

Elections will take place April 11, but the candidate filing period ends February 10. For more information as a voter or a candidate, go to VeniceNC.org.

Mike Newhouse, the current president of the VNC, encouraged the attendees to run for board office by saying that “the last three and a half years, I’ve had a lot of fun.” According to him, “the Neighborhood Council almost acts as a Venice City Council, in a way.” Not sure in which “way,” though, as we don’t have the power of cityhood. All we have is a Councilmember, Bill Rosendahl, representing us and the rest of Council District 11, which spams from Brentwood to Westchester. It also happens to include Venice.

Rosendahl, who is amazingly active in all Venice happenings, also spoke at this event. According to him, “the point of the Neighborhood Council is to help me make decisions.” It seems like a far out, powerless cry from a Venice citizen as well as from the Neighborhood Council.

One thing that Rosendahl talked about at the VNC party was “our need to find safe locations for cars and campers.” He empathetically spoke of a woman who was asked by a police officer to get out of her RV and sleep on the sidewalk, or she would have to be arrested for sleeping in her car. He made it seem as if the choice is between that and permit parking, with specially designed areas for RV and car dwellers to use between 2 and 6 am.

Yes, he is once again going after permit parking. As a matter of fact, he is now trying to go around the Coastal Commission by asking the City Attorney to “revise the definition of an oversize vehicle; to provide a process for a Councilmember to establish oversize vehicle restrictions if no permits are involved; and to allow the department to install oversize vehicle parking restriction signs at the request of a Councilmember.”

That would give him power over the whole permit parking situation. Word is that he has just recently had a secret meeting with anti-homeless “new arrivals” in Venice.

Rosendahl also talked emotionally about seeing one of his former partners benefit from medical marijuana while battling AIDS, but at the same time expressed an inability to do anything against the majority vote of the Los Angeles City Council. As a matter of fact, he warned us that the ordinance is likely to get the simple majority of the 15-member council, be signed by Antonio Villaraigosa, and reduce the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Venice to one.

That’s 29 less than the current 30 that we have. The already-approved-since ordinance will also cap the number of dispensaries in Los Angeles at 70, from the several hundreds that are open now. It seems like those 70 would have to have to have at least 100 cashiers working at each store to cater to the current demand. And of all things, it will also make it illegal to sell medical marijuana for profit. Meanwhile, even water is sold for profit, while pharmaceutical companies don’t seem to be bothered about their sky-rocketing profits. In this economy, it’s weird to have the government close down hundreds of flourishing businesses. There likely will be lawsuits and a more compromising settlement will have to be reached.

Is it really big news that the bathrooms on the beach are absolutely disgusting, that the lines can be hour-long on a summer weekend and that they close at sunset? And yet Rosendahl asked the audience why a homeless person is blamed for “urinating or defecating” on the street when there is nowhere else to go. Well, ya, that’s been going on for a while now, so just because he decides to talk about it does not solve the problem. But we do live in America, and toilet paper should not be a luxury. And being able to use the bathroom should be a basic human right.

Politics have not worked for us in the past, but we’ve strived in spite of that. And we’ve had a good fight going for a long time. And Bill says he loves us. Well, he definitely knows us, I’ll give him that. And I have to say that he is a great speaker. And it’s your Venice, so get involved! To run for one of the 21 seats available on the Neighborhood Council, turn in your application by February 10. And check out VeniceNC.org for everything else.

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