Venice (S)Election, says Yes to Gentrifiers— No to People of Color

venice ca neighborhood elections

Venice Chamber of Commerce takes over VNC- Installs All White Board

The 2016 Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) election results are in: an all White, mostly gentrifier, real estate business oriented board now holds the majority of the 21 board seats. Many have already dubbed it “The Venice Chamber of Commerce Board.”  For all the newly elected seats who allegedly want to “preserve Venice’s diversity” no people of color were endorsed by the winning (and highly financed) slate despite there being 8 POC candidates (most of them natives)  to choose from.

gentrification board venice, ca neighborhood election

The Venice Neighborhood Council Elections took place Sunday June 5th, 2016 from 10am-6pm. This election yielded its largest turnout ever with an estimated participation of 2700 voters. This is said to be an approximate 1300 voter increase from VNC’s 2014 election. Not so coincidently all executive VNC seat winners secured their win by a clear 1300 votes.

As expected, the 2016 VNC Election season has been laced with controversy.  Many attribute the high turnout to effective fear based campaigning tactics and employer pressure.  From fear mongering propaganda distribution to non-local voters being brought into vote,  the shenanigans hit new highs, or more accurately, new lows. Even some older African-American women who were turned away from voting likened it to their experience of racism in the South.

VNC By-laws Also to Blame:

Also to blame  for the controversy were well known flaws in the VNC by-laws which were authored by VNC Parliamentarian Ivan Spiegel and longtime VNC officers Joe Murphy and Ira Koslow. The most substantial flaw noted was the lack of not locking in the definition of a “stakeholder.”  According to EmpowerLA rep Jay Handal, the flaws in VNC By-laws were well known by past VNC presidents but were never amended to protect the from being exploited. But it is what it is, Ryavec’s  Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA) and the Venice Chamber of Commerce (VCC) were on a mission to take over the VNC and they accomplished it with flying colors dollars.

Those who care about the true spirit and culture of Venice, join us in being more active and vigilant as ever. There are still ways to keep pressure on the new VNC board as well as exercise our political power. Stay tuned to Save Venice for upcoming actions and don’t forget to donate to our lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles.

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