Time to Throw the Bums Out!
Like the nation, this year is an election year for Neighborhood Councils across Los Angeles.
Candidate filing for the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) has already begun and will conclude on Wednesday, April 6th.
At the February VNC Board meeting, Ivan Spiegel, Chair of the Rules and Elections Committee, stated that “if you like the way the Board’s voting, then run and join them. Because we need more people. If you don’t like the way the Board is voting, as I like to say, from Brooklyn, throw the bums out!” This year, they are aiming for sixty candidates for the twenty-one seats available.
So far, seven people have registered to run for the two year seats on the VNC. These include Ira Koslow, for President of the Board; Yolanda Gonzalez, for Vice President; and Vytas Juskys and Thomas R. Sauer competing for Chair of the Land Use and Planning Committee.
The VNC website states there will be two recruitment events in March: March 12th, a candidate recruitment BBQ, noon – 2pm, at Oakwood Recreation Center; and March 31st, a speaker-oriented candidate event. No place is listed yet for this second event.
For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org/Elections or call 818-293-VOTE. To file, go directly to: https://cityclerk.lacity.org/nccr/#/login
Nice Guys Finish Last.
At the February Board Meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC), the Board denied “nice guy” Carl Lambert’s application for a change of use from a 32-unit apartment building to a 32-unit transient residential occupancy structure for 417 Ocean Front Walk, or “Venice Suites”.
A large crowd came out for just this item. President Mike Newhouse, (aka “The Dictator of Time”), stated they had never had 108 speaker cards on an item before. For the spiritually inclined, this is the same number for the amount of beads found on a buddhist mala, used for counting prayers.
Carl Lambert, who bought the building in the ‘90’s, stated “this is the return to the Biltmore by the Sea, to its historical roots.” He argued that most of the buildings on the Board Walk then were advertised as weekly, daily, and monthly. He cited the concept of “vested rights” to support his application to convert.
Community members speaking in support of Carl Lambert’s application often referred to him as a nice guy who has helped Venice through the years. Community members speaking against Lambert’s request thought otherwise. Judy Goldman, a co-founder of Keep Neighborhoods First, called Lambert “a serial violator . . . who knowingly, time after time, has profited greatly by removing rent-stabilized apartments from building after building, displacing more than 110 tenants.”
Amanda Seward, an attorney known for her preservation work, pointed out that dating from 1926, the certificate of occupancy for Lambert’s property describes it as an apartment building, not as a hotel; and that short-term rentals are illegal in this zone. She concluded by stating, “This is not about how nice a guy Carl Lambert is. It’s about following rules. We need to save our long-term, residential housing in Venice.”
The actual motion presented to the VNC Board, which was to DENY Lambert’s request, passed by a vote of 10-6-1. So, at least on that night, the community decided that “nice guys” do finish last. If Lambert, however, is like many of the current developers here in Venice right now, it’s doubtful that we have heard the last from him.