Jim Smith

Neighborhood Council Final Election Results

By Jim Smith

Venice voters elected two women April 11 – Linda Lucks and Carolyn Rios – to lead its neighborhood council for the next two years. Both are long-time activists in Venice and have held office in the VNC. On the other hand, a relatively unknown candidate for Land Use Committee Chair, Jacob Kaufman, eked out a victory of 19 votes over Adam Glick.

The big question leading up to the election was whether Mark Ryavec, a candidate for vice president and Jim Hubbard, who was running for president, could parlay their support for Venice overnight permit parking districts (OPDs) into success in the election. In spite of a flyer from Ryavec that was distributed all over Venice a couple of days before the election, their hoped-for-hordes did not turn out at the Oakwood Recreation Center’s polling place. Both Hubbard and Ryavec ran as write-in candidates (what were they thinking?). In the end, efforts by some of their supporters to portray Lucks and Rios as irresponsible and inexperienced backfired as even some OPD supporters told the Beachhead that they were voting for the two women.

The hotly contested at-large community officer positions, with 29 candidates battling for 13 slots, resulted in a mostly new crew who will take their seats at the June VNC meeting. Only three of the 13, Ira Koslow, Cynthia Rogers and Kris Valentine are incumbents. Mariana Aguilar, the top vote getter, and write-in Scot Kramarich, were endorsed by Ryavec. Another write-in, Peter Thottam, who is also running for state Assembly, was elected to an at-large position. Ivonne Guzmán, who is an articulate supporter of humane treatment of homeless people, had the second largest number of votes after Aguilar, who is her ideological opposite. Whether the sharp division of opinion on OPDs will carry over to other issues remains to be seen.

Amanda Seward, who was strongly recommended by the Beachhead, won with 72 percent, the most decisive victory of any candidate who had ballot opposition. Except for three close calls, all other candidates recommended in last month’s paper won.

Other victors who had little or no opposition included: Marc Saltzberg, outreach officer; Hugh Harrison, treasurer; Joe Murphy, secretary; and Brennan Linder, communications officer. All are incumbents except for Lindner. Former president Mike Newhouse will now become the non-voting president emeritus.

Diversity took another beating in the final results. Only nine of the 21 who were elected are women. Two of the 21 are Latinas, and only one is African American. It may not be entirely the fault of the voters that the new board is so white and male. When voters were allowed to vote for more at-large candidates, the board was much more diverse. When the by-laws were changed to prevent voters from voting for more than one of the 14 (now 13) at-large candidates, the result was disastrous for women, African-Americans and Latinos.

Here are the final results:

Total voters: 1225

PRESIDENT: Linda Lucks – 719    66%  –  Jim Hubbard – 378  (write in)

VICE PRESIDENT: Carolyn Rios – 649    61%  –  Mark Ryavec – 421  (write in)

LAND USE COMMITTEE CHAIR: Jacob Kaufman – 367    51%  –  Adam Glick – 348

OUTREACH OFFICER: Marc Saltzberg – 634   92%  –  Anthony Perez – 53  (write in)

AT-LARGE COMMUNITY OFFICERS: (13 top voter getters are elected):

1.  Mariana Aguilar – 173     17%  (of total votes for community officers)

2.  Ivonne Guzmán – 112    11%

3.  Jed Pauker – 81  8%

4.  Ira Koslow – 80   8%

5.  Scot Kramarich – 66 (write in)  6%

6. Cynthia Rogers – 49    5%

7.  Kris Valentine – 46   4%

7.  Peter Thottam – 46 (write in) 4%

9.  Clark McCutchen – 45 4%

10. Kelley Willis – 44   4%

11. Cindy Chambers – 39   4%

12. Daffodil Tyminski – 30     3%

13. Stasia Patwell – 28    3%

FACTUAL BASIS COMMUNITY OFFICER: Amanda Seward – 555   72%  – Therese Dietlin – 110  –  David Bradt – 102

UNOPPOSED: Treasurer – Hugh Harrison – 646;

Secretary – Joe Murphy – 666;

Communications Officer – Brennan Lindner – 587