“Perceptions of Improprieties” Halt 320 Sunset

By Krista Schwimmer

In one of her last acts as the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC)
President, Linda Lucks opened the May 7 Land Use and Planning (LUPC)
meeting by pulling the controversial 320 Sunset Avenue project off the
agenda. Citing “perceptions of impropriety” as the reason, Lucks said
the project would go directly to the VNC. A new staff report would be
written with fresh eyes. “I think this is in the best interest of the
community,” stated Lucks.

Her authority to do this was immediately challenged by LUPC Chair, Jake
Kaufman, as well as Project Architect, Steve Vitallch, who claimed the
applicant had already gone beyond what was necessary and called the
process a “kangaroo court”. Jim Murez also chimed in against Lucks,
saying, “this board reports to the bylaws.” He said the bylaws say
nothing about the VNC President being able to appoint anyone else
outside the committee. Murez was recently soundly defeated by Robin
Rudisill in a run to replace Jake Kaufman as the Chair of LUPC.

Linda Lucks held her ground, however, telling all present that “I have
full authority to make this decision.”

At the May 20 meeting the VNC moved and passed the motion (9-3-1)
that 320 Sunset Ad Hoc Committee be formed to create a staff report on
320 Sunset Avenue Bakery/Restaurant for the board within 30 days.