Erin Darling is running for the office of City Councilmember for District 11 of the Los Angeles City Council.
District 11 includes many communities and neighborhoods that make up the West Side of the City of Los Angeles. Venice is part of District 11. Erin Darling is born and raised in Venice.
On Saturday, March 26 a rally was held in Oakwood Park in the heart of Venice to raise support for Erin Darling’s candidacy. He spoke to a crowd of enthusiastic Venetians about the issues that concern Venice, and about his plans to deal with these issues when he becomes Councilmember for District 11.
Erin Darling recalled the Venice of the 1980s and 1990s as having a strong sense of “community”. He felt that if one is to be a part of the community, one has to be part of the solution in the community.
Erin Darling had gone to school in Berkeley and then returned to Southern California to serve as an attorney representing tenants facing evictions. He has worked for the Eviction Defense Network, a locally-based legal team that provides lawyers for low income tenants in eviction court.
Erin Darling talked about the issue of homelessness in Venice. He stressed that we must speak about homelessness and housing in the same breath. With the cost of rent increasing, the City of L.A. is still behind in the construction of affordable housing. New construction usually results in a proliferation of “Big Ugly Box” single family houses, which sit vacant on the same streets where unhoused people lack shelter. Mr. Darling suggested vacancy laws to motivate developers to create more affordable housing.
Erin Darling pointed out that homelessness can’t be solved by just shutting down parks. He spoke of the need for a mental health response team instead of more police with more guns. He proposed permanent supportive housing in the community, with housing navigators to help people to get over the bureaucratic barriers to housing.
Erin Darling supported the “Right of Return” for people who have been displaced from the community by gentrification. He said that Venice shouldn’t be just for rich White people, and that the safest community is a well-resourced community.
Erin Darling drew the connection between housing affordability and climate change. Many of the people who work on the West Side can’t afford to live on the West Side. Their daily commute causes traffic congestion to get worse and vehicle emissions to increase. Mr. Darling envisioned L.A. operating on 100% renewable energy by 2035. He said that this can be achieved only with community backing.
Erin Darling talked about the neighborhood of Oakwood, and of the mistreatment of the members of the community by the L.A.P.D. Under the rules of the L.A.P.D.’s “gang injunction”, Black and Brown men couldn’t be in Oakwood Park, the very park where this rally was being held. Mr. Darling noted that the L.A.P.D.’s Communications Department gets more money than its Youth Program. And social workers make $20,000 less than police officers.
Erin Darling spoke individually with Venetians at the rally. Regarding the recent City Council approval of historical status for the First Baptist Church of Venice, he was asked about safeguarding historical and cultural community spaces in Venice. He said that the City can save jeopardized spaces, and he cited not only the First Baptist Church of Venice but also the Lincoln Place Apartments in Venice. He lamented of the loss of Windward Farms Market as a community resource. He spoke of the need to preserve the physical places and historical monuments but, most importantly, to make sure that they remain open to the people in the community.
There are a number of candidates running for Council District 11. Most of them are gentrifiers who already have a record of enabling the displacement of Venetians and the destruction of Venice’s historical spaces. Erin Darling is the only candidate who is FROM Venice. He is the only candidate who will work FOR Venice.