Naomi Nightingale. PhD


July 18, 2023

Good evening, Council-elect Members of the Venice Neighborhood Council and ladies and gentlemen of the audience.
The City of Los Angeles is a Mayor-Council Commission form of government as defined in the Los Angeles City Charter, which was originally adopted by the voters of Los Angeles, effective July 1, 1925, and reaffirmed by a New Charter, effective July 1, 2000.

It is under the auspices of the July 1, 2000, Charter that this body here tonight was elected and should function. The goal of the Neighborhood Council is to promote public
Participation in city governance and decision-making process to create a government more to local needs. In the specific case of this Venice Neighborhood Council, you are to create a government more responsive to the needs of the Venice Community.

The Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council was certified on March 12, 2002. Leading up to that certification, I was proud to work with many individuals in the community, particularly Tisha Bedrosian, who was at the forefront of organizing the Council, attempting to include a diverse body of people from every interest in the Venice Community, having meetings in churches, temples, schools, community centers, the Boys and Girls Club, homes, and even at the storage facility. We wanted to be sure that everyone who wanted to have a voice in the design and development of the new community-elected body would have the opportunity to do so. The names listed as filing the Grassroots Neighborhood Council on March 12, 2002, are Tisha Bedrosian, Greg Fitchitt, Jeffrey Miles, Chris Williams, and Naomi Nightingale.

I am honored to be here in this place before my community and the elected individuals seated in readiness to be sworn in as the Venice Neighborhood Council. It is somewhat déjà vu because in 2003 I stood in readiness to be sworn in as the Vice President of the then, Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council. I proudly served as Vice-President with Dede Audet, (RIP), as President, a well-respected, informed, powerfully influential woman who dedicated her life to striving for the well-being, prosperity, and social justice of all people in the Venice community. Yolanda Gonzalez, Phil RaiderRichard Meyer, CJ Cole, Colette Bailey also served during that time. We did not all think alike or always agree but we were always respectful of each other — a quality that has been lost or forgotten I noticed as I have listened to other Council meetings over the years.

At the beginning of the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council, there were seven at-large seats and seven geographic districts which assured there was representation from throughout Venice and not a disproportionate number of representatives from businesses who could have their employees vote as stakeholders.

It is my hope that the body that sits now to be sworn in is the beginning of a change toward representing the community in all of its uniqueness, diversity, and common good for the building and maintenance of the community, and may it be from the heart and not with personal profit and erasure as its goal.

Now, Venice Neighborhood Council Member – Elects, please stand and raise your right hand and repeat after me – (from your heart):

I pledge to represent my neighborhood with dignity, integrity, and pride.
I will encourage other points of view, even when they differ from my own.
I will respect, value, and consider everyone’s opinion.
I will find the good in my neighborhood and praise it and promote it.
To my neighbors, and to neighborhoods throughout the City of Los Angeles, I pledge to do this to the best of my ability.

Naomi Nightingale, PhD
President, Oakwood Preservation Coalition
Member, Original Save Venice