We were recently shooting down on the Boardwalk for our documentary, 90291: VENICE UNZIPPED, when I finally really got down and looked at the wonderful tiles embedded in the benches all along Ocean Front Walk. Each depicts a classic time and place in Venice, and show what has always made our Community special and unique.
I know many of us feel that is all being threatened these days on several fronts, and that we often feel helpless to create positive change and reject the negative ... but we're not. We all have a voice, and you can exercise yours this weekend during the Venice Neighborhood Council elections by showing up to vote for the people that deeply care about the spirit of Venice, and wish to preserve it - not merely profit from it.
I can't be there for everything happening in Venice this weekend, as I'm in Minnesota taking care of things for my ailing Mother, so I extra get that feeling of helplessness ... but I can at least tell you what I think. There have been nefarious forces at work for some time on both the VNC and the Venice Chamber of Commerce, and I really think it's time to clean house in both of those organizations. You may recall the stories about the Chamber not letting Venice Pride use the Venice Sign for the annual sign lighting and party over strictly personal beefs and shady accounting. Well, now they've gone ahead and lit the sign rainbow ahead of Pride - not allowing them to have the countdown or anything - and the "scheduled maintenance" they said they were doing on the sign for the month of June appears to be another lie. Venice Pride had to go ahead and order their own sign as a backup plan, so now there will be a double rainbow during tomorrow's Pride celebration! Pride will never go down without the FUN.
The Chamber also scheduled their "Flower Fest" for the exact same day as Pride, and got the Art Crawl to join them. The Chamber/Flower Fest situation is what started all of the issues with Venice Pride, as the Chamber didn't have enough money in their budget to make it happen last year, so resorted to ever shadier tactics (which they wrongly accused Venice Pride of, hypocritically - and there's plenty of documentation to prove it) to throw the event - that pretty much no one attended. I don't have time to get into all of it here and now, as I'm dealing with pressing family things here, but I will tell you that you can trust me on the fact that I wouldn't cast a single vote for anyone who endorses the Venice Chamber hijinks. Or anyone that values property value or development over Community, creativity, and empathy. Who I WOULD vote for are who the people who share my deep desire to preserve that special light of Venice are voting for:
Community Officer: Jim Robb/Brian Averill
Outreach: Joselyn Williams
Chair of Land Use and Planning Committee: Alix Gucovsky
Vice President: Grant Turck (!!!!!!)
President: Ira Koslow
There are more categories to vote for, and I don't have time to get all the way into it now ... but for those I would definitely err on the side of the longer they have lived in Venice, the more chance they get my vote. Because they simply care more and GET IT more. There is a an all day (10-6) BBQ on Sunday at 1301 Main Street hosted by Robb, Averill, and Gucovsky that you can hit up before or after you vote - or both. Get to know the people that love and care about Venice and want to be stewards of what our late great poet, Philomene Long called "the light of Venice" ...
That the light of Venice
not be extinguished
nor simply maintained.
But that that light burn, burn, burn
into a boundless luminosity!
I look forward to hearing that the right people were elected, and that Pride was the best ever this year! Cheers, fun, and LOVE to all Venetians!!!
*And do check out the marvelous benches, as well as the book about them - Art Tiles At Venice Beach!