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Final Field Set for Venice Neighborhood Council Election on Oct. 28

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By Paul Chavez, Venice Dispatch

More than 40 people, including four incumbents, a stand-up comedian and a descendant of the former governor of Massachusetts, have declared their candidacy for 13 community officer positions up for election on the Venice Neighborhood Council.

All 21 positions on the council will be on the ballot during the Oct. 28 election and each has two-year terms. The election will feature a race between incumbent board president Linda Lucks and challenger Richard Duncan. There also will be a three-way contest for chair of the Land Use and Planning Committee between incumbent Jake Kaufman, Walk Streets Association leader Sue Kaplan and Matthew Schildkret, a member of the Occupy Venice group. The election for Outreach Officer has five candidates, including incumbent Matt Kline.

The deadline for candidates to file for the election was Friday.

Lucks in her candidate filing form asked to be re-elected “to promote a spirit of cooperation, civility and inclusion, where all feel free to speak their minds and where our collective voice is strong in Venice and at City Hall.”

Duncan  announced his run for board president on the Yo Venice! site. In his candidate filing form, Duncan said he was running “to help us solve the complex problems we are facing” and “to bring balance to our community.”

In the three-person race for the chair of the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPAC), the incumbent Kaufman, who was elected to the post two years ago, said in his filing form that he would lead the committee “to create parking and mobility solutions” during his second term, while maintaining Venice’s character. Kaplan in her filing form vowed to make the building permit process easier and noted that she introduced a recent board motion to consider mass and scale when issuing building permits. Schildkret, who unsuccessfully ran for a vacant vice president spot on the council in December 2011, has a master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. He said in his filing form that he would “be honored to use my ability to be resourceful, my education, my experience, and love for Venice all to improve the way Venice looks and feels.”

Marc Saltzberg, who first joined the council board in 2007, was the lone candidate to file for the vice president position. Hugh Harrison, the current treasurer, also is seeking re-election unopposed. Helen Stotler and current board member Jed Pauker are vying for the Communications Officer position.

Kline, who organized the well attended Silicon Beach Town Hall in April, will compete with incumbent community officer Mariana Aguilar, Gogi Overhoff, Beth Allyn and Peter Cambor for the Outreach Officer position. Lloyd Jacobs, a former principal at Venice High School, will run against Therese Dietlin for the Factual Basis Community Officer position.

The 42 candidates vying for the 13 at-large community officer positions includes four incumbents: Ira Koslow, Barbara Lonsdale, Joseph Murphy and Cynthia Roger. The field also includes stand-up comedian Bronston Jones, who hosts Venice Underground Comedy at The Townhouse, and Gigi Gaston, a 20-year Venice resident who said in her filing form that she comes from a “lineage of politicians,” including William Gaston, the former Boston mayor and governor of Massachusetts.

A complete list of the candidates and their statements, if filed, can be found right here.

A forum for the candidates will be held Oct. 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Westminster Avenue Elementary School. The forum will include mini-debates with questions asked by the election committee, a meet-and-greet with stakeholders and an opportunity to share campaign literature.

The election will be held Sunday, Oct. 28, at Westminster Avenue Elementary School in Venice. The city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) and an independent election administrator will oversee the election.

The Venice Neighborhood Council is one of 95 neighborhood council boards in the nation’s second-largest city and acts as an advisory group to City Hall.

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