VNC Administrative Committee Meeting Agenda

12/08/2008 - 7:00pm
12/08/2008 - 9:30pm

Extra Space Storage, Presidents Row Room
658 South Venice Blvd, Venice, 90291
Monday, December 8, 2008 at 7:00 PM

Note: The Administrative Committee does not address or consider the merits of proposed agenda items. Its function is to determine whether a proposed agenda item will be placed on the next Board meeting agenda, postponed, referred to a specific committee for review and recommendation, treated as an announcement, or considered and resolved as a non-Board administrative matter.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call

2. Approval of the AdCom Agenda

3. Approval of any outstanding Administrative Committee minutes submitted by the Secretary

November 10, 2008 Administrative Committee Meeting Minutes
(see http://venicenc.org/files/081110VNCAdComMinutesRev.doc)

4. Announcements & Public Comment on items not on the Agenda (15 min, no more than 2 minutes per person)

5. Old AdCom Business

A Ivan Spiegel: Bylaws changes to be made prior to June 2009 to bring VNC Bylaws into compliance with new City voting schedule and City Clerk default values. [R&E to report in 60 days to January AdCom]

B James Murez (310-399-6690; murez@venice.net) & Jed Pauker (310-839-9209; jed@jed.net): Presentation of a case tracking system for LUPC (15 min) – See AdCom Exhibit A [LUPC 60-day trial – report to January AdCom]

C Challis Macpherson (Chair-LUPC@VeniceNC.org): posting VNC agendas, board and all committees, on City of LA’s early notification listing. [JM promised to implement this but has forgotten how to do so. (^_^)]

D Ivan Spiegel (ivan13147@verizon.net): schedule the confirmation election for the two new Board members.

6. New AdCom Business

A Joe Murphy: Standing Rule 13 Principles of Representation Compliance form – See Exhibit A

B Consideration of DRAFT December 16, 2008 Board Agenda (see below)

7. Announcements & Public Comment on items not on the Agenda (15 min, no more than 2 minutes per person)

8. Adjourn

Draft – Board of Officers Meeting Agenda
Westminster Elementary School (Auditorium)
1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, 90291
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 7:00 PM

1. Call to Order and Roll Call

2. Approval of the Agenda

3. Approval of any outstanding minutes submitted by the Secretary

November 18, 2008 Board Meeting Minutes
(see http://venicenc.org/files/081118VNCBoardMinutesRevised.doc)

Committee Reports are provided in written form when available

4. Scheduled Announcements (no more than 1 minute per report unless otherwise stated)

A Mike Newhouse (president@venicenc.org): (i) Reminder of the 826LA & VNC food and clothing collection drive – make donations at bins in the back of the room and at SPARC Building, 2nd Floor, 685 Venice Blvd (contact Tara Nicole Weyr tnw30@mac.com for info); (ii) Reminder of Conflict of Interest Training – http://ethics.lacity.org/education/ethics2007/?audience=done; (iii) Reminder of Standing Rule 13, Principles of Representation and use of the Compliance Form – See Exhibit A

B Governmental Reports

• DONE: Deanna Stevenson
• LAPD: Officer Robin Richards, Senior Lead Officer
• State Assemblyperson Ted Lieu: Stephanie Molen, Liaison
• Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: Stephen Cheung, West Area Director
• City Councilperson Bill Rosendahl: Arturo Piña, Field Deputy

C Isaias Cantu (213-473-6804; isaias.cantu@lacity.org) of Neighborhood Council Election Unit: The City Clerk – Election Division is making preparations for the 2010 NC Elections. As we prepare for the elections, we want to ensure that NC Leaders are kept abreast of critical information and their feedback incorporated as we move forward. Some of the key items that we would be covering would be:

- General Election Process – Regional – NC Election Preparation (Bylaw Adjustments) – Participation in the NC Election Development Group – Approximate Election Timeline and Benchmarks (Candidate Filing, Vote-By-Mail)

Isaias Cantu, Sr. Project Coordinator, Neighborhood Council Election Unit. Service Center Manager
City of Los Angeles, Office of the City Clerk, Election Division

D Richard Deppisch (richard.deppisch@lacity.org) on behalf of EMD: Venice Tsunami Sign Installation Status Report

E Vikki Zale (vikkizale@aol.com) on behalf of DPW: 10 minute presentation to the Board for the City’s Prop O Penmar Water Quality Improvement Project. Voters approved $500 million in bonds for Prop O projects to improve water quality from stormwater runoff before reaching beaches and aims to help meet Environmental Protection Agency and federal Clean Water Act requirements, including regulatory compliance for the Santa Monica Bay Beaches Wet Weather Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The proposed Penmar project will divert stormwater from the existing Rose Avenue storm drain, route flows through a pump station into the sanitary sewer for treatment and to an underground reservoir. The project design also includes provisions to allow the City to develop a stormwater treatment and disinfection system in the future, enabling the stormwater to potentially be re-used for irrigation of the golf course and adjacent park areas.

F Linda Lucks (310-745-3240/310-450-2554; vicepresident@venicenc.org)Re: Feed the Beach on Thanksgiving Day
Dear board: I attended this event yesterday, brought and served food and shared a wonderful event with many in need and many who cared. Over 700 were served a full meal, all of it donated by Venice individuals and a few good businesses. It was a community event to be cherished. James Merced is one of the recent candidates for a board position. He is the owner of the fruit gallery on Westminster at OFW. What a guy! Ivan was there too! LL

G Ivan Spiegel (ivan13147@verizon.net): Ocean Charter School wishes to thank the Board for their Community Improvement funding.

H Ivan Spiegel (ivan13147@verizon.net): Venice 2000 wishes to thank the Board for their Community Improvement funding.

I Linda Lucks (310-745-3240/310-450-2554; Lindalucks@aol.com) on behalf of Neighborhood Committee: Invitation to Jay Handal, President of WLA Neighborhood Council to address VNC about the partnership developed between Councilman Rosendahl and WLANC to identify appropriate locations for mandated street furniture and negotiate a revenue sharing plan:
“Dear Jay: At the request of the VNC Neighborhood Committee, you are invited to address the full VNC board on 12.16.08 to share with us your experience partnering with the Council office in locating appropriate locations for street furniture and automated public toilets and the formula you used in negotiating a revenue sharing plan.”

5. Announcements & Public Comment on items not on the Agenda (15 min, no more than 2 minutes per person) no board announcements

6. Old Business

A From Board Member [Overlooked by JM for November Board Meeting]

I Linda Lucks (310-745-3240/310-450-2554; vicepresident@venicenc.org): Request of Board to send a letter to: Mayor Villaraigosa, LAPD Chief Bratton, Councilmember Rosendahl, Captain Hiltner, SLO Robin Richards, LAPD Pacific Division Police Advisory Boards as follows:

RE: Controller Chicks Audit exposing 7000 unanalyzed Rape Kits at LAPD

Controller Chick released a shocking audit reporting that over 7000 rape kits sit on the freezer shelf at LAPD, allowing rapists to go free when evidence is available to take them off the streets. The VNC urges swift action to adopt the 3 year plan as proposed by Controller Chick to clear up the backlog of unprocessed kits & to bring swift justice to already victimized women & girls in Los Angeles. When material is analyzed the good officers of LAPD can identify & find the perpetrators & get them off our streets.

B From Stakeholder [November AdCom: Postponed to 12/08 AdCom Meeting]

I Todd von Hoffmann (310-398-9231; BDBooks@aol.com) on behalf of the Venice Heritage Foundation: Request of Board to send a letter to Councilman Rosendahl and/or “To whom it may Concern”, supporting the Venice Heritage Foundation’s efforts to establish a Venice Heritage Museum along the lines of the Red Car Historical Museum in Seal Beach. Letter is:

On behalf of the VNC, I’m pleased to add my support to The Venice Heritage Foundation. Their mission statement – “Envisioning a Venice History Museum” – focuses on an important goal for our community. Abbot Kinney’s “Venice of America” has had a full and fascinating life and that continuing story deserves to be shared. While the need for a museum heritage center has often been discussed over the years, the VHF was created solely with this purpose in mind. The founding members – all lovers of things Venice – include collectors, successful community volunteers, and, significantly, noted author & historian Elayne Alexander.

The VHF plan is particularly exciting. It calls for the restoration of an original Pacific Electric Red Car to serve as the initial museum space to be located in Venice. The Seal Beach Museum has demonstrated the success of this idea with their own Red Car museum and public library residing similarly (and very appropriately) on old Pacific Electric right-of-way property.

The Foundation has located a 100 year old Red Car (PE511) ready for a home and restoration volunteers are standing by. The restored trolley itself will evoke a charming period of our history and add another treasured sight along our gateway to Venice. The VHF plan tastefully suggests an additional adjunct building replicating the old pagoda-style PE substation that used to stand nearby along Venice Blvd. called “The Tokyo Station”.

The museum space will be available to all local collections, public and private, and serve an important community function for residents, visitors, scholars, and students. We can’t think of a better theme than a celebration of our incredibly interesting past and a legacy for our future.
[August Board: Postponed to September 21, 2008 Board Meeting]
[September AdCom: Postponed to 10/21 Board Meeting]

C From LUPC [November AdCom: Postponed to 12/08 AdCom Meeting]

I Challis Macpherson (Chair-LUPC@VeniceNC.org) on behalf of LUPC: Moves that the VNC Board of Officers accept the Land Use and Planning Committee’s Staff Report, and that the Board of the VNC approve this project as conditioned that the applicant demonstrate compliance with parking requirements for the proposed project. This relates to 1711-1719 Lincoln Bl. Neighbors are concerned that the project not add to the local parking problem. One neighbor is concerned about the increased intensity of use – See Exhibit B

7. Treasurers Report – See Exhibit C accept report as presented

8. New Business

A Mike Newhouse (president@venicenc.org):

I Conflict Resolution Committee: November 21, 2008 CRC decision regarding July 15, 2008 Standing Rule 13 Complaint by Nathalie Godts against Challis McPherson – See Exhibit D

B From Westside Regional Alliance of Councils: Request that the VNC adopt the following five motions:

Motion No.1
At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council on December 16, 2008, a motion was made and seconded and passed as follows:
1. That Early Notification of all applications to the Department of City Planning, the Bureau of Engineering and to the Department of Building and Safety shall be sent to all impacted certified Neighborhood and Community Councils recognized by their Councilperson (hereafter, “council”), and the applicant shall be required to send notice, by certified RRR mail, to the applicable council, of all subsequent requests for modifications, adjustments, amendments, alterations, or revisions to the application.
2. Planning and Building and Safety shall review all such applications, and such review shall include, prior to approval, compliance with all relevant Community Plans, Specific Plans, and Overlay Districts.
3. With respect to all applications to Planning and Building and Safety for which a public hearing is not required, notice shall be sent to the applicable council of the terms of the proposed approval, no later than 10 calendar days prior to issuance of the approval, and consideration shall be given by the decision maker to any objections, comments, or questions submitted in writing by the applicable council during the 10-day period.
4. Planning and Building and Safety shall each establish an ombudsman or community advocate who is accessible to officers of a council and whose responsibilities shall include facilitating access to Department personnel, procedures, and documents.

Motion No 2.
At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council on December 16, 2008, a motion was made and seconded and passed as follows:
That the Los Angeles City Council be requested to supply each Neighborhood or Community Council with an accounting of both 5117 parking funds, and Quimby Funds for its district.

Motion No. 3
At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council on December 16, 2008, a motion was made and seconded and passed as follows:
The Venice Neighborhood Council hereby supports adoption of an Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) / moratorium as proposed by the City Planning Commission temporarily prohibiting the installation of all new offsite advertising signs and supergraphic signs, as well as prohibiting alteration to existing offsite signs and supergraphic signs, until a new offsite sign ordinance can be developed, adopted and implemented. There should be no exceptions that might weaken the enforceability of the moratorium.

Motion No. 4
At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council on December 16, 2008, a motion was made and seconded and passed as follows:
As gridlock is a major quality of life issue, the City of Los Angeles City Council is hereby requested to implement an enforcement mechanism and fine system to alleviate the constant gridlock in intersections in the City Limits. While the City has found it both effective and profitable to implement “Tiger Teams” to clear ‘No Parking, Tow Away Zones” during peak hours, the city has been unable to control gridlock.Motion No. 5

At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council on December 16, 2008, a motion was made and seconded and passed as follows:

That the Los Angeles City Council be requested to amend the working documents for Neighborhood and Community Councils, thereby allowing N.C./C.C.’s the right to appeal city department decisions.

D From LUPC

I Challis Macpherson (Chair-LUPC@VeniceNC.org) on behalf of LUPC: Request that the board send a letter (copied below) of, “No Opinion, No Recommendation Without Prejudice” on those projects (list to follow) declared minimal by LUPC and without need for VNC/LUPC hearing or recommendation for action:

Los Angeles City Planning Department
200 North Spring
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2601

Subject: CASE NO. (Insert Here) Project Address: (Insert Here) Applicant: (Insert Here)

Madam/Sir…….: (Note: this will probably go to the ZA or planning person)

Please be advised that the Land Use and Planning Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council has consented to take a “No Opinion Without Prejudice” and not send a recommendation for action to the Board of Officers of the Venice Neighborhood Council on the referenced planning case. However, we reserve the right to take a position and/or appeal.

Please provide a copy of the decision letter to the Venice Neighborhood Council, Post Office Box 550, Venice, California 90294, or electronically to Board@VeniceNC.org and LUPC@VeniceNC.org.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,
Venice Neighborhood Council

E From Stakeholder

I Marc Ryavec (delphiassociates@ca.rr.com): I request that the VNC send a letter to the Los Angeles City Council, Mayor, and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors asking that the City and County formally request that president-elect Obama and the Congress specifically set aside a fixed percentage of any and all new transportation infrastructure funding for the development and construction of bike paths and trails, hiking trails and pedestrian walkway improvements, in both urban and rural areas.

Discussion: Within days of President-elect Obama taking office, Congress will likely pass a new large-scale economic recovery package, aiming to create millions of jobs.

A significant percentage of this package may be allocated specifically to transportation infrastructure. This presents both a threat and an opportunity.

The threat: Unless we speak up, these transportation funds will go overwhelmingly to road projects—the same unbalanced strategy that has created our existing transportation problems.

The opportunity: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, in partnership with Thunderhead Alliance and America Bikes, has collected a list of hundreds of ready-to-go active transportation projects from communities across the country. These projects would create new jobs and revitalize communities by funding trails, bike lanes, sidewalks and other infrastructure.

This would meet the ultimate goal of the recovery package: creating immediate jobs.
Additionally, such an investment strategy would provide both immediate economic benefits and lasting positive change.

The long-term benefits are many: promoting local businesses along active transportation corridors; reducing health care costs; and curbing climate change emissions and oil dependency. These projects would also establish the principle that active transportation infrastructure is a wise, efficient and desirable public investment.

F From Board Member

I Aldis Browne (310-487-2533; aldis.browne@venicenc.org) on behalf of listed stakeholders: I request that the VNC endorse the following letter as sent by email to the L A Department of Cultural affair from the undersigned stakeholders on November 30th:

Subject: Venice stakeholders regarding Cultural Master Plan
To: Leora.Lutz@LACity.org
Ms. Leora Lutz
Cultural Master Plan for Los Angeles
Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Dear Ms. Lutz,

As part of the pending Cultural Master Plan for Los Angeles, we, the undersigned Venice stakeholders, ask the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs to consider the unique artistic character and features of the Venice community as an integral cultural image of the City.

MISSION: Venice is already known as a world-renowned arts center. Our Mission is to further vitalize Venice as an “Arts Gateway” in Los Angeles by enhancing existing arts activities, events and areas. By working closely with the City of Los Angeles to develop an immediately identifiable Venice “Hallmark”, Venice will greatly increase public awareness of Venice’s remarkably vital and diverse array of cultural and environmental events occurring throughout the year.

VISION: We propose to work with the City of Los Angeles to build upon Venice’s artistic diversity and environmental consciousness (witness Venice’s highly successful annual Venice Music & Arts Eco-Fest). Our vision includes Cultural Festivals benefiting Southern California focused on Arts, Performance and Education. Such Festivals could reflect the positive features of Charleston’s annual Spoleto Festival and Art Basel Miami.

OBJECTIVE: To further an “Arts Economy” in order to benefit all of greater Los Angeles. Arts Economies have contributed substantially to local economies throughout the United States. Among other benefits, community Arts Economies serve to increase tourism, create jobs, and help to reverse urban blight. Numerous studies are available on the benefits of Arts Economies.

GOAL: To further empower Venice’s support of diversified arts structures. We propose permanent structures with sufficient flexibility to host an art museum, heritage museum, civic auditorium, repertory theater & dance companies and a music center, all of which would create a thriving arts community that would significantly financially benefit all of Los Angeles.

POTENTIAL FUNDING SOURCES: We propose potential funding sources to include any combination of private contributions, government funding, and/or Special Assessment District Municipal Bond Financing. Such Special Assessment District Municipal Bond Financing is only paid for by real property owners within such a Special Assessment District. Those real property owners located within the Special Assessment District can vote to assess their real property with a “voluntary property tax” voted on only by those property owners who financially benefit by such a “voluntary property tax”.

Other sources of revenue could include fees from annual “Venice-Southern California Arts Performance and Education” Cultural Weeks. These Cultural Weeks will likely draw support from major sponsors as well as fees from exhibitors and could generate substantial revenues for the City, for example by incorporating a Pan-Pacific Exhibition at the L A Convention Center. (Though many arts festivals in the United States address Europe and Latin America, Los Angeles is in a unique position to focus on the thriving arts interest in Asia, Australia and the Western United States).

Aldis Browne: Art Dealer, member and co-chair: Venice Neighborhood Council (N C) Arts Committee
Bertha Suarez: Prima Ballerina Blankenship Ballet
Christopher Ekstein: Documentary Filmmaker Market Street Productions
Diana Pollard: Architect Studio of Architecture
Gary Silverston: Designer Gary Stefan Design Build
Jeffrey Solomon: Venice Chamber of Commerce, member: Venice N C Arts Committee
Jo Todd: Performance Artist and Educator, member: Venice N C Arts Committee

Maria Munroe: Artist The Eturn Society
Mark Blankenship: Blankenship Ballet Company, member: Venice N C Arts Committee
Michael King: Architect Studio of Architecture
Pat Snyder: Artist Printing Plus
Paulin Paris: Artist, member: Venice N C Arts Committee
Sandy Lajer: Artist, member: Venice N C Arts Committee
Tania Getty: Actor/Director Pacific Resident Theater member: Venice N C Arts Committee
Theo von Hoffman: member: Venice N C Arts Committee
Todd von Hoffmann: Author, member: Venice N C Arts Committee

Opposition was raised at the November meeting. I understand this was occasioned largely by my lack of clarity in drafting the November motion which was compounded by the absence of both Arts Committee co-chairs at that meeting. The above letter incorporates input from that meeting and clarifies a number of points. A memo further detailing special assessment districts as one among several possible funding options has been sent to Secretary@venicenc.org – See Exhibit E

II Joe Murphy (310-895-0344; joedmurphyvnc@ca.rr.com): Motion to amend Standing Rule 13IId as follows:

Within 15 calendar days after the hearing, the Chair shall notify all parties and the President and Secretary in writing of the decision. Within 7 calendar days following transmission of the decision to the parties, a party may appeal the decision to the Board by written request to the Secretary. The request must include grounds for appeal. and The decision and any appeal will be heard by the Board within 60 calendar days of receipt of the decision or an appeal by the Secretary. The Board may adopt or amend or overturn a decision of the CRC by majority vote. The decision of the CRC, as amended by the Board, will be final and a synopsis shall be [posted on the web for one month] [published in the next VNC newsletter].

9. Announcements & Public Comment on items not on the Agenda (15 min, no more than 2 minutes per person)

10. Adjourn (approx 10:00PM)

AdCom Exhibit A – Neighborhood Council – Case Tracking System
Pilot Overview V1.0, September 6, 2008 (Murez)

The Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) has matured over the past several years. It has evolved from one meeting every couple of months with only one or two projects on the agenda to now responding to a Memorandum of Understanding with the City to submit a written determination report on every permit issued within the VNC geographic region. The committee has become more educated about the planning process and is now working towards a 2010 target of revising the Venice Coastal Zone Specific Plan.
Along with these growing responsibilities, the workload of the committee has increased from one or two projects being calendared every few months to the present level of hearing three to five projects twice a month. On average, what does this mean to each of the eight volunteer members that make up this committee, a workload that includes preparing 27 staff reports per month.

The process to analyze and prepare a project for hearing is fairly simple; contact the applicant, convince them to submit their plans for review, research the variances sought and flush out any that were not realized, organize their information and post it to the LUPC website, engage the potentially impacted neighbors and prepare a synopsis to post for Brown Act notification. Now multiply this process for one project 27 fold and the amount of information gathered and disseminated through this eight member volunteer committee becomes massive. What started out as a simple endeavor has now grown into a complex task with time sensitive details that must be accurately managed.

Automation to the rescue… with this sort of workload, managing details calls for a computerized case tracking system. What is needed is a centralized system that all committee members can access when they have volunteer time to give, that can reduce or eliminate many of the mundane tasks, and that will help engage the general public in the process. The system needs to enforce the policy rules of the VNC Board and the committee, while ensuring Brown Act laws are adhered. And, finally, the system must be available to all Venice Stakeholders and the City at large.

A pilot proof-of-concept system is being developed to address many of these needs. The system is being designed as a collaboration tool that will be managed over the internet. System access will be regulated through User Accounts that are grouped into security levels, starting with the general public then moving up the access ladder to project applicant, followed by registered stakeholder, committee staff member, committee chair, system administrator and program developers. Each higher group will be granted more access to functionality and system capabilities.

The system will track information by assigning case numbers to each project. The project or case files will be stored in a database and accessed through their respective case numbers. The routines that extract and modify the stored information will vary based on the individual access rights. The system will offer read-only reports to the general public while allowing stakeholders the rights to post feedback about issues they might have with any given project. Applicants will be assigned temporary access to upload their information and respond to feedback. LUPC staff members will be able to monitor all aspects of the cases, including being able to publish their findings, track correspondence and write recommendations (tentative motions) for the VNC Board to approve. Search and mapping functionality along with tracking key indicators will enable statistical analysis of accumulative impacts to be graphically generated. The VNC Board members, besides inheriting all the rights of the lower groups, will be able to post their final motion decisions and generate reports required by the City.

In addition, the audio meeting minutes that are digitally recorded will be divided into segments that correspond to the each project and posted into the case file along with any other archives.

In a nutshell, the LUPC Case Tracking system will automate the flow of information through the Neighborhood Council in a consistent, easy to understand format, while relieving a lot of the tedious tasks volunteers must perform at present. (follow up with PowerPoint overview and system demonstration.)

Exhibit A – Standing Rule 13 Principles of Representation Compliance Form (Item 4Aiii)

Statement of Compliance with Venice Neighborhood Council Standing Rule 13*

As a member of the Board of Officers of the Venice Neighborhood Council and/or one of its committees, I am required, under VNC Standing Rule 13, to inform you that I am representing myself personally and I am not representing the VNC or a VNC Committee.

If the Board has considered and acted upon a motion dealing with a matter under consideration in this non-VNC forum, I am further required to disclose to you, verbatim, the nature and disposition of the motion considered by the Board, which disclosure is as follows (taken from the relevant Board Agenda or Minutes):

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

On _____________ I signed and submitted this statement before speaking in support of or in opposition to a VNC matter,

____________________________________, being considered by ____________________________________, a non-VNC forum.

Signature Member of VNC Board (yes/no) and/or the following VNC Committee:

________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________

Position: _________________________________________________
_______________________________________

  • Venice Neighborhood Council Standing Rules

August 19, 2008

13. Principles of Representation

I. The Board trusts and expects Board Officers and Committee Members to adhere to the following principles of representation:

a. No Board Officer or Committee Member, unless authorized in writing by the President of the VNC to do so, may in any way:

(i) Use the VNC logo or letterhead or stationery for any purpose; or

(ii) Claim to represent the VNC in any forum except:

• to present, verbatim, motions that have been considered and acted upon by the Board and which have not been subsequently repealed by the Board or superseded by a subsequent motion of the Board; and
• to correct misunderstandings or to respond to questions related thereto.

This rule shall not apply to the President of the VNC.

b. Any Board Officer or Committee Member may identify themselves as such in any forum. If doing so in support of or in opposition to a matter being considered in a non-VNC forum, s/he shall make clear that s/he is representing her/himself personally and is not representing the VNC or a VNC Committee. If the Board has considered and acted upon a motion dealing with a matter under consideration in a non-VNC forum, the nature and disposition of the motion considered by the Board shall be disclosed.

Exhibit B – LUPC Staff Report on 1711-1719 Lincoln Boulevard (Item 6CI)

Exhibit C – Treasurers Report (Item 7)

Exhibit D – Conflict Resolution Committee Decisions (Item 8AI)

October 14, 2008

DECISION

Re: Venice Neighborhood Council Standing Rule 13 Complaint by Fabiola Wright against Challis McPherson, dated Aug. 5, 2008

On September 30, 2008 a public hearing was convened of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Conflict Resolution Committee to hear a complaint by Fabiola Wright alleging a violation of VNC Standing Rule 13 by Challis McPherson, Chair of the VNC Land Use and Planning Committee and a VNC Board Officer. Present at the hearing were Challis McPherson, Fabiola Wright, the attorney of Fabiola Wright, and four members of the Conflict Resolution Committee consisting of James Schley, Oji Nwankwo, Pamela Pressley and Rush Gomez, along with members of the concerned public.

After reviewing the relevant evidence and testimony submitted by both the complainant, Fabiola Wright, and respondent, Challis McPherson, including an audio recording of a May 20, 2008 appeal hearing before the Los Angeles Board of Building and Safety Commissioners (LADBS Appeal # 080014), it is the opinion of the VNC Conflict Resolution Committee that a violation of VNC Standing Rule 13 was committed by Challis McPherson on May 20, 2008 during the LADBS appeal hearing. Specifically, the Committee finds that Ms. McPherson introduced herself as Chair of the VNC Land Use and Planning Committee and did not “make clear that she [was] representing herself personally and [was] not representing the VNC or a VNC Committee” (VNC Rule 13.II.b.) before giving her opinion regarding the subject of the LADBS appeal.

It is the opinion of the Conflict Resolution Committee that Challis McPherson’s history of community service and volunteerism is a mitigating factor.

Therefore, it is the recommendation of the VNC Conflict Resolution Committee that Ms. McPherson be censured and admonished that, except as otherwise allowed under VNC Standing Rule 13.I.a., when any Board Officer or Committee Member is offering his or her opinion regarding a matter being considered in a non-VNC forum, he or she may identify him/herself as a Board Officer or Committee Member; however, the Board Officer or Committee Member has an affirmative duty to use unambiguous language to make it clear that he or she is representing him/herself personally, and not the VNC. (See VNC Standing Rule 13.I.b.)

Pursuant to VNC Standing Rule 13.II.d., within 7 calendar days following transmission of the decision to the parties, a party may appeal the decision of the Conflict Resolution Committee to the VNC Board by written request to the Secretary. The request must include grounds for appeal and will be heard by the Board within 60 calendar days of receipt of the appeal by the Secretary. The Board may overturn a decision of the CRC by majority vote.

Respectfully,

Rush Gomez
Chair VNC Conflict Resolution Committee

November 21, 2008

DECISION

Re: Venice Neighborhood Council Standing Rule 13 Complaint by Nathalie Godts against Challis McPherson, dated July 15, 2008

On November 11, 2008 a public hearing was convened of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Conflict Resolution Committee to hear a complaint by Nathalie Godts alleging a violation of VNC Standing Rule 13 by Challis McPherson, Chair of the VNC Land Use and Planning Committee and a VNC Board Officer. Present at the hearing were Challis McPherson, Nathalie Godts, and three members of the Conflict Resolution Committee consisting of Rush Gomez, Chair, Oji Nwankwo, and Pamela Pressley, along with members of the concerned public.

After reviewing the relevant evidence and testimony submitted by both the complainant, Nathalie Godts, and respondent, Challis McPherson, including a transcript of the June 25, 2008 City of Los Angeles Parcel Map Public Hearing re: 720 Brooks Avenue, it is the opinion of the VNC Conflict Resolution Committee that a violation of VNC Standing Rule 13 was committed by Challis McPherson on June 25, 2008 during the City of Los Angeles Parcel Map Public Hearing. Specifically, the Committee finds that Ms. McPherson introduced herself as Chair of the VNC Land Use and Planning Committee prior to offering her opinion in support of the project under consideration and did not “make clear that she [was] representing herself personally and [was] not representing the VNC or a VNC
Committee” (VNC Rule 13.II.b.).

This violation is the second of two Rule 13 violations that the CRC has determined were committed by Ms. McPherson, the first one taking place at a May 20, 2008 LADBS hearing. (See Oct. 14, 2008 CRC Decision re VNC Standing Rule 13 Complaint by Fabiola Wright against Challis McPherson.) Therefore, it is the recommendation of the VNC Conflict Resolution Committee that Ms. McPherson be censured in writing by the VNC Board and admonished that, except as otherwise allowed under VNC Standing Rule 13.I.a., when any Board Officer or Committee Member is offering his or her opinion regarding a matter being considered in a non-VNC forum, he or she may identify him/herself as a Board Officer or Committee Member; however, the Board Officer or Committee Member has an affirmative duty to use unambiguous language to make it clear that he or she is representing him/herself personally, and not the VNC. (See VNC Standing Rule 13.I.b.) The CRC further recommends that this decision, the October 14, 2008 CRC decision, and the written censure by the VNC Board be made public by posting on the VNC website.

Pursuant to VNC Standing Rule 13.II.d., within 7 calendar days following transmission of the decision to the parties, a party may appeal this decision of the Conflict Resolution Committee to the VNC Board by written request to the Secretary. The request must include grounds for appeal and will be heard by the Board within 60 calendar days of receipt of the appeal by the Secretary. The Board may overturn a decision of the CRC by majority vote.

Respectfully,

Rush Gomez, Chair
Oji Nwankwo
Pamela Pressley
VNC Conflict Resolution Committee

Exhibit E – Special Assessment District Explained (Item 8CII)

From: ABVEN@aol.com [mailto:ABVEN@aol.com] – Aldis Browne
Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2008 11:22 AM
To: secretary@venicenc.org
Subject: Special asssessment district bonds

A special assessment district is a designated geographic area in which the market value of real estate is enhanced due to the influence of a public improvement and in which an assessment is apportioned to recover the costs of that public improvement. Such a district might overlay only a section of Venice or parts of Venice, LA County and Santa Monica, etc. Since only those land owners who will directly benefit will be assessed, only they vote. These certainly do not raise everybody’s taxes, and generally when the bonds are paid off, they are retired.

Special assessments are not uniformly levied, they are apportioned to each property based upon the direct benefit the property will receive from the public improvements created by these bonds. In other words, whoever stands to gain the most pays the most. Thus commercial properties proportional assessments might be much higher than individual residences. Similarly, those properties closer to the improvements may pay a higher proportional rate than those further away.

Underwriters issue these municipal bond offerings, thus they do the requisite research and analysis in order to propose apportionment. If the potential benefit to the property owners who will be voting is attractive enough, usually these are successful.

Aldis

Mark Blankenship, who has been involved with such financing, wrote the following:

SUMMARY OF SPECIAL ASSESSMENT DISTRICT MUNICIPAL FINANCING

The West Los Angeles Region has extraordinarily high real estate values that are essentially recession-proof, continuing to hold value despite the downturn in the economy. Traditional means of “priming” the economy have been exhausted and many decision-makers are looking to alternative mechanisms to “jump start” the macro-economy and the micro-economy. We are about to enter an era that will be tantamount to the New Deal period where public works projects funded by the public capital markets could provide jobs, infra-structure and hope. A beautifully conceived Special Assessment District for the Arts in Venice could truly make Venice a “Gateway to the Arts” by implementing a complex yet compelling rubric of municipal financing mechanisms from which everyone would benefit.

A Special Assessment District is a unique geographic area in which the market value of real estate is enhanced due to the influence of a public improvement and in which a tax is apportioned to recover the costs of the public improvement. Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 117, (1990). Properties designated to be specially assessed are assembled into a geographic area with clearly defined boundaries. This geographic area is termed a Special Assessment District.

There is nothing novel or experimental about special assessment financing. It has been employed for years in more than 35 states, including California, Florida, Illinois and Maryland. The 2002 U.S. Census identifies some 35000 special district governments in the nation. According to The Bond Buyer newspaper, Florida has sold $14.8 billion in special assessment bonds in the last five years and California has sold $6.3 billion in the same period. Banc of America Securities estimated that it would underwrite some $3 billion in special assessment bonds in the year 2007 alone. Venice, however, has never implemented a Special Assessment District and now is the time to move forward with such a financing mechanism.

Special assessment financing allows the issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance infrastructure improvement that are paid by special assessment on privately owned real estate in the development zone. Because these bonds are secured by tax liens on the real property, they are high credit, tax-exempt long-term securities and are very attractive to investors. Developers like special assessment bonds because they provide a long-term, low-interest source of funding for pre-construction expenditures, which does not interfere with construction or permanent project financing. The municipality benefits, of course, from enhanced property tax revenues from the project without a reduction of its scarce tax revenues or an increase in its municipal debt burden.

The Special Assessment District consists of only those properties which are designated by the applicable law as having received a specific and unique “benefit” from the public improvement. In general, the “benefit” must result directly, uniquely and specifically from the public project. The term “benefit” most frequently means an increase in the market value of the benefited property. Only certain property can be specially assessed: real property that the capital improvement project directly, uniquely and specifically “benefits”, which normally means that the capital improvement project increases the value of those certain parcels of real estate that are assessed to pay for the “benefit”.

In special assessments, proportionality is a key element. With a special assessment the fiscal burden imposed must be reasonably proportional to the benefit created. The fiscal burden is spread among only those properties within the Special Assessment District and it is apportioned to each property based upon the unique, specific and direct benefit the property received from the capital improvement.

Special Assessment Districts share a variety of qualities that separate them from the traditional democratic processes. First, voting and petitioning is, with a few exceptions, limited to property owners, even though the services and the capital improvements funded by the assessments often include nonexcludable and indivisible community benefits. Second, most of the times the assessments are based not on the property values but to the amount of benefits a property owner should expect to receive from the arrangement. Finally, because each vote must be weighed according to the percentage of the new assessment each property owner would be expected to pay, balloting is neither anonymous nor confidential. Certainly it does not provide one person with one vote but it does spare the non-real property owner from having to bear the financial burden of the cost of the capital improvements paid for by the funding arising from the Special Assessment District.

Essentially, by creating and implementing a Special Assessment District in Venice, the benefited real property owners will vividly improve the local infrastructure, enhancing the quality of life for all Venice stakeholders including themselves, and in the end reaping the reward of increased property values arising from a more culturally vibrant community.

Location(s)

Extra Space Storage, Presidents Row Room
658 South Venice Blvd
Venice, CA, 90291
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps
AttachmentSize
081208VNCAdComAgenda.doc197 KB