VENICE – Nico Ruderman, a 43-year old father, husband, homeowner and now candidate for the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) says “enough is enough.”
A resident of Oakwood with his own sound-mixing business, the Colorado native who has resided in Dog Town for the last 15 years is frustrated with the obvious decline in the quality of life that has impacted Venice with the root cause being rampant homelessness and rising crime at the beach and the numerous encampments sprinkled throughout the neighborhood.
A graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a BS in Architectural Engineering, Ruderman’s wife is a physician and their six-year old son a first-grader.
With few VNC incumbents seeking reelection, Ruderman believed it was time to “step up” and run given the “void” in experienced local leadership.
A supporter of incumbent Community Officer Soledad Ursua, Ruderman is concerned that Councilman Mike Bonin (CD-11) is trying to stack the all-volunteer council with his supporters.
“Change is needed. Crime is way up. Venice has become dangerous,” offered the first-time candidate.
As the father of a six-year old, Ruderman stressed the need for “safe access to schools.”
“Things here in Venice have spun out of control. I can no longer just complain. I needed to get involved.”
While Ruderman sympathizes with the plight of the homeless, the “real violence” is leaving these individuals on the streets of Los Angeles and specifically Venice.
“I consider myself to be reasonable and I can work with people whom I disagree. But I want to be engaged and we need real change. I’m on side of safer streets, especially for children. There are too many encampments and packing the homeless in Venice is not a solution. What’s even more disturbing is when neighboring municipalities are sending their homeless population to migrate to Venice,” said Ruderman.
Regarding the race for VNC president, Ruderman acknowledged that presidential candidate James Murez is “on the right side of the issues,” but needs to “know more and learn more” about the other hopefuls in the race.
Regarding the actions and policies of Councilman Bonin, Ruderman was not shy about his feelings.
“The safety of Venice is at stake. Our community is being overrun by Bonin’s policies and allies. My calls and e-mails go unreturned. It seems like radio silence.”
While public safety and crime are at the top of Ruderman’ priorities, the local environment and pollution are right behind.
Ruderman pointed out the storm drain situation at the beach and the general pollution being created by the numerous encampments calling it “terrible” for residents.
If successful, Ruderman would like to join the Public Safety Committee of the VNC and join forces with his ally, Soledad Ursua.
“Public safety is paramount. Protecting children from crime is my priority.”
Ruderman has worked with other neighbors in hiring private security forces to beef-up a public safety deterrent.
“The encampments made this necessary.”
Moving forward Ruderman plans on relying on his “personal network” to build his campaign outreach in lieu of COVID-19 as well as his connections with friends and like-minded neighbors throughout his neighborhood and the rest of Venice since stakeholders can only cast a single vote for the position of Community Officer despite the fact thirteen will be elected.
Many say this voting process could be a violation of one-man, one-vote democratic principles.
Ruderman also had his doubts about how ballots will be requested and was concerned about ballot harvesting and the lack of accountability that could occur in an all-mail by ballot process.
Having lived in Colorado, New York and now California, Ruderman was asked who his favorite baseball team was with season opening this weekend.
“My Dad was a Met fan who lived in the Bronx and did not like the Yankees. I was living in Colorado when the Rockies became a major league franchise, so I guess my allegiances are torn,” said Ruderman with a smile.
For more information about the June elections, visit www.venicenc.org/elections
Nick Antonicello is a long-time Venetian and member of the Outreach, Parking & Oceanfront Walk Committees of the VNC. He can be reached at email@example.com