Describe your background and qualifications for this position.
My background is in business, first working in my family’s business, a camera store, and growing it from a single store to a three-store local chain. Our family business grew to have a high end audio department and a professional photo lab. I eventually went out on my own and took a failing store in a blue-collar neighborhood and turned it into one of the most successful camera stores in NJ. I have been a real estate investor for about twenty years and owned properties in NJ, Texas and Florida. I have managed my own stock portfolio and my wife’s and my own retirement accounts.
Shortly after the 2016 elections I founded Indivisible Venice, a non partisan political action group. We began with about 12 members and grew our membership to over 500 active members. I also founded Indivisible Radio, a weekly 30 minute show focused on social and political issues. We turned that show into a podcast and produced over 50 shows before I put the show on hiatus to run for Mayor of Venice
What are the 3 most important issues handled by the office you seek? How do you propose to handle these issues?
In the City of Venice, the Mayor sits as council member #7 and has one vote, the same as every other council member. The Mayor has power to make all appointments of principal officers mentioned in the city’s Charter and all operating and advisory boards. This would allow for the appointment of people who have knowledge and experience in developing plans to protect and improve the environment, slow and control development and advance plans to improve the safety of our roads and bike lanes. My priorities are to fix our infrastructure and improve our water quality issues and beach conditions. These must be prioritized over uncontrolled growth and the bulldozing of our natural environment.
The Mayor leads the council meetings and can move important agenda items forward and help to keep council focused on the issues that concern the residents and businesses of the city.
What restrictions, if any, would you place on future development in Venice?
When the Venice City Council took the unnecessary step to re-write our Comprehensive Plan they removed over two dozen neighborhood and environmental protections. They replaced exact language with more vague wording, may instead of must, for instance. They made the decision to ignore the simultaneous task of writing our LDR’s, claiming they would put those protections into the “new” LDR’s. This opened the door for developers to have much more control and flexibility in getting what they want.
The solution is to begin the process of adding environmental and compatibility protections into the LDR’s that are still incomplete. I would also look to beef up our comprehensive plan to give the city more control of the issues of density, intensity, height, setbacks and protection of our eco system. I believe that we need to keep neighborhood compatibility a priority and to control growth based on our ability to maintain our quality of life, our infrastructure and the safety of our residents.