2014 NC Board Election

2014 Neighborhood Council Elections - May 18, 2014

Come out and vote!

SORO NC has a staggered election system, so roughly half the seats are open every two years. In this election, the NC has five residential district seats, three at-large seats (one with a partial term), three business seats, three organization seats (one with a partial term), and one school seat (with a partial term) open.

Update: Final Election Results

The final voting results are listed below. Elected candidates are designated with a green checkmark. You can view the final canvass of votes, including vote totals.

Our thanks to all the candidates, the many local volunteers who helped organize the election, our partners at EmpowerLA, and Shenandoah Elementary for hosting the polling. Most importantly, thanks to the 520 voters who helped choose a strong and active Board.

List of Candidates

All SORO stakeholders aged 15 and above may vote in this election (see FAQs below). You can download a printable version of the candidate statements here.

  • Zone 2 Representative

    1 seat open | 4 year term

    • Michael Adam Wander

      I would like to be involved and contribute to my neighborhood in whatever way possible. I am an Orthodox Jew and would like to try and liaise between the Neighborhood Council and my community.

      Thank you!

    • Kimber Smith

      Kimber Smith

      GREETINGS-HOLA-SALAAM-SAT NAM-SHALOM I’m asking for your vote of confidence to continue representing South Robertson Neighborhood Council on behalf of Zone 2.I’m proud of our achievements in the five years I’ve served on the board and as Outreach Co-chair. We partnered with KCET on an award winning documentary series profiling SoRo, produced numerous well-attended Town Halls on critical issues, and broadened outreach across stakeholder categories. If my seat is contested in this election, I will feel proud of a job well done.

      My dedication and effectiveness are proven. My experience will help me carry our mission further & faster.

      Like you, I want to live in a safe, attractive, prosperous, harmonious, and informed community. I want to continue to help us find common ground and advance our mutual welfare. I offer my knowledge, skill, creativity and passion to keep us on that path. Thank you for your support.

    • Dakota Sal

      WITHDRAWN

  • Zone 4 Representative

    1 seat open | 4 year term

    • Robyn Braun

      Robyn Braun

      Robyn Braun has represented Zone 4 since 2006, working to enhance the safety and quality of life for her family, neighbors and this small but ever growing and diverse community since 2004.

      Robyn is a strong supporter of revitalizing the Robertson corridor, encouraging economic growth with the right businesses partnerships. Being a member of the SORO NC has helped bring about many positive changes, namely reduction in gang and drug activities, and helping La Cienega Heights to gain recognition as a growing and more desirable place to live and raise our families.

      Robyn has supported the Education committee and is now on the Public Safety Committee.

      Support Robyn Braun in her efforts to continue making our neighborhoods safe, cultivating economic growth, enriching our lives and growing our neighborhood into the best neighborhood it can be by re-electing Robyn Braun for representative for Zone 4.

    • Giovanni J Ferdinand

      Giovanni J Ferdinand

      Living here for the past four years I’ve quickly learned, our neighborhood is the best kept secret of the westside. I want to get involved to bring about more positivity and growth.

  • Zone 6 Representative

    1 seat open | 4 year term

    • Michael Lynn

      Michael Lynn

      I have represented Zone 6 on the SORO NC Board since June 2010.I currently serve as the Chair of the Public Safety Committee, leading efforts towards initiating and/or improving Neighborhood Watch and Emergency Preparedness Programs throughout SORO.

      I have also been active on General Board activities, maintaining a near perfect meeting record while representing the opinions and interests of Zone 6 stakeholders.

      In the next 4 years, I would like to strengthen the presence of Zone 6 businesses (such as the La Cienega Arts District) and resident representation in SORO activities and issues.

      I thank you, and look forward to your continued support.

    • Philip Olson

  • Zone 8 Representative

    1 seat open | 4 year term

    • Doug Fitzsimmons

      Doug Fitzsimmons

      I’ve been privileged to serve as SORO NC’s President for the past six years. In that time, I’ve helped build the Board into one of the City’s most successful and effective Councils. In 2013, we were honored with the City’s EmpowerLA award.

      During my tenure, we’ve stabilized the makeup of the Board, expanded our borders to enfranchise more people, relentlessly sought common ground in disputes, strengthened our ties to the Neighborhood Associations and local organizations, built a NC-leading website and communications platform, fought for City resources, created innovative programs to promote our community and build identity within it, and helped give voice to our constituents within City Hall.

      I am dedicated to removing the barriers to SORO fulfilling its potential as a diverse, walkable, and economically vibrant community. I ask for your vote on May 18.

    • Thomas Von Hauswirth

      WITHDRAWN

  • Zone 10 Representative

    1 seat open | 4 year term

    • Richard Arthur Weinstein

      WITHDRAWN

    • Michoel F. Bloom

      Michoel F. Bloom

      I am running for re-election of my seat as Zone 10 representative for the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council. I am a native Angeleno and I have lived in Soro along with my wife and 4 children for the past 6 years, and am very actively involved in the affairs of the community. Civil Service is something I have done since I was a child, progressing from First Aid, to Lifeguarding, to certification as an EMT. I have held many leadership roles in my community through various organizations. I have a strong sensitivity and understanding of the many cultures that populate SoRo. As Vice-chair of the Public Safety committee, I have been actively involved with maintaining relationships with all of the communities local City, Private, and Volunteer public safety agencies, as well as community safety outreach, especially through our upcoming SoRo festival.

    • Michael E. Friedman

      Michael E. Friedman

      I am a civil litigation attorney at a Century City firm. I grew up in this neighborhood and have a long history of giving back and strengthening our community and Zone 10.

      I volunteer at the Homelessness Project, helping those who are unable to help themselves. During my time serving as the Director of a special initiative of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, I focused my efforts on local programming, community building and engagement as well as diversity and outreach events.

      I further developed my leadership experience, serving as President of my law school’s Student Government, where I was also a merit scholar.

      I plan to use my skills to help connect SORONC to its members, to work with our government representatives to ensure SORO’s interests are made a priority, and to help build a model for other communities.

      For more information please visit my Facebook page at bit.ly/FriedmanSORO

  • Business Representatives

    3 seats open | 4 year terms

    • Daniel Boethin

      Daniel Boethin

      I would like to continue to dedicate my time and effort to the economic revitalization of our South Robertson neighborhood. I served as the at-large representative for the past 6 months and have witnessed numerous potholes filled, streets repaved, and graffiti removed. In addition, I have supported growing local businesses and approved new developments for additional housing space. Currently, I am operating and providing housing consistent with LA County building code and regulations as a property manager. I would like to see our neighborhood become safer, increase in value to our community and build transparency with local government. I have experienced bringing projects on time and under budget with six proven years in defense acquisitions. I have an MBA from the University of La Verne and a BS in Business from the Air Force Academy.

    • Marj Safinia

      Marj Safinia

      I am an Iranian documentary filmmaker, and have served on the Board and chaired the Outreach Committee since 2007. During that time I’ve led efforts to establish a strong identity for SORO (including street banners, website/social media), organized numerous Town Halls and forged vital alliances across neighborhood associations and community leaders, creating a more cohesive, connected community. I’ve also led the charge on Robertson Revitalization, lobbying our City Council representatives repeatedly for focused attention on a commercial corridor in need of improvement. I enjoy deep relationships with SORO stakeholders and City partners alike. I’m the proud recipient of a SHero Award from the State Senator, and multiple nominations for the Community Leadership Award in SORO. If re-elected, I will redouble my efforts on Robertson Revitalization, so we can all enjoy a thriving commercial district that reflects the richness of the communities that surround it. Please support me with your vote.

    • Beth Hirsch

      Beth Hirsch

      I have been a resident of Los Angeles since 1990. I moved here from New York worked in the entertainment industry as a producer and production manager. I’ve also, worked on presidential campaigns, grassroots orgs and getting out the vote. I currently live and work now in the SORO area since 2011. I own a small cooking school, am married to a wonderful man who is active in the community. I’m a mother of a 7 year old girl who attends Castle Heights Elementary School. We fell in love with this area right away and decided to put down roots here permanently. I hope if I am a member of the SORO NC that I can help continue the efforts of revitalizing Robertson and moving the neighborhood forward. Please vote for me and allow me this opportunity to be a voice for you and our community.

    • Dan Berkovitz

      Dan Berkovitz

      I feel privileged to be a part of this neighborhood because of the strong sense of community I have felt. I gained skills and abilities by taking on various leadership positions while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and later in college, as well as involving myself in the Miami Beach community. While in Miami Beach, I attended the city’s Leadership Academy and learned about the city and its budgets. I also graduated from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation Leadership Development Institute and was actively involved in helping the local community. I say this to impress upon you that I love leadership and the South Robertson community in which we live. I take pride in that we care about upward mobility and growth. Using the knowledge on what is affecting our community and what our needs are I can help our community become even greater and better.

    • Martin Epstein

      Martin Epstein

      Martin has represented South Robertson since 2010. Over the last four years as your business representative, Martin has ensured that our community’s voices have been heard. Having served on the executive committee as Secretary, leading the Board Development as the Chair, and playing an active role on the Green Team Committee, Martin has been a strong leader for our community.

      Looking forward, Martin will focus on three important pillars:

      1. Supporting our local businesses and attracting the right kind of new business to our community

      2. Maintaining safe and clean streets and strengthening our neighborhood council partnership with the LAPD

      3. Encouraging neighborhood beautification

  • Organization Representatives

    2 seats open | 4 year terms
    1 seat open | 2 year partial term

    • Barry E. Levine

    • Ginnean Shaw

      Ginnean Shaw

      My husband and I moved to the neighborhood in 1999. We have three wonderful daughters, ages 14, 11, and 9.

      Over the last 10 years, I have been involved with Friends of Castle Heights, the parent booster club at Castle Heights ES. I chaired many events/projects and was co-president for two years. Volunteering gave me experience in fundraising, grants, event planning, sponsorships, and motivating volunteers. I have seen how involvement can make wonderful things happen.

      Before volunteering full-time, I was Vice President at Dailey Advertising. I worked on ConocoPhillips, Hilton Hotels, Calloway Golf, Kaufman and Broad, MOCA, and Gallo Wines.

      My background gives me a unique perspective on how to approach a challenge from a business perspective and how to work with stakeholders to get results.

      I am so thankful to be part of such a wonderful community and I look forward to making it the best it can be!

    • Victor Mitry

      Victor Mitry

      I am asking for your support to allow me to continue serving you as a council member in the SoRo neighborhood council. For the last 4 years I have been blessed & honored to participate and serve in the SoRoNC. Growing up on the west side of Los Angeles & raising my family here has only increased my passion to make this a great community. A neighborhood that is safe for our children, prosperous for our businesses, with clear directions for beautifying and revitalizing our neighborhood. I have volunteered for 10 years to help facilitate the SoRo annual festival. I have co-chaired the SoRo land use & economic development committee & I have served as a budget representative. I am dedicated & supportive of the SoRo community and it would be an honor to continue serving. Please allow me the privilege to represent this great diverse community.

    • Sherilyn Correa

      Sherilyn Correa

      As an Organization Representative, I will continue my work as the Co-President of the Crestview Neighborhood Association and address the needs of my community members. My commitment to our community is to plan and organize beautification projects, create on-going programs with our new Program Director Luke, at the Robertson Park recreational facility and be a part of the creation of exciting events that promote community involvement. I am dedicated to improving our community for years to come and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve on the SORO board.

    • Leo Portal

      Leo Portal

      Leo has had over 15 years experience in the real estate industry, financial industry, and redevelopment of historic properties; and now seeks to apply these skills and experiences to best improve our SORO Neighborhood. His dedication and passion to improve living conditions for the community has been his life’s pursuit. Leo understands that improvements don’t happen over night or with great ideas; instead cooperation and communicating effectively with neighbors and plain hard work is key to bringing change for the betterment of all. Leo is prepared and willing to undertake this role with great importance and enthusiasm. Thank you.

  • At-Large Representatives

    2 seats open | 4 year terms
    1 seat open | 2 year partial term

    • John Palmerton

      I am an attorney and homeowner in SORO’s Reynier Village and would be honored to represent the diverse residents of our community. I will work to make our neighborhood safer and more attractive for our families and friends. I will actively seek out ideas to encourage smart growth for walkable, bike friendly retail along commercial corridors, improve and expand public spaces, mitigate traffic and parking issues, support access to public transportation, support and improve public schools, libraries and other public amenities, and will consistently reach out to the residents of SORO to understand their priorities to better represent them. After meeting several of the SORO board members at an information session I was impressed by their commitment and desire to serve SORO. If elected, I will be proud to collaborate with the SORO Board, and to use my professional skills to effectively advocate for our neighborhood. Go SORO!

    • Melissande Colton

      We live in one of the most beautiful, most interesting and most diverse cities in the world and representing a small part of this wonderful city would allow me to help us grow in a positive direction. I am very neighborhood oriented and am motivated and energized to represent my community in anyway I can.

    • Steve Abrams

      I moved to SORO seven years ago from Venice and have come to love the people and the neighborhood. I feel like it’s time for me to give back and to be of service. After reading what all the council does, I believe that I can bring new ideas that will help to continue, and hopefully enhance, the wonderful work that is being done. I hope to work with the other members to make sure that our neighborhood is represented with integrity and honor both locally and downtown. SORO is a great place to raise a family, as I am doing, and I want to do my part in making sure that it stays that way.

    • Victoria Hope Martin

      Victoria Hope Martin

      As a SORO tenant who has made SORO my family’s home for the past two years, I’m passionate about cultivating a strong sense of community in SORO for tenants, homeowners, and businesses. If elected, my focus will be on strengthening community ties, combating crime, empowering our youth and elders, and encouraging economic development and beautification of Robertson Boulevard.

      Currently, my employment involves providing Medicare consumer legal advocacy and counseling to Los Angeles County’s senior citizens and people with disabilities, as well as volunteering as a tenants’ rights advocate.

      My advocacy skills will be utilized to communicate SORO residents’ interests and concerns to government officials and entities, ensuring that SORO continues to be a thriving, safe community for its residents.

      Please vote for Victoria Hope Martin to represent the SORO community as an At-Large Representative on the SORO Neighborhood Council.

      HOPE FOR A BETTER SORO!

    • Ken Blaker

      Ken Blaker

      I have been in the SoRo area for over seven years. I work here. I live here with my wife and 2 young children. I serve on the board of my condo building here. My family and I are, like many people in the area, Orthodox Jewish. We find this area to be a community of diversity enhanced through a general feeling of friendliness and respect for individuals and groups. As a Board Member I will be maintain focus on the maintaining and building the key values that make this a great neighborhood: safety for individuals and families, excellent services, a strong business and merchant community, diversity and communal acceptance and respect. Please come out and vote. And of course, please be sure to vote for me, Ken Blaker, as At-Large Representative.

    • Aimee Zeltzer

      Aimee Zeltzer

      I have been trained as a lawyer and an educator but I am best at community building. I have been involved with community building for several non profits in the neighborhood. My vision is to have a community where there are “auxiliary police” walking around to get rid of the drug dealing element that goes on in certain areas of our neighborhood so that women and children can feel safe walking about anytime. I would also like to create a community garden, First Aid and Earthquake awareness days with the local Fire and Police stations, and some fun events for socializing. I would like us to be prepared for any situation and feel like we are amongst friends and know who to call if help is needed. I also would love to hear your ideas and needs and bring those up to the community at large.

      He sido entrenado como abogado y educator, pero yo soy major en la construcción de la comunidad. He estado involucrado con la construcción de la comunidad con varias utilidades no en al barrio. My visión es tener una comunidad donde hay “policia auxiliar” caminando alrededor de deshacerse del element de trafico de drogas que pasa en ciertas areas de nuestro barrio para que las mujeres y los ninos puedan sentirse seguros caminando alrededor en cualquier momento. Tambien me gustaria crear un jardin comunitario, Primeros Auxilios y jornadas de sensibilizacion con el Terremoto de Bomberos local y estaciones de policia, y algunos eventos de diversion para socializar. Me gustaria que estemos preparados para cualquier situacion y se siente como si estuvieramos entre amigos y saber a quien llamar si necesita ayuda. Tambien me encantaria escuchar sus ideas y necesidades y llevar a los a la comunidad en general.

    • Nahed Guirguis

      I have been a resident of soro neighborhood for more than 30 years. My two children grew up in soro and went to Canfield and hamihigh. My first job was on s Robertson boulevard. My family has been to st mark Coptic church since the day we arrived to this community as immigrants. As An ethnic minority, I joined soro neighborhood council more than 10 years ago to represent the issues of the many ethnic minorities including the 400 Coptic families living and worshiping on the soro community. as a soro nc board member, I served on the soro annual festival for the past 8 years and on the peace planning committee for the past 6 years. I look forward to continue to workb the ethnic minorities concerns to the forefront and ensure that their issues are addressed.Thank you for your support.

    • Shirley Lechtman

      Shirley Lechtman

      For the past 17 years I have been a SORO resident. During that time I have moved five times and can’t bring myself to leave Zone 10. I am actively engaged in our community and through my involvement have my finger on the pulse of this neighborhood.As a strategist for an international advertising agency, I know how to identify the needs of a diverse community in order to create a structure that specifically fills those needs and builds cohesiveness.I am committed to unifying the SORO zones in order to build a stronger community which is safe, where businesses flourish, and where everyone knows your name.

      I believe my deep connection to our neighborhood and my experience running fast paced community engagement initiatives will help me work with each of you to make SORO the most innovative and forward thinking neighborhood in Los Angeles.

    • Charlotte Vrooman

      I am seeking a seat on the neighborhood council because I want to make a difference and improve the quality of life for my neighbors and myself. I have been a resident of Soro for 29 years and have recently retired so I now have more time to serve our community. I have enjoyed living in our neighborhood and I want to make sure that others have the same experience. I am particularly interested in working with the education and environmental committees. I have a working knowledge of Spanish and would like to help with outreach to our Spanish-speaking neighbors.

  • School Representative

    1 seat open | 2 year partial term

    • Grant Cohen

      Grant Cohen

      As a SoRo homeowner with two young boys, I’m extremely motivated to ensure a highly positive quality of life for my family and all of our community’s residents. My well-balanced background with volunteer organizations and local schools has given me great insight into the challenges and opportunities with the current system. After joining the SoRo Board in 2013, I became the Green Team Committee Chair and have overseen the successful implementation of meaningful local events including the Hamilton High eWaste Drive, Sova Food Bank Urban Fruit Pick and funding approval for new garden development at Canfield Elementary. I’m a strong communicator with an energetic spirit, spending my days building start-up tech companies, giving me a great deal of expertise with digital marketing and consumer outreach. I plan to use all of my experience to help further the efforts to make this an even better community for all of our residents.



Election FAQs

What does the NC do?

The NC advocates and represents our community’s wants and/or needs to local government officials and entities; builds partnerships with government so that government is more responsive to local needs; fosters a sense of community; and decides how to spend the City’s annual financial allocation ($37,000 this year) for priority community activities and projects.

Who can vote?

You don't have to registered in a city, state or federal election to participate; any SORO stakeholder aged 15 and above can vote. The City defines a stakeholder as "those who live, work or own real property in the neighborhood."

Community Interest Stakeholders

But that's not all. The definition was recently amended to include "those who declare a stake in the neighborhood as a community interest stakeholder, defined as a person who affirms a substantial and ongoing participation within the Neighborhood Council’s boundaries and who may be in a community organization such as, but not limited to, educational, non-profit and/or religious organizations."

How do I vote?

You just need to verify your stakeholder status through simple written self-affirmation on election day when you arrive at Shenandoah Elementary. There's no need to preregister.

Who can run for office?

Anyone age 18 and above who qualifies for one of the open seats.

Becoming a boardmember is a great way to get involved in making your community a better place.

What are the responsibilities of being a Boardmember?

At a minimum: help in outreach to community members; represent our community to government officials; make decisions that will affect our community; and participate in at least two meetings each month (General Board meeting and committee meeting of your choice). The more you put in, the more rewarding the experience (and the more you help your community).