We’re a little late to post this but as of the February 2017 Venice Neighborhood Council Board meeting board member Erin Darling resigned from the board.Darling served on the VNC from 2014-2016 and was re-elected again in 2016. However, at 5 months in he has resigned.
Darling, a civil rights attorney, cites Trump policy induced workload, gentrification agencies overwhelming the VNC, and more effectiveness in advocating for marginalized and displaced peoples as his primary reasons for resignation. By reading some of the other Venice community newsletters you would think Erin was just a negligent board member so we thought it only right to bring correct context to his resignation.
The last few months I have been too busy with my work as a Federal Public Defender to attend enough VNC meetings. In this regard, I apologize to the folks who have voted for me to represent their interests. I must admit that during this period, the oppression of the larger criminal justice system and the help I could provide my individual clients seemed to outweigh any change I could make on the current VNC, and so the decision to miss meetings was a simple one.
We have entered a scary new political era in this country, where talk of walls and bans have highlighted who is welcome in our national community. Locally, it is clear that the majority of the VNC does not welcome many who have traditionally called Venice home. Anti-homeless rhetoric, for instance, evokes the disdain for immigrants and Muslims we hear on far-right news outlets: people who have long been part of our community are now treated as unwelcome outsiders whose very presence threatens a constricted definition of “us,” and difference, long celebrated in theory, has, in practice, become a basis for exclusion.
I don’t believe any individual on the Board believes their actions are motivated by intolerance. However, the way we treat our neighbors, who we think is even worthy of being considered a neighbor, says as much about our values as our take on national political events.
I’m dismayed that the VNC does not reflect the values of the majority of Venetians, but like anything, this too shall pass. I’m confident that neighborhood political activity will remain progressive and boisterous and I look forward to playing a part for years to come.