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2023 OPA Board Elections

 

It’s that time of year: OPA Board Elections.

Our Board can have up to 15 Board Members. This year we have 5 Board Members returning, which leaves us with 10 open Board spots. Our elections will take place December 9th through December 11th via email link to all current OPA members. In advance of our elections, below are Statements from all 7 Board Candidates.

 

NEW CANDIDATES

Christina Allen

I moved to Santa Monica on July 3, 2018 and rented in bungalow on 2nd Street. My family and I spent our first full day in Santa Monica at the OPA 4th of July Parade on Main Street. One year later, I convinced the John Muir Elementary PTA to participate in the parade, we built a float in my driveway and walked in the parade. After two years of renting, in 2020, our family was lucky enough to buy a home in our beloved Ocean Park neighborhood. I have spent the last four years serving our community in various capacities through OPA, John Muir School Site Council, John Muir PTA, JAMS PTSA, and Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council. I am running for an OPA Board position because I want to represent the smallest members of our neighborhood, kids, and bring their needs to the forefront of our community. As OPA board member I will engage families and help build a society that cares for those that don’t have a lot of say in their lives. I want to be the adult I needed as a child.


Judy Abdo

I have been very involved in the Ocean Park neighborhood since I moved here in 1974.  I am particularly interested in OPA Connects, community organizing, emergency preparedness, Main Street, the parade, and climate change. 

A Santa Monica councilmember from 1988 to 1996, Abdo served three years as the City's mayor. She is vice chair of the First 5 LA Commission. She is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Education, represents Santa Monica on the Metropolitan Water District board, serves on the Steering Committee of Climate Action Santa Monica, is Chair of the EV subcommittee of the Santa Monica Environmental Task Force, and is a member of the Early Childhood Task Force in Santa Monica.

She retired as the Director of Child Development Services for the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District. Abdo was the assistant director of the Norton Family Office and Peter Norton Family Foundation. She also served four years as council deputy for the city of West Hollywood, as executive director of the nonprofit Ocean Park Community Organization, and for 13 years as an elementary school teacher. She was the administrator of the Church in Ocean Park for 37 years.

She was a long-time member of the steering committee of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights. She served as chair of the Urban Forest Task Force and the Santa Monica Pier Corporation in the City of Santa Monica.  She served as a co-chair of Santa Monica Forward.

She was a founder of Sojourn Shelter for battered women and children, a founder of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corp and a former board member of the Neighborhood Support Center and Santa Monica AIDS Project. She also is a former member and chair of the Ocean Park Community Center board of directors, where she was a member for 19 years.

She has a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in Early Childhood Education and has done graduate work in human development at Pacific Oaks College.

 

INCUMBENT CANDIDATES

John Prindle

I have been a Santa Monica resident for nearly 3 decades and in Ocean Park for 13 of those years. We should continue to support the changes that OPA has been focused on since its inception: compassion, mobility and safety. We also need to continue to work closely with organizations like SMRR to provide housing assurance for our most vulnerable residents, including the homeless.

Residents and businesses have also talked about mobility and making our streets safe for cyclists and pedestrians. Proactively working with City Hall is how we will solve this challenge and the recent changes to Main Street show us the path forward.

I also support “cleaning up our streets” as this will improve our quality of life. One area of focus that I would like to see prioritized is reducing the amount of trash we see on our streets and in our parks. Being proactive, working with city departments and being responsive to OP residents will help us meet these goals.


Ian Novos

Born in South Africa, Ian came to the US in 1977 to study. He obtained graduate degrees in economics and public policy on the East coast. He then moved west to Los Angeles. He has lived -very happily - in Santa Monica on and off since 1988, and, specifically, in Ocean Park since 2004. Retired since December 2019, Ian’s career included stints in academia – teaching economics at USC and Georgia Tech – and the private sector, as an economist at BDO and KPMG. He has published numerous articles in both scholarly and industry publications. Ian has been involved with OPA since early 2020, having initially become involved through the OPA Connects Zoom calls, where he became aware of the commitment and devotion that OPA’s members and board had to Ocean Park. He was pleased to join the board about two years ago. Since joining the board, Ian has worked toward preserving the character of a safe, bike-friendly, diverse Ocean Park, a vibrant Main Street and positioning Ocean Park to thrive long term, in part, by dealing with the consequences of global warming, and being careful not to over-develop it.

During his time on OPA’s board, Ian has been an active participant in, among other things, the Open Main Street initiative, the 2022 4 th of July Parade and Make Music LA, as well as the Diversity task force and various other committees. Most of his energy has been devoted to diversity, where, little by little, ties are being built to organizations and individuals who will help with advancing that cause.

 

Chris Morgan

Chris, originally from New York with stops in Baltimore, New Haven, and San Francisco, has been an Ocean Park resident for three years and has enjoyed being on the OPA board for two of those. During his time in OPA, Chris has been on the Arts, Main Street, Communications, and Renters committees/task forces. Accomplishments include

starting OPA's Instagram account, helping to lead the K-Rail art project, advocating and

supporting the Open Main Street pilot program, and co-founding the renters task force

to ensure renter participation and representation within OPA.

An avid Farmers Market champion, Chris volunteered throughout the pandemic

restriction period at the SM Farmers Markets to help keep them operating and continues

to be involved with different aspects of the city program. More recently, Chris has been

the liaison with our Sunday neighborhood market that serves the Ocean Park

community (and beyond).

For 20 years, Chris has enjoyed a career in the events hospitality industry and currently

is in a senior level role for a venue developer and operator helping to build hospitality

programs at some of the most talked about arenas, stadiums, and special events in the

world. Part of his personal passion that has bled into work, Chris emphasizes reducing

food waste in those venues and waste diversion/recovery efforts to help feed those in

need. This helped lead to volunteering as a delivery driver for Meals on Wheels West to

those in need in Santa Monica.

Aiming to make Ocean Park a lifelong home, Chris has a vested interest in the future of

the neighborhood and looks forward to seeing his neighbors while on strolls around the

neighborhood, at our Sunday Farmers Market, or at the many special events that our

neighborhood is lucky to host.

 

Patty Godon-Tann

Patty had spent 11 years as the Treasurer of the OPA Board and more recently Membership Chair.  She continues to help facilitate the positive changes OPA is making for our neighborhood.  She is a longtime resident of Ocean Park, living in the southern "Borderline" Neighborhood for more than 40 years.  Patty was the Chair of the Borderline Neighborhood Group and was largely responsible for the dramatic change in Ozone Park over the last decade. Years in the neighborhood have taught her how to create change from the grassroots level.  She is very excited about serving on the OPA Board again and participating in the development of a stronger union between the neighborhood and the City.

 

Sean Besser

I am currently a Vice-President of OPA and chair our Communications Committee and Main Street Task Force and am also on the Membership committee.

I have lived in Santa Monica for more than 20 years, the past 10 of them in Ocean Park. While I didn't grow up here, I still fondly remember the days as a kid when my mom would take me to Santa Monica beach and the pier and I am fortunate that I now get to call Santa Monica my home.

I have a passion for fostering a sense of community both in my job personal life and community efforts. For Santa Monica, I believe in striking a healthy balance between maintaining its beach town feel, keeping it safe and welcoming, encouraging diversity and openness, while evolving into the 21st Century. My top priorities on the OPA board are driving more community engagement and making OPA more representative of our community, making Ocean Park more pedestrian/biking friendly, helping local businesses thrive, addressing homelessness, improving safety, and managing our relationship with city officials to make sure Ocean Park's unique needs and concerns are recognized.

As part of my work Chairing the Communications Committee, I am producing the twice weekly "OPA Update" e-newsletter that Marc Morgenstern did such an amazing job creating and growing (we now reach over 1700 people with it).  The committee also oversees our social activity, website, and the weekly OPA Connects Zoom, among other things. 

As for my efforts on the Main Street Task Force, I Chaired the 2021 Sharing an Open Main Street series and the 2022 Rocktober one day version in addition to working with the City to help them shape their guidelines for future such efforts. I am also an OPA liaison for the MSBIA, which is responsible for dealing with issues regarding Main Street and the Farmers Market.


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