Excerpted from Westside Current (July 27, 2021):
WESTSIDE -Traci Park moved to Venice in 2015, drawn here by what she called “the culture, the people and the lifestyle”. She received her Bachelor’s degree in History at Johns Hopkins University in 1997, her law degree from Loyola Marymount in 2001 and is a partner at Burke, Williams and Sorensen, a large law firm specializing in public entities, where she has worked since 2009, specializing in employment law, labor relations and litigation. Until recently, Ms. Park, a registered Democrat, had no intention of pursuing a career in city politics.
But that began to change several months ago when a good friend — a local contractor — called to let her know that the Ramada Inn, just a few doors down from her home, had been sold and was being converted into transitional, homeless housing, to be managed by People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) under the auspices of Project Roomkey. Further outreach showed that no one in the neighborhood was informed.
Along with the lack of engagement and the repeated due process violations that occurred thereafter –” It was also clear to Park that the City was not, in fact, entitled to various CEQA exemptions of which they were taking advantage, and were in violation of the Coastal Act’s edict that affordable visitor accommodations like the Ramada are to be protected and preserved.
Our concern was the lack of any commitment from the city or PATH to protect public safety,” she said. “We repeatedly went to the city with ideas and potential solutions that would set the project up to be a success…We asked for some basic security conditions, and the city rejected every single one of them without explanation…We asked the city to identify a target population of individuals that would make it lower risk,” such as seniors, or domestic violence victims. “The city told us no.
We asked if they could at least have a rule that prohibits people who live in the facility from also maintaining a tent for living outside, the city said no…Every time we’ve gone to the city we’ve been met with no’s, excuses, delays and reasons why they can’t accommodate those requests. Frankly, if the city had been reasonable and cared about engaging with the community, hearing what the concerns are and willing to work with us, it could have been open and housing people in a safe and responsible manner months ago.”
At the urging of several Venetians, Park began exploring a possible run against Mike Bonin in the 2022 election for CD11 City Councilperson. After consulting with political advisors and receiving the blessing of her law firm, on July 1st Park announced her candidacy. We spoke at her home a few weeks later.