The Board

The Palms Neighborhood Council

2021-2023 Board

The 2021-2023 Palms NC Board was elected on June 8, 2021 to serve the Palms Community and represents residential, business and community stakeholders.  Meet your Palms representatives!

Randell Erving

President
Email: randell.erving@palmsnc.la

Palms has been my home for the past 10 years.  I got involved with the Palms NC in 2018 by volunteering to help at children’s recycled art event and saw how powerful even simple actions can be when neighbors work together.

I served as Vice President from 2019-2021 and was elected President in 2021. I care about about the advancing equity and justice in education, housing, and all of the systems that impact our communities.

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to L.A. in 2005 to begin my career in education.

I earned my B.A. in Sociology from Marquette University and my M.A. in Education from Loyola Marymount University.

When I am not serving youth and families or volunteering with the Palms NC, I enjoy being in the sun, reading, listening to music, the beach, and dining across L.A.

Danya  White

Vice-President
Email: randell.erving@palmsnc.la

Palms has been my home for the past 10 years.  I got involved with the Palms NC in 2018 by volunteering to help at children’s recycled art event and saw how powerful even simple actions can be when neighbors work together.

I am the Vice President of the Palms Neighborhood Council. I am the Chair of the Outreach Committee and the Co-Chair of the Racial and Social Justice Committee. I also serve as the Miry’s List Welcome Neighbor Liaison for the Palms NC.

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to L.A. in 2005 to begin my career in education.

I earned my B.A. in Sociology from Marquette University and my M.A. in Education from Loyola Marymount University.

When I am not serving youth and families or volunteering with the Palms NC, I enjoy being in the sun, reading, listening to music, the beach, and dining across L.A.

Helen Tocco

Secretary
Email: helen.tocco@palmsnc.la

I am the Palms Neighborhood Council Secretary. As a civil engineer and architect, I am committed to making Palms cleaner, greener, safer, and better planned. I have lived in Palms for eight years and I think our neighborhood is one of the best kept secrets in LA.

Since 2018, I have been an active volunteer with the Green Committee, and in August 2019 took on the Co-chair role with Jessalyn Waldron. I also volunteer for many other organizations, including Tree People, American Cancer Society, SoCal Westy Swing Dance club (current Treasurer), Pinups for Pitbulls, and as a Peer Navigator for FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered).

Giving back is a core value of mine. I am passionate about my career working on historic buildings and solar projects. My role requires me to keep multiple parties organized, on-task, on schedule, and code-compliant; and this detail-oriented skill set makes me well-suited for the role of Secretary.

I look forward to helping make our great neighborhood even better.

Kay Hartman

Treasurer
Email: kay.hartman@palmsnc.la

Kay Hartman and her husband Jack and have lived in Palms since 1983.   She was born in New York and moved to Orange County with her parents, sister, and brother when she was 7 years old.  She has a degree in Mathematics from California State University, Long Beach.  Degree in hand, she landed a job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena as a software developer while pursuing post-graduate studies in Computer Science at UCLA.  Kay entered software management while working at Proprietary Software Systems in Santa Monica.

She is now retired and has 37 years experience in software project and program management.  Jack and Kay are world travelers and have visited over 40 countries.

Matthew Wait

Community-Based Organization Representative
Email: matthew.wait@palmsnc.la

My spouse, Sarah; two children, Ruah and Amos; and I have lived in Palms since 2018. While we have only been in Palms a few years, we have fallen in love with this wonderful community and are excited that our kids get to grow up in such a diverse, vibrant neighborhood.

I was born and raised in the Indianapolis area before going to college at Concordia University Nebraska, followed by grad school at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis where I earned my Masters in Divinity. I have served as a pastor in Lakeville Minnesota and I am currently serving as the pastor at First Lutheran Church on Hughes Ave. I’m excited to serve on the Palms Neighborhood Council to do what I can to help our neighborhood thrive.

Nicholas Smith

Residential Representative for Area A
Email: nicholas.smith@palmsnc.la

Nick is the representative for Area A. He graduated from Penn State University in 2007 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. Following a brief engineering career, he was selected to become a Naval Flight Officer. During his time in the Navy, he served one deployment from August 2014 – June 2015 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, flying 69 combat missions and earning an Air Medal. While wrapping up his Navy career, Nick was accepted to begin his MBA at USC Marshall School of Business. He separated from the Navy in 2019 and graduated from USC in 2020. He currently works as a financial consultant for Equitable Advisors.

Nick looks forward to using his diverse background and experiences while serving Palms. He is committed to helping veterans and business owners in the community. Being a fairly new recent Palms resident, he looks forward to meeting and engaging with the community.

Grace Hancock

Residential Representative for Area B
Email: grace.hancock@palmsnc.la

I have lived in Palms for over 4 years and love being a member of this friendly and diverse community. I recently finished my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at UCLA, and now work in therapeutic development at a research institute.

I look forward to using my experience and skills to give back to this community that has done so much for me. It is important to me to advocate for those who have not been represented in the community, particularly our unhoused neighbors and communities of color. As the area B representative my goal is to build community and communicate the hyper-local needs of our area to the neighborhood council, and when applicable, city council. I currently serve on the Homlessness Advocacy and Public Service & Racial and Social Justice committees and look forward to working with my fellow committee members to improve support for our neighborhood.

At UCLA I was a coordinator for Advancing Women in Science and Engineering, and most recently I have worked to organize our graduate student researchers. In my free time I love walking and running around this beautiful neighborhood, looking at the flowers and enjoying all of the different restaurants and businesses. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions, thoughts, or ideas!

Gabriela Sotomayor

Residential Representative for Area C
Email: gabriela.sotomayor@palmsnc.la

Hello! I am the Area C Representative for the Palms Neighborhood Council and a member of both the Homeless Advocacy and Public Services and Business Relations and Public Beautification committees. A resident of Palms for a little under a year now, I am incredibly excited to help represent such a vibrant and diverse community.

In the time I have resided in Palms, I have had the pleasure of familiarizing myself with our wonderful businesses and residents; and after meeting with the former Neighborhood Council, quickly became interested in taking a more active role within our community.  As a result, my goal as Area C’s Representative is to strengthen the council’s engagement with our residents. To create more opportunities for us to discuss the community’s aspirations and concerns regarding Palms, and ensure that said aspirations are prioritized.

A graduate of Boston University, I earned a dual degree in Accounting and Operations Management, and possess 8 years of financial business experience.

When I’m not working, or serving with the Palms NC, you will likely find me running, enjoying amazing food all around Los Angeles, or cheering on one of the many sports teams that I root for.

Jessalyn Waldron

Residential Representative for Area D
Email: jessalyn.waldron@palsmnc.la

Jessalyn’s inspiration for public service comes from growing up with a deep respect for the ocean and from her childhood as an Air Force Brat. With a theater and acting background, she learned the power of art to heal through teaching about bullying and domestic violence. She lost her Mom to COVID-19 in September 2020, which pushed her to focus on creating a sense of caring for each other and coming together in a time of tragedy. She worked closely with Kristen Chiarello on efforts to make sure seniors were taken care of in Palms during the pandemic, and created the Palms Volunteer Facebook Group.

From 2019-2021 in her first term as the Area D Representative she worked with constituents on projects such as helping neighbors get speed bumps, parking permits, “walkability signs” on Venice Blvd (coming as of July 2021), and emergency funding for reusable water bottles for local elementary schools when their water fountains were shut off due to COVID-19. 

As the Co-Chair of the Green Committee with Helen Tocco, some of her most notable accomplishments come from being the liaison for the Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance (NCSA), and member of the Reusable L.A. Coalition. She’s lead massive efforts in waste reduction policy; helped draft policy for #skipthestuff; helped local community members to take a role to help businesses get certified in the L.A. Green Business Program; and played an instrumental role in the dog poop stations you see in Palms. She is also an advocate for equitable and safe mobility options, and is an avid bicyclist and rider of mass transit.

An SMC transfer student who became a UCLA 2019 magna cum laude graduate, she is an advocate for continued improvement of education systems and community colleges. 

She is grateful for another two years to build on the work she started in Palms, her home for over 11 years. She hopes to expand civic engagement and continue meeting more neighbors who want better for our neighborhood, City, County, and ultimately, our Country. 

Kristen Chiarello

Residential Representative for Area E
Email: kristen.chiarello@palmsnc.la

I’m the Area E Representative for the Palms Neighborhood Council and a member of both the Outreach and Green Committees.

I began my involvement with the Palms NC in 2018 when I volunteered to help at a neighborhood garden cleanup and planting day.  I enjoyed the event and was impressed by the breadth of information I learned about the NC and its various committees.  I then attended a meeting held by each committee to learn more and try to decide where I would like to focus my efforts.  In the end I wanted to join each one but knew that was not possible, so I joined the Outreach Committee to help with overall awareness and the Green Committee as I am a strong advocate for clean and green living as well as health, fitness, and wellness.

My goal is to serve my community, to share resources, to create change, and to help others.  As Area Rep I will work hard to give a voice to the people living in my area and help with issues that affect Palms overall.

I have a Dual Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism Mass Media and American Studies and a Master’s in Human Relations.  I currently work as VP of Operations for a startup software company.  In my free time I enjoy working out, relaxing in the sun, reading, attending events all over LA, taking part in a variety of volunteer efforts locally and nationally, and spending time with my daughter.

Natasía Gascón

Business Representative
Email: natasia.gascon@palmsnc.la

Since moving to Palms in 2008, I’ve made it my mission to advocate for our vibrant community. I’m a creative business professional with 12+ years experience in a range of industries from small nonprofits to multinational corporations.

I’ve represented the Palms Neighborhood as a delegate of Council District 5 for ArtsForLA’s ACTIVATE Leadership Program, the 2017 State of the Arts Summit and the 2019 VEX Conference in Philadelphia, PA.

As a video journalist I specialize in hyper-local arts, culture and human-interest stories that connect stakeholders with issues that matter. As a member of the Palms NC’s Business & Beautification, Green, Planning & Land Use, and Venice Ad Hoc committees, I work to bring public art, local history and developer accountability to the neighborhood.

As your Business Representative I serve the people of Palms and speak for the needs of business owners, workers, residents and visitors in our thriving, diverse, creative community through the COVID-19 recovery and beyond.

Josh Nadel

Business Representative
Email: josh.nadel@palmsnc.la

I am one of the Palms Business Representatives. I am also the vice-chair of the Outreach Committee. I also serve as the President for the Budget Tribunes. Working hard for my community is something I take very seriously.

I have lived in Palms since I was 6 except when I attended UC Berkeley for undergrad. USC Marshall is where I received my MBA. I have my own tax business in Palms and am a federally and state licensed tax preparer.

When I’m not helping out the City, neighborhood or my business, I’m watching sports, playing with my dog Storm or finding something good to eat.

Vacant (seeking candidates)

Youth Representative

Email: president@palmsnc.la