by Anthony Rizzo
Our City is in the process of updating its General Plan. Part of the plan focuses on our zoning and housing development.
In anticipation, some councilmembers and their supporters have been showcasing Culver City’s hstoric racism.
Some are advocating that the council make a formal apology for its racism while others have gone so far as to suggest rezoning single family residential neighborhoods to allow for “affordable” housing as a form of reparations.
In my opinion, minorities of Culver City do not want an apology for the racism of the past nor do we want rezoning for “affordable” housing.
What we want is a commitment from our elected council to protect our rights to have the same quality of life that the past residents of this beautiful suburb enjoyed during its heyday.
Culver City has overcome racism. And, the people in Culver are evidence of it. The diversity in our City reflects this. As a minority, I was not prevented by laws or intimidation from purchasing a single-family home in Culver City. The couple that sold the house to me was white and they were excited for me to make this City my new home. However, what I have observed is that the City has steadily reduced its commitment to protect residents’ rights to have the same quality of life as those who began this great city.
For example, I purchased a home in Sunkist Park – a single family residential neighborhood. It has beautiful, quiet, tree lined streets. At the center of this perfectly planned neighborhood is a small elementary school and park. However, over the past 10 years the City (school district and city) has stopped protecting our right to enjoy the same quiet, low density neighborhood for which it is zoned and was designed.
Every week after school and during the weekends, the streets around the school are flooded with cars coming in and out to use the school field.
The City, without notice, consent, or proper planning repurposed the field as a recreational park.
Permits are sold to sports associations to use the field as a recreational park. The volume of traffic in the neighborhood has tripled, the level of pollution in the neighborhood has increased 10-fold, the streets are no longer quiet, and kids cannot safely ride and play in the streets.
Sunkist Park neighborhood is not a recreational park. It was built for single family homes. It is designed for families to walk their kids to the small elementary school and for families and kids to walk or ride their bike/board to play at the neighborhood park.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only area the City has fallen short:
- Traffic in Culver City in now a crisis. In neighborhoods and on the main streets. Encampments in our parks and streets and the sale and use of drugs is permitted.
- Kids’ safety is a major concern of parents – playing outside or traveling to school.
- City regulations have increased exponentially i.e. requirements for building/remodeling your home, bans on plastic bags, straws and e-cigarettes, rent control (proposed rent control board), ban on certain utilities (proposed ban on gas appliances), etc.
- Local taxes have been on a steady rise with the looming debt of pension liabilities.
- Government growth is out of control for a small City like ours. We are flooded with increased costs to implement the avalanche of state laws and special interest programs; i.e. the planners to hire for the planning department, costs for programs to come out of the revised general plan, homeless czar, etc.
Isn’t it ironic that the same City that prevented minorities from purchasing homes is now preventing minorities from having the same quality of life.
As a matter of fact, it’s not just minorities that suffer, all residents are prevented from experiencing this same quality of life.
Instead of an apology, I am suggesting our City go back to the drawing board and take care of the basics:
- Enforce the laws on the books to remove encampments, and drug dealers from our streets.
- Manage growth and traffic so we can enjoy the peaceful oasis of Culver City.
- Reduce crime in our City so our streets are safe.
- Stop the state and surrounding cities from forcing their agenda on us.
- Solve our financial crises and get a handle on our pension liabilities.
The truth of the matter is that the minorities disenfranchised by the historic racism of Culver City’s housing policies are now living in Culver City neighborhoods, in single family homes. Once the discriminatory laws were removed, we were able to purchase homes wherever we wanted.
The issue was never “affordability” it was “accessibility”.
Therefore, save the apology and the progressive agenda to “up-zone away poverty”.
Please just protect the beautiful City we love and preserve the amazing quality of life it has to offer us all.