Council to allow minors on commissions?

Monday night city council proposed allowing minors and non-registered voters on city commissions and boards.  We at Protect Culver City are vocally opposed to the idea.  We see it not as an extension of the franchise, but a disenfranchising of Culver City residents and voters by means of court-packing.  Indeed, it’s court packing of the worst kind – by using impressionable children as political pawns.   

Culver City Unified was already embroiled in scandal under Kelly Kent, when she used school district resources to organize a women’s march.  This is not the only case.  Mayor Meghan and others from her slate frequently use our schools as an organizing tool. 

We made our cases known by e-mail.  And our representative Anthony Rizzo gave our position on A-2 at the beginning of the meeting.  Council had the exact reaction we expected.  Even with all this, Alex Fisch claimed during the A-2 “I don’t see any opposition to this.”  When vice-mayor Eriksson raised the issue of verifying residence status, Mayor Meghan brushed it off.  

People should see this as par for the course for an agenda-driven council whose very inaugural meeting was a Brown Act violation.  Mayor Meghan regularly uses outside agitators to support her, when she wants something passed.  And the majority of council under her has, over and over again, callously shut out the will of residents.  Indeed her machinations to revamp our government dance around the illegal.

And Fisch’s comments, while frustrating, are unfortunately quite expected.  Indeed, this council sees no opposition to what they do, because they ignore opposition to what they do.  We’ve already said there is no conversation with this council – indeed we formed our PAC over this very premise.  Perhaps he won on this technicality, because we didn’t realize e-mail comments aren’t read aloud at meetings.  But we’re learning. 

Not that it matters. 

Rather, the lesson should be for the other groups who are still hoping against hope that this council will have a conversation with them and listen to reason.  We’re rooting for you, and if somehow you win a concession through conversation, we salute you.   

But we think it’s futile.  When people show you who they are, believe them.  This council has plainly demonstrated they have an agenda – one that flies in the face of the better interests of our residents.  And they will stop at nothing to get it.  We’re already planning for a scenario where our rent control ballot initiative passes, and council will still ignore it.  Because that’s who they are. 

The only way to push our interests as residents of Culver City on this council is by electoral force.  The only conversation we have is with our fellow residents.  That means talking with our neighbors, circulating our ballot initiative and PAC literature, and publicizing scandals like with CCUSD. 

We are confident that as we make our council’s actions more public, we will continue to grow and make our voices truly heard. 

Our opposition to minors on commissions

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The following was submitted by Jennifer Alvarez regarding council’s agenda item to allow minors and non-registered voters on commissions and boards:

Culver City Council Members,
We are writing in opposition to the agenda item A-2. This will expose our young impressionable children to one sided political pressure. Children should not be involved in politics. This ordinance is not child led, its adult led in an effort to gain an extra voice to advance the LEFT’s political agenda in our city.  Children should not be sitting on Culver City Commissions or Committees making policy for the public.  CCUSD should not be working with City Council in an effort to push our children into political issues.  
CCUSD already struggles with its own politically one sided leadership that uses our children to help promote left leaning political groups and ideas inside our schools.  
Kelly Kent, CCUSD former Board President, abused her power by using the CCUSD logo without permission from the district office to advertise and push a political Women’s March event at Robert Frost Auditorium on April 20, 2019. 
Through the California Public Records Act we were able to uncover the truth surrounding the planning of this highly political event.  We exposed the overreach and blatant disregard from the district office that the use of the logo for this event was NOT APPROPRIATE. Kelly Kent obtained the logo by other means and used it anyway. Please see the link below for video of my public statement and Kelly Kent’s public apology for misusing the CCUSD logo at the September 24, 2019 school board meeting  (forward to 3:33).

Even after her public apology, Kelly Kent used social media to spread fake news and misrepresent my public statement.  Soon after Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells retweeted the fake news post.  
This is how these elected officials running our City and schools handle opposing views. By bullying opposers.  I’m afraid to think of how they will treat our children who are sitting on Commissions and Commiittees who don’t agree with them.  
Stop using our children to advance your ONE sided politics in our community and our schools.  
– Jennifer and Danny Alvarez 

Kelly Kent rebuts Alvarez … and later deletes this tweet.
Mayor Meghan retweets with her own commentary

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Gun Violence Near Culver City’s Globe Avenue

While the Mayor, the City Manger, and their small band of  privileged, elitist supporters insist we have a “homeless crisis” and lecture us on compassion and morality, we on Globe Avenue have to deal with the consequences of criminal vagrants and the violence they leave in their wake.

They have been at least two previous shootings in the area under siege under the 405 overpass at Venice Boulevard. One in February 2019, the other in July of the same year.

This afternoon, January 11, 2020, there was a third such incident. LAPD received reports of a man with a gun in the area.

For the residents, our first hint of trouble was the low, insistent rumble of a police chopper that sliced through the quiet of a Saturday afternoon. When we went outside—I to drop off books at a nearby library—we were horrified to see yellow crime-scene tape cordoning off our street a few feet before it intersects with Venice and a second one blocking off an alley that leads to Sawtelle.

“There’s been a shooting. Someone has been shot,” the officer I approached informed me as he lifted the crime scene tape for me to pass through.

Out on Venice Boulevard, CCPD’s black-and-white SUVs blocked the eastbound lanes. A police vehicle was parked at the head of Globe where it intersects with Venice on the Culver City side and several more vehicles were parked alongside the vagrant encampments on the Culver City side of the 405 overpass.

Two Culver City Paramedic vehicles passed by, turning left to go north on Sawtelle.

It’s taken several conversations with officers to ascertain what exactly went down.

Was this an officer-involved shooting?

Yes.

Was it the officer doing the shooting?

Yes.

Was it a vagrant who got shot?

Yes.

We understand the vagrant had a gun and thought it a good idea to resist the LAPD.

He thought wrong.

He ended up dead at the Shell Station on the southwest corner of Venice and Sepulveda.

What if he had run down Globe? What if one of us or, God forbid, our children should have been caught in the crossfire? What if any civilians had been injured?

This is why we complain about vagrants camping in such close proximity to us.

 They are violent. They are armedand, no, they’re not just exercising their second-amendment right to keep and bear arms. They are dangerous.

To call this a homeless crisis is an outrage.

I grew up in India. I’ve seen extreme poverty. I’ve seen people living on the streets and in slums. I have even, as a journalism student, visited with such people and spoken with them.

Not one of them was on drugs. Not one of them was violent. Not one of them was armed. Not one of them was encased in filth either. In a country that is hot and humid and without regular access to clean, running water, these people were still able to keep themselves clean and to retain their sense of dignity.

I’ve lived in four different Indian cities, visited quite a few others.

But I have never seen human feces on the streets, never seen people defecating in full view of the public, and never, as I walked through the streets, a lone woman, have I felt unsafe. Even in New Delhi, a notoriously unsafe place for women.

Here in Culver City, I hesitate to walk under the overpass. I would certainly never take my children—ranging in age from 4 through 8—through it to go to the store at the Shell Station or to walk to Vet’s Park as we used to before the bums—I don’t apologize for using that term because that’s all they are—took over our neighborhood.

To call this a homeless crisis is both an outrage and an insult to the residents who live here and are exposed to this situation every day of their lives. To suggest that all that’s needed is a shelter and a few services—and, of course, rent control—flies in the face of common decency.

And even if there really were a housing crisis, the city’s actions—enriching itself and its cronies—would certainly do nothing to alleviate it.  The Mayor has said—this in a letter in response to mine—that the city plans on spending $925,000 to study the situation.

Another $190,000 goes to pay the bloated salary of an official who will “coordinate services.”

None of this money goes toward actually providing services that those down on their luck might need—job training, job opportunities, for instance.

Why not? Because the people under the overpass don’t want a job. Nor do they want shelters. What they want is to be able to sell drugs and engage in illegal activities like drug-dealing and prostitution. Yes, we’ve seen this as well in Harry Culver’s city.

And our Mayor living in her privileged bubble is as well aware of this as you or I.

It’s easy to preach compassion when you don’t have to deal with or even see the situation on the outskirts of the city. It’s easy to tell other people what they should or shouldn’t do.

But I’m yet to see any of the people preaching compassion actually walking the walk.

Enabling drug abuse is not compassionate. Enabling young girls to be prostituted is not compassionate. And leaving the mentally ill to fend for themselves out on the streets is not compassionate either.

If anyone wants to preach compassion to the residents of Globe Avenue, let them volunteer to put up the violent, criminal vagrants under the overpass on their street—or better still within their homes.

Hammering out the vagrancy crisis

Thursday, Jan 9th 2020, we with Mayor Meghan, city manager John Nachbar, and police chief Bixby to discuss the Globe Ave. vagrant camp situation. We had the expected results – mostly an impasse, with some promise of progress. As you can imagine, these three city officials had very different responsibilities, and therefore different slants on we can do about these camps.

First we confronted the case that started the whole crisis – the Martin v. Boise ruling. This upheld the 2006 case declaring it “cruel and unusual punishment” to cite someone for sleeping on the sidewalk, if they have nowhere else to go. A number of us asserted that Boise case only allowed people to sleep anywhere – it didn’t allow them to set up permanent residences. But city government stuck to the principle that if we force vagrants to do anything, we’ll get sued.

Nachbar made the challenging assertion that, though the 2006 ruling doesn’t technically apply to daylight hours, an activist plaintiff will claim that they need to sleep during the day, because they’re afraid of sleeping at night. And they would most likely win that case. He may very well be right. But even if he’s wrong, we would need a very assertive council to be ready to defend our laws against a lawsuit.

So while we had an impasse on that, this issue should definitely be on Culver City residents’ radar for the 2020 election. If we want to keep our streets and parks clean, we need a council that’s ready to assert our right to do so.

We also went back and forth on whether the mayor is disciplining police for “harassing the homeless.” Meghan has denied any such policy change, but we’ve definitely heard from officers saying they got reprimanded from her for “harassing the homeless” – meaning checking for warrants and suspicious activity. We will follow up on this and get to the bottom of the issue.

Our final question, after much heated back and forth on “long term solutions” and their efficacy, was “what can we do about this now? Today?”

With that, we stuck to the crime element. While CCPD can’t single-handedly patrol the area 24/7 for us, we can be proactive. That means setting up a Neighborhood Watch for the block, which alerts CCPD on any suspect or known activity. Based on our reliable testimony, they can have reasonable suspicion to talk to suspected dealers, pimps, people defecating on the streets, or any criminal activity.

Our policy will be simple – whatever rules exist in a shelter, exist on our streets. If you want to live on our streets, you follow our laws, or you find another street. Nobody will be able to deal drugs or women, or harass local residents, without our watchful eye catching it.

Hopefully, if we stay vigilant, at least the worst elements will be discouraged to ply their trade elsewhere. We will be contacting CCPD’s liaison officer Yabko to set this up as soon as possible.

Protecting Residents is Immoral!

Yes, that’s essentially what Mayor Sahli-Wells and City Manager John Nachbar told residents this evening at a meeting at the Police Station.

“Immoral?” expostulated one resident.

“Yes, immoral,” the Mayor repeated. With her hand over her heart and her features arranged into an expression of deep compassion, the Mayor told residents it would be immoral to get vagrants out from the area of Venice under the 405-overpass.

Apparently, they can deal drugs, use the neighboring streets as open-air toilets, engage in prostitution, and do drugs on our streets, and it would be immoral to prosecute them.

“What can you do?” residents repeatedly asked. “We’ve heard what you can’t do. But what can you do tomorrow to make us safer?”

“Well,” the City Manager exclaimed, “we can’t tell them to go—!”

“What can you do?” we asked again.

Residents had been invited to meet with city officials and the Chief of Police to figure out solutions to the criminal vagrancy problem that afflicts the borders of Culver City, but it turned out to be a waste of our time.

The Mayor’s heart bleeds for the criminals who do drugs and sell drugs. But not for the tax-paying residents who pay her salary.

According to her, it would be both IMMORAL and UNCONSTITUTIONAL to protect our rights against criminals.

Keeping residents safe and streets clean apparently goes against the constitution. One has to wonder what our founders would have thought of that!

To give him credit, the City Manager did have a solution. It was in the form of an annually recurring $190,000 payment to a Homeless Czar!

One presumes that for that kind of money the appointee in question will have more refined excuses as to why nothing can be done.

At any rate, the solution does several things:

  • It enables the city and its council to act upon Rahm Emanuel’s advice to “never let a good crisis go to waste.”
  • To throw good money at a crisis and insist to residents that they’re doing something
  • And, best of all, it’s a lovely excuse to raise taxes

You see, the city’s declared a state of fiscal emergency. But somehow, despite the shortage, it did manage to find a spare $190,000 lying around. And it’s counting on having that spare cash available every year, with a little change to spare.

After all the Homeless Czar’s salary will need to go up every year. One hundred and ninety thousand dollars won’t go as far in 2021 as it does in 2020. The poor man—or woman—will absolutely need more each passing year to cope with rising costs.

Other than that City Manager John Nachbar was extremely candid in confessing he had No Answers. “I don’t know,” he repeatedly said.

Apparently, it never occurred to him to come prepared to the meeting or to do some research to figure out what our options are.

That would be too much to expect of an overpaid, underworked city official.