We figured the old Fisch/Lee Council would not go down peacefully, and they did not disappoint. The inauguration of a new Council is usually a purely formal affair – the first item is the old Council stepping down. Instead, they forced new Councilmembers Dan O’Brien and Freddy Puza to wait while they debated and passed the highly controversial SEIU pay raise. Once the new Council was seated, they reversed it.
Predictably, the usual activists ran with it, calling the new Council majority a bunch of grinches. But the real scandal was the Council that would not leave. Darrel Menthe wrote in to the CC Crossroads bringing up the “unprecedented” nature of this. Former Mayor Steve Gourley wrote the following response – which we are publishing with his permisson.
Mr. Darrell Menthe states in his letter to the editor of Culver City Crossroads that “something extraordinary” happened at the December 12, 2022 swearing in of the new council members: the newly elected members had to wait 2 hours until the old members had finished “old business.”
I can understand that Mr. Menthe has limited knowledge of the City and its history. When I was sworn in as a councilman in April, 1988, Dr. Jim Boulgarides, who had also been newly elected, and I had to wait AT LEAST an hour before the councilmembers we had defeated in the election, stepped down. All of our supporters who filled the tiny city hall had to wait, too.
Richard Brundo and Paul Netzel took turns excoriating both of us AND the VOTERS for turning them out of office. Brundo and Netzel also swore that each would run again in the next election and beat us. They did not run in the next election or any election after 1988. In fact, Netzel moved out of Culver City before two elections (4 years) had passed.
I agree with Mr. Menthe that it was just plain bad manners for the excouncilmen Daniel Lee and Alex Fisch to hold up the swearing in of the new councilman, but it was nothing new or “extraordinary.” As a result of the actions of Mr. Brundo and Mr. Netzel in April 1988, I never attended a swearing in where I was not being sworn in myself. Both with the City Council and the School Board, I stepped down the week before and said my goodbyes and thank yous the week before the swearing in of the new Council and Board.
It seemed like the right thing to do.