April 2015 General Meeting Minutes


Culver City Democratic Club

General Membership Meeting- Veterans Auditorium Rotunda

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

  1. Call to Order at 7:10 P.M. by Sylvia Moore, President
  2. Pledge of Allegiance- led by Mr. Hassan.
  3. Approval of March 11, 2015 Minutes. Moved to approve by Tania and seconded by Margaret Lindgren. Approved.
  4. Announcements:
    1. This meeting is in memory of Cecilia Guttenberg who passed away last month.
    2. A subcommittee, Legislative Committee, is being formed comprised of Sylvia, Stephen and members are encouraged to join.
    3. The Culver City Mayor’s Luncheon is scheduled for April 22, 2015 and we have a table at the Culver City Chamber of Commerce.
    4. A Culver City resident, Jerry King, will be honored by the French Government with the Legion of Honor.
    5. There will be a meeting entitled Policing Problems in L.A. at the Culver-Palms United Methodist Church on 4464 Sepulveda Blvd. in Culver City on Saturday, April 18th from 1- 4PM.
    6. Bernie Sanders was out here last week and needs to hear from folks, get on his site sanders.com and volunteer to work on his campaign or donate.
    7. Tom Camarella announced that a play with music written by his wife, Ronnie Jayne, entitled Loopholes: A Pain in the IRS. We may be able to get some fund raising tickets. Tom also made us aware of Introduction to Robo to take place at the USC Galen Center on Sunday, May 3, 2015.
  5. Officer Reports
    1. Treasurer’s Report (Eric Fine): Total funds were: $ 3,971.11 with an ending balance of $ 4,604.07, such that we have enough for this year, but not for the next!
    2. Fundraising (Sylvia)- we have Michelle Obama buttons.
    3. Membership (Diane Rosenberg) 104 paid members. Guests: Juanita Wright, Robert Farrell.
    4. Fundraising (Amy Cherness) – raffle tickets at 6 for $ 5.00, War is a Lie by David Swanson, Selma poster for sale.
  6. Kelly Osajima from Evolve was our opening speaker.
  7. Evolve was formed 3 years ago to address corporate influence and hold office holders accountable. Our class sizes are 40% larger but we rank 49 in terms of per pupil education in public schools. At the UC level, tuition has tripled in the last decade and CA needs more revenue for public education. There have been talks about extending Prop. 30 taxes and we believe that the best solution is to reform Prop. 13. Now 75% of public education is funded by the citizens and 25% by the corporations. Originally, the intent of Prop. 13 was to keep home owners in their homes. However, currently, Disneyland is paying 5c per square foot such that 28% of the property tax burden is carried by corporations, whereas, residents are carrying 72% of the burden! We have the highest sales and property taxes in the country, as a consequence. Education is a right and a necessity and not a privilege. Public education is beginning to look like private education. If we are able to reform Prop. 13, we should be able to bring in 6-10 billion dollars. Evolve hosted a meeting last year during which special interest groups such as commercial realtors have come out to oppose it, however, our Mayor stood with the progressives and stood up for what was right. School boards in San Diego and Riverside counties have passed resolutions to support reform of Prop 13. Evolve has begun signing members to get involved and to sign petition to sign the ballot measure. Evolve is 100% membership-funded and supported by 13,000 members currently. A quarter of the voting membership is down here in LA and Evolve is interested in signing up donors and volunteers. Evolve is also staging direct action in sites such as the Chevron Refinery. Q: How will you make sure the homeowner is going to be protected? A: It will be a measure to close corporate loopholes. Q: Will there be a distinction between a business run out of the home and LLC corporations? Motion: to endorse Prop 13 reform was moved by Margaret Lindgren and seconded by Judy Alter. It passed with an overwhelming majority with only one vote in opposition.
  8. Program with Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, our main speaker.

This is a practice session for the Chamber of Commerce speech on April 22, 2015. She highlighted the recent vote that was a tremendous victory for Culver City. Council members made a conscious decision not to build affordable housing in the 90’s when redevelopment monies available. It takes 90% of a person’s income to pay for rental housing. A rental assistance program (RAP) was created as Section 8 and CC created its own rental assistance program that was entirely funded through redevelopment funds. Two weeks ago, the Council had to decide whether to continue the program. There were people who were elderly or disabled or young families that lost a job who were represented in the council chambers. The mayor and her colleagues voted to continue the RAP and their work with Upward Bound Shelter. Most programs will separate family members, but not Upward Bound Shelter who has housed 4 families in our school district who have been given financial literacy counseling. There need to be incentives for developers who have received bonuses for density. We need to update our general plan for the city. The conservation element which came into being around the time of the Mayor still hasn’t been updates since. Before the Mayor was on the Council, she was a community worker and she would like to hear more voices regarding this issue. Another issue that will be coming up is mansionization. She urges that we sign up to be notified for future events at City Hall. We can make our city better, but grass doesn’t belong here. Hopefully, there will be end of grass soon. We are in a Mediterranean climate that is cyclical and now we have to be more aggressive about saving water. Culver City will have to save water by 20% and the details are currently being worked out. It is also a way to change our city for the better. Fracking is a big deal in CC such that 10% of fracking in the Inglewood Oil Field is done in our city. The Mayor went to D.C. last month and noted an increasing trend of fatalities from pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accidents as well as bike fatalities, according to Secretary Fox. Parking has taken an inordinate amount of time at the CC Council meetings and the Mayor has a coordinator in the CC school system to enable kids to walk to their schools. Hopefully, there will be more grant monies and the Mayor is able to bring issues to the Council Chambers. The mayor noted that she was elected with 20% of eligible voters voting for her and hopes to increase the number of eligible voters. We are currently at a little over 50% permanent absentee ballot voting. The mayor was recently asked to speak at La Playa Elementary School and voted on the snack, i.e. watermelon vs. grape. Our civic education is low in California, but Bill Wynn is good at recruiting and engaging young people. In the local elections, we’re talking about our streets, trash collection, etc., if you vote, your vote counts!!. Who wants billboards? There is a proposal to put up a hospitality and sign district where sinage is supposed to come up and look for “sign district.” It will give us years and years of litigation. This is budget season and there is a deadline coming up in June or July. The Mayor has increased transparency since the city of Bell’s debacle. CC has been doing a lot better. If you go on the City’s website, the work plan is the meat and potatoes of the budget which will soon have numbers that are set. “A budget is a statement of priorities,” per Senator Holly Mitchell. Q: Recycle grey water? A: Not an easy solution. Q: Will we need to decide before June to consolidate our elections, how do we do this? A: Put it on the June election or will need to discuss it as a community. Q: With regard to the sinage issue, will you make sure it is taped and at the CC Hall? A: There is no scheduled date for discussion of the “sign district.” Rich asks whether you’ll have lower turnout with a permanent absentee voter status. Jim Clarke answered that because the folks from Blair Hills had to go to El Marino Elementary School to vote and there used to be a lot of redundancy. Mayor would like to have a discussion at CCDC before this topic is discussed in the Council chambers. In the last several years, there has been an across the board cut by 17% of city employees. “We have had to take into account the CalPers retirement obligations and the prospect of sun setting the hotel taxes.” The Mayor passed out information on the governor’s Executive Order on water conservation, as well as Urban Water Suppliers and Proposed Regulatory Framework Tiers to Achieve 25% Use Reduction and Mandatory Conservation: Achieving a 25% statewide reduction in potable urban water use.

  1. Motion to adjourn this meeting was put forth by Darrell Cherness and Neil Rubeinstein seconded the motion. Meeting was adjourned at 9:10 P.M. Respectfully submitted, Khin Khin Gyi, First Vice President