“They were two totally different campaigns, just about night and day, really.” When asked what he considered the notable differences between his 2016 run for City Council and his victory in the 2018 race, Daniel Lee was frank and candid. “We had three seats open last time, but it was obvious early in race that [incumbent] Meghan [Sahli-Wells] was going to re-take her seat, so really, it was two seats. The field of candidates were very different, and politically, I think we couldn’t have foreseen the moment we are in now.”
While considering how the national political situation has energized voters, Lee felt that the improved turnout – almost 30% of registered voters in Culver City casts ballots – was motivated by people feeling a more urgent need to participate. “We are lucky in how we get to connect to voters. Knocking on doors, one-on-one conversations, this stuff just isn’t possible in a bigger place.”
The fact that Culver City is becoming a bigger place saw Lee both cautious and hopeful. “We have a number of developments going up now where the city just didn’t get a thing. Developers need to be in a better relationship with the city; it shouldn’t be a one way street. Consider Sony [Pictures Entertainment] – They have a great history of supporting the city in lots of ways, and the school district, they have given a lot. The council should be using them as a model, as an example, of how these corporations and businesses can be a great addition to Culver City, and not just adding more traffic.”
Lee will be installed as a newly elected member of the Culver City City Council on April 30, 2018, along with Alex Fisch.