Honorable Mayor, Vice Mayor and members of the council, my name is Judy Scott and I am a 40 year resident of Culver City.
I have really agonized about what to say tonight, and what tone to strike to make what I have to say most presentable. Because otherwise, I fear they are just words that in some cases will feel like preaching to the choir and in others, falling on deaf ears. Yet I couldn’t overcome the feelings of disorientation I felt, reading the letter from Dr. Susan Benedittis that was published on Friday. It struck me as such an instance of cognitive dissonance, It felt in part like the macrocosm of divided citizenry we are experiencing in this country has been inexplicably, replicated here in our city. She used words and phrases like : A new day is dawning! We are awakening! People First, participatory democracy is a’happening! … breaking with the “ole boys network,”
The people of Culver City want to participate in decisions affecting our lives has been proven in current elections … to prioritize our human right to health and safety over all other concerns!
I mean I was perfectly happy with the 5-0 vote on the oil fields question but this felt like something very different was being celebrated. Something more than a little dismaying. Where the legitimate grievances of people, become blurred or distorted to the extent that they feel not just ignored, but unjustly oppressed, when in fact, there is no evidence that that has actually been happening, what has been accomplished but division, and resentment and the labeling of those not on a side not as worthy opponents but something categorically different and much worse. And when that happens, does that not lead to hardening of hearts and erecting walls. Surely no one on this council supports or encourages that? . I’ve been volunteering for over 25 years in civic affairs, and I’m old, so I guess that makes me a member of the Old Guard, but am I not also a people? I know that you are not the first sitting council to come to a decision about an issue before the public discussion and you won’t be the last. So, I would only ask you tonight, to be your best self, And be the leaders you were elected to be, of all the people.
I’m not exactly as good as the Culver City poet laureate, but I’d like to close with some words from a poem we probably all have studied in school,
it’s called Mending Wall by Robert Frost:
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.’