As the Vets Auditorium filled with locals in business suits and high heels, there were two recurring themes in the atmosphere; “Hasn’t Andy done a great job?” and “Things are still really tight.” The realtors and Rotarians who lined up to wait their turn for the buffet lunch with the city staff and council members were easy in their praise for the mayor. But the crisis in the school district, the ever-widening budget gap at city hall, and the open acknowledgment of the dire challenges ahead kept the buzz subdued.
City Manager Mark Scott addressed the crowd in a bit of farewell. Using “The Wizard of Oz” as his extended metaphor, he playfully brought in the magic and the machinery. But the scene he did not reference was the wizard floating away without Dorothy, calling out “I can’t come back; I don’t know how it works!” While everyone wishes the new Fresno city manager the best of luck, we still need to hire a new wizard.
With his easy warmth and his ardent affection for Culver City, Andy’s remarks were filled with praise for the city services, in particular the IT department, the police and the firefighters. He was also gracious in his thanks for those who have served on the council with him. He also made it a point to note that he has made a great effort (and a seemingly successful one) to bring civility back to the council chambers, and hoped that that days of quarreling on the dais were over.
When asked what he was most personally proud of during his year, Andy said, “Opening Westfield Culver City. Having that $180 million remodel go so well and take off so quickly has been the one thing that turned out even better than I’d hoped.”
While stepping down from his mayoral post, Andy has more years on the council ahead of him, and Culver City will benefit from his continued leadership, his smart decisions, and his great love of his home town.