Dear Editor – Gun Violence

Dear Editor,

Following the Culver City Council Meeting, Monday April 8th, Councilwoman Meghan Sahli-Wells, described herself as “blindsided,” according to a story posted on Facebook.

When I spoke to Culver City High School government classes encouraging them to attend the City Council meeting where gun violence would be on the agenda, I told them to listen carefully to what each council member said to determine if those council members were of the caliber they wanted to continue serving in that capacity.

I wish the chambers had been full of high school students on April 8th to witness our courageous woman councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells.

According to Sahli-Wells, Council had agreed to take positions on four items, as listed in the Gun Violence agenda item A-5: (1) Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposed Assault Weapons Ban, (2) Mayors Against Illegal Guns, (3) Americans for Responsible Solutions—Gabby Giffords’ organization, and (4) President Obama’s Gun Violence Reduction Executive Orders.

Sahli-Wells could not even get a second on her motion to approve all four items. “I am not sure what happened,” she said. “I don’t know if (the other four Council members) didn’t agree with me or didn’t know” the full contents of the gun control proposals.

Margo Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV), who spoke at the April 8th meeting, wrote this on Facebook: “I was there and Meghan was truly a champion. She and all Culver City residents were let down by what I would describe as a hostile stance by the other council members.”

City Council approved only one of the items, a January letter from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, calling for tightening gun laws. Mayor Weissman had already signed that letter. Council refused to even vote on whether to approve signing the U.S. Conference of Mayors Seven Principles.

Sahli-Wells acknowledged that even though City Council’s vote was a heavily symbolic gesture, it was still important—“especially in light of recent tragic events.”

“The fact that it is not specific legislation for our city should make it easy for the Council,” she said.

“Going in, I had the impression this was a no-brainer,” Sahli-Wells told Noonan. “I had the impression that it would not be controversial for our City Council specifically, even though it is controversial in the rest of the nation.”

Ms. Sahli-Wells said she would not try to bring this back in an amended form, saying “I tried to move this forward in the best way.” She did add, however, “If a member of the public wants to, people are more than encouraged.”

I, Carlene Brown am one of those members of the public (Community Coalition for Prevention of Gun Violence) who is not willing to let this die. Our community deserves better than this from our City Council.

Since I could not be present to speak at City Council on April 8th, I hand-delivered my written comments to city hall, asking that they be read aloud into the public record. According to Margo Bennett, (WAGV) my comments were not read aloud, and neither were those of Disa and Margaret Lindgren.

I will be at the next City Council meeting, Monday, April 22nd, to read aloud my April 8th comments during the non-agenda Public Comment section.

I will also demand an additional three minutes to say what I have to say about Council Members’ “hostile stance” toward their courageous colleague Meghan Sahli-Wells on April 8th.

I hope to be joined by a whole host of Culver City residents who challenge our City Council members to model behavior befitting their office, behavior that a room full of high school students would do well to emulate.

Meghan Sahli-Wells has already provided that model. The four Councilmen who refused to offer a second to Sahli-Wells motion to take a position on each of the four items on the gun legislation agenda April 8th were, in effect, stooping to the level of filibustering Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Newtown deserves a real up-or-down vote from Culver City!

“I wanted to see what real courage is instead of getting the idea that
courage is a man with a gun in his hand.”
from To Kill a Mockingbird by HARPER LEE

Carlene Brown

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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