They are among the seven candidates vying for three City Council seats in a race that will culminate on Election Day, Tuesday, April 12.
“The three candidates we’re endorsing reflect the values that Community Coalition members hold dear,” Jim Province, Community Coalition’s spokesperson, said. “Daniel Lee, Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells and Thomas Small are compassionate and visionary individuals committed to progress. They believe as we do: when the most vulnerable among us are treated with respect and their needs taken into consideration, everyone prospers.”
Daniel Lee, the only renter among all seven candidates, is a filmmaker and social worker, an alumnus of USC and UCLA, and a veteran of the US Air Force and Air National Guard. He has volunteered for many years with Culver City students, and currently serves as co-chair of the Culver City Martin Luther King Celebration Committee.
Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells is the only incumbent in the race. On the City Council she has championed initiatives to improve the lives of children in the community, and has led efforts to address water conservation, active transportation, affordable housing, homeless services, and comprehensive oil drilling regulations. She is a UCLA graduate and a former translator. Her two children attend Culver Middle School.
Thomas Small, a Culver City Cultural Affairs Commissioner, is an expert in architecture, sustainable design, conscientious development and historic preservation. He is an architectural writer and consultant, father of two Linwood E. Howe Elementary School students, and a Yale graduate.
“I am very proud that Community Coalition has endorsed me,” Daniel Lee said. “Even though most of their members are homeowners, they clearly take the issues of tenants’ rights, affordable housing, and homelessness very seriously. If I am elected, I will absolutely work in favor of efforts that support renters’ rights. An estimated 45% of Culver City residents are renters, and many people are forced to move away from the community where they have established roots, family and friends. One of my main priorities as a city councilperson would be to propose and enact a strong list of tenant protections.”
“I appreciate Community Coalition’s faith in me,” Councilperson Meghan Sahli-Wells said. “One of our many areas of agreement is Culver City’s moral obligation to support the Rental Assistance Program. This program was created years ago, when the city was not willing to build affordable housing as mandated under California’s redevelopment law. Much more recently, my colleagues and I have voted in support of new affordable housing throughout the city. However, at the moment, Culver City remains behind in affordable housing, and the small but vital Rental Assistance Program is making a big difference in the lives of 46 Culver City residents, the majority of whom are elderly or disabled, and in many cases both.”
“Community Coalition’s endorsement means a lot to me,” Thomas Small said. “This group sets a very high bar for its city councilmembers, as they should. Above all, government needs to care for the neediest in our society, including the homeless, the indigent and the working poor. This is imperative from a humanitarian perspective, and also for the economic wellbeing and the quality of life of our entire community. Culver City’s realization of this goal is a direct, clear demonstration of the character of our city, of our achievement as a community of human beings.”
Daniel Lee, Meghan Sahli-Wells and Thomas Small favor Culver City raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour. “We were very impressed to see how committed these candidates are to improving the financial wellbeing of the people employed in our city,” Jim Province said.
“Raising our minimum wage to $15 per hour is the humane thing to do. But it is also practical,” Daniel Lee said. “Culver City employers compete for good workers with employers in nearby cities. Now that Santa Monica and Los Angeles have raised their minimum wage to $15 per hour, Culver City businesses will be at a disadvantage if we don’t pay workers here as much as they can earn across the street.”
“One in five children in the US lives under the federal poverty level,” Meghan Sahli-Wells said. “California has the highest child poverty rate in the nation. We can no longer stand back and let the working poor fall into deeper crisis. A phased-in $15 minimum wage is good for families, and the right thing for Culver City.”
“We definitely need to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in Culver City,” Thomas Small said. “Ideally a person working 40 hours a week, with no additional income, should be able to afford the basics for a decent quality of life–food, shelter, utilities, transportation, health care, childcare and recreation. Even at $15 per hour, this would be difficult to achieve. But it would certainly be an improvement. Low-wage workers’ ability to earn more is important not just for those most in need, but also for all residents who want a stable, sustainable and humane community.”
The Sierra Club has joined the Community Coalition in endorsing Daniel Lee, Meghan Sahli-Wells and Thomas Small. “We are very pleased that the Sierra Club also supports these great candidates,” Jim Province said.
“Daniel, Meghan and Thomas all advocate a ban on fracking,” Jim Province said. “And they all have strong environmental credentials and achievements.
“Daniel will advocate for an end to drilling on the Inglewood Oil Field and will urge that the land be used instead for a solar and wind farm.
“As a member of the city’s Oil Drilling Subcommittee, Meghan is working with our vice mayor to craft stringent drilling regulations for the oil field. Meghan looks forward to the day when drilling will no longer take place, and the oil field will become a large public park.
“Thomas’s goal is to keep the oil in the ground and transition to a renewable micro grid to secure a sustainable and resilient energy future for the city,” Province said.
With the election less than a month away, the Community Coalition urges residents to get to know the candidates better. “In particular, check out their websites,” Province said. “There’s a wealth of information there.”
To learn more about the Culver City Community Coalition, visit www.culvercitycommunitycoalition.net.