Of the four municipal initiatives on the ballot, Measure CA would probably be considered the most divisive. It lands directly on the traditional dividing line in Culver City political circles. I honestly do not know where I stand on this one. I don’t see a pressing need to change current policy, but I don’t think the argument against the change is very strong, either.
If approved, Measure CA would transfer the power of the City Council to appoint, suspend, remove and fix the compensation of the Fire Chief and Police Chief to the City Manager.
The ARGUMENT FOR Measure CA is signed by former City Councilmember, Andy Weissman, and current Councilmembers, Jim Clarke, Göran Eriksson, and Jeff Cooper.
They note that when elected city officials have authority over the administration of police and fire chiefs, it places too much power in the hands of five potentially disparate and politically motivated individuals. With five bosses, direction can become conflicting and force these department heads to act in accordance of popular opinion instead of the more informed and experienced direction of a City Manager. They also argue that in an emergency taking direction from five independently elected bosses would be far less effective than through a clear chain of command that does not require a vote.
The ARGUMENT AGAINST Measure CA is signed by Councilmembers Meghan Sahli-Wells and Thomas Small, City Committee on Homelessness Member, Alex Fisch, CCUSD BOE Member, Kelly Kent, and the Director at Large of the Fox Hills Neighborhood Association, Deborah Wallace.
They argue that to take away the authority of the City Council over the Police and Fire Chiefs would add a layer of bureaucracy between the people of Culver City and our first responders. They believe that Culver City has been functioning well under its current system, with 84% of residents responding that our police department is “good” or “excellent” in a recent survey. Why change it?
In response to the ARGUMENT FOR, they state that under existing law, the City Manager is already the City’s Director of Emergency Services. In the event of a local emergency, the City Manager has wide-ranging authority to control and direct the City’s emergency response without advance permission from City Council. The City Manager’s emergency power already includes the power to direct city staff and “resolve questions of authority and responsibility.” Measure CA has nothing to do with clarifying who is in charge in an emergency.
A YES vote on Measure CA would mean the power of the City Council to appoint, suspend, remove and fix the compensation of the Fire Chief and Police Chief would transfer to the City Manager.
A NO vote on Measure CA would maintain the status quo. The City Council would have the authority to appoint, suspend, remove and fix the compensation of the Fire Chief and Police Chief.
For more detailed information, please see the Culver City 2016 Ballot Measure Information Webpage: