About a decade ago, Culver City had an average household income that was 33% higher than the average income in Los Angeles County. Now, that number is 50% and the continued economic growth shows no signs of slowing.
The second community meeting for the General Plan Update took place at La Ballona Elementary on October 11, 2018 at 6:30 pm, and was well attended, with almost 200 people coming to listen to Dr. Manuel Pastor of USC discuss demographics. With the challenges of a housing shortage, income inequality, and and low wage work weighed against major urban development and an aging population, there were statistically serious challenges for the community to contemplate.
From the city’s website, ” The City is interested in creating an innovative plan that is understandable and useful for the layperson as well as the expert. Community stakeholders and City Council are already identifying new topics to include that address existing and emerging critical concerns. These include sustainability, equity and social justice, healthy communities for all ages, climate adaptation and resiliency, urban design and public places, economy, Ballona Creek, cultural planning, governance, and technology.”
After Pastor’s presentation on Culver City’s demographic changes, a question and answer session with Mayor Thomas Small included audience participation.
“Equity and inclusivity need to be baked in, not sprinkled on,” Pastor noted in his remarks. Without citing examples of how diversity has benefitted the creative economy of both Culver City and Los Angeles County, Pastor offered his own biography; the son of a janitor and a seamstress, he was a university professor and an author. The key to his success was the availability of public resources such as education to raise him to a higher status than the previous generation.
When he asked the audience to raise their hands as to how many would like to see their children do better than they have done, almost every hand in the room was raised.
How Culver City will bake that in to the General Plan Update will continue to be discussed in the series of community meetings ahead.