Monday April 22, 2019 saw the annual Mayoral Rotation at the City Council chambers, with the anticipated results that Vice Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells stepped forward to receive the title of mayor, and council member Goran Eriksson accepted the position of Vice Mayor.
After a few proclamations – Certificates to CCMS Boys Basketball April is Autism Awareness Month, a proclamation to support Energy Awareness and a designation of this Thursday April 25 as “Get on Board” Day for the public transit across the the country and Culver City Bus. Kim Braun of Public Works presented a proposal for murals to be painted on stormwater catch basins near Ballona Creek. Thomas Small gave a brief speech, looking back at his mayoral year, and thanking the attendees to the State of the City. Offering thanks to council and staff for all their help and support, but his most primary and profuse gratitude went to his partner Joanna Brody. “I’d like to thank the person that made this entire year possible for me, and that would be Joanna Brody. I know this year I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life, and I know she worked even harder. I’m beyond grateful.”
With the call for nominations, Vice Mayor Sahli-Wells was put forth for mayor, and the nomination was accepted.
First, Council member Eriksson aksed to make a statement. “As I said, from this dais, a year ago at the mayoral rotation, when the city was put through a very painful and divisive process, there is a value in having a mayoral rotation policy that allow for predictability and transparency so our residents, colleagues and staff understand what the council want to see happen or how certain processes should be done.”
Eriksson continued, “I still believe the 2010/2017 policy does the job in a fair and equitable way. This policy was formally put in place 2010 and was modeled after how other cities around us, that do not have voters elect a mayor directly, are handling the mayoral rotation and how the city council had handled the issue prior to 2010. I therefore will support the vice mayor being elected mayor, and hopefully it will bring some unity to our city. Unity cannot be created, it has to be earned by our actions. This vote might not be the political right thing for me to do in the short term but for our city, it is the right thing to do for the long term.”
Sahli-Wells was elected Mayor and Eriksson was elected as Vice Mayor without further discussion.
On accepting the office, Sahli-Wells began her remarks by thanking Mayor Small “You raised the bar higher than I have ever seen it raised in this town. I will endeavor to continue your good example and your excellent work.” She noted, as had other earlier in the meeting, that it was Earth Day.
“We have a lot of work to do, from phasing out oil drilling in the largest urban oil field in the United States, to ensuring our transportation and our housing are accessible, equitable, resilient and sustainable, we’ve got much to accomplish this year, and in the years to come. Building out our bicycle and public transit network, building affordable housing, by adopting an inclusionary zoning ordinance, ensuring housing is a human right, and protecting the rights of 45% of our community members who are renters, making sure immigrants, refugees & the most vulnerable members of our community are respected, protected, safe and welcome.”
She noted the unique point in time that Culver City has arrived at, saying “This is a pivotal moment in our history. Decades of economic development efforts, along with our great location and regional economy, have brought the biggest corporations on the planet to our small city. As Mayor Small so eloquently said at his State of the City: our greatest challenge is to make sure that the successes of some don’t leave the rest of us behind. Real prosperity is shared prosperity.”
She moved into the overarching issues of the day, and offered that “The time for climate action is now. No matter who is president, cities have the ability to make or break our planet. Simply put, the decisions we make in this room will save the world… as long as we make the right ones. What is our superpower? Land Use Authority. The way we use land – or permit land to be used – determines the amount of Greenhouse Gases emitted into the atmosphere every single day: Car dependency, waste management, water quality and quantity, energy use, oil extraction, access to jobs, food, healthcare, housing & services, all these big problems have solutions cities can address – whether big or small.”
After the meeting was adjourned, the First Man, Karim Sahli, invited the crowd to the Culver Hotel for a reception in honor of the newly elected officials.
Photo – Karim Sahli, Lucien Sahli, Emilien Sahli, Megan Sahli-Wells, Goran Eriksson and Britta Eriksson.
Photo Credit Todd Johnson