Late in the meeting on Feb. 24, 2020, the Culver City City Council passed an ordinance that removed the policy of elevating the Vice Mayor to the position of Mayor, and made the awarding of the year-long Mayoral appointment a straight majority vote.
The current council’s controversy over the Mayoral Rotation goes back to the elevation of Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells in April of 2019.
Jamie Wallace spoke from the podium, saying that to “get rid of a fair rotational policy and replace it … is going against equity and fairness. Officially getting rid of the policy that the Vice Mayor shall rotate to the Mayoral position is wrong. This council claims to be focused on equity and fairness, and this is wrong. The excuse, repeated time and time again – well, the policy wasn’t followed, so …let’s get rid of the policy…that’s not part of my understanding of democratic principles. This action invites even more partisan behavior on a council that is supposed to be non-partisan.”
Another speaker was Mark Lipman, offering “However you decide to move forward tonight, you should ensure that it does not apply to the next mayoral selection. As a part of our democracy, as a part of our integrity as a society … this isn’t a question of left or right, it’s a question of right or wrong. ”
Steve Siegel also took to the podium, saying that “This city council is getting a reputation of not listening to what the residents of Culver City want.”
Council member Alex Fisch came to the lack of consistency; “Why have a policy, that contradicts the City Charter, that no one follows? The next mayor, in my mind, is Goran Eriksson. The intent is simply not to have a policy that doesn’t work. Now it’s more honest.”
Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells began with the previous action item, (on creating the community center at 10858 Culver Blvd.) and said “We did not have unanimous consensus on the housing issue. I know from my own experience there is never unanimity, it doesn’t exist.”
She also cited the history of Culver City, and the lists of official positions as recorded by Julie Lugo Cerra. “As I am only the fifth woman elected in the history of the city, I noted that none of those women who had served two terms, not one of them had a second mayoral rotation. All of their colleagues, all the two term council, they got a second rotation. So guess who lost out on the fundamental, persistent math problem of the mayoral rotation?”
“There are five council members who serve four year terms. [Because of shifting the council election from April to November] we will have another seven or eight extra months, and I fully intend supporting [Eriksson] as Mayor. As any politician worth their salt knows, when running for re-election, being Mayor is a nice title to have, it’s a highly sought after designation.”
When offered an opportunity to speak, Eriksson said “It’s late. I think I’ve said all I want to say on this subject.”
The action item, that also included the designation of ‘smoke-free workplace.’
The mayoral rotation passed, 4 to 1, Council member Eriksson voting against, and the smoke free workplace passed unanimously.