The city council ended their April 27, 2020 meeting by voting Goran Eriksson in as Mayor, and Alex Fisch as Vice Mayor, a rotation that will give both a short term with the titles from now until the November City Council election.
With the council still meeting remotely, all members were only available via audio, and city staff was on hand to coordinate the proceedings.
Before the rotation, the council focused on the challenges at hand, with an updated financial report from Culver City’s Chief Financial Officer Onyx Jones. Highlighting both the tremendous shift in the city’s financial plans owing to the pandemic, and the fact of ongoing fluidity, Jones nevertheless held a positive focus through several projected scenarios for recovery. Pulling just over nine million dollars in scheduled capital improvements to put the money back into the General Fund, she also noted that there were still streams of revenue that the city could count on this quarter. With the unforeseen and almost unimaginable shift in the global economy, Jones was able to offer numbers for the council to consider, and reasons to hope. There will be an updated budget report available on the city’s website each month.
The move to extend the eviction moratorium from six months to 12, keeping the city in line with county and state mandates of 12 months, passed after much discussion. The new eComment system allowed City Clerk Jeremy Green to read the comments that were submitted online, and many of them reflected the general confusion in regard to the order. Eriksson noted that giving a moratorium of six months and then expecting people to be able to pay the whole sum simply wasn’t good financial planning. “That makes it a kind of balloon payment, and then we will see a lot of evictions and foreclosures all at once.” Sahli-Wells objected, saying that it sounded as if renters were being described as “having poor financial skills.” The motion to extend the eviction moratorium passed unanimously.
The city’s decision to offer ‘safe parking’ for the homeless people living in vehicles hinged on the choice of location to study. The short term offer of the Culver-Palms Methodist Church and YMCA parking lot (which would close when the YMCA was allowed to reopen) was set aside to consider the use of one of the large parking lots at Culver City Park (Bill Botts) that could be used as a site. The staff was directed to move ahead with a study.
Before the mayoral vote, there were more than 20 comment cards congratulating outgoing Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells on her leadership and innovation. Some of the kindest comments came from her colleagues Dr. Kelly Kent of the Culver City School Board, and Council member Daniel Lee, both of whom thanked Sahli-Wells for inspiring their run for elected office. From her audio in the meeting, Sahli-Wells ended by saying “You can’t see it, but I’m blushing.”
Sahli-Wells also exclaimed that “None of what an elected official does is possible without effective staff, and [Culver City staff] just shines in every way.”
The rotation of the mayor was quick and unanimous, and Eriksson commented,”I would like to say thank you to all of my colleagues; although we have not always agreed on every issue, I am honored to work with such a dedicated group of people who are truly focused on the best interests of our city.”