John Nachbar – Managing a City Through Pandemic and Protest

When Culver City Crossroads spoke with City Manager John Nachbar on Thursday June 4, 2020, he was just about to confirm the 16th Update to the Public Order; the official statement on regulations during the pandemic, and consider the second day of National Guard presence at Fox Hills/Westfield Mall. 

CCCrossroads: What do you feel is your primary point of concern right now – the pandemic or the civil unrest? 

Nachbar: The pandemic is paramount. We have had so much city business changed and affected in so many ways by the coronavirus outbreak, it’s hard to even estimate, off the top of my head. I think that the challenge of really reimagining and recreating what our city looks like is going to be our main focus for a very long time. Not that the unrest is not important, it certainly is. My feeling is that the pandemic will continue to affect many more aspects of our daily lives. 

CCCrossroads: How is the city currently impacted?  

Nachbar: It’s been really unfortunate timing. We were just starting the process of reopening, and then we had to implement a curfew.  I’m optimistic that we are finished with the curfew. We don’t have any ongoing situations that would require it to continue. It creates a situation where there is suddenly a rule that people are not aware of, and then, without knowing it, they are rule breakers. It’s not necessary. We had ten retail businesses burglarized, but at this point, there seems little chance that looting or violence will increase in Culver City. 

CCCrossroads: How are you weighing the data in regards to reopening local business? 

Nachbar: We follow the lead from public health officials, particularly Dr. Barbara Ferrer of LA County.  But a lot of these meetings and events that have gone virtual, they are going to stay online. Our city council meetings will be virtual for the foreseeable future. Where ever we can minimize the risk [of COVID transmission] we need to take full advantage of the opportunity. 

CCCrossroads: Once things start to settle, do you see any kind of a silver lining for the city? Maybe less traffic? 

Nachbar: Sadly, I think that most of the traffic will return. But I do think this can be a moment for us to get serious – not just our city, but our whole culture- about taking on climate change. There were a lot of very smart people who knew that this [pandemic] was going to hit us eventually, and unhappily, when it did, we were simply unprepared. We know that climate change is on the way, and that we can prevent a lot problems, if we act in a timely fashion. 


Judith Martin-Straw

The Actors' Gang

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