The Annual Fourth of July gathering of the Culver City Democratic Club has traditionally been the moment for the City Council Candidates – those that are registered Democrats – to begin their run for office with stump speeches and some Q & A. While there was no picnic at the park this year, the online forum served as perhaps an even more accessible venue for those running for council to make their presentations.
Running for the Culver City Council, Dr. Khin Khin Gyi, Yasmine McMorrin, Darrel Menthe, Freddy Puza and Albert Vera each got a half an hour’s worth of attention from the club’s members and unaffiliated attendees.
Gyi, a neurologist who rose to local prominence through her work with Make Culver City Safe, began with focusing on one of her areas of expertise; the health risks of the Inglewood Oil Field. The process already in place with the current council to end drilling is one that the candidate places great importance on. Her work with the Sierra Club has also focused on clean energy and sustainability.
McMorrin, a lawyer whose recent move within Culver City took her to homeowner status, focused on the rent control issue that is playing out both in the council chambers and on the November ballot. The current eviction moratorium is a ticking clock for many renters, and she is committed to working on this issue as a cornerstone of equity. She is also on the General Plan Update Committee, and has been a part of the process since it’s beginning.
Menthe, also a lawyer, is best know locally as the long-time president of the Downtown Business Association. He lauded the discussions underway at the city to close streets downtown to cars and create more space for restaurants and pedestrian. “We can have the kind of grand piazza that makes so many cities in Europe great.” His focus on mobility issues and how the city can support local businesses by being less auto-oriented and more pedestrian friendly was central to his vision of Culver City recovering from the pandemic.
Puza, a Fox Hills resident who works at Loyola Marymount University, is also a member of the General Plan Update Committee. He happily took the banner of being the first ‘out’ gay candidate for City Council. His focus on how the creative economy could be the ticket for Culver City to recover from the coronavirus crisis brought in an awareness of the enormous engine of economic activity that creative businesses represent in Culver City. He also spoke about his work towards eradicating racism with a group at LMU for white faculty to talk about privilege and it’s effects on education.
Vera, a man who truly needs no introduction in Culver City, spent some of his time talking about his work out of town, at the ranches he inherited upstate. Shifting into sustainable, organic farming took a great deal of time and effort. “Then, you can be a good example, you set the standard, and you see the farms and ranches around adopting those methods.” Looking at climate crisis through the practice of organic farming, Vera’s own experience had been insightful.
The full presentation, audience questions included, with all these candidates is available here on our video slot.