City Council Approves Hero Pay, Public Safety Review

A long anticipated city council meeting on April 26, 2021 saw the approval of both hero pay and public safety reform. While the approval of ‘hero pay,’ a bonus for grocery and retail workers in regard to the pandemic, had been controversial on its introduction, it passed on a three to two vote without a great deal of discussion. 

The bulk of the meeting was taken up by hours of comments and discussion on reimagining public safety. With 528 people registered to watch the meeting, there were dozens offering the allotted two minutes worth of commentary. Local political organizations, including the Culver City Democratic Club, had weighed in with their members to address the meeting, and many speakers offered their various affiliations as a part of their remarks. The seven-plus hours of public meeting seemed to contain almost every possible perspective on policing, public safety and the reform of community interaction with law enforcement. But the majority of speakers held that it was time to create substantive change. 

The city had commissioned two different consulting firms to study and report on the Culver City Police Department, and both the reports from Solidarity Consulting and the Center for Public Safety Management were cited often in the discussion.

Police Chief Scott Bixby went on a medical leave of absence last summer and was replaced by the current Acting Chief Manny Cid, who has been performing all duties since. The CPSM report specifically cited that during periods of transition between administrative leadership “some organizational realignment” was both expected and beneficial. The recommendations from the Solidarity report were more focused on long term changes and structural shift. 

One speaker, Culver City resident Abby Wood, made a simple statement to the heart of the controversy; “I know we aren’t abolishing the police tonight. But they certainly should not dominate our city’s budget to this degree. It is time to shift resources to social services.”

The motion that passed in the final hour of the meeting was to create a police staffing baseline that would be reviewed annually at the time of the city’s budget process, a response unit specific to metal health crises, and a public safety review committee that would eventually become a civilian oversight committee. In addition, ‘alternatives to incarceration,’ a focus that is already being fostered by Chief Cid, will be included going forward. There would also be quarterly updates on the public safety process, to keep the transition on track both for the administration and the public.  

Mayor Alex Fisch, Vice Mayor Daniel Lee and Council member Yasmine Imani McMorrin all voted Aye. 

Both Council members Goran Eriksson and Albert Vera, Jr. prefaced their  “no” votes with specific remarks that it was “confusing.” Fisch countered by offering to “break out the motion” – to break it into separate motions – on the hope that there could be more agreement on at least one or two points. Vice Mayor Daniel Lee came back with an offer to vote on the original motion and see if that could move without negotiation. 

Slightly after 2 am Mayor Fisch noted that “There will be another meeting, probably just as long as this one, before we get all of this finalized.”

Judith Martin-Straw

Ting Internet is in Culver City!

4 Comments

  1. The Takeaway I get from last nights meeting, is that most of the citizens that spoke spoke about hearsay as it regarded to contact with police. I did not hear one person speak in the first terms saying that they had a rude or dangerous encounter with Culver city police Department. I also realized that most homeowners don’t understand where our school funds come from, they do not come from the city’s general budget. They come from property taxes, state funds and federal funds. I think i if some of these residents would maybe attend The national night out, which takes place in August or attend the citizens police Academy, maybe they would get to know our police officers and department better. There is always coffee with a cop, the Culver City police Association also has booths at the La Ballona festival and the spring car show. Yes there are issues that need to be addressed, defunding is not the route to go. The process should be well thought out and addressed logically, not in a knee-jerk reaction.
    Social services and homelessness is a larger problem than CulverCity should shoulder on its own. The county and state should be assisting us with any plans.

  2. Thanks for commenting; it is a part of the mission of Culver City Crossroads to give people information and resources to connect with the city. It’s often surprising that people who comment at council (and school board) meetings -the slender percentage of people who are that connected- still aren’t as informed as they could/should be about the mechanics of how things are structured.

  3. The City Council is elected to preserve and protect the city.
    By abstaining on Monday night, Daniel Lee showed his true intent. To defund the police at a time when crime is rising to unbelievable levels across Los Angeles County is totally irresponsible.
    Daniel Lee abstained, which equals a NO vote.

    The council’s action can create the demise of the economy of Culver City because if the city is unsafe, no one will shop here that generates taxes to keep the city in great financial shape.

    Will the police start walking out and if so who is going to protect the residents?
    Why would the police trust the council now? Would you?

  4. Daniel Lee did not abstain from the vite on the PD fTE funding, mental crisis unit or creating a citizen’s commission. He and Yasmin and Alex all voted Yes which is why these items passed. I don’t know what you are referring to.

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