While it was just another item on a very long agenda, it was also an historic moment during the Dec. 13, 2021 Culver City Council meeting, as Dr. Daniel Lee became Culver City’s first African-American Mayor.
Now that we are electing our council in November rather than April, we are rotating the mayor in December rather than May. The Covid protocols that are still in place kept the evening subdued, but the fact should not be forgotten; this is a significant step towards more diversity for Culver City.
With Vice Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee as the only nomination put forth, Council member Goran Eriksson made a comment that Lee’s announced run for Congress would likely mean that he did not have sufficient time to execute the duties of mayor. Council member Vera also expressed his concerns about the amount of time that Lee would be spending “focused on the city.” But Vera also offered that he would not disrupt the protocol; Lee as Vice Mayor was expected to be rotated to Mayor at this point on the calendar.
Council member McMorrin defended Lee, noting that he had completed his doctorate while serving in office, and also worked full time. “It’s quite alarming to hear statements like that. We are all qualified to be here, we were voted in, and we should support and respect that.”
Outgoing Mayor Alex Fisch added in his perspective, saying, “We have regular jobs and other commitments, two of us up here also have small children – ok, not so small anymore, but family obligations, and we have not had any problem getting the job done. It’s been an honor and a pleasure, and a great experience. I’d like to thank my colleagues … we don’t always agree …but we have gotten a lot done.”
With the vote called, Eriksson abstained, making it four ayes to rotate Lee to the position of mayor. Lee accepted.
Fisch nominated Vera for Vice Mayor, no comments were made and that vote was five ayes.
Without a public audience, City Clerk Jeremy Green offered to do the ritual “pin” that is the tradition for mayoral rotation. Pins were applied to the respective mayoral and vice mayoral lapels.
Newly seated Mayor Lee got straight to business, asking how many items on the agenda had time restraints, and went back to business.
Photo Credit – City of Culver City : L to R – Vice Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. and Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee