The volunteers collecting signatures for the petitions to recall Alex Fisch and Daniel Lee have repeatedly been asked one question by the community: “How many signatures do we still need to get?” We decided to answer the community inquiry with an open Letter to the Editor, and hope you will publish:
Dear Culver City Residents,
We. Are. Still. Counting… and will continue counting to the very last minute! We are the 5 sq. mile town of Culver City. Our fight is to preserve that unique quality, and our team is a significantly smaller group of unpaid volunteers, in comparison to the many hands that were involved in the recent local campaigns of larger constituent groups.
What makes us different is that WE are YOU, the Culver City resident who came here to enjoy the comfort of a close-knit, caring community, while being close to the conveniences of our metropolitan neighbors. WE are YOU, who care about the future of this community, because this community – whenever you got here – is your ROOTS! We come in every shape, size, race, color, and political affiliation, although contrary to claims, the majority are Democrats. We all know that Culver City is not perfect, no place is! But Culver City is a part of us, in our DNA. WE. ARE. YOU!
We’ve seen what “they” say on social media about us: that there’s outside money, that we are tricking people, that we are belligerent…
The funny thing is, WE have nothing to hide.
We have been fully funded by your donations, and have kept our costs as lean as possible. Our core team is small, and our budgets are not big enough for the fancy marketing companies. We are grassroots, not like the politicos and money funneled into Fisch and Lee’s political endeavors. The only outside help we have paid for is to get flyers distributed to every doorstep and make every resident aware of what’s happening to our town. Our biggest splurge was the mobile billboard you may have caught in Downtown Culver City over the weekend. Not one of our signature gatherers has been paid, nor do any of us live outside of Culver City! And, by gosh, we are not funded by an outside marijuana distributor!
We will openly admit that there are so many hot buttons related to the urgent necessity for this recall, that we genuinely try to get the myriad of facts correct, but we’re a group of individual humans, and we’re simply not always perfect at understanding and explaining all of the finer details, all of the time, but we learn when we’re wrong, we correct when we can, and move forward with a better understanding. Honest mistakes have definitely come up, but there have been no intentional tricks.
But, belligerent? We have had scary encounters in this pursuit, as the opposition has taken every opportunity to stretch the limits of their freedom of speech to try to bait us into confrontation, intimidate us, and suppress our signer’s rights to express themselves. But, overall, the core team and all of the volunteers are the nicest, most wonderful people you would want (and may already have) as your neighbors!
One small example of the tactics of our opposition, primarily the same group who wants Culver City Police Department (CCPD) to be defunded, is in their calls to CCPD to complain about our park locations. The CCPD has done a terrific job of coming out and explaining to them our rights to have our signing tables, allowing them their rights to have a voice as long as they do not enter our personal space or intimidate signers. In some extreme instances, the police have helped us to file incident reports for the assaults against our mostly senior and female volunteers.
What does any of this have to do with the count, you might be asking…
It’s to say that we are consistently counting, and will not stop! The stacks of petitions with signatures to count grow significantly with each evening. However, our team is stretched thin as the deadline speeds toward us. We continue nightly administrative sessions, with daily door-knocking, have expanded from weekends in the park to daily set ups, answer emails, run around town to distribute lawn signs and gather petition signatures upon request, participate in council meetings and town halls, fundraise, coordinate with YOU, the volunteers who have donated whatever time you have been able to, designed newspaper ads, and planned events. And we have families and jobs, too. We’re exhausted, but we’re not giving up yet!
So, yes, we know what the opposition has been saying on social media. But we also know that they are merely projecting their own strategy, as most of their social media followers are not Culver City residents. Contrary to their boasts, we’re neither worried that we will not have enough signatures, nor the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, ableist monsters they high-five each other for making us out to be. We are confident that our door-to-door campaign of connecting with our neighbors to ensure Culver City remains a great place to move to, live in, and raise families will win out.
Make no mistake, by Saturday January 15, we still need every possible signature of Culver City registered voters we can get on those petitions to ensure the Recall of Daniel Lee and Alex Fisch gets to the ballot for voters to decide. We know you will continue to help your neighbors to sign, donate, display lawn signs, show up at Carlson Park, and come out to make noise. We know you still have the fight in you, because WE ARE YOU!
Mark Salkin, President, for the Call to Recall Team