Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. came to speak to the Culver City Woman’s Club on Sept. 11, 2023 at their September meeting, and found that many long time residents lack an understanding of how the municipal structure works – and if it can work for them.
Service clubs have been a staple in Culver City’s civic culture for decades. The Culver City Woman’s Club goes all the way back, being founded by Mrs. Harry Culver in the early 1920’s. The club focuses mainly on philanthropy, supporting local scholarships and other causes. Today they opted into civic information, inviting the Mayor to come and speak.
Mayor Vera did not come with any prepared remarks, but focused on answering questions, a strategy that revealed how often even people who try to be informed can be completely innocent of the workings of local government. A few questions were about policy, such as ‘why do we elect a city council and then let the council elect the mayor? Why don’t we just vote for a mayor?’ Vera noted that the city charter was written to use that system, and any reconsideration would have to be agendized and take up by the city council.
The majority of question were about individual issues; how can I get the curb in front of my house repaired? Can people use their trash cans to save a parking space on the street? Why won’t the schools let us donate a bench? The answers – contact Public Works, No they can’t it’s not legal, and the school district is a different entity than the city government – we very straightforward stuff.
In the end, Vera was leaving to meet with the Public Works Department (a meeting that was already scheduled) and taking a half a dozen questions and requests that were specific to them. While this kind of connection might be more correctly defined as being and ambassador or an ombudsman, Vera listened patiently and answered graciously. The ladies of the club enjoyed getting some specific answers to specific questions.