The City Council meeting of September 11, 2023 saw the unanimous vote agreeing that Culver City will buy the property that has been the Retting Gun Shop on Washington Blvd.
The agenda item drew dozens of speakers – 35 people had signed on to speak from the podium before the beginning of the meeting – and the overwhelming majority urged the council to complete the purchase.
Raymond Mai addressed an issue central to many people, saying ” To some, the $6.5 million cost is considered expensive, but we consider it an investment. According to the $345 million dollar budget that was adopted in June, the city has the reserves to be able to afford it. In short, we have enough money, and [the council would be wise to consider it] an investment in decreasing gun violence in our city.”
Also speaking from the podium, Brian McMahon pointed out that the purchase price was less than two percent of the city’s annual budget.
Several who spoke at the Monday meeting had spoken at the previous meeting, identifying as parents of children at La Ballona Elementary. Like the previous council meeting, stories were told about children living in fear, and the daily discomfort of passing the guns shop on the way to and from school.
A lot of schools have lock down drills; not a lot of children walk past a gun retailer to get to school.
While many suggested that the property be officially designated as a site for affordable housing, Council member Freddy Puza noted that would have to come on a subsequent agenda; the task for this meeting was authorizing the purchase.
Vice Mayor Yasmine Imani McMorrin spoke to “a commitment to have a community engagement process to [continue to have residents] involved to see what happens next… I look forward to working with neighbors… and make sure that there is input into this process. I also want to thank the property owner, for being willing to do the right thing.”
Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. made it a point to thank the staff for the speed and the scope of the work involved in getting the agreement completed, and wished Dan Retting a great retirement. “He’s been a long time business leader in the community, and… could have gone the other way, but he didn’t.”
The unanimous vote to acquire the property was recorded at 10:48 pm.