I’d like to contribute my opinion and experience with regard to the issue of politicization of Culver City Council appointments, reappointments and dismissals to and or from city boards, committees and commissions.
I have served on several of these advisory bodies over the past 30 years, including the Ad Hoc Committee on the Homeless, the CC Centennial Celebration Committee, and for 18 years to present the Culver City Landlord/Tenant Mediation Board.
This last board is unique in its mission and status. It is the only appointed body that requires training and certification. And it is the only body that does not “time out” its members. Once a member has been through the 30-hour mediation training, reappointment absent extraordinary circumstances, is virtually automatic, since trained and experienced mediators are deemed to be of significant value to the city.
In 2018, the chair of the mediation board, Tyria Lewis, A Black, female Renter and the vice chair, Michael Berlin, an older, white renter both applied to be reappointed to the board on which they had served for over 8 years. Both also had participated in numerous mediations during that period and Ms. Lewis was also a certified mediator for the County of Los Angeles Superior Court system.
But the council majority at that time in their “wisdom,” voted both of them out and chose two new members, because as Alex Fisch observed they wanted “new blood” on the board.
It should be noted that both new Renter Members did not even go through the mediation training for over a year after appointment and one of them resigned less than 2 years after that (never having conducted a mediation).
There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that these appointments, along with the other appointments made by that council in 2018, were straightforwardly political in nature. So much for diversity of opinion being a desirable characteristic for membership.
Lastly, I think it deserves to be noted that every board, commission, or committee where members do time out, rewards these departing members with a commendation from the city thanking them for their service. But in this case, although these two honorable members had devoted far more time and effort into their contributions, they were left with nothing. In my opinion, that entire episode was the most egregious instance of political favoritism thus far indulged in by any council majority.