Dear Editor – Musings on Mayoral Rotation

Dear Editor,

It will likely be a sad day for Culver City on Monday December 11, 2023 on what should have been a joyous day. At the City Council meeting item A-4 the appointment of the next mayor will be on the agenda, and Vice Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin will likely be appointed Mayor based only on rotation. It is not required but has been a tradition in Culver City. The only time I am aware that the Council deviated from that tradition was when the super far left coalition of which Vice Mayor McMorrin is a member, passed over Göran Eriksson. When he was up for rotation for being appointed Vice Mayor, he was skipped over by the super far left council majority because he did not represent the majority and could not be the mayor. The same reasoning should be applied now.

Vice-mayor McMorrin and her super far left coalition ran the city before our most recent election in 2022. She and her coalition hope to take back the city in 2024. Her being Mayor will shape the agenda of the city and the remarkable progress the city has made since the 2022 election in cleaning up the Streets while housing people or providing safe camping will likely be thwarted. You see she along with her coalition are performative progressives who merely repeat liberal sounding words repeatedly, while doing nothing to enable actual progress, but instead impede it to support their ideological narrative.

During the pandemic while she and Daniel Lee and Alex Fisch were in control of the city council, then councilmember Albert Vera, Jr. asked to put an item on the agenda to explore constructing a safe camp site with pallet shelters. This was almost three years ago! Yet, it took over a year to get on the agenda six unhoused individuals died in Culver City. Vice Mayor McMorrin and her super far left coalition voted it down by a 3-2 vote. You see they want people camping on the sidewalks to support their narrative. Their solution to tents blocking sidewalks were to have people walk in the street so the tent dwellers were not disturbed, ignoring the rights and welfare of pedestrians, the disabled and the elderly.

It wasn’t until Dan O’Brien was elected that we had the votes to join Los Angeles in declaring a Homelessness State of Emergency. Vice Mayor McMorrin voted against it. This included directions for staff to begin work on creating Safe Sleep Village, which is truly the best there is in this region – and likely the best in the nation. Instead of having people camp anywhere they wanted, a safe camping site has been provided. Have you noticed that the sidewalks have been cleared underneath the freeway on Venice? That results from the work that our new Council majority and Mayor Bass of Los Angeles have done together. McMorrin and Councilmember Puza have voted against such measures and are the greatest impediment to actual progress and kindness to the unhoused.

The emergency order gave our city manager the authority to accelerate things like building permits, it gives him authority to sign off costs related to addressing homelessness without the lengthy review process every two weeks in council chambers, and in the case of the Safe Sleep Village it allows the city to make an exception to zoning laws which would have otherwise forbidden a living facility to exist in a light-industrial zone. The emergency order was critical in expediting critical housing and services for the homeless. Vice-mayor McMorrin and Councilmember Puza voted against it.

Mayor Vera, Dan O’Brien, and Councilmember Eriksson all voted in favor of enacting a no-encampment ordinance for the city. This is critical in how we approach those who refuse to accept the housing we offer. Without an ordinance in place, many of our unhoused sadly will choose to stay where they are. Early this year, the council received reports from police and staff that during camp activities at Vets Park, a homeless person exposed himself to children, compelling camp counselors to bring the children indoors for their safety. The one ordinance Culver City had in the books regarding encampments was in our park’s facilities. The prior super far left council did not want this enforced. Dan O’Brien requested support from his colleagues on council to reinstate enforcement of no camping in our parks. Regardless of the known threat to children, only Mayor Vera and Councilmember Eriksson joined him in directing staff to reinstate enforcement of no camping in our parks. Vice-mayor McMorrin and Councilmember Puza voted against.

In 2021, violent crime went up 78% and property crime went up 8% while our active-duty police force was understaffed by 22%. And in 2022, violent crime continued to rise, up another 51% and property crime went up 34% while our active-duty police force remained understaffed by 17%. Vice Mayor has voted consistently against any measure supporting our police and has sought to defund our police department. She has certainly demoralized it.

Our increase in crime, sadly, also has a lot to do with the crime that comes from our unhoused population. Statistics show that in 2022, there were 457 incidents of aggravated assault, simple assault and robbery reported in Culver City. 116 of these incidents (25.3%) the suspect was found to be homeless – another reason we need to get our unhoused off the street, as many victims of these crimes are also unhoused.

Since 2022, Culver City has made more progress in helping the unhoused then in the many years the performative super far left were in control. To keep this actual progress going, It would be nice if they appointed Göran Eriksson mayor and Dan O’Brien Vice Mayor as he got the most votes in 2022 in Culver City. It would parallel to what the super far left coalition did when they didn’t appoint Göran when they were in the majority. Göran deserves it, he has been doing a fabulous job for the city and is termed out in 2024.

Ron Ostrin

The Actors' Gang