Suzanne De Benedittis: City Council, kindly extend the EIR comment period, in the name of democracy and love for our Mother Earth

City Council Members, City Attorneys, and City Manager,

Inviting folks to come to City Council to comment on the Inglewood Oil Field EIR, I find myself in an awkward position as residents vent disgust, denigrating some of you by name, saying you’re being paid off by the oil company, etc. These comments sadden me as they do not reflect kindness. I do not support them.

Current national & local elections show that more and more of the public is demanding a voice in matters that affect the people directly. So too in Culver City! I have witnessed this trend for participatory democracy growing stronger year by year, especially so in our last local election as you will note from an analysis of the number of votes each winning candidate received vs. their financial expenditures.

Today’s well-educated populace wants their voice respected by those they elect to govern. And rightfully so. The collective wisdom of our citizens is in fact a brain trust, a pool of resources that by collaborating we can take the hard work done by the EIR prep team and make it even stronger while assuring it defendability if challenged. Is that not the intent of the EIR CEQA requirements?

Let’s be honest. The purported statement from the dais about the EIR being 700 pages is a gross miscalculation. The entire document – EIR, Specific Plan and appendices are over 1900 pages. So if you value the legacy you wish to leave, if you value democracy, please realize that your citizens have requested and need a 60 day extension on the comment period. Anything less is a slap in the face of democracy!

Thus, I humbly ask you, as officials, are you truly committed to respecting the will of the people?  to promoting democratic process on which we can build a City of Kindness?

Know that what impels me to write you is a sacred mandate: to love my neighbor as myself.   An even greater love I have is for the one on whom our very life depends,  our Mother Earth & its atmosphere,  who feeds & sustains you and me with clean air and fresh water. My passion for Mother Earth/our common home is what drives my behavior. I hope you, our elected officials, will share what principles motivate your decisions.

I invite you to dialogue with us, your public regarding the moral and/or democratic principles that inform your logic, reasoning and decision-making in matters that will affect our health and our lives.

By your collaborating with the brain trust within our city, together we can have even stronger protections that the EIR documents were intended to provide. Working together as a caring community, as a City of Kindness, I am morally certain that Culver City’s final EIR & regulations can be invincible!  So let’s collaborate! Yes?

Dr Suzanne De Benedittis, PhD

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