Progressives have worked together in Culver City for many years, maybe even decades.
The Culver City Network, founded in 1994, is a relatively recent example. The Network was born when a group of residents led by Adele and Henry Siegel, Gary Silbiger and others came together to protest the hiring of Timothy Wind as a member of the Culver City Police Department. Wind was one of the officers who had beaten Rodney King. Following the protest, Timothy Wind was not allowed to continue working as a police officer. This LA Weekly article mentions the campaign.
Over the Years
Over the years local progressives have continued to be active. We have written or signed numerous petitions, made our voices heard in Council and School Board meetings, worked to elect progressive leaders, written letters to the editor, blogged, and gathered formally and informally to become informed and to inform others about the many issues that affect our City.
The Birth of Culver City Community Coalition
For more than a year, our participants have been meeting to determine how best to encourage constructive change in Culver City and to begin doing so. Some of Community Coalition’s participants were active members of the Culver City Network; many others are newer to progressive politics in this city.
For the moment we make decisions by arriving at consensus. This highly deliberative and democratic process has enabled us to think carefully as a group about our most deeply held values and determine which of many issues to focus upon.
We have relied on the energy of a steering committee, subcommittees for special projects and our larger body of participants—all highly committed to improving life for residents. By design we have no officers. Our general Coalition meetings are held monthly. We charge no dues and to date have done no fundraising. All participants are volunteers.
We do not raise or spend money in elections and thus we do not need to form a Political Action Committee. We leave campaign fundraising to individual candidates. We support candidates by giving them our time and dedication.
As the Coalition grows and evolves, we might elect to alter some of our processes.
Recent and Current Activities
Our first public effort was planning and implementation of a forum on affordable housing and rent stabilization co-sponsored by the Culver City Democratic Club. Information shared at this highly informative event will likely become the basis of future Community Coalition efforts.
As the 2015 School Board election season began, we decided to take an active role in the election, first by endorsing one or more candidates. We worked carefully to develop an endorsement process, and then implemented it. The candidate we selected to endorse was Kelly Kent. Kelly Kent won a seat on the Culver City School Board.
For the April 2016, our Endorsement Committee recommended Meghan Sahli-Wells in her re-election campaign and Daniel Lee for the Culver City Council. Meghan Sahli-Wells was re-elected by a wide margin and Daniel Lee came was short only a few hundred votes from being elected.
In November of 2016 we got involved in the Measure CA campaign, which we opposed. Here is a good video that made the case for opposing it. The measure was defeated.
In preparation for the Community Conversation on Affordable Housing in January of 2017, we surveyed our community and shared the results of our survey on our blog. Michelle Weiner wrote this blog about Garden cottages and Daniel Lee wrote this blog about Affordable Housing.
In July of 2017 we started building our education program around renters’ protections, by inviting our members and others in the community to a workshop by Elena Popp of the Eviction Defense Network.
We are also very concerned about the issues relating to the Inglewood Oil Field. In November of 2017, Suzanne De Benedittis wrote this blog post as part of the campaign to extend the EIR process, which we joined. The City Council agreed to extend the process.
In January of 2018 we started surveying residents in Culver City on their opinions about renters’ protections. As rents have been rising rapidly, we studied how Culver City compares to other cities, when it comes to protecting renters, and we created a whole section in our website to report what we learned. Our intention in surveying residents is to explain these protections and see which ones they support. Our goal is to share these survey results in anticipation of the City Council elections in April and learn where the candidates stand on these issues.
Working toward the future
We will continue to do the work we have always done—educating our community, advocating for just causes and working to elect leaders who are committed to positive change.