Affording Housing in Culver City

Did you know that about half (45.6%  to be exact) of our City’s residents are renters? (source LA Times)

Like others in the Los Angeles region, Culver City renters are not only facing a hard time finding a home they can afford to buy, many renters are also finding rents are the least affordable they have ever been. According to the real estate site Trulia, median rents in Culver City rose from $2500 in March to $3745 in December last year.

This issue has been in the minds of many.  In December of 2014, the Culver City Council attempted a conversation and the issue exploded. The concerns of renters facing daunting rent hikes were overshadowed by the testimony from many members of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles who mounted a campaign raising the fear of rent control.

We feel that our community deserves this conversation, and we are committed to helping make this conversation more productive by providing accurate information on the subject. To that end, we will be blogging to keep our community informed, posting information on our website to help tenants find resources that will help them avoid evictions, and organizing forums to keep this issue on the forefront.

 

The 2016 City Council endorsement process begins!

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As voters around Culver City begin to get visits, materials and phone calls from candidates for the 2016 City Council election, we have begun our endorsement process by sending candidates the questionnaire that our Endorsement Committee has prepared. We expect candidates to respond by February 15th, when the Committee will begin to review the responses and decide which candidates they will interview, intending to announce their endorsement on February 22nd.

This is the second time that our group has entered the endorsement arena in Culver City. During the School Board election which took place in November of 2015, we endorsed now School Board Member Kelly Kent, who came in as the front runner, with 40% of the vote.

Our organization is committed to helping our members and our community understand which candidates hold progressive values and to define exactly what we mean by that. To that end, we are sharing the questions we are asking the candidates.

Our Endorsement Committee is a diverse group consisting of community members who are residents of the different neighborhoods in Culver City.

Culver City Birdee comes to town!

Have you heard about Culver City Birdee?  

Birdee is the new ‘tweeter’ mascot that is going to be helping Culver City voters become more knowledgeable about elections, register and go out and vote.

You can meet Birdie in this video. And here’s the Spanish version

Why is the City doing this?

Last September, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 415, a bill that will significantly affect voting in Culver City.  As former School Board Member Karlo Silbiger explained: “In any city where the difference between their local elections and state-national elections is more than 25 percent voter turnout, the elections would have to be consolidated. This means that in Culver City, where we have a state and national election average voter turnout of about 69 percent and a local election average of between 15 and 20 percent, we will ‘way exceed the 25 percent difference.”

 

 

 

Our 2015 School Board endorsement process

As you can see in our history, the Culver City Community Coalition is a relatively new group building on the work of other small groups of thoughtful, compassionate and committed citizens working to bring positive change to Culver City.
Our Endorsement Committee for the School Board election met several times over the past few weeks to develop an process that would be fair and transparent. The committee developed an endorsement questionnaire  and an evaluation process using blind responses and a rubric.  
As you might know, two candidates, Anne Burke and Scott Mc Varish, did not respond. What you might not know is that we extended the deadline for responding in order to accommodate them; however, the only response received was from Kelly Kent.  Each of us on the endorsement committee evaluated the responses on his or her own. We then came together at an endorsement committee meeting and voted to recommend endorsing Kelly Kent. We then made this recommendation at the general meeting, held Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, and after some discussion, the members voted to endorse her.

Culver City Community Coalition: Our Story

Our Roots

Progressives have worked together in Culver City for many years, maybe even decades.

The Culver City Network, founded in the 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.

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.

Our Process

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.

Many Coalition participants are now supporting Kelly Kent in a variety of ways. The Coalition is also registering voters and planning additional ways of encouraging civic engagement.

Working toward the future

We will continue to do the work we have always done—educate our community, advocate for just causes and work to elect leaders who are committed to positive change.

more on being progressive

This article really spells out nicely what it means to be a progressive

This last paragraph just sums it all up:

As progressives gear up for inevitable fights over taxes, budgets, and social policy, we shouldn’t forget about the importance of values in explaining who we are and what we want to achieve. We believe in freedom with opportunity for all, responsibility to all, and cooperation among all. We believe that the purpose of government is to advance the common good, to secure and protect our rights, and to help to create a high quality of life and community well-being. We want decent paying jobs and benefits for workers and sustainable economic growth. We want growing businesses producing the world’s best products and services. We want an economy that works for everyone, not just the few. We want all nations to uphold universal human rights and to work together to solve common challenges. This is what a progressive America looks like

what does it mean to be progressive?

this is an ongoing conversation, and an important one..

to begin we offer two wonderful resources .. from the group that was once known as Campus Progress and is now calling itself Generation progress.

What is Progressive?

the voices of Generation Progress

We love this part the best… Progressivism is uniquely American and entirely yours. Be a part of the discussion that defines both a concept and a nation.

Feel free to share your thoughts on what it means to you!

we have a culver city dream and we’re going to make it real!

  • we want to grow a community where all are respected and everyone belongs
  • we want our economy to grow sustainably, with jobs that offer family supporting wages, benefits and fair employment practices
  • we want affordable housing and protections for renters to grow
  • we want to grow a new generation of students who are prepared for meaningful careers and inspired to be active community members
  • we want community participation in our democracy to grow