Culver City Observer -

By Lynne Bronstein
Observer Reporter 

Council Selects Finance Committee Members


April 10, 2013

It Also Approves Six Summer Concerts

Good things came in sixes at April 8’s City Council meeting, where the Council chose six members for the new Finance Advisory Committee and also approved six concerts for the summer concert series at City Hall courtyard.

Finance Advisory Committee members include three residents, three business members, as well as three members appointed rather than elected by the Council. The three resident members are Crystal Alexander, Alejandro Lara, and Steven Reitzfeld. The three business members are Goran Eriksson, Richard Hibbs, and David Travato. All will serve terms ending on June 30, 2016, except for Reitzfeld and Travato, whose terms will end on June 30, 2014.

The appointed members are Desmond Burns for Staff Level Bargaining Group Office #7; Allan Azran for Management Level Bargaining Group Office #8; and Sean Kearney for CCUSD Office #9. Their terms will end on June 30, 2014.

The Council elected the six members via a “tried and true” method in which each council member nominated three candidates from among the nominees. The candidates with the most votes won the available seats.

It seemed simple but during the first round of voting (for business candidates) Eriksson and Hibbs had the most votes while candidates Steven Murray and Travato had two votes each. Council member Jeff Cooper then changed his vote from Murray to Travato for the third business member seat.

Likewise, during the voting for resident candidates Alexander and Lara were clearly in for seats #1 and #2 but the third seat was a toss-up between Reitzfeld, Michel Chaghouri, and Paul Ehrlich. Each had pulled 2 votes in the first go-round.

The Council discussed the merits of the three tied candidates. Meghan Sahli-Wells said “I voted for Reitzfeld [because] for this job he has extensive experience in public forums. He worked for the Navy and for Hughes Aircraft. He’s been active in the Culver Crest Association and has proven that he is devoted to the community.”

Mayor Andrew Weissman agreed that Reitzfeld had the background and also that he “plays well in the sandbox,” that is, he gets along with everyone.

But Cooper said he was behind Ehrlich and was reluctant to change his vote.

Ehrlich was not present at the Council meeting and “showing up is part of it,” said Jim Clarke.

Clarke had also cast his vote for Ehrlich but decided to change his vote to Reitzfeld. Mehaul O’ Leary, who had included Chaghouri among his candidates, also switched his vote to Reitzfeld.

The Council thanked all the candidates, noting that they were all eminently qualified, and encouraged them to apply for other committees as vacancies come up.

The Council also tackled the issue of approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Gary Mandell’s Boulevard Music for producing four free concerts this summer.

According to the MOU, the City will allocate funds, which along with private sponsorships, will allow Mandell to produce a minimum of four concerts, with additional concerts an option, to be added at a cost of $4,822.

Weissman announced he had received an email from the owner of Rush Street Tavern, who is agreeing to sponsor the concert series.

It looked like the MOU would pass as submitted but Cooper said he really wanted to see six concerts in the series, if money could be found for them.

“Last year there was a big change-it really took away any kind of momentum and energy the city has,” said Cooper. He noted that a sum of $20,000 that was to be used for a Fourth of July fireworks show would be available because the fireworks show has been cancelled.

City Manager John Nachbar confirmed that the $20,000 was available but that, if not being used for fireworks, it would go into the General Fund. It would be the Council’s prerogative to use that money for concerts among other uses.

Mandell said he was fine with producing four concerts—or six, if possible—but he thought the extra money could be better put to use to obtain nationally known music acts, which will draw more people and get more press. Although he has received promises from his past sponsors that they will be sponsoring him again, nothing is certain.

A substitute motion for the MOU was submitted, which stated that Mandell would produce six concerts. Several sums of money were mentioned as funding for the first four concerts and the two additional concerts. A “friendly amendment” was added to the substitute motion, that the amount spent on the additional concerts would not exceed $2,679.

The substitute motion passed 3-2.


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