Mayor Weissman Looks At A Year of Progress
Mayor Andy Weissman addressed civic and business leaders last week in the 33rd annual Mayor’s Luncheon before a sellout crowd of more than 400.
Introduced by the Master of Ceremonies, City Manager John Nachbar, the Mayor began by thanking all the groups and individuals who help make Culver City the place it is,” adding, “let us recognize that it is a testament to the strength and vitality of Culver City and recognize, appreciate and applaud it.”
He complemented Nachbar’s leadership saying “He stepped in as our City Manager in the middle of a particularly rough patch for us. The perfect storm of economic calamity some have said.”
He spoke about the efforts that have brought “economic engines” to the city in the past year citing “Maker’s Studio, NantWorks, Beats by Dre, Culver Crossroads and we also welcomed the World Trade Council that relocated from Los Angeles to Culver City.”
Weissman commented in the changes in the past year stating “What a difference from last year.”
He citing the bleak landscape from a year ago:
1. The Redevelopment Agency had just been dissolved by the state.
2. The first passengers had not yet boarded the light rail trains from the Culver City Station on the Expo line.
3. No affordable housing was being created in Culver City.
4. Private development was minimal to non-existent
5. The City was looking at an $8 million structural deficit with growing deficits into the future.
6. The freeway off ramp at Sepulveda was open. (Many residents objected to the ramp being moved to Culver Blvd.)
7. The community was waiting for the state to give its ok for the construction on Parcel B.
With a jab at the Governor and the state legislature he went on to say, “I am pleased to report that despite the best efforts of Sacramento to the contrary, Culver City continues to promote economic development.”
Citing the progress of the past year Weissman listed the following.
1. The Culver City Station of the Expo line is open,
2. The freeway off-ramp north at Sepulveda is not.
3. We have two affordable housing projects nearing completion.
4. There are two private developments underway at Washington/National, Legado and Platform, we have Culver Crossroads at Sepulveda and Washington and a new auto dealership coming to town; Culver City Mazda alongside Culver City Volvo.
5. Most significantly, the voters of Culver City, Culver City residents, approved a half-cent local sales tax, by a 3-1 margin, projected to erase our structural operating deficit, protecting our city services and returning financial stability to the city.
“We count ourselves fortunate to live and work in Culver City,” Weissman stated
He went on to recognized the vast army of individuals, community organizations, companies and city staff that make Culver City because of the support and encouragement of the residential and business communities that make Culver city a special place
He singled out some organizations for special recognition saying, “2012 saw the Culver City Rotary Club raise over $5,000 to purchase new computers for the Teen Center computer lab and donate dictionaries to the elementary schools. The Culver City Exchange Club, in its campaign against Child Abuse, sponsored the 4th of July Fireworks Show, the Car Show in downtown Culver City and of course, what would Fiesta La Ballona be without the Exchange Club Beer and Wine Garden?
“The Culver City Senior Citizens Assn. generously adopted the Teen Center billiards tables.
“The Happy Charity Foundation once again donated $500 to the Culver City Teen Center.
“The first annual Plunge Community Enhancement Project collected nearly $6,000 in donations for our swimming pool.
“We even received a gift three stainless steel lifeguard towers, valued at over $7000, from the City of San Buenaventura.”
“Lights were installed in the Boneyard, made possible by generous donations from NantWorks and the Friends of the Culver City Dog Park, with assistance from the Public Works Dept. and the Parks Divisions.
“More than 350 Volunteers in the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program donated 75,000 volunteer hours at 50 sites throughout the Culver City community.
“During 2012, our Culver City police officer reserves donated 5000 hours of time, assisting at events such as the 4th of July, the car show, in patrol and working the front desk.
“These volunteer hours resulted in a savings of $220,000 to the city.
He recognized city staff, “For the work they all do in keeping our city clean, safe and well run.”
Obviously keeping an eye on a tight budget Weissman reminded the crown of the need to examine the programs the city funds, “Merely because an existing program or a service is a good thing should not mean that spending more money on it is admirable, or that spending less is deplorable.”
Speaking about the upcoming affordable housing opportunities in the city he imparted the following facts, “Thirty-two affordable units at Tilden Terrace, 12 affordable units at 4043 Irving and we are partnered with Habitat for Humanity, for the development of a new 10 unit affordable town house project on Globe Avenue in West Culver City.”
With regards to the neighboring oil fields Weissman promised, “An ordinance with comprehensive regulations to ensure that the public health, safety and the environment are protected.”
He complemented all city departments and stated that, “Over the past year, the Fire Dept. responded to more than 4,500 individual emergencies, arriving within five minutes or less better than 90% of the time….our Police Department most recently, implemented a new system, “Smart 911,”the first city in California to adopt this life saving technology.”
He stated that Culver CityBus carried more than 5.3 million passengers in the last year noting that the Transportation, the Equipment Maintenance & Fleet Services Division was selected as the 3rd Best Municipal Fleet in North America out of 38,000 public fleetsAnd you get a sense for what makes Culver City special.
When Weissman was first elected to council he served as Mayor during his first term. He proudly announced that a major goal of his was to return the council discussions to a more civil tone and maintain respect and dignity at the meetings. In keeping with that pledge the Mayor thanked his four colleges on the city council by name stating, “I am proud to work with Mehaul, Jeff, Meghan and Jim, proud of what we do, proud of the things we’ve been able to accomplish together and proud of the manner in which we do it.”
Weissman concluded by saying, “It has been my absolute pleasure to be able to serve as Mayor for the past year. Thank you for being here today.”
Weissman’s term as Mayor will conclude at the next council meeting on April 22 when by all indications Vice-Mayor Jeff Cooper will be elected as the new Mayor.