34th Annual Mayor's Luncheon
Mayor Jeff Cooper delivered his address before a sellout crowd at the 34th Annual Mayor's Luncheon at the Doubletree By Hilton Hotel on Tuesday.
The Annual Mayor's Luncheon is sponsored by the Culver City Chamber of Commerce.
Going to the roots of Culver City he likened the movie stars to the everyday residents saying, "This is the birthplace of stars like Drew Barrymore and Jackson Browne and the workplace of motion picture stars, creative stars and business stars too numerous to mention.
"It is also the home of future stars like the young Girl Scouts who led us in the pledge today. Whether they're stars in the classroom, in the boardroom or on the silver screen, they will always look back and say they got their start here in the Heart of Screenland."
He singled out city workers for special recognition, "Whether they are driving our buses and picking up our trash or taking care of our parks and processing building permits, Culver City employees do an amazing job, and we are lucky to have assembled such an incredible team of caring, talented and professional employees who truly care about our community.
Without going into detail about the success of every department, I want to give some special recognition to our first responders. I will put our Police and Fire Departments up against any first responders in the country."
He spoke about the tough economic times the city has just come through and the challenges ahead commenting, "just a short time ago, we were on pace to out-spend our reserves in just three years....our city is socking away more reserves and pre-funding our pension liabilities, something we have never done before."
Among the challenges faced by the city is a $50 million bill for a required stormwater runoff filtration project and increases in PERS health care premiums for city employees both required by state and federal mandates.
He called for "innovative partnerships" ways with private businesses to increase city revenues.
With an eye toward quashing future tax increases Cooper said, "whether that's revenue sharing from signs like we do today with Westfield or partnering with private enterprises on the installation of high-speed fiber optic networks, we need to be more creative in making ends meet. We cannot continually go back to the voters and the business community to ask for tax increases."
He pointed to Culver City's largest employer, Sony Pictures, thanking them for their contribution. "What Sony gives us is something much more than just an economic shot in the arm. Sony and its employees are stars in our schools, in our non-profit organizations and just about everywhere in Culver City...They have rolled up their sleeves to plant trees, pull weeds and paint walls throughout our city."
Cooper pointed to the newly signed the Culver City Compact stating "It's an agreement by people from all corners of our community to come together to provide the support and collaboration needed to achieve three goals: 1) assure that all students graduate from high school; 2) assure that those graduates have the skill, passion and sense of purpose to succeed in higher learning and 3) assure that all students have access to pathways that will lead to relevant, sustainable jobs and careers."
Not visable to the eye but important none the less Cooper pointed to the city's investment in a "robust, high-speed fiber optic cable network."
He cited ongoing development projects including, the Parcel B project in downtown, The Washington/National developments, Washington Centinela Market Hall project and the newly open the Expo Line Station in Culver City. In the area of housing he cited the affordable living components at the newly open Tilden Terrance and Culver Villas projects.
Not to be left out he spoke about the community service organizations and the work they do. "As a member of the Culver City Exchange Club, of course, I am biased toward all of our community service projects. But from Lions and their efforts to provide vision screenings at our schools to Rotarians who have provided low-income housing for seniors...the Culver City Historical Society (preparing for) for the city's centennial celebration in 2017.
This is what really makes our community great – people, helping people. Our city needs to continue to work with non-profits and private businesses to create public/private partnerships that benefit us all. But I also thought The Mayor finished with his assement of where the city needs to go from here, "about the future, about the amazing things that we can do by working together. We can make our city even greener. We can attract even more cutting-edge businesses and still maintain the hometown feel that makes Culver City special."
Editors Note: You can read the full text of Mayor Jeff Cooper's speech here on the Observer's website.