Culver City Observer -

La Mayor de la Bicyclette

Meghan Sahli-Wells Sees Clear Skies in State of the City Address


April 30, 2015

Margaret Molloy

Chris Wilde, the grandson of Harry Culver, shows a photo of his grandfather with his bicycle at age 17, after winning a 4,120 mile 53 Day Endurance Bicycle Race.

By Lynne Bronstein

Observer Reporter

Although there were heavy clouds in the sky, the Culver City Mayor's Luncheon on April 22 offered indoor sunshine as city employees, business representatives, and City Hall gadflies socialized, enjoyed great food, and listened to Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells' State of the City speech.

The Doubletree Hotel provided the buffet lunch as well as complimentary cookies, and local businesses provided guests with goodie bags featuring such sustainable gifts as water bottles and fold-up cloth carry- all bags.

The environmental theme was also evident when City Manager John Nachbar introduced Sahli-Wells as "La Mayor de la Bicyclette," in reference to her well-known enthusiasm for bicycling.

"It's been an incredible honor to be the mayor of Culver City," said Sahli-Wells, whose term as mayor ends this week. "It's also been incredibly busy. I've been to more meetings than there are days in the year."

She divided her state of the city speech into sections dealing with achievements in five areas: safety and health; city services; sustainability; economy; and kids.

Under achievements in safety and health, Sahli-Wells noted "we have one of the safest cities in the United States." In 2014 Culver City acquired a new fire chief, David White, who has "an impressive 35-year career in fire service," and a new police chief, Scott Bixby, who has served the majority of his 34-year career in Culver City.

Sahli-Wells had to say that throughout the country, people are now taking a "hard look" at the police due to reported incidents of police violence and discrimination. But she added that "reforms that are needed in other states already impact us here in Culver City."

"Our Culver City Police Department is more diverse than the city itself."

Regarding health, Culver City is taking steps to provide safety against the pollution and geological risks from the Inglewood oil field. An EIR (Environmental Impact Report) on the oil field is in the works.

Culver City also received an upgrade from F to A in its rating from the American Lung Association for reducing pollution from cigarette smoke, due to the passing of a no-smoking law in multi-unit dwellings.

In regard to city services, the city has seen upgrades in lighting, repairs of sidewalks, graffiti removal, and sewer repair. In transportation, "Culver City [Bus] is the Number One fleet in the nation." The city has also seen media improvements including a new web site, and a Municipal Fiber Network is being developed.

Culver City has been mindful of sustainability, with water conservation a priority. The city has been holding classes on water-conserving solutions and drought-resistant plants and landscaping.

Margaret Molloy

The Culver High school jazz band performed at the Annual Mayor's Luncheon at the DoubleTree by Hilton Los Angeles Westside on Wednesday, April 22.

From an economic standpoint, the city has seen a growth of new businesses, including new shopping venues and transit-oriented developments either in the building or planning stages. The planned development of Parcel B has already won awards even before being built.

At the same time, Sahli-Wells reminded the audience that affordable housing is a key issue, addressed recently by the City Council's confirming support for the rental assistance program and outreach programs to the poor. "I am extremely proud of these recent difficult votes."

Last but not least, Sahli-Wells praised the Culver City Unified School District and local resources that work for Culver City's children and teens.

"We want to make Culver City the best place to raise children in the United States," she said. "When you serve the most vulnerable in the population, you serve the greater population. For example, when you make the streets safer for kids, you also make them safer for seniors, pets, and everyone else."


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