Culver City Observer -

Tax Hikes, Charter Changes Greet Voters in Culver City

Article Contains News and the Newspaper's Position on These Culver City Issues

 

November 3, 2016

If you can get past the Presidential Election and the 17 statewide propositions on the ballot, Culver City faces several important decisions in Tuesday's election.

First and most importantly is the measure called the Culver City Safe/Clean Water Protection Measure (CW). According to the ballot argument it is meant to protect public health/groundwater supplies and prevent toxins and pollutants from contaminating local waterways, creeks and beaches, by improving storm drains/infrastructure to capture/clean urban runoff; preserving open space; and complying with clean water laws, shall Culver City establish a $99 clean water parcel tax; generating approximately $2,000,000 annually until ended by voters, requiring independent audits, public oversight, low-income senior citizens discounts and local control of funds?

Culver City Voters approved a temporary sales tax increase in order to balance the budget and "save our services" several years ago yet in written letters to the newspaper the city leaders have threatened a cut in those services if this latest tax increase was not passed.

Interestingly enough the property tax increase will not cure the need to clean storm water issue but acts like a band aid on a bleeding artery.

Now we come to the charter amending the city charter (CA) to change the appointing authority and the reporting responsibilities of the Fire Chief and Police Chief from the City Council to the City Manager.

This will allow the City Manager to:

(a) Appoint, suspend and remove all City employees, including Department Heads, the City Clerk, and the City Treasurer, the Fire Chief, and Police Chief, except as otherwise provided by State law or this Charter;

(b) Direct and supervise the administration of all City departments, except as otherwise provided by this Charter;

(c) Attend all City Council meetings, at which the City Manager shall have the right to take part in discussion, but shall not vote;

(d) Prepare and submit to the City Council an annual budget pursuant to this Charter, and implement the final budget approved by the City Council; and

(e) Perform such other duties as are specified in this Charter, or by ordinance, resolution or other action of the City Council.

The Culver City Observer believes this measure is ill timed and ill planned. If this passes the city manager will hold ultimate power over all employees in the city.

Many cities elect the city clerk, city treasure and in some cities the city attorney. While we believe that in 2016 we have the best city employees in the state however that may not always be so. All we have to do is look at the City of Bell where the city clerk, appointed by the city manager Rizzo, was asked difficult questions by city residents. When she asked Rizzo what she should tell them his response was, "lie to them." If you look back at our elected clerks and treasurers, Pauline Dolce, Sue McCabe, Lu Herrera and the city manager told them to lie, I am quite sure they would inform the city manager that they answered to the voters not a city Bureaucrat. We believe this issue should be voted down and revisited by a bipartisan committee appointed by the council.

Council Resignation Waiting Period To Run Again (CB). This would amend the charter of the City of Culver City to provide for the ineligibility of a person who has resigned from the City Council to run for the Office of City Council Member for a period of two years from the date of such resignation. This follows the resignation of councilmember Scott Malsin in December of 2013 ago to keep lifetime health insurance for his family and then reran for a city on the council the follow April. The voters rejected this ploy and Malsin was not reelected.

The new law specifies that residents who have resigned from an elective City office shall not be eligible to hold an elective City office nor be eligible for candidacy for election until two years have elapsed from the date of resignation.

The Culver City Observer believes this is a reasonable approach to elected official who have resigned for their own personal benefit.

The final measure amending the charter of would authorize the City Council to determine the dates of Regular Meetings of the City Council (CD), as follows:

The City Council shall hold regular meetings at least twice each month, at such times as it shall fix by ordinance or resolution and may adjourn any regular meeting to a date certain, which shall be specified in the order of adjournment and when so adjourned, each adjourned meeting shall be a regular meeting for all purposes.

The Council Chambers of City Hall shall be the primary place of all City Council meetings.

By a vote of at least three of its members the City Council may order a regular meeting to be held not less than seven days after that date at a place within the City other than the Council Chambers.

The City Council may, upon making a finding that the public interest requires it, order a meeting adjourned to another location within the City and to a time during the same day on which the order is made.

If for any reason it shall be unsafe to meet in the Council Chambers, meetings may be held for the duration of the unsafe condition at a place within the City designated by the Mayor, or by the City Council.

Whenever an order is made to hold a meeting at a place other than the Council Chambers the City Clerk shall immediately post a copy of the order at a conspicuous location near the outside of the main entrance to the Council Chambers.

This appears to be a reasonable move and The Observer supports it.

 

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