Culver City Observer -

Culver City Year In Review

McMansions, Fracking, Airplane Noise Are Major Concerns In 2015


December 31, 2015

By Lynne Bronstein

Observer Reporter


The City Council approved a budget not to exceed $39,662 for producing the summer concert series and approved Gary Mandell as the producer of the series.

Culver CityBus began its Line 7 extension service to the Hayden Tract on January 12.

A Culver City High student filed a lawsuit on January 14 in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that she had experienced sexual abuse with members of the school’s football team in December 2013.

A fire at Southern California Hospital on January 22 caused the evacuation of patients. Culver City’s fire department was assisted by the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

Vice President Joe Biden visited Culver City, speaking at a press conference at West Los Angeles College on January 23. Biden toured the campus, praised the dental hygiene department, and talked with college administrators about the President's proposal to improve education in the U.S. by making community colleges financially accessible to more people.


Sony Corporation released preliminary figures for damages stemming from the 2014 hack on its computer systems. The loss was estimated at $15 million. The hack was believed to have been perpetrated by North Korea.

Concern about measles outbreaks in the Southland prompted State Senator Dr. Richard Pan to introduce a bill to notify parents of their child's school vaccination rates. In Culver City, Superintendent of Schools David LaRose sent a letter to parents asking for vigilance in fighting the measles epidemic and also asking that adults get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine if they had not been immunized or didn’t know if they were.

A man committed three bank robberies in one day, including two robberies in Culver City, at the Bank of the West at 9735 Washington Blvd. and at Wells Fargo Bank at 100111 Washington Blvd.


The Culver City Council approved support of an amicus (friend of the court) brief from Mayors for the Freedom to Marry that would lend support to several marriage cases currently before the United States Supreme Court for review.

Cooper Komatsu, a 12-year old Culver City Middle School student, was honored by the City Council on March 9 for winning first place in the Los Angeles County Regional Spelling Bee toward the national Scripps Spelling Bee. He went 13 rounds, defeating 102 other spellers.

Congresswoman Karen Bass, whose district includes Culver City, held a town meeting on March 12 to present arguments involving authorization of the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS. The meeting, at the Culver Senior Center, drew an audience of over 300 people, many of whom were opposed to military action.

A motorcyclist was killed on March 18 at 1:20 p.m. when he collided with a car in the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Overland Avenue in Culver City. The accident closed the intersection for most of the afternoon forcing police to reroute traffic around the collision.

The City Council voted to use $1.2 million from the General Fund to support the Rental Assistance Program for low-income residents. The action met with disapproval from the Chamber of Commerce.


On April 1 California Governor Jerry Brown issued an Executive Order requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to implement measures to cut the state’s overall water usage by 25%. The West Basin Municipal Water District, which serves Culver City, promised to give assistance to cities in helping them to conserve water.

The Fox Hills Neighborhood Association circulated a petition against a developer-generated master plan for Culver City that, according to the association, would increase the number of billboards allowed in the city.

On April 6 MTA began testing Expo Line light rail trains on the Phase Two extension of the line from Culver City to Santa Monica.

A small (3.5 magnitude) earthquake hit the Culver City area on April 11. 289 residents reported feeling the quake, which a seismologist said was not related to drilling in the Inglewood oil field.

On April 13, the City Council approved the appointment of the firm BonTerra Psomas as environmental consultant for preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Inglewood Oil Field Specific Plan Project.

The Council considered changing Culver City's elections to a mail-only voting system. However, the voting-by-mail idea was strongly voted down by four out of five council members.

The Council approved the design of a logo, designed by the Zehner Group, for the Culver City Centennial.

The Council chose Mehaul O’ Leary as Mayor and Andrew Weissman as Vice Mayor. Both men were serving their last term in 2015.


Longtime Culver City resident and chair of Culver City's Finance Advisory Committee Göran Eriksson became the first candidate to announce his candidacy for City Council.

Kelley Roberts of Farragut Elementary School was chosen as CCUSD's Sony Pictures Entertainment Teacher of the Year.

The City Council mulled the idea of creating a Poet Laureate position and appointing longtime poetic commentator Dr. Janet Hoult to the position, but opted instead to creating an open process for artists to apply for the post, with input from the Cultural Affairs Commission.

On May 11, the Council dropped the signage portion of the proposed plan for a Hospitality and Entertainment District in south Culver City. 25 speakers showed up to express their concern over billboard proliferation.

Approval of a rehabilitation project for Syd Kronenthal Park was delayed unexpectedly at a City Council meeting when a number of residents spoke in public comment about their discontent with the park’s playground facilities. A community meeting was planned to discuss the issue.

Culver City Middle School seventh-grader Cooper Komatsu made it to the Semifinals on May 27, in the 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland.


Culver City Observer associate publisher Carol Layana passed away on June 1. She rose from the ranks of the circulation department to General Manager of the Culver City News and subsequently joined the Culver City Observer as Associate Publisher when it began publishing.

Neighbors in the area around Syd Kronenthal Park met on June 2 to discuss problems of inappropriate playground equipment at the park. They charged that some of the playground equipment was difficult and possibly dangerous for very young children.

The Council rejected a motion for a moratorium on new building to prevent “mansionization,” the building of oversized homes in single-family zoned neighborhoods.

The Council voted for “Design Concept A” for improvements to Syd Kronenthal Park, after neighborhood protests regarding inappropriate playground equipment prompted action by the city.


A national search began for a replacement for outgoing president Dr. Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh at West Los Angeles College, while Robert (Bob) Sprague was appointed as Interim President.

Observer publisher Steve Hadland was hospitalized and underwent triple bypass surgery. He returned to work after several weeks of rest at home.

The City Council on July 13 adopted a resolution declaring the existence of Level 2 water supply shortage conditions and implementing mandatory conservation requirements per Chapter 5.03, Water Conservation of the Culver City Municipal Code.

A new film called This is Culver City was screened at the July 27 City Council meeting. The two-minute, 18-second film was produced by Karim Sahli and directed by Len Dickter of the Cultural Affairs Commission and its aim was to “capture the spirit of Culver City.”

Culver City parent leaders Scott McVarish and Anne Burke declared their candidacy for the November 3 school board election.


The Culver City Unified School District Board of Education announced on August 3 that it had selected Dr. Shannon Garcia to serve as Principal of El Rincon Elementary School.

Scott Houston, director of the West Basin Water Board, told the City Council, in a presentation on August 10, that Culver City, given the goal of a 16 per cent water reduction rate for 2015, actually reduced water usage by 19 per cent in the month of June.

The Council appointed at-large members Olga Vaysberg and Reverend Leonardo Wilborn to the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Board and Jay Garacochea as representative to the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County West Vector and Vector-Borne Disease Control Unit.

More than 30 Culver City residents attended a city-organized meeting at City Hall on August 27 to discuss aircraft noise from overflights and learn about the FAA’s (Federal Aviation Agency) plans. The city received written comments and complaints about the aircraft noise from about 20 residents prior to the meeting.


20-year Culver City resident Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Tiggs (Ret.) announced his candidacy for the 2016 Culver City Council.

The Council on September 15 voted to amend the Culver City Municipal Code pertaining to campaign finance and other political activities. The update included definitions of terms, limits on contributions, limits on contractor contributions, and regulations on election campaign accounts and records.

Residents concerned about the proliferation of oversized single-family homes, especially in the Carlson Park area, continued to appear at City Council meetings in public comment. A number of residents spoke at the September 14 meeting, charging that the Planning Commission was not handling the matter in an efficient and timely way.

Dr. Janet Hoult was appointed Poet Laureate at the September 28 Council meeting. The position was to be for two years, unpaid, and would last through the Culver City Centennial in 2017. The Council also voted to direct the Cultural Affairs Commission to continue to research and prepare guidelines for a permanent Artist Laureate position, which would have its first appointment in late 2017 or early 2018.

Agustin (Gus) Prado, owner of Prado Signs in Culver City, passed away September 21 while disembarking from a 27-day cruise in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 74.


The Culver City Community Coalition endorsed Dr. Kelly Kent in her race for a seat on the Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) Board of Education.

CCUSD candidates Dr. Kelly Kent, Anne Allaire Burke, and Scott McVarish met October 1 in a candidates’ forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Syd Kronenthal passed away on October 18 at age 92. He served Culver City for 52 years, during which time he built the city's park system. His local, regional, state, national and international affiliations and awards illustrated an amazing legacy that touched the lives of millions.


On November 3 Culver City voters elected Kelly Kent with 41% of the votes and Anne Allaire Burke with almost 32% to the Culver City Unified School District Board.

George Barris, whose name was synonymous with many cars built of television shows and movies, died at his home in Encino at age 89. The creator of the Batmobile, he was an avid participant in the car show named after him; "The George Barris Cruisin' Back to the 50's Culver City Car Show."

Residents appeared at the November 9 City Council meeting to protest plans for more oil wells in the Inglewood Oil Field, and to complain about airplane noise over Culver City.

Scott Wyant of the Planning Commission announced his candidacy for City Council.

Coyote sightings were reported in areas around Syd Kronenthal Park, Culver Crest and the Lindberg Park neighborhoods.

A joint session of the City Council and Planning Commission was held November 16 to discuss the issue of “mansionization.” After hearing numerous comments about oversized homes encroaching on the privacy of smaller homes, the Council directed staff to draft an ordinance with firmer regulations against overbuilding single-family homes in Culver City. The proposed ordinance was called "a baseline."

Congresswoman Karen Bass held a town hall meeting on November 22 to hear residents talk about airplane noise and the need for action by authorities outside Culver City.


Anne Allaire Burke and Kelly Kent were sworn in as members of the Culver City Board of Education.

A threat called in to schools in the LAUSD school district on December 10 did not have impact on Culver City, where schools remained open.


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