Culver City Observer -


Here Are The Candidates: Now You Choose


Culver City residents have long been familiar with Goran Eriksson, who frequently speaks at City Council and other civic meetings and chaired the Culver City Chamber of Commerce in 2012.

Eriksson has a business background as president and founder of esi Techtrans, Inc., an international business development consultancy founded in 1987.

He serves as chair of the Culver City Finance Committee, and in that capacity, encouraged the City Council to increase community involvement in the city budget process, updating the city's financial policies.

His activities have also included serving on the Culver City Unified School District's Citizen Bond Oversight Committee, a member of the Culver City Community Emergency Response Team, and a member of the Culver City Exchange Club.

Eriksson was born in Sweden where he served in the military and worked with firefighters, for whom he admits an affinity. He came to the United States in 1983 and has been a homeowner in Culver City for more than 20 years.

He has been endorsed by the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) and says he believes it is critical for the city to have housing stock at every price level.

"Culver City is a highly desirable place to live and work, but we need to make sure we have adequate workforce housing and affordable housing to serve our city," says Eriksson.

He has also been endorsed by the Culver City Firefighters Association. Fire Captain Dave Rindel says of Eriksson" "He has stood in our shoes," referring to Eriksson's background in firefighting.

Eriksson's endorsements also include four of the five sitting Council members: Mayor Mehaul O'Leary, Vice Mayor Andy Weissman and Council members Jeff Cooper and Jim Clarke.

Scott Wyant

Planning Commissioner Scott Wyant is a 26-year resident of Culver City. Since 2003 he has worked as a technology consultant for schools, individuals, and the private sector.

He has just completed serving an eight-year term on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and in addition served four years on the Board of the Culver City Education Foundation, and as the elected Secretary of Culver City's Bicycle and Pedestrian Initiative Advisory Committee.

Wyant's achievements as a member of the Planning Commission include the approval of the Tilden Terrace project (a mixed-use affordable housing project), approval of the mixed-use development on Washington east of Inglewood, and work on the various projects connected to the Metro station.

Wyant responded to citizen complaints about increased LAX-bound airplane noise by arranging a meeting of a city delegation with Rep. Karen Bass. He has also fought against the hazards of fracking for oil and advocates stricter safety standards.

He has been endorsed by the Culver City Firefighters Association, Culver City Employees Association, Culver City Chamber of Commerce, sitting council members Andy Weissman, Jim Clarke, and Jeff Cooper, and Planning Commission members Kevin Lachoff, Dana Sayles, and David Voncannon.

In regard to business growth Wyant says: "The only right way for Culver City to grow is one that improves life for all of us. On the City Council I'll push to ensure that our city attracts new and innovative companies with real business plans and customers."

Jay B. Garacochea

Jay Garacochea has a background in safety and security that he believes will benefit Culver City. Since 1993 Garacochea has done police work, beginning as a volunteer Reserve Police Officer while still working at his family's well-known Pioneer Bakery.

In 1997 Garacochea was hired as a police officer for the MTA. By 1998 he had become a police officer back in Culver City. During his 14 years with the C.C. P.D. department, he was a Field Training Officer, a Motorcycle Officer in the Traffic Bureau, and a Detective in the Investigations Bureau. He had one of the highest case clearance rates at C.C.P.D. and in 2007 was awarded Officer of the Year.

A Culver City resident since 1998, Garacochea currently works for Corporate Security for American Honda Motors in Torrance.

He was born in Santa Monica, earned a B.S. in Baking Science and Management from Kansas State University, and worked for years at his family's bakery.

Garacochea promises that he will fortify public safety "by equipping Police and Fire with the training, staffing and resources benefiting a first-rate city," that he will promote economic growth "by advocating for business-friendly policies that encourage small business development and economic investment," and will strengthen education and support for families and seniors to improve quality of life.

Garacochea offers a pledge to the city with two significant points: "One, I offer my sincere dedication to maintaining the core building blocks of a great notch police and fire service, fiscal stability, thriving business and entertainment, first rate education in our schools and innovative ideas in city government at every level. Two, I promise to perform my duties as a trusted representative of the community I serve, and to always view my appointment to the Culver City Council as a position of responsibility rather than a position of privilege"

Garacochea has been endorsed by the Culver City Police Officer's Association and the Culver City Employee's Association.


Thomas Aujero Small

Architectural writer and consultant Thomas Small is concerned with overdevelopment in Culver City. He says: "I will only vote to approve a new development if it's clear that development project will improve our quality of life, not harm it! We have to be intelligent and thoughtful enough to make these projects profitable and yet also assure that they contribute to the community.

As Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, Small helped in the creation of the International Film Festival and the Artist and Poet Laureate program. He created a series of "Architecture Talks," public conservations with prominent Culver City architects. He also serves on the Commission's Historic Preservation and Art in Public Places subcommittees.

Small was a delegate from Culver City to the New York Times' 2015 Cities of the Future Conference in New York. He is scheduled to present his paper, "Notes from the Urbanist Front: Urban Development in Culver City" at the 53rd Annual Livable Cities Conference in Rome in 2016.

He grew up in Northern California and the Phillipines, speaks four languages, studied comparative literature at Yale and won fellowships at the University of Paris and the Columbia School of Journalism.

He is endorsed by Congresswoman Karen Bass, State Senator Holly Mitchell, C.C. School Board members Dr. Kelly Kent and Anne Allaire, the entire Culver City Cultural Affairs Commission, and former Culver City Mayor/council member Gary Silbiger.

Daniel lee

A 13-year resident of Culver City, Daniel Lee describes himself as "very liberal."

He is running on a platform of progressive answers to civic problems, including taking steps to provide clean energy, implementing stronger safeguards against hazards in the Inglewood oil field, and promoting the concept of "Roving Town Halls," i,e. community forums, and raising the minimum wage in Culver City.

For the past five years, Lee has been a member of the Culver City Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee. "Over the years I have served as a panelist and a stage manager for the celebration and this year I developed and implemented a Civil Rights Curriculum at the Culver Teen center to increase youth involvement and forge stronger connections between the committee and the community at large."

He has also been active in the Young Storytellers program at El Rincon Elementary, where he has served as both a mentor and an actor.

Lee was born in Alabama and grew up in the South. He served in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard.

He holds a B.A. in Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California and earned a Masters of Social Welfare from UCLA in 2015.

He has endorsements by School Board member Dr. Kelly Kent, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Len Dichter, and former School Board member Nancy Goldberg.

Marcus Tiggs

Twenty-year Culver City resident Marcus Tiggs describes himself as an "Independent thinker without just 'going along to get along.'"

He notes: "[While] serving as a Culver City Planning Commissioner, I have always been extremely concerned about Culver City's economic stability, the rebirth of our historic downtown, public safety, and our schools."

His involvement has included two terms on the Planning Commission (2004-2012), over 10 years of serving on the Fiesta La Ballona Planning Committee, serving as vice chair of last year's Fiesta and chair of the 2016 Festival, and a past member of the Culver City Public Safety Ad Hoc Advisory Committee.

After over 20 years of military service as an Army field artillery officer Tiggs was serving as an Army National Guard Captain when the 1992 civil unrest broke out. Activated at that time, Tiggs said that he and his wife Monica were searching at the same time for a safe place to live and Culver City came to the forefront of their search.

Tiggs mentors and teaches bankruptcy law as an adjunct law professor at UWLA School of Law. He also volunteers with the Los Angeles County Bar and Public Counsel's Debtor Assistance Project, and to the Mesereau, Ephraim, Villaraigosa Legal Clinic, which provide legal assistance to low-income debtors.

On issues concerning Culver City Tiggs supports "a timely lawsuit" against the FAA to decrease airplane noise over the city; public/private partnerships to increase affordable housing stock; "conducting studies with portable sensors to identify and log any toxic gas releases" in the Inglewood Oil Field; design guidelines to control "mansionization;" and increasing General Fund revenue. He is against rent control as a way of providing affordable housing and is against increasing the minimum wage.

Tiggs has the endorsement of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce.

Meghan Sahli-Wells

Meghan Sahli-Wells has served on the Culver City Council for the last four years, including a stint as Mayor from 2014-2015. Known for her liberal take on issues, she has advocated for transportation alternatives, water conservation, affordable housing, anti-fracking legislation, and homeless services.

She serves on the national board of Local Progress, a national network of elected officials; on the board of the Exposition Line Construction Authority, which is currently overseeing the construction of Expo Phase 2 from Culver City to Santa Monica; and on the Energy and Environment Committee for the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the nation's largest metropolitan planning association.

Before her election to the Council, Sahli-Wells co-founded the Culver City Bicycle Coalition, one of the first local chapters of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and Transition Culver City, part of the international Transition Network. She participates in bicycle-themed events and often travels around the city by foot or on bikes or scooters with her husband Kalim Sahli and their two boys

Sahli-Wells holds two bachelor's degrees in World Arts and Cultures, and French, from UCLA. She has traveled extensively and has lived in Paris, where she studied urban issues.

She is endorsed by State Senator Holly J. Mitchell, Culver City School Board members Steven Levin, Kathy Paspalis, Anne Allaire, and Kelly Kent, former Culver City Council members Christopher Armenta and Gary Silbiger, and the entire seated Culver City Council.


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