A New Day is Dawning

A new day is dawning! We are awakening! People First participatory democracy is "happening" in Culver City!

Former Mayor Gary Silbiger must be thanked for breaking ranks with almost 100 years of patriarchal top-down governance. Silbiger is constantly advocating for residents' active involvement in critical decision-making that directly affects us, and by his breaking with the “ol' boys network,” Mr. Silbiger paved the way for Participatory Democracy.

Current Vice-Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells expanded on Silbiger's ground-breaking work of putting People First.

That the people of Culver City want to participate in decisions affecting our lives has been proven in current elections:

• In 2016, Meghan Sahli-Wells wins her re-election with the widest margin ever; and again

• In 2016, current Mayor Thomas Small (internationally renowned, but relatively unknown in Culver City) came in second to a prominent member of the City's Chamber of Commerce.

• In our April 2018 City Council election, another newcomer to Culver City politics won by a landslide – the highest margin ever in Culver City! We elected Alex Fisch, not just because he is a Berkeley alum with a UCLA law degree, and not only because he is an environmental litigator for the CA State Attorney General's office.

• We elected Alex Fisch and Daniel Lee because both promised to prioritize our human right to health and safety over all other concerns! And they are delivering.

The June 20 Culver City Council meeting demonstrated that participatory democracy is awakening in Culver City! Not only did we elect a Council that puts people first, but. . . . We responded! And we must thank former Mayor Jeff Cooper and the current City Council for extending the EIR comment period, giving us time to gather more substantive and well-researched data for input on the future of our Culver City oil field.

In fact, we overwhelmingly responded to the City's request for comments on its EIR dealing with drilling and fracking for oil and gas in the Culver oil field. At the Council meeting we learned that the City received 700 to 1,000 substantive comments that required meaningful responses. We testified in support of having Vice-Mayor Sahli-Wells and Mr. Fisch (our City's current O&G subcommittee) take charge of the next steps.

Now let's all thank each of the five current City Council members for voting unanimously to go forth with the will of the People. And we must keep supporting them.

Democracy is a muscle! We cannot fall back into a “father-knows-best” mentality if we intend to transition from patriarchal representation to a participatory democracy!

Now is a critical time in our nation's history to make our voices heard to Put People First!

In closing this missive, I send a big thank you to each and everyone who showed up on June 20! And much gratitude to all the environmental organizations whose well-researched documentation on the overwhelming risks of continued drilling and fracking helped support the voice of the people of Culver City.

Let us continue to cooperate for the common good of all beings!

On behalf of our common home, which I affectionately embrace as Our Holy Mother, the Earth, and with heartfelt appreciation for each of you,

Suzanne DeBenedittis, PhD

Culver City


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