Culver City Observer -

By Neil Rubenstein
Observer Columnist 

More Reasons to Reject Measure K


October 11, 2018

The Los Angeles County Office of Education has just released its annual report of its county-wide Certificated Salary Survey for 2017-'18. On page 45 it showed just how much our Culver City School board members have overshot its agreed-to median goal.

Culver City is now ranked 14 out of 48 districts at $101,382—almost $2,400 or 2.4 percent beyond the median salary for maximum pay. District-wide, this would come to over $1.15 million. This overage would make our District pay almost $200,000 more in added STRS and PERS pension-plan contributions.

Adding all the over-payments together, it comes to more than $1.34 million in additional spending.

It looks as though Board members have been so busy placating District employees’ salary demands that they lost sight of the overall financial picture. In Unaudited Actuals report of 2017-'18, figures show that Board members have run up a $6-million deficit—the largest in our District’s history.

The Board took a financial chance by tapping our one-time reserves to help pay for ongoing District employees’ salary increases that have totaled more than 25 percent over recent years.

By running up a $6-million deficit, we as a community—the tax payers and especially the children in our schools—are now losing that gamble.

Board members are now asking local taxpayers to ante up more of our hard-earned money (about $2.36 million for each of the next seven years) by approving Measure K so they can have more money to play with.

At a recent meeting, School Board member Kathy Paspalis implied that the District's huge deficit was due to the state’s lack of adequate spending on K-12 education.

To be sure, in the past, lawmakers in Sacramento have indeed been the funding-cutting villains. But not this time: Not after the Legislature actually increased our District’s local funding by almost $25 million dollars over the last six years.

So, remember to vote "No" on the proposed new, $189-a-year parcel tax that Measure K would create.

If members of the School Board want to find the real culprit for our mounting financial woes, I suggest that they simply look in the mirror.

Simi District Threatened with Lawsuit

The Ventura County Star recently reported that the Simi Valley Unified School District has been sent a letter threatening a lawsuit if the District doesn’t move from an at-large School Board election system, like the one we have in Culver City, to a District-based system on which each Board member would represent the concerns of a specified community or area.

Simi's district is the latest to receive one of the letters making their way to different agencies in Ventura County and its neighboring areas. A Malibu law firm, Shenkman and Hughes, says it will sue if Simi officials don't voluntarily switch to the by-area system.

The letter was sent on behalf of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. The law firm contends that the SVUSD's current system is racially polarized and dilutes the minority vote, violating the California Voting Rights Act.

Simi Valley officials say that they will respond to the letter by Oct. 27.

Will the Culver City Unified School District be next on the list? Only time will tell.

Agency Plans New Affordable Housing Program

The quasi-government agency Freddie Mac plans to launch a new lending program for affordable housing, offering low-cost loans to owners of multifamily properties if they cap rents at levels deemed affordable to working families without the use of federal, state or municipal subsidies.

The rental operators who receive the benefit must make at least 50 percent of the units affordable to households earning the local median income or less. They also must limit rent-growth on 80 percent of the units for the life of the loan.

The plan comes at a time when communities across the nation are trying to devise new ways to provide affordable housing as home prices and rents continue to skyrocket.

New Restaurant Opens Downtown

Recently, a new restaurant opened to great reviews at 3833 Main Street in Downtown Culver City. Named "The Wallace, "one of Chef Joel Miller's signature dishes is a blend of roasted carrots and parsnips laced with nuts and spices with bacon and melted greens.

Buoyed by an ambitious cocktail program, The Wallace elevates the neighborhood nightlife scene while staying true to casual farm-to-table dining.

More Fox Hills Police on Bikes

A while back I discovered the Culver City special enforcement unit on Green Valley Circle. One of the officers told me they had three officers patrolling the Fox Hills area on electric bikes, which enable them to cut across traffic and get to a scene quicker.

I am happy to report that the fleet of electric bikes used by officers has been expanded to five.

This commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Observer. Previous columns by Neil Rubenstein can be found at


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