Condemnation of Recent Israel Attacks

Culver City United Against Hate Week


November 26, 2023

The City Council discussed, modified, and approved a resolution condemning the recent attacks on Israel and standing in solidarity with Israel and its people, as well as expressing deep concern for the innocent civilians in Gaza. The City of Culver City will also send a letter with a copy of the adopted resolution to President Joe Biden, the Secretary of the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Culver City's Elected Representatives. Council unanimously agreed to update certain language in the draft resolution. The final version of the resolution will be shared on the City's website, when available.

Culver City United Against Hate Week

The City Council unanimously approved designating November 12th through 18th as "Culver City United Against Hate Week". As part of the designation, City Council authorized promotion of the week. Staff will secure street banners promoting the week, as well as signpost banners and promotional materials promoting the use of 211 to report hate crimes. A total of $10,500 from the General Fund will be used for the efforts. "United Against Hate" was created by civic leaders in direct response to the sharp rise in expressions of hate in nationwide communities in 2017.

Cannabis Business Tax

Following up on an issue that was first discussed at its September meeting, the City Council voted to decrease the cannabis business tax rate for cannabis distribution businesses from 2% to 0% starting January 1, 2024, for a two-year period. Before the end of 2025, it will come back to the City Council for review of whether to continue the 0% tax rate or increase it. The decision follows the Finance Advisory Committee's recommendation to lower the tax at its October 11th meeting.

Ordinance Passed Regulating Sidewalk Vending

The City Council approved an ordinance regulating sidewalk vending. Vendors will need to file a written application for a sidewalk vendor permit. The City's goal is to streamline the permitting process, although a County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Permit and a valid California Department of Tax and Fee Administration permit will be required. Fines are included in the ordinance for violations, but staff said the Code Enforcement team will lead with education first, before issuing citations.

Culver City's Sign Ordinance Review

The City Council directed staff to pursue an amendment to Culver City's Sign Ordinance to allow off-site advertising on existing signs at the Westfield Culver City Mall. This was in response to a request from the owners of the Westfield Culver City Mall, who are currently permitted to display advertising for products and services provided on-site at the mall only. This broadens the allowable content for the mall's signage, but does not digitize or add to the number of current advertising signs.

The City Council also asked staff pursue changes to the sign ordinance that would allow a digital kiosk program throughout Culver City. Currently, free-standing digital kiosks are prohibited within city limits due to the existing sign code. The City had previously received information from two kiosk companies about their products. Digital kiosks offer the opportunity for promotion of public communication, wayfinding, real-time information, and more. The City Council created an ad-hoc subcommittee to study the sign code amendments, both for kiosks and Westfield signage. Mayor Albert Vera and Councilmember Dan O'Brien will serve on the subcommittee.

Homelessness Emergency Update

The City Council received another update from Tevis Barnes, Director of Housing and Human Services, on Culver City's homelessness emergency. Barnes highlighted that Project Homekey has begun welcoming residents into permanent housing units. Barnes also informed the City Council that security personnel and cameras have been added to the motels where the City is leasing rooms for people experiencing homelessness. Monthly reports for calls for service will be tracked. Currently, 38 people occupy motel units in Culver City.

Affordable Housing Presentation & Energy Conservation Award

In two other presentations during the evening, the City Council listened to an affordable housing proposal from the Entertainment Community Fund. The 50,590 square foot building would be located at 10555 Virginia. The goal, organizers said, is to provide high-quality affordable housing that would include as many as 80 residential units. The $64 million project would mostly come from Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

Following the presentation, Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN) presented the City of Culver City with the Sustainable Solutions Award for its effort in energy projects. SoCalREN highlighted the City of Culver City's energy projects have resulted in $303,000 in annual cost savings. It honored the City with a hand-drawn award that is unique to Culver City, depicting its spirit and history.

George Petrelli Steakhouse Commendation

The City Council awarded a commendation to Marie Petrelli of George Petrelli Steakhouse in celebration of the restaurant's many years of service to the Culver City community. With family business roots in Culver City dating back to 1918, George opened the restaurant at its original site in 1995. He passed away in 2014. George's wife, Sophie, and daughter, Marie, as well as the restaurant staff, accepted the award on Monday. "Culver City will always hold a special place in my heart because it's where my dad attained the American Dream," Marie said. "And I want to thank all of you for keeping that dream alive."

Additional Council Decisions

Additional items approved by the City Council include:

• Approval of cash disbursements from September 1st through October 13th.

• Approval of minutes from the October 9th City Council meeting.

• Approval amendment of professional services agreement with Rincon Consultants, Inc. of $72,085, for the development of objective design standards for multi-family housing developments.

• Approval of agreement with All City Management Services, Inc. to provide crossing guard services through June 30, 2024 for $254,388.60, as well as authorization to extend the agreement for two additional one-year periods.

• Approval of recommendations from the Ad Hoc City Council Policies Subcommittee on changes to various City Council Policies. The City Council updated the Policy on Commissions, Boards, and Committees so that removal of a Commissions, Boards and Committees member will only require a simple majority, instead of a 4/5 vote of the City Council. You can read the full text of the changes on the City's webpage.

• Approval of the Downtown Culver City Business Improvement District Advisory Board's annual work program and budget. A public hearing will be held December 11th, 2023 to allow public testimony regarding the proposed increased assessment.

• Approval of the Culver City Arts District Business Improvement District's annual work plan and budget, as well as a resolution declaring intent to levy the assessment for 2024. A public hearing is set for November 13th, 2023.

• Approval of an agreement with Southwest Lift & Equipment, Inc. for $889,113 for replacement of vehicle lifts at the transportation facility.

• Approval of $15,750 for additional construction management services with KOA Corporation, as well as $5,300 to Blue Line, Inc. for additional plumbing services at Project Homekey.

• Approval of a $308,380, five-year services agreement with Enterprise Security, Inc. for maintenance and repair of the City's Hirsch Access Control System.

• Approval of receipt and file of Measure CC and Measure C sales tax status reports.

After several disruptions during the meeting that took place through online public comment, the City Council requested staff to look into how other city councils handle online testimony requests. The City Council also asked staff to explore an agreement with Metro and the City for maintenance of the bike path near the Expo Line, and for staff to come back with a report on police or policing issues reported near the Jackson Gate to Ballona Creek, and what it would take in staff resources to close the gate from midnight to 5 AM daily.

Additional information about each of the topics heard at the City Council meeting can be found in the staff reports and backup attachments for the items, which are posted along with the agenda to the City's website. The video of the City Council meeting is now available on the City's website for viewing.

The City Council's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 13th.

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