City Council Meeting Summary, April 29, 2024

Published on May 01, 2024

Photo of City Council with PRCS and Senior Center members honoring Older Americans Month

City Council Discusses Bans on Single-Use Plastic Bottles and Bags, Balloons, Smoking; Takes No Action on Police Pursuit Mitigation Technology; Approves Revised Language in Culver City Municipal Code

City Council Takes a Look at Removing Pollutants with Bans

The City Council listened to four proposals aimed at removing pollutants from the region that could come in the form of future bans. The Ballona Creek Renaissance’s (BCR) presentation highlighted several possible bans, and expansions of current bans, on the “4B”:bags, bottles, balloons, and cigarette butts. BCR noted these items make up close to 40% of the debris that is collected from waterways during Coastal Cleanup events.

The single-use plastic beverage bottles ban would amend the City’s existing Waste Reduction Regulations in the Culver City Municipal Code (CCMC). It would prohibit the sale and use of plastic bottles for beverages, both water and otherwise. Current regulations already ban plastic water bottles in City facilities and at City events.

The ban on balloons would amend the CCMC to prohibit the use and sale of balloons within the City. Both Mylar and latex balloons would be included. Some cities in the area have adopted similar bans.

A ban on outdoor smoking Citywide was also considered, as well as an additional ban on tobacco sales. The fourth proposal would expand the ban on single-use plastic carryout bags, amending the CCMC. The proposal is modeled after bans in Los Angeles and Carlsbad. Recent studies have shown that since the State’s plastic bag “ban” in 2014, that the amount of plastic bag waste has actually increased due to proliferation of unsustainable plastic alternatives, which are not accepted by any California recycling programs.

Enacting any or all of the proposed regulations would require extensive education and outreach prior to enforcement. The City Council did not take a vote on any of the items. Instead, the City Council requested that more engagement take place with businesses and residents, and the City Council Sustainability Subcommittee further examine the issue.

No Action Taken on Police Pursuit Mitigation Technology

A request by the Culver City Police Department for pursuit mitigation technology to prevent vehicle chases failed to garner sufficient support from the City Council to move forward. In a 2 to 2 tie vote, the motion to approve the three-year contract failed. Vice Mayor Dan O’Brien and Council Member Albert Vera voted in favor of adding the technology to police vehicles. Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin and Council Member Freddy Puza voted against. Council Member Goran Eriksson was not in attendance for Monday’s meeting. In 2023, CCPD saw 55 pursuits, a 40% increase from the previous year. Forty of those were canceled, either based on the severity of the alleged crime or the dangerous driving patterns of the suspect.

StarChase provides law enforcement with the ability to tag, track, and apprehend suspects without the need to engage in a deadly high-speed pursuit, according to the company. The technology provides a mounting system that is attached to the front of a police vehicle’s fender. Officers can deploy a foam tracking tag equipped with a magnetic adhesive layer that sticks and attaches to the rear of a suspect vehicle. Upon deployment, the GPS tracking tag provides real-time locations, speeds, and travel directions of vehicles that flee from law enforcement, allowing for the officer to disengage from the fleeing vehicle and go into “tracking mode”, negating the need for officers to continue the pursuit. The technology is currently used by law enforcement agencies in 30 states nationwide.

Revised Municipal Code Language Changes Approved, Including Language Related to Gender and Park Bathrooms

The City Council adopted an ordinance amending subchapters of the Culver City Municipal Code. Those revisions include addressing gender and park bathrooms, updating the list of prohibited activities in parks and public buildings, and various other administrative changes. Previously, at the March 11th City Council meeting, the City Council reviewed and approved changes proposed by the Equity and Human Relations Advisory Committee (EHRAC). EHRAC recommended changes to the previously policies of the CCMC, which required park patrons over the age of ten to use the restroom conforming to their sex. The new language of the code states that “an individual shall not be requested or required to use gender segregated facilities that are inconsistent with that individual’s gender expression or gender identity, or to use separate or gender-neutral facilities.” The new code also prohibits bullying and other malicious behavior in park restrooms and other facilities.

You can read the ordinance text in full on the City’s website.

Culver City Signs onto the California Equal Pay Pledge

The City Council unanimously approved signing onto the California Equal Pay Pledge. The California Equal Pay Pledge is an initiative led by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and the Office of the First Partner, in partnership with the California Partners Project, to help close the pay gap in California. According to the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, policies that ensure equal pay for all Americans help businesses attract the strongest talent, boost productivity, and benefit our entire economy, and the California Equal Pay Pledge is designed to help close the pay gap in California, with a recognition that more work needs to be done to ensure equal pay.

The Equal Pay Act prohibits an employer from paying any of its employees’ wage rates that are less than what it pays employees of the opposite sex, or of another race, or of another ethnicity for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.

Culver City Declares Four Proclamations

The City Council began Monday’s meeting by proclaiming April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, encouraging everyone to learn steps to build connected community and enhance knowledge of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse to create communities where everyone feels safe and supported.

It also recognized April as National Fair Housing Month. This year commemorates the 56th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act that made discrimination in housing transactions unlawful. Bet Tzedek Legal Services, a local non-profit law firm that provides impact litigation and advocacy to Culver City residents, provides determination tools that empower individuals to advocate for themselves and their communities. It provided a brief presentation and encouraged residents to contact them for resources.

The City Council also proclaimed the month of May as Older Americans Month in Culver City. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Powered by Connection”, offering an opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of socialization, especially among older adults through recreation and community. The City of Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) Department and Senior Center staff work collaboratively with the Culver City Senior Citizens Association (CCSCA) to provide opportunities for fun, safe and engaging activities, classes, and events for adults ages 50 and above. PRCS and the CCSCA work together to provide stimulating workshops and collaborative activities to boost the networks of our older adult community with each other and neighborhood resources. Culver City celebrates Older Americans Month and invites its residents to join us in recognizing the contributions of our older citizens and promoting programs and activities that foster connection, inclusion, and support for older adults.

The City Council also recognized April as Record and Information Month in Culver City, highlighting the City’s effort to maintain transparency and importance of records and information in the City’s operations.

Additional Council Decisions 

Additional items approved by the City Council include:

The City Council adjourned in memory of Mina Shiratori, a former Culver City Unified School District educator and administrator, who passed away in April. Shiratori served as principal at El Marino from 2016 to 2022.

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, May 13th.

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