City Council Meeting Summary, May 28, 2024

Published on May 30, 2024

On Tuesday, the City Council presented the 2024 Senior of the Year Award to David Voncannon

City Council Discusses Future Use of the Former Gun Shop, Approves Police Chase Mitigation Technology, Plans for Transportation Project

City Council Discusses Determining the Future Use of the Former Martin B. Retting Store

On Tuesday, the City Council discussed the direction on determining the future use of the former Martin B. Retting gun shop, which the City purchased in September. Since the acquisition, the building was vacated in January and its exterior was then repainted by the City. A mural project, which was completed by the City’s Artist Laureate Katy Krantz, added vibrant new artwork to the site. More than a dozen community members spoke, suggesting various uses for the space and emphasizing the need for a “rigorous process” to gather additional input through public meetings and surveys.

The one-story, 4,660 square-foot building, located on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Huron Avenue, was constructed in 1953. City Council considered the format, timing, and goals related to the community input. Ultimately, the Council requested the City staff to propose an outreach plan that will come back on a future agenda for approval this summer. No formal action was taken.

Police Pursuit Mitigation Technology Approved

Following a 2 to 2 vote taken in an April meeting, the City Council on Tuesday approved the Culver City Police Department’s request for pursuit mitigation technology to prevent vehicle chases. The three-year contract for an amount not-to-exceed $143,689 passed in a 3 to 2 vote. Vice Mayor Dan O’Brien and Council Members Albert Vera Jr. and Goran Eriksson voted in favor of the motion. Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin and Council Member Freddy Puza voted against. 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 devices cease tracking eight hours after deployment. The technology is currently used by law enforcement agencies in 30 states nationwide.

City Council Approves Conceptual Plans for the Better Overland & Safer Fox Hills Project

In a 4 to 1 vote, the City Council approved conceptual plans for the Better Overland and Safer Fox Hills Project. Mayor McMorrin, Vice Mayor O’Brien, and Council Members Vera Jr. and Puza voted in favor of the motion. Council Member Eriksson abstained. City staff will now pursue grant funding for the project. The Project’s goals are to improve travel for everyone, including those who use a wheelchair, walk, bike, take transit, or drive. It begins at the intersection of Overland Avenue and Venice Boulevard and extends to the Culver City Transit Center and through the Fox Hills neighborhood.

Proposed improvements include eight substantial upgrades including:

  • 3 route-miles of concrete bike lanes
  • Upgrading all signalized intersections on the Project corridor to protected intersections
  • A new pedestrian signal at the Julian Dixon Library and new traffic signals at a number of intersections
  • Retrofitting all streetlights on the Project corridor with sidewalk-facing streetlights
  • Installation of a new sidewalk, curb ramps, and crosswalks on the southside of Slauson Avenue
  • Upgrading bus stops
  • Curb extensions throughout Fox Hills neighborhoods
  • Various other pedestrian and bicyclist amenities, such as new shade trees, bike racks, and wayfinding signage

Staff offered 12 different engagement events in April and May, along with feedback forms and surveys for those who could not attend in-person community outreach. In total, more than 1,000 comments were received, helping with the revision of the plans. Staff reported strong overall support for the Project. You can read more of the plans and general highlights in detail on the City’s website.

The grant application deadline is June 17th. Grant recipients of the $20 million will be announced in the winter. If awarded, the City would provide a 20% match of the grant, which amounts to $4 million. Construction would begin in 2025 and take place over several years. You can still provide feedback on the project by visiting the Project’s webpage on the Culver City website.

Introduces Ordinance on Meeting Decorum & Procedures

Culver City Municipal Code Amendments, use of personal electronic devices during meetings, and “campaigning” in Council chambers were the focus of the last action item of the evening. City Council voted separately on the three issues.

The Municipal Code amendments promote mutual respect, civility, and orderly conduct among elected and appointed City officials, City staff, and members of the public. Updates are in the Rules of Order and Addressing the City Council, Commissions, Committees and Boards sections. City Council voted unanimously to those updates. Individuals wishing to speak on an agenda item must submit their request prior to the item being called. Time allotments to speak will also be applied consistently among public speakers for a particular agenda time. Special time allotments may be granted for applicants and appellants during “quasi-judicial matters.

In a second vote, City Council passed updates to the use of personal electronic devices. During a public meeting, the City Council shall be banned from the use of all personal electronic devices to discuss any item on the City Council Meeting agenda, with the exception for communication with City staff. The policy also set limitations for all Commissions, Boards, and Committees. Mayor McMorrin abstained from the vote.

City Council then voted to limit campaign activity in the Council Chambers. Speakers will not be allowed to provide campaign-related during public comment. A city council meeting is a limited-purpose public forum and content restrictions to protect the scope of the forum are permissible, which is consistent with the Brown Act’s limitation of off-agenda public comment to be matters within a legislative body’s jurisdiction.

You can view the language changes and proposed updates in the meeting agenda.

Culver City Awards Youth, Senior of the Year, Recognizes Mental Health & ALS

The City Council began Tuesday's meeting by presenting certificate awards to the Culver City youth in recognition of their leadership. There were 51 recipients spanning seven schools including Linwood E. Howe Elementary School, El Rincon Elementary School, Farragut Elementary School, El Marino Language School, La Ballona Elementary School, Culver City Middle School, and Culver City High School.

The 2024 Senior of the Year Award was presented to David Voncannon. City Council commended Voncannon for outstanding contributions to the Culver City community. The local businessowner and US Navy veteran also served as a member of the Culver City Planning Commission. He’s remained active in the community, serving on a number of civic leadership roles including the Chamber of Commerce. Voncannon is currently on the Board of Directors for the Exchange Club of Culver City and the Culver Palms YMCA. His impactful service is vast, and we are grateful for his selfless dedication towards serving our community.

In two other recognitions, the City Council proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month, as well as ALS Awareness Month. Mental Health Awareness Month is dedicated to prioritizing well-being and promoting open conversations about mental health. In the last two years, City Council has worked to ensure the well-being and quality of life of all Culver City residents, both housed and unhoused. In 2022, the City Council approved creation of the Housing and Human Services Department (HHS). HHS focuses on housing, homelessness, mental health, substance abuse, and crisis intervention. The HHS includes Human Services and Crisis Intervention Division which houses the Mobile Crisis Team (MCT). MCT was launched in March 2024 and d provides non-emergency mental health care and support to members of the Culver City community by responding to mental health crises and providing appropriate psychological first aid, support, referrals, and transportation. To request a field response or for a phone consultation by the MCT, please call their direct line, (310) 253-5770. To anyone struggling with mental health, know that you are not alone.

May 2024 is also Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Awareness Month in Culver City and encourages all residents to get involved in the fight against ALS by honoring the memory of those who have lost their lives to ALS and recognizing the tireless efforts of healthcare professionals, researchers, advocates, and organizations dedicated to advancing ALS research until a cure is found. Over 5,000 new ALS patients are diagnosed annually. According to ALS Association, the disease can take months or even years to diagnose. Ten percent of cases are inherited through a mutated gene and 90% of cases have no known family history or genetic cause, with veterans being more likely to get ALS. ALS Awareness Month provides an opportunity to raise awareness, promote understanding, and advocate for research, treatment, and support services for individuals living with ALS, their families, and caregivers.

Additional Council Decisions 

Additional items approved by the City Council include:

  • Approved of cash disbursements from May 4th to May 17th, 2024.
  • Approved of minutes of the City Council Meeting held on May 13th, 2024.
  • Approved specifications and authorize notice inviting bids for the 2024 Sewer Main CCTV and Condition Assessment Project. The closed circuit television (CCTV) inspection services will be used to assess the condition of the sewer pipe systems to identify and prioritize rehabilitation and maintenance projects. Early detection of defects can prevent failures.
  • Approved five-year agreement with Utility Systems, Science & Software (US3) for the maintenance of the sanitary and storm sewer pump stations’ Emergency Notification System (ENS) and the Sewer Flow Monitoring System (SFMS). The total amount of the contract would not exceed $2.66M. The City of Culver City owns its sanitary sewer system, which is presently comprised of six pump stations and approximately 89 miles of sewer mains.
  • Adopted resolution approving Engineer’s Report and declared the City Council’s intention to levy and collect assessments for Fiscal Year 2024-2025 for the West Washington Boulevard Assessment District No. 1. The District was formed to fund annual costs associated with five new landscaped medians installed on Washington Boulevard between Beethoven Street and Rosabell Avenue, as well as fund annual costs associated with the refurbishment of six medians between Rosabell Avenue and Wade Street. The proposed levy for Fiscal Year 2024/2025 is approximately $18,689.96.
  • Adopted resolution approving Engineer’s Report and declared the City Council’s intention to levy and collect assessments for Fiscal Year 2024-2025 for the West Washington Boulevard Assessment District No. 2. In July 2010, the West Washington Assessment District No. 2 (District) was formed to fund the maintenance of three new landscaped medians between Centinela Avenue and Boise Avenue. The District has remained in place since. The proposed levy for Fiscal Year 2024/2025 is approximately $8,320.57.
  • Adopted resolution approving Engineer’s Report and declared the City Council’s intention to levy and collect assessments for Fiscal Year 2024-2025 for the West Washington Boulevard Assessment District No. 3. In August 2019, the West Washington Benefit Assessment District No. 3 (District 3) was approved by vote of the property owners to help fund the future maintenance of seven medians on Washington Boulevard between Beethoven Street and Glencoe Avenue. The pandemic delayed construction and anticipated to be bid in the fall of 2024.
  • Approved an amended services agreement with Walk ‘n Rollers for the Safe Routes to School Education Program for an additional three years for $210,000. The Safe Routes to School Education Program is a joint program between the Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) and the City of Culver City that promotes walking and biking at all Culver City elementary and middle schools.
  • Approved application for grant funds for $16,190 through the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Fiscal Year 2024 Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership. The funding would go toward 38 bullet-proof vests to replace issued vests and vests for new Culver City Police officers over the next two years. The item passed in a 4 to 0 vote. Mayor McMorrin abstained.
  • Approved one-year agreement with Good Guard Security Inc. to operate and manage the Transit Ambassador Pilot Program for $995,000. The Culver City Transportation Department embarked on a new initiative for the development, management, and operation of a pilot Transit Ambassador program. This innovative program aims to deploy trained contract personnel as Transit Ambassadors across Culver City's buses, bus stops, transit centers, and other major points of connection. The Transit Ambassador program is designed to provide a visible and welcoming presence for customers, bolstering public safety through the deployment of a dedicated unit comprising mobile and fixed-post personnel. These specially trained ambassadors will assume a rider-facing role, providing presence and resources to the riders and promoting the sense of safety for all passengers and operators.
  • Approved one-year agreement with SCA of CA LLC for Citywide street sweeping services for $900,000, which doubled from last fiscal year due to a State mandated wage increase. Approximately 220 curb-miles are swept once per week and certain arterial streets are swept five times per week. Narrow bicycle paths and painted curb extensions are swept once every two weeks. Additionally, the 13 City-owned parking facilities are maintained by this service as well. Public Works plans to create in-house street sweeping services in the future, staff reported at the meeting.
  • Approved software support maintenance agreement with South Bay Regional Public Communications Authority for the Public Safety Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Records Management Software (RMS) systems for $160,000 per year.
  • Approved maintenance agreement with Konica Minolta for citywide multifunction device managed print services for $75,000. Five one-year renewals can be authorized for amounts not-to-exceed the prior year’s cost by more than 15%.
  • Approved agreement with S. Groner Associates (SGA Marketing) for educational outreach services for proposed “4B” plastics prohibitions in an amount not-to-exceed $85,000. Collectively referred to as the 4B bans, the proposed items are Balloons, plastic carryout Bags, plastic beverage Bottles, and smoking (“Butts”). In April, Council directed staff to conduct outreach to the business community and residents to gauge impacts and interest in restricting these items, and to present findings and recommendations to the Sustainability Subcommittee before bringing the item back to City Council for potential ordinance changes. It was approved 4 to 1. Council Member Eriksson voted against.
  • Ratified an amendment to an existing agreement with Occu-Med for medical services increasing the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 amount by an additional $60,000 and increasing the Fiscal Year 2024-2025 amount not-to-exceed $100,000.
  • Adopted several resolutions for the City of Culver City Investment Policy. The Investment Policy was last reviewed by the City Council in June 2017. The modifications include adding the Culver City Housing Authority Fund to the City’s Investment Policy, as well as updating the fund name from “Redevelopment Agency” to “Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency” in the policy. The City continues to follow the highest professional standards in managing public funds.
  • Adopted resolutions authorizing representatives from the Successor Agency to the Culver City Redevelopment Agency Board and the Culver City Housing Authority Board to initiate the housing Authority investment account, deposit and withdraw funds as well as make account changes to the City/Successor Agency/Housing Authority State Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF) accounts.
  • Approved services agreement with Good Guard Security, Inc. for security guard services in the amount not-to-exceed $1.83 million. The contract is for three years with two, one-year optional renewals.
  • Authorized support for a multi-jurisdictional application to the Active Transportation Grant Program (ATP) for the Ballona Creek Multi-Use Path Extension and Connections Project with a proportional 20% local match commitment in the amount of $240,000. A letter in support of the application was also approved. Los Angeles will take the lead in the grant application and Project development and implementation.
  • Adopted ordinance amending Culver City Municipal Code that would require gender neutral public restroom facilities in new construction. This Ordinance will take effect June 27th, 2024.
  • Following a public hearing, City Council approved issuance of revenue bonds by the California Municipal Finance Authority (CMFA) to assist in the financing or refinancing of the Turning Point School in Culver City. City Council also approved the deposit of $7,500 in issuance fees to the General Fund. That tax-exempt loan from CMFA would be in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $15 million.
  • Following two more public hearings, City Council denied appeals and approved Crown Castle’s permit application to install small cell wireless site at two separate locations. The first one will be located in proximity to 4604 Sepulveda Boulevard. The second one will be located in proximity to 11622 Port Road.

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 will be made available on the City’s website for viewing.

There will be a special City Council meeting on Monday, June 3rd to interview applicants to the many Commissions, Boards and Committees. The City Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 10th.

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