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Culver City Mayor Small Gives “State of the City” Address

Image is Culver City Mayor Thomas Small.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, noted that Culver City Mayor Small delivered his “State of the City” address to more than 600 members of the community on April 9 in the newly remodeled Robert Frost Auditorium.

Mayor Small claimed, “Our city remains socially, culturally and economically diverse while our school district was recently named the fourth most diverse in the country.”

Small continued his address by speaking on his tenure on the City Council and the accomplishments and major projects Culver City handled during that time. He reminded listeners of the need for plans to deal with the developments in certain parts of the Culver City Real Estate area such as Washington and National Boulevard.  Mayor Small stated that mobility would be the core issue when the city started updating its general plan.

Small also focused on how the technological revolution has been helping the city to grow.  He asked the audience to consider how to incorporate that growth while holding on to the things that have always made Culver City great.

“Can we have this growth that’s fueled by this incredible technological economic engine and still have a community that respects its history?  Can we and how can we have growth that is inclusive?  The inclusion of all community members will ensure that Culver City remains a city for all generations to come.”

Mayor Small wasn’t the only speaker at the State of the City event.  Several other speakers spoke about the need for Culver City to “preserve its small town feel in the middle of a growing metropolitan area.”

Culver City Unified School District Superintendent Leslie Lockhart commented, “Culver City gets it, the connection between great schools and a great city.”

At the end of the program Joanna Brody presented the “Citizen of the Year Award,” which went to Diana and David Hauptman.  Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, was happy to see the Hauptman’s honored in such a way as they have spent many hours serving Culver City and it’s residents.

Image is a picture of Culver City from the air.

Culver City Residents get Discounts at City’s WATER FIRST Program

Image is an illustration of water being placed into a piggy bank.Local listing agent Martin Feinberg notes that April is Earthquake Preparedness Month. In honor of that designation, Culver City is now offering Emergency Water Storage Systems for purchase at a reduced cost as part of their WATER FIRST program.

Culver City’s WATER FIRST program is being offered to Culver City Real Estate area residents again this April.  This program, which is coordinated by the Culver City Fire Department, will allow residents to buy an emergency water storage system at a discounted cost.  The program is meant to help Culver City citizens increase their water storage and thus increase their ability to safely weather earthquakes or other disasters that would likely cause an interruption in city services such as the availability of drinking water.

The WATER FIRST program allows Culver City residents to purchase 55-gallon water containers for their personal disaster supplies at a cheaper, bulk price.

According to the Culver City Fire Department, “A person can survive weeks without food, but only days without water. The minimum recommended amount of stored water needed for disaster preparedness is 1 gallon per person per day. Once filled with a water preservative concentrate, the water will last 5 years.”

Each resident that purchases a 55-gallon Water Storage System as part of the WATER FIRST program will receive a 55 gallon water barrel, siphon pump, water preservative, 2 plastic caps, and a plastic bung wrench. The water storage barrel weighs 20.6 lbs. empty. Barrel dimensions are 35” x 24.25”. Water is not included as part of the storage system.

The cost of the complete water storage system is $98.55. The drums will be available at Fire Station 1, which is located at 9600 Culver Blvd. in downtown Culver City.

Image is a close up of a water barrel.Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, encourages all interested residents to go to More Prepared Culver City on the web at: https://www.moreprepared.com/culver-city-residents to place an order.

For questions call Christine Parra (CCFD) at: 310-253-5909 or Ira Diamond at: 213-309-4084

Property Managers Need to Know how to Deliver Bad News

Image is two male hands, one giving the thumbs up sign and one giving the thumbs down sign.One of the realities of rental property ownership is having to deliver bad news to tenants.  While some owners don’t mind being the bad guy once in a while, those that do choose to utilize an experienced and professional property manager.  A good property manager such as Martin Feinberg will know how to give bad news in a tactful manner, making the process more pleasant for everyone involved.

Though bad news can negatively impact a tenants’ experience their rental property, these tips could help them handle it better.

Think Ahead:

Most property managers will know about rent increases or scheduled maintenance a head of time. They should give their tenants such information early enough that they will have time to adjust their plans or make moving decisions if necessary. Tenants should be told about upcoming maintenance 1-2 weeks before it happens with another reminder 1-2 days before it begins.

With emergency repairs, property managers need to inform tenants as soon as possible.

In the case of rising rent prices, property managers should first check with local and state laws to see what the required notification time periods regarding changes in rent prices are.  For good tenants that a property manager hopes to keep, they should consider giving them a couple months notice.

Be Considerate:

When a property manager needs to schedule community wide repairs that could negatively affect residents, they need to be as considerate of their time as possible.  Turning off water in the middle of the day, for example, is usually more convenient for people than having it off in the morning or after work.  Pool maintenance should take place during the winter instead of the summer.  If the majority of tenants are students who will be out of town during the holidays property managers could take advantage of that by scheduling needed parking lot maintenance during that time.

Pay Attention to Delivery:

Property managers should choose a delivery method that works best for them and their renters.   This could be anything from a personal phone call, text, group email, or notification letter.

Be straightforward:

Property managers need to tell their tenants exactly what is happening.  They should be clear and concise; stating the facts about what is happening and when it will take place. Be kind and respectful but be careful not to open the conversation up for negotiations or opinions.

Provide reasons and benefits:

When giving bad news, property managers need to point out how the minor inconvenience will benefit them in the long run.  If rental rates need to rise, give tenants the reason why.  Property managers do not need to hide the fact that rent rates sometimes need to be raised to stay competitive with fair market prices, pay for increased city fee, or to pay for tenant approved upgrades.   All are reasonable explanations.

Image is a sheet of paper with a smiley face, neutral face, and a frowny face on it, each with a check box next to it.Acknowledge the impact:

Though property managers should focus on the benefits a tenant could receive from some inconveniences, they shouldn’t forget to acknowledge the burden that the tenant will be bearing.   This will help renters understand that their needs are being considered when changes are being made at their rental property.

Though a lot of bad news is not at the discretion of management, as the main point of contact with tenants, property managers can positively influence the reception of bad news.

Culver City Sales Tax Increases from 10 to 10.25 Percent

Image is a woman holding shopping bags.Culver City, along with 50 other cities in California, recently experienced a jump in sales tax from 10 percent to 10.25 percent.  Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the new Culver City sales tax took affect on Monday, April 1st.

With the new sales tax, Culver City’s tax is now three percent over the state of California’s minimum sales tax.  California’s minimum sales tax is 7.25 percent.

The first time that the Culver City Real Estate area delved into taxes over 10 percent was in 2013.  At that time voters passed a ½% increase in the sales tax for Culver City, but were told that the tax hike was temporary and would expire in 2023.

However, last year former City CFO Jeff Muir told the city council that the temporary tax would need to be made permanent.  And more than that, he explained that the Culver City sales tax would need to be raised an additional ¼ percent.

Culver City, and 25 other cities in California, are unable to pay their bill without a sales tax of 10% or more. Santa Fe Springs is the only city in California that as a higher sales tax than Culver City.  Their tax rate is 10.50 percent.

According to some websites the force behind many local sales tax increases is increasing public pension costs and public employee retiree healthcare. Data suggests that local sales tax increases are concentrated in California cities that have the largest pension problems.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg also learned that the new Culver City sales tax wasn’t the only change state taxes.  Online retailers are no longer immune from collecting sales tax.  The new California law now requires out-of-state retailers such as Amazon to collect salves tax on goods sold in the state. While that might not be a happy development for Californians that shop online, the change is meant to help brick-and-mortar businesses that are loosing sales to their online counterparts.

Image is of two computers facing each other, one with a hand holding money coming out of it and the other with a hand holding a shopping back coming out, as a visual representation of online shopping.

Culver City Police Officer Brian Cappell Saves Choking Baby

Image is a picture of Cappell with the Lockridge family.Martin Feinberg, Culver City Real Estate area Realtor, was happy to learn that a Culver City police officer received special honors from the Culver City City Council Monday after saving a choking baby who had stopped breathing.  Officer Brian Cappell was in the right place at the right time and his body camera captured all the action during the March 22 incident.

Officer Cappell responded to a call of a baby choking just after 4 p.m. on that Friday afternoon.  The call came after Janet Lockridge was driving with her nine-month-old daughter Harleigh and the baby began to choke on some food.

After Lockridge pulled over, her ten-year-old daughter ran and flagged down Officer Cappell and brought him back to the scene.  In the body camera video, the officer can be seen running towards Lockridge’s parked car and opening the passenger door to reach the baby.

In the video Lockridge can be heard pleading “Please, I don’t know, she’s like not breathing.”

Officer Cappell then pulled Harleigh out of vehicle and turned her face down, firmly hitting the baby’s back to dislodge the food.

“Come on baby, you’re all right!” the officer can be heard saying while performing the choking rescue maneuvers.

Eventually baby Harleigh began to cry, which can also be heard on the video, along with Officer Cappell saying in relief “Okay, she’s crying now, so she’s getting air.”

The officer said in a statement to ABC7 that he’s never experienced anything like it in the 19 years he’s worked for the Culver City Police Department.

“Once I heard the baby crying, it was the best sound I ever heard in my life,” he said.

Lockridge told NBC Los Angeles she’s so thankful that Officer Cappell saved her daughter’s life. Local listing agent Martin Feinberg notes that the following day Officer Cappell was able to reconnect with the family.  Lockridge hugged the officer, and Cappell asked to hold the baby.

“I’m just extremely, extremely grateful and I’m indebted to him forever,” Lockridge told the news station.

Image is the Culver City city sign.

Renters Insurance Protects Tenants and Property Managers from Loss

Image is a blue illustration of a house in a bubble being held in a person's hands.While the majority of homeowners understand the importance of carrying home insurance, a lot of renters do not understand the importance of having renters insurance.  Renters insurance offers protection for tenants’ personal belongings against liability and medical charges.   It also helps tenants cover the cost of any property damage that happens to the property itself due to their own negligence.

Many renters mistakenly believe that the rental property owner’s or property management company’s insurance will cover any circumstances where insurance might be necessary.  That is not the case.

A landlord or property manager’s policy typically only covers loss or damage that happens to the structure itself.  While that can keep a roof over a renter’s head, it will not cover the cost of replacing any of the tenant’s personal belongings.  When it comes to tenant negligence, the owner’s insurance will not cover anything.

If, for example, a renter accidentally leaves the bathtub running and floods their unit and two units beneath them, they will be personally responsible for the thousands and thousands of dollars of damage to the property and other tenant belongings if they don’t have renter’s insurance

Renters insurance isn’t just good in cases of damage or destruction though.  It will also usually cover the cost of replacing personal possessions if there is a burglary.

Many tenants will sometimes choose to go without renter’s insurance because they mistakenly believe it is too expensive.  To the contrary however, renters insurance is one of the most affordable protections a person can get.  Most people can find policies between $8 and $30 per month depending on what kind of coverage they want.

Professional property managers like Martin Feinberg understand that it’s normally in their best interest to encourage all tenants to get renters insurance.  In cases where a tenant does not have insurance and cannot pay to fix damage they caused, the bill can be left up to the rental property owner to cover.   For this reason, property managers should make it a habit to remind tenants and perspective tenants of the importance of acquiring renter’s insurance and encourage them to purchase a policy.

Image is a 3-D puzzle in the shape of a house, with one of the pieces out of place.Some experienced property managers might even decide to require all tenants to carry renters insurance. In such cases it is legal for property managers and rental property owners to put renters insurance requirements in the lease agreement.

For those property managers who do decide to require renters insurance, it’s important to track compliance.  Managers should make sure that tenants have an active policy and that it’s up to date. Property manage software can help track whether or not each tenant is fulfilling that part of their rental agreement.

Senate Bill 188 ends Discrimination Based on Hairstyle Passes Committee

Image is Sen. Holly J. Mitchell with a protective hairstyleThe Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill by Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, D-Culver City to end discrimination based on hairstyles.  Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the bill, known as Senate Bill 188, amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act and is meant to prohibit employers from enforcing “race neutral” grooming policies.  It passed in a 7-0 vote.

Federal anti-discrimination laws clearly defend the right of employees to wear an Afro but were silent in regards to “protective hairstyles” such as braids, locs, and twists.  Black women and men typically wear these hairstyles.  Senate Bill 188 is meant to cover that gap.

Sen. Holly Mitchell stated, “We are not talking about rainbow-colored tresses or pink mohawks, we are speaking of groomed hairstyles like my locs, that would, without question, fit an image of professionalism, if bias or negative stereotypes of Black people were not involved. These purportedly “race-neutral” workplace grooming policies that ban braids, twists, cornrows, or locs may apply to employees or applicants of all races, however they have a disparate impact on Black men and women.”

As such Mitchell’s contention is that, “This means that these policies are far more likely to exclude Black individuals from the workplace than people of any other race.”

Senate Bill 188 is sponsored by The CROWN Coalition, a national alliance comprised of the National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Color Of Change and Dove.

This nationwide coalition was created after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Catastrophe Management Solutions (CMS) alleging racial discrimination based on hair in 2018. EEOC filed the lawsuit on behalf of Chastity Jones, a Black woman who was forced to choose between a job offer with CMS and her locks.

Senate Bill 188 amends section 12926 of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to read as follows: “Race is inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg notes that the ACLU supports the bill, agreeing that hair discrimination is “rooted in a legacy of race and gender bias, [and] remains a harmful practice with serious economic and health consequences, particularly for Black women in employment settings.”

The California Black Chamber of Commerce also supports Senate Bill 188 as legislation that advances “access to economic opportunities for African American businesses and the communities in which their employees work, live, and play.”

Senate Bill 188 is the first in a package of new bills that Mitchell, who represents the Culver City Real Estate area, will be introducing aimed at #EcomonicEquity and #HealthEquity.

Image is a Black man with dreadlocks yelling into a megaphone against a yellow background.

Why Tenants Move and How Property Managers can Take Advantage

Image is a man in an empty room holding three tittering boxes stacked in front of him.Rental property owners understand that old tenants are eventually going to move out and new tenants will move in.  While the flux is inevitable, there are things that can be done to keep tenant turnover at a minimum or attract new tenants to a property.  Property managers such as Martin Feinberg make it their responsibility to keep good renters happy and in their rentals for as long as possible while also making vacant properties look appeal to a variety of perspective tenants.  One of the ways that they do this is to pay attention to why tenants move from one place to another.

Below are the top four reasons that tenants move in and out of rental properties and some things that professional property managers can do to help attract new tenants while helping good tenants choose to stay.

Growing Older

As people age, many of them choose to rent instead of own their own home.  Kids move out, retirement happens, and the idea of a smaller space with less responsibility starts to appeal to a lot of people.  Property managers should consider these wants when marketing their properties.  They should also always be careful with wording and avoid anything in their marketing that might be considered discriminatory towards different demographics.

Significant Life Changes

When tenants start new relationships, get divorced, change jobs, or have children they often consider changing their living situation as well.   To help keep tenants happy in their space even when these changes occur property managers can help them adjust by making a property a welcoming place to live and also highlighting its neighborly qualities.

Quality ofLife Improvements

Often when people move up in life, such as when they graduate from college and find a good career, they look for a new place to live that better fits their new lifestyle or bigger paycheck.  To help keep tenants in this stage of life happy property managers can emphasis any luxury amenities their properties have.

Image is a cartoon of a moving box full of different household items like a computer and lamp.More Security

Living in safe and secure housing usually becomes more important as tenants begin to have children.  Tenants with children also tend to favor family-friendly environments.  Property managers should focus on low crime rates, neighborhood watch programs, and family recreational options like local parks to attract renters with these needs and wants.

Mayme Clayton Library and Museum Could be Leaving Culver City

Image is an isle in a library lit by Edison bulbs.  Martin Feinberg, Realtor, was sad to learn that Culver City’s Mayme Clayton Library and Museum might be forced to close unless it can come to an arrangement with Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas.  Thomas wants to turn the landmark into a constituency center.

The Mayme Clayton Library and Museum received notice in October that its lease would not be renewed.   Executive director of the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum, Lloyd Clayton, would like the museum to remain in Culver City.  However, he is investigating options with other universities that have communicated an interest in the Museum.  The building currently houses more than two million African American books, films, documents, and other artifacts.

Clayton stated, “I grew up with this collection.  This was my mother’s collection, which was housed in her garage in the West Adams district many years ago. For 45 years, she campaigned and tried to get this collection housed someplace. It wasn’t until she met with Culver City that she finally found a place willing to house her artifacts.”

Culver City Councilman Daniel Lee wants the library to remain in the city he represents, saying the museum is of great cultural significance.

“We’ve developed a cultural corridor in Culver City which includes the Wende Museum, the Culver City Historical Society, and the Mayme Clayton,” Lee said. “This is a central part of it and it’s the largest private collection of African American art and memorabilia west of the Mississippi and that’s something Culver City can be proud of.”

Tom Camarella, a Culver City resident, also agrees that losing the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum would be a great loss to the Culver City Real Estate area.

“The best possible position would be to stay here or move to West L.A. because at least that’s still in the neighborhood because we want school kids to come to it,” Camarella said. “Most kids don’t understand this history but older people like myself, we’ve lived through it.”

The Mayme Clayton Library and Museum was founded in 1975 as the Western States Black Research Center by Dr. Mayme Clayton, a university librarian, collector, and historian.  She believed that preserving and sharing the history of Americans of African descent was important for current and future generations.

Image is a historical picture of an African American family packing up a car, likely in the 40s or 50s.Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, was impressed to learn that Dr. Clayton independently amassed a collection characterized as “one of the finest collections of African-American literature, manuscripts, films, and ephemera in private hands” over more than 40 years.

“My mother had a vision that this history was going to be lost,” Clayton said. “I remember when I was growing up in the 60s, African American history wasn’t even mentioned except in a derogatory way in certain books using terms like “Sambo” and things like that. So we want to update and correct that, my mother especially wanted to do that because she grew up during the Jim Crow era and she witnessed what segregation had done and she, in her own way, wanted to put a stop to that.”

State of the City Event Happening on April 9 at Culver City High School

Image is the Culver City city sign.Local listing agent Martin Feinberg notes that the 2019 State of the City event will take place on Tuesday, April 9.  The event is free and the public is invited. The State of the City meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. with an opportunity for networking and mingling.  The program will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m.

The event will be held in the Robert Frost Auditorium, which is located in the Culver City Real Estate area at 4401 Elenda Street on the grounds of the Culver City High School.

Parking for the event will be available in the Culver City High School and Culver City Middle School parking lots.  However, the city is urging those attending to consider walking, biking or carpooling. The city is also asking that interested attendees please RSVP online so that event organizers can plan for the correct number of people.

Culver City Mayor Thomas Aujero Small stated, “The State of the City address is for the entire Culver City community to enjoy. By making this year’s event free, the City wants to make sure everyone feels encouraged to attend. Culver City has always been a welcoming, inclusive community, and I look forward to meeting everybody who joins us on April 9th. This year’s State of the City event will include wonderful entertainment, and I’m pleased that our gathering will be accessible to everyone who lives, works, plays and learns here in Culver City.”

Image is a map showing the location of Culver City California.While admission, entertainment, and parking are free to the public at this year’s State of the City event, light refreshments will be available for purchase.  This year’s event is a joint effort between the Culver City Chamber of Commerce and the Culver City Unified School District.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, encourages all who are interested in attending the State of the City to please contact the City Manager’s Office at 310-253-6000 or email the City Manager’s Office at: city.manager@culvercity.orgto RSVP or if there are any questions.

To register online go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mayor-thomas-aujero-small-state-of-the-city-address-tickets-58761981669