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Daniel Lee Makes History as City’s First African-American City Councilman

Image is a red megaphone with speech bubble against a yellow background.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, was very excited to learn that Daniel Lee has made history by becoming Culver City’s first elected African-American city councilman.

Lee, a community organizer, came within 143 votes of reaching that goal in April 2016 but ultimately lost that race.  In another close race on April 10 2018 Lee was able to beat Albert Vera Jr., 3,335 votes to 3,123.

Alex Fisch won the most votes in the city council race with 3,819.

Cynthia Gibson of CKG Communications, a marketing, communications and public relations firm in Fox Hills stated, “It’s about time. We definitely need to see more people with different perspectives and different cultures in elective office.”

Lee neither chose to focus on the potentially groundbreaking possibilities of his candidacy nor did he downplay them.

During the campaign Daniel Lee had stated, “I really don’t want someone to vote for me because of that, but if I am elected I think I would feel a sense of responsibility to be a mentor and a role model for others, especially kids who might think, ‘Marcus did it, so maybe I can too.”

Lee believes he can thank his election win on an influx of more progressive voters becoming more active and open to the prospect of a black candidate.

“There has been a lot of messaging about Culver City being a progressive city for the last decade. I think Culver City is becoming more progressive, but progressive voters have not always been showing up to vote in local elections,” the Lee said. “That’s a very important story but the African –American aspect is a larger story.”

Lee first learned that Culver City had never elected a black candidate to the city council in 2014 from Meghan Sahli-Wells while serving as a member of the city Martin Luther King Day Committee.

“I was a little surprised to hear that,” Lee admitted. “There have only been five women elected and that surprised me too.”

It was not a central tenet of his campaign, but Lee believed it was essential to “talk about why [electing a black candidate to the council] has never happened and what are the reasons why it hasn’t happened?”

Image is a diverse group of men and women holding hands in a spirit of cooperation.Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, was surprised to learn that Lee will be one of the few renters to sit on the council in recent years.  As such, Lee will be able to bring a different perspective regarding housing affordability and how the Culver City Real Estatearea can create more affordable housing.

Daniel Lee will join a very diverse council on April 30, possibly the most diverse in Culver City history. It will include Vice Mayor Thomas Small who is Filipino-American, Sahli-Wells who is bilingual after having lived for years in France, and Councilman Gorän Eriksson who is a native of Sweden.

Culver Studio Bungalows Renovation Ends in Dedication Ceremony

Cartoon illustration of scissors cutting a ribbon.The historic Culver Studio Bungalows were dedicated last Wednesday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  The four bungalows had recently been renovated and relocated from a remote area.  They now sit in a prominent location just behind the famed Culver Studios Mansion.

The project, which was monitored closely by Culver City Officials and a historic preservation consultant, involved constructing new foundations for the Culver Studio Bungalows and then carefully putting back each interior.  Martin Feinberg, Realtor, was pleased to learn that all work was done in accordance with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Michael Hackman, CEO of The Culver Studios, stated, “We take our responsibilities as stewards of this historic landmark extremely seriously. The legendary films made here are part and parcel of the very fabric of this studio, and we want to make sure that history is appropriately celebrated.

“By moving these landmark structures to a spot immediately adjacent to the historic mansion, we have effectively created a prominent node to showcase our historic structures within our walls,” he added.

Martin Feinberg, Real Estate Listing Agent, noted that Culver City officials and other local VIPs helped Hackman dedicate the bungalows.

Culver City Mayor Jeffrey Cooper stated, “This links with the heart and soul of our town. We are the heart of Screenland.  This pays homage to Culver City. Everything else you see is new and contemporary, and here, the Culver Studios is the blending of a 21st century studio with respect for our heritage and history.  We celebrate The Culver Studios for taking the time and effort to preserve these structures and make them functional for decades to come. Amazon Studios is embracing the storied history of The Culver Studios. I am proud they’ve chosen to call Culver City its home.”

Vice Mayor Thomas Small worked for two years, using his architectural background, to help integrate architecture from the old stages.  He said, “The way the buildings were moved and restored has been absolutely top-flight. This is excellence in historic preservation.”

Image is an architectural floor plan.The Culver Studio Bungalow renovation is just Phase One of The Innovation Plan.

The Innovation Plan is an ambitious project set to modernize the century-old studio and prepare it for hundreds of new Amazon employees while also recognizing the important legacy of the Culver Studio Mansion and Bungalows.  It includes modernization and reimaging of the studio lot and equipping it to meet 21stcentury entertainment production requirements.

Hackman, recognizing the importance of Culver Studios to Culver City Real Estate area residents, confided, “The Culver Studios is one of the great treasures of Culver City. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for this historic site.”

Three (Bad) Reasons Rental Owners don’t Hire Property Managers

Image is two silver keys on a key chain that looks like a green house.Though many rental property owners choose to hire professional property managers, some still make the decision to manage their investment properties personally.  Here are three reasons that homeowners choose not to hire property managers, and why they might need to reconsider.

Not Understanding What a Property Manager Does

Many property owners think that all property managers do is collect rent.  However, there are many other duties and tasks that good property managers handle on a daily basis.  Tenant needs must be met.  Repairs need to be scheduled and completed. Vendors must be vetted and paid.  Empty properties must be marketed and rented to quality tenants.  State and Federal laws and regulations must be complied with.  A professional property management company does much more than just handles the rent money once a month.

Landlords Think They’ll Save Money

Many people who invest in rental properties do so for the second income but most don’t understand that keeping a rental property profitable can be difficult and risky.  It can seem like a good idea to manage a rental property personally but even a single mistake can turn a property into a financial burden. Professional property managers such as Martin Feinberg protect property owners from costly errors.  They help maintain properties, get rents paid on time, and keep good tenants in properties longer.  An efficient management company will save more money for the property owner in the long run than it will cost.  Besides that, property management fees are tax-deductible but personal time spent working on a property is not.

Managing Properties as a Hobby

Many people who choose not hire professional managers do so because they think of their rental property as a hobby.  They assume that they can successfully manage their property for a few hours and few dollars a week.  That’s not usually how it works though.  Managing even just one property can seem like a full time job.  Many property owners do not understand everything that is involved in investment property ownership and quickly learn Image is someone doodling a dollar symbol in a notebook with green leaves and a mug full of milk next to it.that their hobby is taking all of their extra time.  There is nothing wrong with delving into investment property ownership as a hobby, but owners need to understand that it is a time-consuming hobby that can quickly become very expensive without professional knowledge and experience.

Professional property managers may seem like an added expense that can easily be avoided, but their knowledge, connections, and skills can actually save owners time and money.  In most cases, utilizing a professional property management company with a good track record and proven references will end up being a worthwhile investment over time.

Culver City Reports Unofficial General Municipal Election Results

Image is a check and an X mark in boxes next to a pencil, symbolizing voting.As reported on Wednesday April 11, the special election to replace Sebastian Ridley-Thomas as representative for the California 54thState Assembly District ended with Sydney Kamlager gaining the seat.  The special election was not the only political race in question this month however.  Culver City held its General Municipal Election on Tuesday April 10 and unofficial results for that race are beginning to come in.

On Tuesday Culver City Real Estatearea citizens voted in the General Municipal Election to elect two city council members out of a field of four potential candidates.  Those prospective candidates were Marcus Tiggs, Daniel Lee, Harden Alexander “Alex” Fisch, and Albert P. Vera.

The current unofficial election results for the two open Culver City City Council seats are as follows:

Alex Fisch – 3,183
Daniel Lee – 2,768
Albert Vera – 2,598
Marcus Tiggs – 1,790

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, noted that Culver City residents also voted on Measure A this past Tuesday.  According to ballotpedia, Measure A was a question of whether or not Culver City would begin funding fire/paramedic/police protection, road repairs, youth programs, parks/recreation, and other general municipal services by taxing commercial marijuana cultivation and marijuana businesses.

If approved, Measure A would establish different tax rates for different kinds of marijuana businesses, from 1-1.5% for cannabis testing businesses up to 6-10% of gross receipts for adult-use marijuana retailers and $12 per square foot for plant cultivation.

Approval and adoption of Measure A requires a simply majority of votes.  So far, the current unofficial election results for Measure A are as follows:

Yes – 4,512
No – 812

The City Clerk’s Office is continuing to count provisional ballots and Vote By Mail ballots postmarked by April 10 and received through April 13.  Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, reminds readers that official election results for the General Municipal Election will be forthcoming.

Image is the word Election in a metallic font.

Sydney Kamlager Wins State Assembly District Seat in Special Election

Image is a big green circle with a white check mark in it.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, was interested to learn that Sydney Kamlager won the special election held last Tuesday for the 54thState Assembly District seat.  The election was held in order to find a replacement that could complete the unexpired term of Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, who had to resign early due to health problems.

Sydney Kamlager, a Los Angeles Community College District trustee, had 64.82 percent of the vote with 58 of 242 precincts, 23.97 percent, reporting and vote-by-mail ballots counted, according to figures released by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

“The voters clearly expressed their desire to choose a demonstrated leader who will fight hard for their interests in Sacramento and who’ll work hard to reflect their voice in our state Capitol,” Kamlager stated.

Sydney Kamlager was one of three democrats in the race.  Small business owner Glen Ratcliff was the lone Republican in the field of four. Ratcliff came in second with 15.76 percent of the votes.

The results of the April 3 election were:

  • Sydney Kamlager (D), 68.93%, total votes: 17,094
  • Tepring Michelle Piquado (D), 14.40%, total votes: 3,572
  • Glen Ratcliff (R), 12.98%, total votes: 3,220
  • Grayson A. Pangilinan (D), 3.68%, total votes: 913

The 54thCalifornia State Assembly District includes all the of Culver City Real Estate area, plus all or parts of Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, View Park-Windsor Hills, Century City, Crenshaw, Leimert Park, Mar Vista, Mid-City, UCLA, West Los Angeles, Westwood, and Inglewood.

Image is a cartoon ballot box with white and brown ballot envelops falling into it.The seat Kamlager won last week will end December 3, 2018, when Ridley-Thomas’ elected term was set to come to an end. Kamlager will run in June for a full two-year term. Due to California state election rules, if the June election is not won by 50% plus one, there will be a runoff election for the seat in November.

Real Estate Listing Agent Martin Feinberg notes that Kamlager, who is also a district director for Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and a member of the county Commission on Children and Families, is set to be sworn in later this month.

Professional Property Managers make Out-of-State Properties Profitable

Image is a close up road map of the southwest part of the United States of America.Becoming a rental property owner can be a good way to increase your financial security.  For those rental property owners who choose to invest in out-of-state properties however, using a professional property management company is key.  Managing investment properties from across state lines is a difficult process.  Here are two good reasons to let a professional manager handle it.

It’s Not Scalable

In business, scalability “refers to a company’s ability to increase its production profitability.”  All business owners need to have a business model that is scalable. They must have a way for the business to grow when necessary.  Managing out-of-state properties is not a scalable business though.   Managing two or three rental properties from out-of-state is difficult but possible, but what happens when that number increases to 20 or 30?  No investment property owner would be able to successfully manage a business like that.

If you want your investment property business to be scalable (and you should want that) then you will need to hire a reliable property management company to manage your out-of-state properties.

It’s a Full-Time Job

Managing your own rental properties is a job.  It takes a lot of time, and ultimately, it will take time that you would otherwise be able to use to build your business and generate more revenue.

Managing rental properties requires a lot of time-wasting tasks that someone else could handle for a small fee.   Most property management companies take between 6% and 10% of gross rental income as their monthly fee. That means on a $1000 rental property, you could pay someone roughly $100 a month to collect rent, manage the tenants, maintain the relationship with the tenants, handle maintenance requests, handle evictions, etc.  While they are busy doing all of that, you can focus on growing your business.

Image is a close up of a group of row houses. Professional property managers, such as Martin Feinberg, know the business. They know how to handle anything and everything that might come up.

There is truth to the philosophy “work on your business, not in your business.”  Out-of-state property owners need managers in place in order to free up time to focus on their business growth.

When a good rental property investment opportunity comes up across state lines, don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. But, remember your goals.  Keep your investment property business scalable and use your time wisely by using a property management company.

Culver-Palms Family YMCA Holds 5K Run/Walk Event in Culver City

Image is a cartoon illustration of an orange running shoe with blue and pink splotches behind it.Culver City will be holding the fourth annual Culver City Healthy Family 5K Run/Walk this Sunday, April 8.  The 5K Run/Walk will take place at West L.A. College located within the Culver City Real Estate Area and will help strengthen families and residents in the community.

“We bring families together for a morning of exercise, fun and entertainment to encourage adopting habits that support a healthy, creative, more satisfying life,” a YMCA official said.

The Culver City YMCA is offering a discount to teams of five runners or more.   According to a local YMCA official, “Forming a team offers a wonderful opportunity for organizations to encourage their employees to sign up and extend their experience in the 5K to a regular fitness program.”

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that this Sunday’s event also features a Kiddie Run.  This run starts around 10:15 a.m. and will be once around the football field.  Snacks and other refreshments will be available after the 5K Run/Walk.  There will also be other fun and educational activities for kids.

Proceeds from the 5K Run/Walk will go towards youth and family programs at the Culver-Palms Family YMCA.

The Culver-Palms Family YMCA offers “adults, families and children in the community, regardless of their ability to pay, access to programs and resources necessary to grow strong and flourish.”

“A big thank you goes to our generous sponsors whose support has been crucial in making this event happen: our Title Sponsor Cedars-Sinai, Miller & Todd Realtors, FastSigns Culver City, Rotary Club of Culver City, Pacific Alarm Systems, McComb Orthodontics, and Benny’s Tacos.”

Martin Feinberg, local Real Estate agent, encourages individuals and families to attend Sunday’s event.  For more information and to register, interested parties should visit the race website at RunCulverCity.com.  They can also contact Jerry Morrow at Culver-Palms Family YMCA at 310-390-3604.

Image is a group of racers running on a city street.

When to Hire a Property Manager to Manage Your Investment Properties

Image is a wooden house next to piles of money with plants growing out of them, symbolizing investment properties.With the economy steadily improving, many people are turning to investment properties to earn extra income.  While some people are capable of managing their own rental properties, many are not.

You should consider hiring a property manager if:

You have lots of properties or rental units.

Managing one rental property can be difficult and time-consuming.  Managing multiple units can quickly become overwhelming.  The more rental properties you own the more likely it is that you will benefit from hiring a professional property manager.

You don’t live near your rental property.

Many people buy investment properties out of state or in other communities.  If your rental property is not located near your home, hiring a property management company will enable you to know what is going on in your unit, without you having to be there to find out.

You’re not interested in hands-on management.

Some landlords are well suited to the challenges of finding good tenants, maintaining properties, and staying in compliance with local and federal laws.  Others view rental property ownership strictly as an investment opportunity and have no interest in hands-on management.  In such cases, a property manager makes it possible to benefit from a rental property without dealing with the stress of managing one.

Your time is limited.

Successfully managing a rental property takes a lot of time and focus. Even if you enjoy being a hands on landlord, you might not have the time to devote to it, especially if you have a separate day job. Using a management company may be the only way to make property investment work for you.

You’re suddenly inundated with management tasks.

Having a growing business is usually a good thing.  However, too much growth may mean that you need a substantial amount of help to manage everything properly. At that point, hiring a property management company might be the only way to keep your investment property profitable.

You don’t want to be an employer.

Some rental property owners must hire a resident manager or other employees to help with their properties.  When that happens, they are no longer just an owner; they become an employer. Being an employer means handling payroll and dealing with other legal requirements and considerations. Using a qualified property manager allows owners to avoid those and other hassles.

Your property is part of an affordable housing program.

Image is a gold coin with a house and key on it and the words Real Estate.If you take part in an affordable housing program, owning investment properties can get complicated. Typically, in these programs the landlord receives financial assistance, which may be in the form of a grant, low-interest loan, or tax credits, in return for agreeing to rent at least part of the property to tenants earning below a certain income level. This means that landlords must comply with a complicated set of rules to keep their benefits.  In such cases, it’s usually worth hiring a property management company that has expertise and experience with the particular housing program in question.

Property ownership can be a good and lucrative investment, but managing rental units yourself can lead to expensive pitfalls.  Knowing when to hire an experienced property manager like Martin Feinberg can make all the difference.

Culver City Encourages Participation in Vial of Life Program

Image is an illustration of an EMT.The Culver City Fire Department and Culver City Senior Center are encouraging all area residents to take part in the new the Vial of Life program.  This program is meant to ensure that if someone is unable to communicate during an emergency, their medical history and information will still be easily accessible to First Responders.

The Vial of Life Program is essentially an information kit that hangs on your refrigerator and contains all information necessary for paramedics to provide you with the best possible care.  LIFE is an acronym and stands for Lifesaving Information For Emergencies.

A division of the Bridge Building Foundation—a public charity—started the Vial of Life project. They provide free Vial of Life kits containing blank medical information forms that can be printed directly from their website.  Forms can also be filled out directly on their website and printed.  Vial of Life members can save their information online or forms can be filled out as a “guest” with no data being retained after the form is printed.

Culver City Real Estate area residents can pick up kits in person however. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that kits are available for pick up at the Culver City Senior Center at 4095 Overland Ave (20 minute parking is limited but additional parking across the street) or at City Hall, 3rdFloor, Fire Administration at 9770 Culver Blvd (call ahead at 310-253-6700 prior to pick up).

The Vial of Life kit picked up at either location will include:

  • One Vial of Life Information Form– complete this form with as much information as you want our paramedics to know in case of an emergency. You can complete and print additional forms online.
  • Image is a weekly medication dispenser full of pills.One plastic baggie – fold your completed form and any other documents (e.g., EKG, DNR, etc.) and place them in the baggie.
  • One red Culver City Fire Department refrigerator magnet – use this to hold the baggie with medical documents onto your refrigerator at eye level.
  • Two Vial of Life decals – one decal goes on the baggie; the other decal goes on your front door at eye level.

For questions about the Vial of Life program, call Barbara Silverstein at the Culver City Senior Center (310-253-6700) or call the Fire Administration at 310-253-5900.

Fox Hills Plaza Project in Culver City put on Hold

Image is a simple construction blueprint in blue and white.Due to discussions between Culver City Council members Göran Eriksson, Jim Clarke, and real estate developer HSH Management, activity has been suspended on the Fox Hills Plaza Project. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the Fox Hills Plaza Project is also sometimes known as the Bristol Parkway Project.

According to the Culver City website, “The City of Culver City is providing official notification of the decision of HSH Management to place its current application for the proposed mixed use development project, located at 6229 Bristol Parkway, on hold until further notice.”

Though the Culver City Real Estate area project has been put on hold, the City of Culver City reminds residents “the related Mitigated Negative Declaration is still in circulation, and public comment may still be submitted up to March 29, 2018. View and access the project related materials at the following link: Project Documents: http://www.culvercity.org/city-hall/city…

Council members Eriksson and Clarke said in a joint statement that they believed concerned parties—such as the Fox Hills community, the City staff, and the developer—needed more time to discover what type of project would best serve the needs of the surrounding residents as well as the City as a whole.

“It is our hope that all sides will utilize the time wisely to redesign a project that can be seen as an example of smart and practical development that adds value to Culver City’s brand,” Clarke and Ericksson said in the press statement. “We also recognize that postponing the project, for now, will not maintain the status quo as the Marshall’s store has already given notice that it will close in a year.  It is incumbent upon everyone to ensure this valuable piece of property at the gateway to Culver City does not become decrepit and underutilized.”

Image is two skyscrapers as seen from the base looking up between them.Local Real Estate Agent Martin Feinberg encourages interested parties to contact Göran Eriksson at 310-559-6015 or Jim Clarke at 310-775-1664 for more information.