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Latest Culver City Council Meeting Sees Disagreement over Centennial Celebration Funds

Image is of two hands, forming a bowl, held out asking for a donationAs most people should be aware by now, Culver City is excitedly celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2017. Like everyone else, Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, has been enjoying all of the festivities. The City Council has especially made a concerted effort to make the city’s Centennial Celebration “one of the most important civic events in the city’s history,” according to Vice Mayor Thomas Small.

Though most agree on the importance of the celebration, figuring out where the money will come from for it has not been without drama, as the most recent City Council meeting illustrated.

The latest Culver City City Council meeting, which began with the council moving to improve its environmental credentials, got more heated when Culver City Centennial Committee member Paul Jacobs asked for $25,000 to help with the committee’s ongoing fundraising efforts. This began a lively discussion on fiscal responsibility and a need for more communication.

The committee had already raised almost $250,000 for the celebration and requests for more money caught councilmembers, especially former Mayor Jim Clarke, by surprise.

Clarke quoted a letter from Jacobs—sent on April 24th—which made it appear as if current fundraising activities would be enough to finance the yearlong event. It said in part, “(The committee) is confident that fundraising efforts connected with the proposed Centennial Garden and Tribute Wall will engage the residential and business community and be productive.”

Current Mayor Jeffery Cooper was also confused by the request for more funds. According to him, Jacobs had stated months earlier that the committee would not need any financial help from the city. Cooper and other councilmembers wanted to know what had changed.

Jacobs, who is a former Culver City Mayor himself, explained that the committee wanted $25,000 for closing ceremonies. He also did not understand why Cooper and Clarke were questioning the allocation. “It seems to me that there needs to be more communication between the council and the committee,” Jacobs told the council.

Vice Mayor Small was in support of honoring the committee’s request as a way to “register a vote of confidence with the committee in order to have a successful centennial.”   Clarke was not convinced.

After learning that the committee was having trouble with their fundraising efforts, Clarke countered, “You say that you have these lists and that you’re going to go out and execute? Well then go out and do it.”

Cooper backed Clarke, adding, “We have a fiduciary responsibility to the city to watch how we spend our funds.”

In an attempt to find some common ground, Councilman Goran Erikksson asked the committee for a guarantee pending approval of the $25,000. Committee Marketing Chair Judy Scott was not impressed by the request.

Scott, who is a longtime volunteer stated, “I’m definitely disappointed in Councilmen Eriksson and Clarke, and I will never volunteer again if you don’t give us this money.”

Eventually the council approved the allocation in a 3-2 vote, with Cooper and Clarke voting against.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, believes that though everyone does not always agree on how to accomplish it, the Centennial Celebration will benefit the entire community, including Culver City Real Estate. Celebrating Culver City is always a good thing.

Image is of the Culver City sign on a hillside with trees in the background