THE VIEW FROM BLAIR HILLS
The Blair Hills Association March, 2006 Edited by Bobbi Gold
BLAIR HILLS GENERAL MEETING
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2006
OHR ELIYAHU ACADEMY
5950 STONEVIEW DRIVE
1. Candidates for April 11 Municipal Election
2. Presentation on Measure V on April 11 ballot
3. Traffic issues.
Three candidates are contending for two open City Council seats in the April 11 election: Gary Silbiger, incumbent; Scott Malsin, Planning Commissioner, and Mehaul O'Leary, businessman. These elections are extremely important because they determine who is addressing the needs of Culver City residents and businesses. Please come to hear the candidates.
Measure V (Charter Revision) (That's the letter "V", not Roman Numeral 5)
Culver City was incorporated in 1917, and the charter (the document which governs the structure and operation of the city government) dates from its early history. Culver City has a City Council and a Chief Administrative Officer. The Council is responsible not only for making policy but also hiring and firing department heads, in essence being responsible for day-to-day operations. This may have been doable in early, simpler times, but today's Councilmembers are just part-time Councilmembers who also have full-time jobs and businesses to run. In essence, the department heads have five bosses, which can cause confusion and conflicting instructions (some might say meddling). The CAO has limited authority. Almost all modern cities have abandoned the City Council/CAO form of government.
Another peculiarity is that the City Clerk, who is the chief elections official among other responsibilities, and the City Treasurer are both elected officials. In essence, they are chosen by the public in popularity contests, rather than by officials who have carefully reviewed their credentials.
Because of recurring questions about whether the charter adequately serves Culver City in the 21st Century, the Council appointed, in October, 2004, a committee of 10 respected residents to review the charter and recommend possible changes. Of the 10 members, four are former Council members, who obviously have deep knowledge and insight into the plusses and minuses of our government structure. Two other members, Mim Shapiro and Harriette Williams, live in Blair Hills.
The committee spent a year in intense review and deliberation, interviewing officials and staff members in detail. They were guided by an outside facilitator with extensive experience in this kind of activity. Last fall, they presented to the Council a package of recommended charter changes. The Council voted 3-2 (Gross and Vera opposing) to place the package on the April ballot.
The committee recommended that the changes be implemented all together, not picking and choosing individual changes, because the success of some changes depends on other changes. There are far too many changes to list here, but following are three major ones:
· The CAO would be replaced by a City Manager who would be responsible for hiring and firing most department heads and for daily operations. The Council would still appoint the Police and Fire Chiefs and the City Attorney as well as the City Manager.
· The Council would be able to spend more time on policy and less on details of operations.
· The City Treasurer and City Clerk would become appointed positions after the current terms of office expire.
At the meeting, advocates and opponents of Measure V will present their positions. This is a very important decision for Culver City, so please come to the meeting and learn about it!
View Preservation Ordinance
On March 5, the City Council adopted the View Preservation Ordinance which had been drafted by the Planning Commission. This ordinance provides a procedure for resolving disputes between neighbors over views blocked by trees. It applies only in the hillside communities of Blair Hills, Culver Crest and Hetzler Rd. The City would not enforce any provisions of this ordinance; it would be up to the two parties to resolve disputes through friendly conversations, mediation, arbitration, or, as a last resort, litigation. It does not affect trees on City property, and it concerns only trees and shrubs, not man-made structures. Certified arborist standards and procedures must be followed.
In passing this ordinance, the Council was responding to a few residents of the Culver Crest area who complained that the views from the homes they bought 50 years ago were now impaired. For more information, contact Jose Mendivil, Associate Planner, at 253-5757.
Convenient Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste (do the right thing)
Did you know that fluorescent bulbs (which contain mercury) and unused medications are considered hazardous waste which should not be tossed in the trash or flushed down the toilet? A recent LA Times article mentioned research that showed that sea animals living near the end of a pipe which discharged treated sewage into the ocean had elevated levels of certain medications in their bodies.
There's a free, convenient place in Playa del Rey to bring these and other hazardous products every Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM to 3 PM. It's the Hyperion Treatment Plant near the west end of Imperial Hwy (near the beach), which is operated by L.A. City but open to all County residents.
HYPERION TREATMENT PLANT
7660 West Imperial Highway, Gate B
Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
For Information, Please Call:
As you approach Gate B you will see signs indicating the hazardous waste collection. I've used it often, have never found it to be crowded and never had to wait more than a minute or two.
This site also takes other items such as computers, TVs and other consumer electronics, used motor oil and other automotive fluids, pool and garden chemicals, batteries, paint, solvents and cleaning chemicals. It does not accept ammunition, explosives, biological waste, tires, appliances or paper, or business waste. Save gasoline by combining your waste with your neighbors, but note that it's illegal to transport more than 15 gallons or 125 pounds of hazardous waste to collection sites.
Don't be uninformed!
Distributing these fliers is time-consuming and labor-intensive. We can and do distribute information of neighborhood interest much more frequently and efficiently through e-mail. If you haven't signed up for one or both of the Blair Hills E-mail lists, at least try the announcement list, which puts out only occasional, significant messages and does not bombard recipients with email. If you enjoy exchanging ideas with your neighbors, also try the discussion list. To sign up for either or both, email your email address to Jon Melvin.
back to main page