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Best Judith Martin-straw | Thu, May 14 2009 07:14 PM

It’s a big deal being the Culver City News. We like to think that we are the best, and we work very hard to make sure we are. There are lots of community newspapers all over Los Angeles County, and each of them has a relationship with the community it serves. There are not a lot of little towns around here that care as much about their newspaper as you do. Those of us lucky enough to live in Culver City are convinced that we have someplace really special. Years ago, when I worked at the Bookstar in Studio Village, I was often amazed that someone coming into the store to buy a book would know one of the people on my crew from, like, birth. The intense loyalty and civic pride that the people of Culver City feel about this place borders on spiritual commitment. It’s far more common in West Los Angeles for people to move every few years, ignore their neighbors, and keep their friends on their speed dial. Around here, people who get up to speak in front of the City Council often begin by citing the length of their residence, or reaching back to their grandparents. I truly don’t think that this has ever happened at the Los Angeles City Council. The radio station that calls itself “JACK-FM” cheats itself a few hundred feet towards town just to cash in our fabulous reputation.

Of course, like the utterly whimsical borders of the town, it’s important to realize that arbitrary lines are just that. Totally arbitrary. While we’re being subjective here, we want to hear about your “best." Now, your best and my best may be utterly different, but the News needs to know.

We’re launching into the Best of Culver City for 2009 and we want you to add your voice and get creative. We have some categories - best hotel , best live theater, that we want you to vote on, (and have all you friends vote on) and a place for you to make up your own category. You get to win prizes, and we get to give awards. Totally fun. It’s the best.

When I think of awards, the one that I get the most amusement from is the Grammys. I’m not a professional musician, so it’s easy for me to laugh. It seems as if every year sees the addition of another category that sounds like “Best New International Ethnic Left Handed Dance Remix” and, gosh, there’s a big hit that fits exactly in that category. So, we’re staying away from easy ones; “Best Movie Studio Featured as a Plantation In Gone With the Wind or “Best Irish Pub Owned by a Council Member” or “Best Never-Ending Line to Buy Tacos." They don’t ask much of our readers. Look around and think about it.

As a bit of inspiration, some of my own personal best:

Best Place to Make a Wish: The beginning of the yellow brick road on the playground in Vets Park

Best Kettle Corn: Culver City Farmers Market. We never miss it. As far as my kids know, it is the reason to go to the farmers market. They wouldn’t eat a tomato if you offered to pay them. Fine, I say, more for me.

Best Place to Have the Blues: Culver City Julian Dixon Library, the back windows at the end of Poetry and Literature, overlooking Ballona Creek. How bad can it be when you’re surrounded by books?

Best Spontaneous Potluck Party: summer concert series at City Hall, first palm tree on the left. (You are welcome to be next to, but not in front of, my palm tree. The space on the grass between my tree and the stage only appears to be public property - it is in fact MINE.)

Best Place to Relax with my Girls: Swimming pool at the YMCA. I take off my glasses and the world really does disappear.

So, you get the idea. What we want are your best of the best. Please fill in as many categories as you can, and give us your own category. We know that you love Culver City. But what do you love the best?

When we get it all tallied, we’re throwing a party (last year we were at the Culver Hotel)
that this town will never forget. Keep that in mind. You don’t want to miss it.

In our survey last year, the best thing about Culver City was “the people," and the second best “the small town feel.” So find the ballot (I’ve noticed we never get tired of voting around here, either. That’s another thing I love about his place) and mail it in, or go to www.culvercitynews.org/surveys/. Tell us about your best. Ask your neighbors to tell us.
Think of yourself as a volunteer reporter. It’s a big deal.

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