The City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 14 was an eventful one, full of actions, discussions, and proclamations. The meeting was actually expanded into an earlier special session beginning at 5 p.m. because of the length of the agenda, with the regular council meeting starting at 7 p.m. as normal.
The majority of the special session revolved around the proposal to expand the Culver City Arts District Business Improvement District (BID) past Helms Avenue along National Boulevard. The process had been moving along smoothly and without opposition until Monday’s council meeting, according to mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells.
The proposal to expand the improvement district, which would not necessarily mean assimilation into the Arts District as a cultural marker, was submitted with several letters of support from businesses and landlords in the area, including the owners of the Helms Bakery Property, a multifamily housing unit landlord, and CoOpportunity Market and Deli.
However, opposition to the expansion was presented at the meeting, including a group of signatures from others in the area on a petition to postpone the decision on the expansion.
That being said, there wasn’t much else in terms of obstacles in moving forward with acquiring specific details towards the completion of the expansion, which is how the council decided to move forward.
The regular session began with a series of proclamations in recognition of several different occasions. The first proclamation was in recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day 2019, which happened to land on Oct. 14 as well. The Cultural Officer for the Tonga tribe was present to participate in the ceremony.
Following this was a group of proclamations focusing on the disabled community. One recognized this October as Disability Awareness Month. The second proclamation was a commendation of Marcy Sookne by the Disability Advisory Committee and City Council. The Disability Advisory Committee accepts nominations annually for a commendation to a person who has dedicated their livelihood towards improving the lives of those with disabilities.
Sookne has served on the Disability Advisory Committee for eight years and was active and committed.
“One of Sookne’s many accomplishments was her role in creating a film series on the true abilities of persons with disabilities,” the proclamation read.
Additionally, Sookne assembled and organized local Girl Scout Troops to create the first Culver City Children’s Carnival for the Disabled in 2002, and is still around today as the Abilities Carnival and Resource Fair.
The final of the trio of disability themed proclamations was a commendation given to Theater by the Blind, who recently put on a showing of their play “Point of Extinction.” As the name suggests, Theater by the Blind was created to help those with visual deficiencies express themselves on the stage, and has been a valuable and unique Culver City organization.
The Culver City Fire Department was also recognized by the American Heart Association for its service with the Lifeline EMS Bronze Plus Award, an award given based on several criteria set by the AHA. Additionally, the council approved the purchase of Two Braun Chief XL Type I ambulances in an amount not-to-exceed $556,638.80.
The main event of the night was the discussion and continued progress of the city’s Flavored Tobacco and Menthol Sales Ban ordinance. After several meetings worth of discussion, including a more hookah focused conversation in August, the city council moved forward to learn more about the influence and effect of hookah bars in the city. Eventually, the city council elected to include an exemption to the ordinance for existing hookah bars, something that has not been done by any city this year according to LA County Department of Public Health Tobacco Control and Prevention program representative Monty Messex.
Along with this exemption comes a one-year sympathy period for tobacco stores (stores who make 70+% of profits from tobacco product sales) to sell off the remainder of their flavored tobacco inventory.