Council declares state of emergency on homelessness

On?? Tuesday, Jan. 3, the City of Culver City followed the example of new Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass by proclaiming a Local Homelessness Emergency.

In a statement, the City said that, “A proclamation of a local emergency was issued by City Manager John Nachbar in his capacity as the City’s Director of Emergency Services. It will allow Culver City to operate beyond its normal operational policies and procedures to better address the homelessness crisis, align the City with other regional jurisdictions, and open the door to potential new funding opportunities to address the crisis.”

“Culver City is taking this action as a further step to address the ongoing homelessness crisis. Even after years of effort by the City to resolve the problem, unhoused persons are still suffering daily on streets and sidewalks throughout our community. We need to do everything possible to end this crisis,” said Mayor Albert Vera.

Mayor Bass responded to the Culver proclamation by tweeting, “Thank you @CulverCityGov for locking arms with Los Angeles as we confront this crisis together.”

At the City Council meeting on the evening of Monday, Jan. 9, Action Item 1 called for the adoption of a resolution ratifying of the proclamation, and “confirming the existence of such emergency.”

A1 also called for, “authorization to the city manager to approve emergency response agreements and purchases up to the existing fy 2022/2023 budget authority; and direction to the city manager as deemed appropriate.”

All five members of the City Council were in agreement that an emergency exists, but there was disagreement over the course of action the city and CCPD should take in the case of non-compliance (on the occasions when individuals experiencing homelessness don’t actually want to be moved). This caused Vice Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin and Council Member Freddy Puza to vote against, but the item still passed.

Later in the meeting, during Action Item 3 when committee assignments were being given to the five sitting members, tempers became frayed as McMorrin felt that she was being passed over for key assignments. 

Council Member Göran Eriksson said that he had an issue with McMorrin serving on the housing & homelessness committee as she had noted “no” on A1, and therefore wouldn;t be able to provide clear guidance to the Staff. McMorrin said that the felt the committees should have a diversity of views, as they did under the previous council when progressives were in the majority. 

McMorrin also said that she was being ignored when it came to a voting position in key committees, which is concerning as she’s the only female, and black female, on the council. Her comments were ignored by all but Puza.