Dan O’Brien wants to lift up the community from a City Council seat

(Patrik Giardino)

Culver City city council candidate Dan O’Brien purchased his home here in Culver City with his wife Beverly back in 2000, and has never looked back. His two grown children, Hayden and Brendan, both graduated from Culver City High School. Meanwhile, O’Brien is a TV and film director (so he’s perfectly placed), and Beverly is a teacher at Farragut Elementary School. He spoke to the News about his political credentials and what he feels he would bring to the council. 

“I have been involved in community leadership my entire life – whether in high school, as student body president, in college as interfraternity council president, or as a citizen in Culver City with the multiple committees and organizations I have been a part of,” O’Brien said. “I like to stay involved and contribute to my community, because I am innately drawn to it and believe I have an open mind and a collaborative approach to problem-solving.”

O’Brien was on Culver City’s first Committee on Homelessness from 2004.

“Soon after, I formed the non-profit Culver City Great Parks Association, acting as the pass-through organization to help fund the renovation of Veteran’s Park Playground,” he said. “During that time, I participated in the city’s parks general planning process. In 2009, I was nominated to the USC Trojan Board of Directors, and served as president in 2012. I was nominated to the Culver City Education Foundation in 2010 and served until 2013, chairing the Sip for our Schools fundraising event and the city-wide “All for One” fundraising drive.  In 2015, I became scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 108, serving until 2021. I am currently the West Los Angeles Area Council High Adventure Chairperson for the BSA. Shortly after the pandemic began, I joined a group of seven community members led by then mayor, Göran Eriksson, to form FeedCulver. Since its inception, FeedCulver has provided around 100,000 meals to the food insecure while providing income to dozens of mom-and-pop restaurant owners in Culver City during the first 18 months of the pandemic.”

Dan O’Brien’s list of achievements that he’s particularly proud of is long and impressive. For his work with Boy Scout Troop 108, he is a recipient of the highest honor in scouting – the Silver Beaver Award. Meanwhile, FeedCulver offer a means to distribute food to the hungry,

“Because of my relationship with Grace Lutheran Church, I knew they had a weekly Grace Diner that served food to anyone who came each Monday evening,” he said. “I immediately connected with the director, Lisa Skelley, and presented the idea of FeedCulver providing the funding to purchase restaurant-bought meals for daily distribution. In short order, the church committee agreed, and Grace Diner has been carrying the torch ever since.”

O’Brien has also worked closely with the Culver City Education Foundation, and he worked to beautify the city with murals. The theme of his campaign for City Council is “22 years in the community, for the community.” 

“In the eight months I have been meeting with community members in Culver City since deciding to run for city council, I have learned that the biggest issues our community wants its leaders to address are homelessness, public safety, traffic & mobility, and housing affordability,” O’Brien said. “My focus will be to use a balanced approach to homelessness, always working from a compassionate ‘services-first’ mentality, while still best ensuring the safety of our residents and business owners.”

He wants to prioritize public safety and mobility issues, and he believes there are long-term solutions.

“I believe we need to continue working on long-term solutions to make our public transportation network in Culver City more nimble and robust,” he said. “We need to create safe spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. We need to collaborate with our local employers to intentionally hire local, so there is less of a need to travel in our cars. In the meantime, we need to eliminate the bus-only lane through downtown, work tirelessly to coordinate the streetlights better, create multiple drop zones for customers and delivery services to legally stop, and I believe there is room to keep protected bike lanes.”

Evaluating the current City Council, O’Brien believes that the pandemic has meant that they have worked in the most challenging and unique circumstances since World War II.

“The pandemic created an environment where governance was done over the internet for too long,” he said. “The sense of tension and anger we have seen on a national level has made its way into our city. There is less of an effort to listen and understand, and a greater presence of one-way communication without true dialogue. Through my decades of community service in Culver City, I have always had the goal of bringing people together – to uplift and inspire others. That is my overriding qualitative goal as a city council member. Yes, there are tangible changes I want to see implemented, but I want to do it while treating others with respect and kindness – whether it is a resident, a business owner, or another council member. If we all try, we can find some common ground. That is what my leadership will bring to the city council.”

Go to danobrien4culvercity.com for more info.