Discussions on reparations ongoing

A relatively calm discussion at the City Council meeting on the evening of Monday, Aug. 8, saw the five sitting members essentially to further explore options for providing reparations.

Action Item 2 read, “(1) Presentation and discussion of creating a system of reparations designed to narrow the racial income and housing gap in the city, per the recommendation from the city council Ad Hoc Equity Subcommittee; and (2) direction to the city manager as deemed appropriate.”

The aim of the staff presentation, as specified on a slide, was the “Development of ideas or programs related to affordable housing, homelessness, etc, to fulfill what was stated in the City Council Apology Resolution adopted June 14, 2021 by the City Council.”

That City Council apology read: “the City commits to developing and enforcing policies to make amends for the past, including creating a system of reparations designed to narrow the racial and income housing gap in the City, through 1) Creating a fund which sets aside a specific percentage of tax revenue received from cannabis businesses operating in the City to be used to correct racial disparities in the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws; and 2) Providing financial assistance for housing to low-income residents and prospective residents, including people of color, the unhoused, people employed in Culver City and within the Culver City Unified School District, veterans, seniors, and the disabled.”

The presentation saw staff lay out measures implemented in other cities, such as Santa Monica, as well as by the state itself. For example, the California Reparations Task Force was signed by Governor Newsome in October 2020. It’s a two year undertaking, and final plan are expected to be submitted by July 2023.

There is clearly work to be done, especially when considering Culver City’s dark history as a “sundown town.” In fact, African-Americans own less homes in L.A. today than in 1910 – a startling statistic.

All of the Council Members, including Mayor Daniel Lee and Vice Mayor Albert Vera, agreed that discussions need to be ongoing, in conjunction to what is happening at a state level. Most public speakers agreed too, although a couple of people felt that the funds would be better spent elsewhere.