Diverse skill set gives Renteria unique perspective on council duties

COMMUNITY-MINDED—De- nise Renteria, a longtime Culver City resident, is pursuing a seat on the Culver City City Council. Renteria said she has worked at various jobs requiring leader- ship, organization and versatility, plus is very community oriented. (Jesse Madera)

City Council candidate is no stranger to solving problems. Now only does she create art daily as a prop master at Knott’s Berry Farm, her job also involves pragmatic problem-solving for the installation of immersive experiences. 

“I am responsible for maintaining, fixing, organizing, installing, and creating props, set dressing and custom set pieces,” she told the CCN. “I manage schedules and meet deadlines by leading large projects with high attention to detail while being able to collaborate with other departments to execute some of Southern California’s most popular events. Years ago I worked for Mujeres de la Tierra, a women-run nonprofit organization that focused on sustainability amongst underrepresented communities, particularly Hispanic communities. I implemented and managed the social media marketing for the nonprofit. I have also coordinated fundraising events and cultivated volunteers for restoration projects at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.”

Renteria’s introduction to politics came during her senior year at Culver City High School when her Government class required the students to attend one of two meetings – a School Board Meeting or a City Council Meeting. 

“I attended a school board meeting with some friends, and the following day the teacher asked for the agenda from the meeting,” she said. “We didn’t pick one up so because we did not have any proof that we were at the meeting we had to attend a City Council meeting. At the City Council meeting I picked up every single piece of paper on the back table because I did not want to have to go to another meeting. I picked up anything that would prove that we were there. While listening to the meeting I realized the council was talking about things that directly affected my neighborhood: buildings I knew about, streets that I was familiar with, it all clicked. It became easy to pay attention to the meeting because I knew the areas they were talking about. And I realized there’s really good information here. So I kept attending meetings even after the assignment was done.”

She has involved herself in a number of committees and groups in order to stay engaged, including the General Plan Advisory Committee, Culver City Historical Society – Currently the Vice President of Development, Culver City Sister City Committee, and she volunteered for and donated to Grace Diner, Backpacks for Kids Program and numerous other organizations in the city. Her biggest achievement is doing her dream job.

“I never do the same thing everyday, and I get to work in a collaborative environment and work with other designers and artisans to create different worlds,” she said.

Renteria’s platform is one of inclusivity, as she seeks to bring people together. 

“As a lifelong resident of Culver City who has always been civically engaged, I have seen all the growth and change our town has undergone,” she said. “The city has had some growing pains, and needs practical, thoughtful, and decisive leadership that will step up and put plans into action. I am ready to serve and I am committed. I have seen the morale of public discourse in Culver City decline lately, as our council has become less responsive to constituents’ concerns. We need to create an environment where everyone can thrive in a place they are proud to call home.”

As she looks to take a seat on the City Council, Renteria is critical of the current progressive majority, which she said has pursued policies that are out of touch with the local electorate.

“When I speak to residents at their doors, I hear a lot of frustration and anxiety, in part due to the specific initiatives that this majority has pursued (especially as relates to residential upzoning) and in part due to the pace at which they are running through major policy changes – some have used the analogy that it has been like drinking from a fire hose,” she said. “Morale among city staff is at a historic low, and many positions remain open as turnover has been high. I think that these issues can be fixed with relatively easy changes – in particular, greater engagement from council members with the residents who they serve, and rebuilding trust with city staff and ensuring that we are prioritizing properly and not overwhelming them with work. I am looking forward to rebuilding these relationships when elected.”

Go to renteriaforculvercity.com for more info.