Voting rights for minors deliberated by City Council

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At the Jan. 27 City Council meeting, an ordinance that would open city commissions/boards up to non-citizens and those ages 16 and older was among the action items deliberated.

The ordinance came in part as a response to the passage of Senate Bill 215 earlier this year by governor Gavin Newsom in October. Senate Bill 225 allows all California residents to be considered for appointment on commissions, boards, and committees.

While this bill prompted the push towards opening up commissions to people regardless of citizenship, the portion of the ordinance referring to minors was introduced because this bill provided a platform for it.

However, that part of the bill also became by far its most contentious. Several members of the public made comments earlier expressing their disapproval about that particular section of the bill, including a representative from Protect Culver City, a political action committee registered with the state who “are concerned with the current direction of our city council” according to their website.

Vice Mayor Goran Eriksson was the first to propose the separation of the portion of the ordinance allowing minors into commissions to be separated the rest of the ordinance, which includes the aforementioned removal of restrictions on non-citizens as well as the allocation of funds to provide child care services at city council, commission, and board meetings as needed.

“There was no real argument for allowing 16-year-olds onto commissions, just a statement,” Eriksson declared to the rest of the council as he explained his reasoning.

However, the original motion that was moved forward by Eriksson failed, as he did not receive a second from any of the other councilmembers. The ordinance then quickly passed 4-1, despite a nay vote from Eriksson.

The other major topic of the night was the approval of an ordinance adopting a new Equity and Human Relations Advisory Committee.

The committee will focus on policies and programs around equity, discrimination, and cultural misunderstandings, and runs in line with Culver City RFP #2014, which has been searching for a ‘Racial Equity Consultant’ since December. The RFP closes on Thursday, Feb. 13.

The committee would consist of nine members which include this consultant as well as seven at-large positions and one youth position. An election for the committee would occur in June, with the elected members taking their seats in July.