August 2023 President’s Message

Message from President Eric Rudin


Dear Fellow Culver City Democrats United Members and Supporters,

As I watch the debate over the important issues of our time, whether it be amongst elected officials, members of the media, or our fellow citizens, something keeps jumping out at me: Why is there no room for nuance? Let me explain my gripe. 

Right now, no matter the issue of the day, I can guarantee you that the vast majority of the voices dominating the public sphere of influence refuse to acknowledge that there is any room for debate or compromise on whatever the issue is. Why is that a problem? Because there are very few problems where only two starkly different proposed solutions will solve the problem. There are of course exceptions. For instance, there should be no need for nuance on the issue of voter suppression. Trying to restrict the rights of people to vote on the basis of the color of their skin is unacceptable. End of story. Another is climate change. While there are a myriad of ways to talk about the issue or think about solutions, there is no room for the side of the table that denies the existential threat that is climate change. I could go on, but you get the point.

Back to my issue with the lack of nuance. After reading my previous starting point, when it comes to local politics, climate change is a perfect starting point. Nobody in our Culver City Democratic Party circles denies that climate change exists or that it is of the utmost importance that we address it. However, when it comes to how to address climate change, there must be a discussion and we have to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. On that issue, Move Culver City is a good example of what is wrong with the state of politics in Culver City. 

The idea of implementing a system that makes cars less ubiquitous and encourages mass transit as well as walking and cycling is absolutely an idea worth discussing. Generally speaking, it would be great if we had a viable alternative to personal automobiles. However, the proponents of Move Culver City as it existed in its inception and who continue to villainize anyone who wants to amend it make a false assumption, namely, that there is a viable alternative to personal automobiles for the vast majority of people living in Culver City and our neighboring communities.

It is great that there are people who can ride their bikes or take the bus to work, walk their children to school, and use mass transit to get around. However, the number of people who can do all of the above is a small one. For starters, the idea completely ignores the needs of people with disabilities and our elderly neighbors, many of whom have a difficult time getting around. I did some research and Culver City has a program called “Senior & Disabled Transportation Services.” Seeing the page on our City’s site, I got excited. Its stated purpose is to provide transportation for people who cannot utilize “fixed route” forms of public transportation. Even better. But then I continued reading. Here’s a part of the first paragraph of the “Dial-a-Ride” program: “Curb-to-curb service is provided from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM; Monday-Friday within Culver City limits and designated areas of LA County.” It gets worse. Participants must do all of the following: 1) Submit proof of residency; 2) Submit a Physician Authorization Form; 3) Submit the New Paratransit User Information Form; 4) Have all requirements verified by staff; 5) Be assigned a driver by staff; and 6) Make a reservation the day before the requested service. I should mention that there’s also a Taxi Coupon book but there are 6 hoops to jump through for that one too.

My question to the Move Culver City people who refuse to negotiate on amending the program as it exists today: What are people supposed to do if they can’t access public transportation and are physically unable to walk or ride to Downtown Culver City? With the lack of available parking, especially parking for disabled people, Downtown Culver City has become effectively off limits for people with physical limitations, unless they want to go from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and have jumped through the six hoops. So, are we supposed to just keep going and pretend like people don’t matter or can we have a nuanced discussion about all of the pros and cons of Move Culver City? If we’re unwilling to discuss the impact of projects without diving into details and seeing how projects impact society as a whole, important discussions like this one cannot and will not occur.

I could also talk about the traffic nightmare that Downtown Culver City became after Move Culver City was enacted, the lack of any kind of significant bus ridership increase from pre-pandemic numbers that would warrant buses having their own lanes, or even the fact that many avid cyclists avoid Downtown Culver City because of the danger presented by the design at intersections. But what’s the point? The other side doesn’t want to listen. They just want to yell that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is a “climate arsonist.” I’m not making that term up by the way. I just didn’t want to link to it because I don’t want to give attention to the people who resort to such rhetoric. The idea that someone could call another person a “climate arsonist” because the person doesn’t think that Move Culver City is the way to fight climate change is beyond the pale, especially at a time when some of us who don’t like Move Culver City as it exists today celebrate significant wins in the fight against climate change. I know this will shock you, but many of those Move Culver City supporters who fail to discuss the issue and resort to name-calling also, for whatever reason, failed to publicly laud the great work of our State in phasing out polluting diesel big rigs.

Long story short, there must be room for nuance when we discuss important issues. The idea that Move Culver City was 100% perfect and needed zero changes is ridiculous. Also ridiculous would be to say that we don’t have a responsibility to do what we can to fight climate change. My proposed solution: Let’s sit down with each other, discuss what we like about the project, what we want changed about the project, and what we want eliminated from the project. We may not come to agreements and yes, many will still be on that all for or all against side of the fence, but I can promise you this: Nothing will get done without the important exchange of ideas. All that will happen is that we will all get angrier with one another and very little will get done in the form of progress, unless of course you think climate change is a myth or that amending Move Culver City is climate arson, in which case, I have a feeling you didn’t hate-read all the way to the bottom of this message anyway.

Best Regards,

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Eric Rudin

Culver City Democrats United President

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