Winners Clarke and Meghan Revel in Their SuccessBy Ari L. Noonan @ 4:00 PM April 18, 2012
Re “Malsin in the Aftermath: We Had Momentum and Energy”
Fourth in a series
What an inquiring reporter learned walking through Downtown and venturing out into the neighborhoods on Election Night last week when two incumbents and two newcomers were elected to the City Council by Culver City voters:
From the almost soundless Scott Malsin after-party, it was time to visit Jim Clarke’s City Tavern celebration across the street from City Hall.
En route, a stray partygoer reported that Mr. Clarke was upstairs at Rush Street, congratulating his new colleague Andy Weissman.
It was just a technicality that he was the one winner in four pinned with the only short term, the last two years of Mr. Malsin’s unexpired stint that he abruptly ended last December.
Elevating his voice to be heard over the throng of partygoers, Mr. Clarke jubilantly called out that “I have no feeling.
“I am numb.
“Numb from the neck up.
“I feel like I won the lottery.
“Where else but in Culver City could you not finish win, place or show and still win?”
Turning to his new pal, Mr. Weissman, the whooping it up Mr. Clarke, bursting with triumph, said that “I knew I had good luck here when I started walking precincts and I was on the same block as this guy.”
“The very first day we walked precincts,” said Mr. Weissman, “completely unrehearsed, we wound up parked behind each other on the same street at exactly the same time.”
Are you guys going to work together?
“No,” said No. 1.
“Not at all,” said No. 4.
And they both laughed heartily.
Getting to Know You
The irony of it all.
How well did they know each other before the recent campaign?
“I voted for him four years ago,” said No. 4. “Not only that, this year, before I decided to run, I endorsed him, and I actually am on his literature.”
What made Mr. Clarke decide to run?
“A couple factors,” he said.
“The fourth Council position opened after Scott resigned on Dec. 12 with only two incumbents running. And my job changed. I went from being Director of Federal Relations for the Mayor’s Office, going back and forth to Washington, staffing the Mayor in L.A., which didn’t allow time, to being Director of Grants for the Mayor’s Office, which I thought was useful for the city. The good thing is I keep regular hours so I can attend Council meetings and go to events without having to fly back and forth to D.C.
“It was a perfect alignment of opportunities that came together. It took me a minute and a half, and I said, ‘I am doing it.’”
A Huge Comeback
Out in the Carlson Park neighborhood, Meghan Sahli-Wells was celebrating a powerhouse second-place finish in a private home two distant years after losing by a whisper in her first try for the Council.
Her husband, Karim Sahli, was gliding through the brilliantly lighted, crowded living room, and his feet may never have reached the carpet.
Laughing and smiling, “I feel great,” he said. “But I also am glad it’s over.”
Was he happy his wife placed second?
“I am glad she finished and won a seat,” he said.
Out back, Ms. Sahli-Wells was glowing more strongly than any of the ubiquitous electricity.
“I am thrilled, absolutely thrilled, to finish second,” she said.
She embroidered her remarks with a tapestry of caution after losing her first try by 32 votes. “With what happened two years ago, I have learned not to take anything for granted.”
Speculating on why she breezed this time after her first disappointment, Ms. Sahli-Wells speculated that she prevailed “because I think Culver City is ready for some change. I am really happy to be part of that change.”