You May Call Him Mayor Weissman for the Next 12 MonthsBy Ari L. Noonan @ 9:00 AM April 24, 2012
Wading through a flooded basement of encomiums that threatened to smother, if not hijack, the evening, the fulltime unofficial leader of the City Council, Andy Weissman, last night was elected Mayor of Culver City by his almost unified new and old colleagues.
On Transition Night, as Mr. Weissman, 62, smilingly was striding in the door to happily launch his second term, Chris Armenta, 48, known for his smiling collegiality, was bidding adieu to the Council for job-related reasons. An officer with the state Board of Equalization, the low-key Mr. Armenta decided against seeking a second term, ending a 10-year run in elective office, six as City Clerk, four on the Council.
What could have been a tumultuous scene – fighting over who would succeed Mehaul O’Leary in the mayor’s chair, based on the city’s rickety rotation system – never developed.
Mr. Weissman almost sailed back into the mayor’s office without resistance.
After third-year member Jeff Cooper nominated him and newcomer Jim Clarke seconded the motion, it was obvious that Mr. Weissman had the votes and was locked in as the next mayor.
The closest the Council came to division was when just-installed member Meghan Sahli-Wells announced her intention to nominate Mr. Cooper, an idea that quickly collapsed.
No other hint of pushback surfaced, and the vote to confirm Mr. Weissman was 5 to 0.
The two freshman chose different opening paths.
Elected to complete the last two years of Scott Malsin’s unexpired term, Mr. Clarke adopted a lighthearted tone in his introductory speech. “Don’t get too comfortable,” he warned supporters. “We have to do this all over again in 18 months.”
More formally, Ms. Sahli-Wells (“I ran on a platform of public participation”) described her specific intentions.
She sounded the familiar chords of her campaign, diversity, the environment, youth, underserved areas and a desire to merge the School Board and City Council elections.
“It’s a pretty shocking record,” Ms. Sahli-Wells said, “that only five women have been elected to the Council” in Culver City’s 95-year history.
(Historian Steve Rose pointed out that only seven woman have run for office. Only Jackie McCain and Lorraine Gollub were notelected.)
Decrying the 19.7 percent voter turnout two weeks ago today, she landed with both feet on one of her major convictions, a wider communal voice in Council decisions.
“We can improve communal involvement,” she said, “by reaching out to youth, to areas of the city that have felt ignored and by taking a look at consolidating our elections, we can make real progress.”