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The following commentary was submitted by Culver City resident Carlene Brown.
At its Aug. 8 meeting, the Culver City Planning Commission unanimously approved a Code Amendment and Modification to the existing Conditional Use Permit for .
Willows had been working diligently with Staff for over two years to address concerns raised by the Commission in a 2009 hearing, and on July 11, 2012, it appeared as if their proposal was airtight. But the Commission wrangled until after 11p.m. that night, finally voting to continue the Willows hearing to Aug. 8.
Few Culver City residents knew about the anti-nonprofit agenda of Commissioners John Kuechle and Scott Wyant I shared a public comment quote from the July 11 meeting from former Mayor Alan Corlin: “Non-profit organizations stifle economic growth.”
It appeared to me that both Commissioner Kuechle and Commissioner Wyant shared that ideology, referred to by professor of Cultural Studies Henry Giroux as “the ideology of the Big Lie.”
My journalism (in sharing my previous article) and Willows Parent Zoenda McIntosh’s activism – which included reaching out to local media and City Council members - contributed to waking up our community and calling forth a unanimous “yes” vote for Willows from the Culver City Planning Commission.
During public comment at the Aug. 8 meeting McIntosh said, “Willows currently serves 425 students and their parents, and is a destination for people from over 50 Los Angeles-area zip codes. Families from San Pedro to Pacific Palisades to Sherman Oaks come to Culver City to this school, and those families are happy to shop at our stores and eat at our restaurants.”
Willows Attorney Mark Armbruster added that Willows’ success in educating its children is why the school must expand.
“Willows’ success is Culver City’s success as well,” Armbruster said. “I stand before this Commission tonight inviting you to approve the Willows Community School proposal that Culver City Staff urged you to approve a month ago.”
Following the Commission’s vote, McIntosh said, “The Commissioners showed diligent attention to detail during this application process for Willows to improve and expand… I look forward to [the] City Council's approval of Willows' master plan, which has carefully taken into consideration the financial goals of our City, and keeps the integrity of Hayden Tract's industrial use intact.”