Less than 20 votes separating third and fourth place candidates
By Sam Catanzaro
Over two weeks after the election, in the race for a seat on Culver City City Council, less than 20 votes separate two candidates–the current mayor and a challenger who, if elected, would be the first openly LGBTQ candidate elected to the council.
In this election, three seats are up for grabs for Culver City City Council. Newcomers Albert Vera and Yasmine-Imani McMorrin comfortably remain in the lead for first and second place, respectively collecting 10,596 and 10,431. These results are as a November 17 vote tally.
Vera, the owner of Culver’s beloved Sorrento Italian Market and Vera Ranches, served as a city commissioner and is a lifelong Culver City resident. He ran on a “neighborhoods first” agenda focused on “protecting the things that make our city special and solving everyday problems for Culver City residents.”
“We need to be smart about our city’s finances, but we also have to focus on important issues like attainable housing for working professionals, public safety for all of our residents and intelligent ways of dealing with traffic, transportation and mobility,” Vera said.
Yasmine-Imani McMorrin, an attorney, equity advocate and self-described Culver City mom, is the Interim Dean of Students and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at USC Gould School of Law. She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Culver City General Plan Advisory Committee.
“My vision is for Culver City to become a model of responsive government that genuinely strives to meet the needs of everyone in our city.” McMorrin wrote. “I am ready to help transform Culver City into a truly inclusive city. I understand the consequences of systemic racism on Black, Indigenous, and people of color. As a strong leader and problem-solver, I am committed to working together with the community to reimagine public safety and community well-being in Culver City.
Trailing McMorrin by 1,781 votes is current mayor Göran Eriksson. Eriksson, born and raised in Sweden, has been a Culver City resident since 1987. Prior to becoming a Councilmember, Eriksson served as President of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce and as the Chair of the Culver City Finance Advisory Committee.
“As Mayor of Culver City during this unprecedented time, I have worked hard to effectively communicate Culver City’s policies to the public and responsibly navigate both COVID-19’s public health and economic impacts. For the past several months I have taken the initiative to regularly produce video public service announcements regarding the city’s COVID-19 response,” Eriksson writes.
Eriksson’s hold on the third and final seat for Culver City City Council, however, is not yet set in stone. Trailing him by 18 votes–with at least three vote tallies remaining–is challenger Freddy Puza, a Culver City resident who, if elected, would be the first openly LGBTQ candidate elected to the council. Puza, a nine-year resident of the city, works at Loyola Marymount University leading the university’s Community Relations efforts.
“I have a passionate interest in the city’s future development and the welfare of all residents. Throughout my career and public service, I’ve taken on leadership positions to build bridges across differences, create solutions to complex problems, and advocate for the needs of all members of society,” Puza writes.
According to the County of Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, vote count updates will be released on November 20, November 24, November 27 and if needed November 30.