Street life in historic Culver City. Some Mar Vista residents are opposed… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)
About a dozen Mar Vista residents gathered for a community council subcommittee meeting last week and admonished a small, anonymous group of their neighbors who have floated the idea of south Mar Vista being annexed to Culver City.
This month, South Mar Vista Neighborhood Assn. President Steve Wallace emailed more than 200 people seeking "a straw vote" to gauge interest in exploring annexation.
"It's my understanding that some residents of Mar Vista have been meeting for several months to discuss the pros and cons of south Mar Vista being run by Culver City instead of Los Angeles," the email read. "Some of the information I have that has been the topic of discussion is that south Mar Vistans put millions of tax dollars in the City of Los Angeles' coffers and basically get nothing in return."
According to the email, the redrawn borders being considered were Venice Boulevard to the north and Beethoven Street to the west, with Culver City already bordering the east and south.
But at Tuesday's Mar Vista Community Council Land Use and Planning Committee meeting, attendees took their own straw poll and symbolically shot the idea down: 11 votes against annexation, zero in favor and two abstentions. They also passed a resolution calling for organizers of the movement to come forward and end their anonymity.
The resolution will now go before the full council, said Michael Millman, co-chairman of the committee.
Until organizers behind the idea step forward, Millman said he would report that he finds the calls for annexation "illegitimate" and advise that the community council not spend any more time on the issue.
Millman said he had the topic added to the committee's agenda only after a zone director — Mar Vista is broken into six zones — got wind of Wallace's email and raised the issue.
Sherri Akers, 59, a south Mar Vista resident, was one of the attendees who voted against annexation. She called the proposal "impractical and implausible," and like many of her neighbors at the meeting, she was angry that those advocating annexation had not come forward.
"There's a high level of frustration that something like this would be suggested and get a high level of attention without anyone taking titles or acknowledging ownership of floating the idea," she said. "It's hard to take anything seriously when somebody isn't having an open, transparent conversation."
However, Akers and others agreed that there were issues in Mar Vista, just like any other community. Resident Christopher McKinnon has developed a list of "20 Points" he thinks the city of L.A. should address, ranging from trash can installation to investigating how to retain parking meter revenue.
At Tuesday's meeting, Wallace, 47, showed pictures of piles of trash on the street, which he said could be easily be cleaned up with the installation of trash cans.
"There are obviously valid concerns from the people. It's an ongoing problem, that if it's not dealt with, the neighborhood will deteriorate more and more and more," Wallace said. "I can understand their concerns."
Wallace insisted that he was simply administering the poll for others who are leading the charge, but he declined to identify them. He also said he did not have authorization to release the results of the poll.
Tony Arranaga, a spokesman with Councilman Bill Rosendahl's office, said the city has performed more than 340 street work projects in Mar Vista in the last five years. He added that one of Rosendahl's first acts as a councilman was to allocate $100,000 for beautification of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista.
City Manager John Nachbar of Culver City said he had been contacted by one Mar Vista resident about the issue but noted that it was "extremely uncommon" for a city to de-annex a territory. Mar Vista was annexed to Los Angeles in 1927.