UC Davis Professor Christopher Elmendorf went out of his way to guide the work of Culver City’s housing element. He also ended up literally writing the guiding principles for what we submitted to the State. You can see his emails with Abundant Housing Los Angeles (AHLA), a political lobby group, and then-Mayor Alex Fisch. Also included is Paavo Monkkonen, UCLA Professor, Culver City resident, and member of the Culver City General Plan Update Committee.
It’s a big deal that Elmendorf lobbied the State against the work of our paid consultant, Veronica Tam. And it’s a big deal that Elmendorf worked directly with political lobby groups in conjunction with our mayor and committee member. But why should we care? Why does this matter? The talking points from Elmendorf are exactly those of the big-money-funded Terner Center and YIMBY Law. And AHLA and Culver City For More Homes, follow suit. These groups do not know what the residents of Culver City care about, nor did they seek to find out. And our Mayor, Alex Fisch, invited them to have more than a front row seat — these groups wrote our documents, and dismissed the work of our paid consultant and paid City staff.
You can see in this PDF that Elmendorf also wrote to the State on the official letterhead of University of California, Davis.
We complained about that to the President of both UC Davis and the Board of UC Regents. Elmendorf was compelled to write an apology letter to clarify that even though he used official university letterhead, the opinions were just his own, and not those of the university. However, the waters were already muddied.