|Birth||29 April 1959|
Thomas Aujero Small (born April 29, 1959) is a Filipino-American politician currently serving on the City Council of Culver City, California. Previously, he served as Mayor of Culver City from 2018 to 2019. He was elected unanimously as Mayor by his colleagues on the City Council on April 30, 2018. Prior to his election to City Council, he served as Commissioner of Cultural Affairs. He was originally sworn into office as a City Council Member on April 30, 2016.
Small was born in Palo Alto, CA. His Mother, Elizabeth Aujero Small was born in Dueñas, Iloilo, Philippines, and was the first in her family to emigrate to the United States. His father, attorney Jack C. Small, was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They met in 1946 in Manila, Philippines, where his mother worked at a restaurant that his father built and operated, called the California Drive-In.
He grew up in the San Francisco bay area, while spending summers in Iloilo, Philippines with his mother, brothers, and extended family. He graduated from an alternative school, Ravenswood High School in East Palo Alto, CA, was captain of a state championship club soccer team, and competed nationally in the decathlon.
He studied comparative literature and music at Yale University, graduating in 1982. He sang with the Yale Russian Chorus and toured the former USSR with them in 1977, then spending a gap year in Italy. He was awarded a French National Fellowship for graduate study in literature and at the University of Paris.
Early in his career, he worked in film and television. He produced the science fiction film Venus Rising in 1995, and subsequently four documentaries that aired in the Venus Rising (1995 Video) Full Cast & Crew series on the A&E Network. He later worked as a consultant and writer in architecture and urban planning, and worked on developments including Baku White City in Azerbaijan, the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, and the modern facilities in Zhouzhuang, China, known as the Venice of the East.
In 2005, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship at the Columbia University School of Journalism . From 2005 to 2010 he wrote classical music criticism for Concertonet, an online classical music journal based in Paris, France. He has also written for the Classical Music Network.
As part of his service as a commissioner of the Cultural Affairs in Culver City, he assisted in creating Culver City's Artist ad Poet Laureate Program.
Out of a field of seven candidates, Small was elected to one of two open seats on the Culver City Council in 2016. Leading up to the election, nearly 40 influential architects, designers and engineers from Culver City and across the Los Angeles region announced their support of Small's candidacy.
Tenure on Culver City Council
During his first two years in office, he initiated and led the Transit Oriented District Visioning process and plan As part of the 2016 Culver City Strategic Plan, he leads the Ballona Creek Revitalization Task Force.
He served as Chair of the Sustainability Council of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO). He represents the West Side Council of Governments on the Transportation Committee of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). He serves on several Culver City Council Subcommittees, including: Economic Development; Mobility, Traffic and Parking; Financial Planning and Budget. In 2017, Small was appointed to the League of California Cities’ Housing, Community and Economic Development Policy Committee representing the League's Asian Pacific Islander Caucus.
Mayor of Culver City
Small was elected Mayor of the City of Culver unanimously by his colleagues on the City Council City on April 30, 2018.
Mayor Small's work with the city focused on excellence in urban planning, sustainable design and mobility, and public outreach. He led the effort to win grants from the Mayor's Innovation Project, the Harvard Behavioral Insight Group, and the National Institute for Civil Discourse, for programs to enhance public outreach for neighborhood planning and alternative modes of transportation.
During Small's tenure as Mayor, Amazon and Apple broke ground on new studios based in Culver City. HBO is also building new headquarters adjacent to Culver City, and between these three multinational companies, Culver City is expecting up to 10,000 new employees over the next few years.
Under Mayor Small's leadership, the City of Culver City was selected by the University of Arizona’s National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) as one of five "deep dive" cities nationally to participate in its "Revive Civility Cities" program. Revive Civility Cities is a nonpartisan program where the NICD works with and encourages communities to restore values of civility and respect for each other. NICD worked with Culver City during 2018 and 2019 to help bring the City civil discourse strategies around the issue of growth and development in the Fox Hills neighborhood.
He served on the General Plan Update Subcommittee, and was instrumental in the composition of the Request for Proposals and the selection of the General Plan consultant team. He has participated in the Ballona Creek Revitalization Project.
As Mayor, he hosted and gave a keynote address for the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty with the RAND Corporation in Culver City. As an extension of the Transit Oriented Development Visioning process, Mayor Small collaborated with RAND on a mobility implementation study in Culver City's Rancho Higuera neighborhood.
He is married to the independent communications consultant Joanna Brody, and they live with their two children in Culver City, CA. They built their home, Residence for a Briard in 2007, designed by architect Whitney Sander. They designed the home to host chamber music concerts, and have hosted groups including the Calder Quartet, Jacaranda Music, and Vox Femina Los Angeles.
Described as a "new music philanthropist," in 2007, Small became a founding board member of Jacaranda Music, a concert series focused on new and undiscovered classical music, later becoming chair of the board and now serving as vice-chair.