SMRR is in a pickle. Squeezed between its own refusal to promote good government, by the one bun of bread; and on the other bun, the State’s Proposition 90 (set for the November 6, 2006 ballot). Prop 90, the Property Protection Act, is an attempt by the people of California to tell their governments that these governments’ reigns of terror are at an end. No more irrational, arbitrary and deluded land use regulations. From now on, government must pass land use laws of uniform and fair application. Government can no longer steal economic value from property owners to promote misconceived and ill-considered pseudo-social programs.
But now we are hearing from SMRR that our City’s current zoning laws are inadequate to protect us. And if Prop 90 passes, we (i.e. the SMRR oligarchy) will lose control of development in our City. The current zoning allows for too much density, especially in residential areas. There is an emergency, desperate acts for desperate times.
Well, for over 25 years SMRR has been in complete and absolute control of City government. Nothing happens without its guidance, instruction and approval. You can’t change a toilet in this City, let alone use it, without a SMRR permit. The query is what has SMRR been doing for these past 25 years? Why isn’t our zoning just perfect after 25 years of SMRR domination and control?
Well the answer is that SMRR never wanted to establish a zoning system that was uniform and fair. It has always wanted to judge each building project, not against a standard, equally applicable set of laws, but rather in an arbitrary forum (which has produced a discontinuity of decision). Why? Because SMRR wants absolute power, power to approve based on any whim or vagary; on who the applicant is or is not. SMRR does not want to be told that the law trumps its capriciousness. SMRR can’t be handcuffed by laws. SMRR needs room to be omnipotent.
We have been told by such great patriots as John Adams that “we are a government of laws and not men.” Today, I am sure John Adams would say “people” rather than “men” but the theme is the same. Our government is required to set down principles of law of universal and equal application. Uniform laws fetter government’s attempts to discriminate against its people.
So it is with great trepidation that we see an anguished SMRR thrashing about, ready to do anything to avoid the dictates of Proposition 90. In Santa Monica, where private property is a disease rather than an institution, the idea that a constitutional amendment might be passed to protect property rights is as abhorrent to SMRR as flying the American flag. To defeat the will of the people, SMRR has adopted a nuclear first strike against its own citizens. SMRR’s solution to Californians telling it to respect property rights is for SMRR to destroy all property rights now, before November 6, 2006. We are in a rush to judgment. So the City Council has to literally deprive all of its citizens of the normal protections of a fair, open and considered study process, and in its place simply adopt a radical “down zoning” of the entire City.
So SMRR’s plan is that by this September, the City Council will adopt some type of law (don’t call it “down zoning,” admonished the City Attorney) that will effectively stop ALL building in our City. Then, if someone wants to build, they will have to get permission based on a subjective and individual review process. There will be no uniform laws of equal application. As SMRR stated, we will review each project based on how good it is for our City. This is SMRR at its finest, a government of men and not of laws.