Last Thursday evening there was a terrible auto accident at the blind intersection of 24th and Carlyle. Whether or not someone ran a stop sign is irrelevant. The fact remains that in Santa Monica many intersections have become extremely dangerous due to the fact that they are blind intersections caused by overgrown hedges. If a driver stops at the designated white line, he would not be able to see around the obstructing hedge and would unwittingly enter the intersection causing an accident. For this reason, the city ordinance for safety specifies that corner hedges must not exceed 42 inches in height. Clearly, the city is assuming some liability for its dereliction in enforcing this ordinance. Must we wait for there to be several fatalities before something is done?
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Just want to say thank you for the great article you are running about John Murdock. I first met John when he was helping the Marina del Rey community save their hospital that Tenent wanted to sell off. Now Centinela-Daniel Freeman Hospital is still our local emergency room. And he also helped when the USPS decided to close down the Marina Processing and Distribution Center, thereby causing all of our Westside mail to now travel to downtown LA for sorting, before returning to the Westside for distribution and flights to LAX. And now he is helping us fight to save the Lincoln Place apartment complex for the workforce renters in Venice. I don’t like bullies in the playground and neither does John. He is a wonderful, generous human being, who works to put justice back in the judicial system.
Thank you again.
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Dr. Chui Tsang, President
Santa Monica College
Re: SMC Proposed Traffic and Parking Lot in the Pico Neighborhood
Recently I was informed that Santa Monica College had found a “great location” for a new student and staff parking facility, not “on campus” but in the (oh my gosh, what a great idea) Pico Neighborhood! A Pico resident former mayor that led the local public meetings apparently felt comfortable getting paid to represent the college, while urging his east side neighbors to consider this wonderful new public “facility.” Well, I am still trying to absorb the way that we are bombarded with demands to remain silent and remain compliant while we go along with yet another assault on the quality of life in the Pico Neighborhood!!
Why is this hard to absorb, you ask? Because I served (representing the Pico Neighborhood) on two previous yearlong Santa Monica College Parking and Traffic committees, that held monthly meetings discussing and analyzing the demands, parking patterns, street and neighborhood capacity and resources and all things parking-related for the good of the college community. Our collective findings, as I recall, suggested that a fair distribution plan would include parking distribution on ALL FOUR CORNERS of the college main campus in an attempt to fairly balance and “share the load.”
Like so many other community task force generated “plans,” we summarized our thoughts and yearlong discussions into a comprehensive plan. The plan was presented to the Santa Monica Community College District Board and administration. For those who might remember, including at least one present councilperson, the plan was attacked by the then president of the college who threatened to “pave over Corsair field,” if necessary before committing to building parking structures on campus! What followed was the protective reaction of the formation of the Santa Monica Safe Streets committee by some residents of Sunset Park that reacted with the creation of additional “preferential” parking zones to protect their neighborhoods and [allow them to] be able to park in front of their houses without the big neighbor bullying them.
Usually when someone is trying to persuade me about things like this “facility” now being proposed, I have a simple test. If it is such a “great idea for my community,” the test I use is “Okay then, why don’t we build it next to your house” so you can get all that supposed benefit? Then the stammering and explaining usually begins. Yet here we are again, starting off with a big head of steam in the wrong direction with a solution that overburdens the Pico area “again.” When I was a student at SMC, my economics text was entitled, “More People, More Misery.” Some argued while I served on the SMC Parking and Traffic committee: “How could we export the college’s ever-expanding parking need into another sector of town??” How could the assimilation of hundreds of potential car trips, morning, noon and night, into an already congested, traffic-laden, overwhelmed community not serve as an assault on the quality of life of that area?
Pico already carries the entire transportation spine of the Santa Monica freeway and many of the highest volume intersections and streets in the city!! What would have been the “highest and best” use for this available land and these precious community resources? Perhaps we as a community should consider affordable housing?? Is this the kind of resource we envisioned for the use of public funds?
We need to reorganize our compass. We need to look at the sustainability of our proposed substantive changes to our limited infrastructure. We have lived, worked, struggled together for years in the Pico area for just life and breath. Others expect for the Pico area to just keep absorbing anything and everything and “we can all just get along.” We somehow expect Pico area residents to become well adjusted to a maladjusted status quo! How can we continue to go forward in this small microenvironment, shuffling the cards until we come up with a “hand of least resistance”? Does anyone see the second coming of the Civic Center Plan or the recent rethinking of homelessness in Santa Monica as trends marching backward?? Will we forever change the values and qualities that made this sleepy little seaside community attractive to so many of us in the first place? The proposed parking solution is a bad idea for a precious and scarce resource, and we are “doing it again.” I am a Pico resident and a fair-minded native Santa Monican that does NOT think this is a solution.
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Mayor Richard Bloom
Mayor Pro Tem Herb Katz
Councilman Bobby Shriver
Councilman Robert Holbrook
Councilman Ken Genser
Councilman Kevin McKeown
Councilwoman Pam O’Connor
Re: City Council Item 8-G
Dear Sirs and Madam:
As representatives of the five active residents’ groups, we want to voice our support for instituting local campaign finance reforms. While our neighborhoods have diverse and sometimes divergent priorities, we stand united in our desire to protect the democratic process. The enormous amounts of money that were spent by certain special interest groups in November’s campaign have led to the specter of “ebay elections,” with offices and legislation for sale to the highest bidder.
Although we aren’t proposing specific solutions, we support the exploration of possible alternatives that would encourage more constructive, civil procedures and help focus campaigns on issue-based debate and the needs of the community. We also hope that these changes would limit the ability of well-funded special interest groups to usurp the will of the voters. Reforms are needed to assure that future governance continues to be “of the People, by the People, and for the People.”
Friends of Sunset Park
North of Montana Association
Ocean Park Association
Pico Neighborhood Association
Wilshire-Montana Neighborhood Coalition
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In the early 90’s a perfect storm of film industry union contracts came up for negotiation at the same time, and when they did Jeffrey Katzenberg wrote and widely distributed what has become known as the Katzenberg letter.
In the letter he admonished producers and studios to hold a unified line against organized labor who were asking for fair wages, better work conditions and benefits, and when he did that drew a line against many of the most vulnerable lower tier earners too.
So when the big guns of Hollywood (Katzenberg, Geffen et al.) roll to the big tent tonight and the glitterati arrive and browse delights that tease the pallet [Senator Barack Obama], there are those of us who remember who it was that stood opposed to the rank and file then and know who they champion now.
Member Screen Actors Guild 15 years
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Homeless services were discussed recently in City Council. According to your article (Santa Monica Mirror, February 1-7), Councilmember Robert Holbrook suggests that before deciding how best to help the homeless “we should try to decide how many people we’re going to help.” It is easy to calculate the minimum number of homeless persons we should be helping: take the population of Santa Monica, divide by the population of Los Angeles County, and then multiply by the estimated number of homeless in the county. The result is approximately eight hundred.
Because Santa Monica is wealthier than most other parts of the county, with a high average household income, and with many hotels, car dealerships and other profitable businesses bringing money into the city, it could be argued that we actually should be helping considerably more than eight hundred. But I doubt we are helping adequately even eight hundred. So why not start with that number? Let us make sure we are doing what we should for at least eight hundred persons before we complain any more about neighboring communities not doing their fair share.
Apparently the Council is considering “housing first” models of helping the homeless, which means “moving persons directly from the streets and placing them into permanent housing.” I doubt that this approach will be effective in getting eight hundred people off the streets any time soon. It seems more practical to help people first get incomes that can be used to pay for housing. In order to get people motivated to get into programs that can help them get incomes, either paychecks or disability checks, it is necessary first to take away the option of the “free spirit” life of sleeping in the streets and parks. A considerable number of persons already collecting disability checks are not using them for housing because they prefer to spend the money on drugs and alcohol.
What is needed immediately in Santa Monica is temporary shelter for at least several hundred persons. Along with shelter it is essential to have a considerable number of police officers to force sleepers off the streets and parks and to protect the homeless against violence in the new shelters or other designated areas for sleeping. Once homeless persons learn that the “free spirit” life in Santa Monica is no longer possible, most will either try to get housing or leave town. So let us get started building the shelters and hiring the police. The endless debate, hand wringing and complaining about others not doing their share is getting us nowhere.