The City Council commended Ed Edelman for his two years of service as the City’s Special Representative for Homeless Initiatives (more commonly referred to as “the homelessness czar”) at its meeting Tuesday, December 11, as Edelman returns to private life.
Edelman – a seasoned veteran of local politics who served on the Los Angeles City Council from 1965 to 1974, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for 20 years until his retirement from politics in 1994 – said that the Santa Monica Council could “leave the whereas’s out” when reading the commendation that it unanimously adopted. He took particular pride in the establishment of a Homeless Community Court that helps introduce more homeless persons to service providers and his work in moving nonprofit feeding programs from the parks to indoor facilities – a move that not only frees the parks, but also helps with the introduction to service providers.
Although he said he welcomed the return to private life, even though “at home I’m just a dishwasher” rather than a czar, he did conclude his remarks by saying that “Santa Monica can call on me at any time.”
In other news, the Council directed the City Attorney’s Office to prepare an ordinance that would make business owners criminally liable for knowingly or intentionally allowing customers to smoke at outdoor dining areas.
The smoking ordinance amendment that the Council directed the City Attorney to prepare for its future consideration would not only extend penalties to restaurant owners (the present law only provides for penalties against smokers), but would also prohibit smoking anywhere on the grounds of Santa Monica libraries. The Council further indicated its support of additional funding for a marketing, signage, and education campaign to implement its outdoor smoking policies.
The Council also asked the City Attorney to provide information on what other California cities are doing with respect to smoking in multi-unit residential buildings and tobacco retailer licensing, and to prepare a non-binding resolution for Council consideration that would recommend that local pharmacies refuse to sell any tobacco products.
The City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit had recommended that the Council expand liability to business owners who condone smoking at outdoor dining areas because, although “overall compliance [with the outdoor smoking ordinance] has been good,” it said that many local restaurants still were allowing outdoor smoking.
In other action at the Council meeting, the Council heard a report on the seismic retrofit of City Hall and considered the location of a new elevator.