October 1, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

Last May the Santa Monica City Council told the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District: If you want an additional $530,000 from the city, stop forcing parents to sign secret deals for their children to receive the special education programs they need.

SMMUSD Deputy Superintendent Tim Walker responded with the equivalent of a middle-finger salute: More coerced secret deals, perpetuating a combative climate with parents and jeopardizing desperately needed funding for the schools.

The council also required the recently completed audit of the district’s special education programs. The auditors have called for district administrators to reverse the hostile attitude and actions toward parents and special needs children that the audit revealed.

The audit found that eight years ago the district conducted a similar audit and ignored the results. Imagine how much more thoroughly the current recommendations can be ignored with Tim Walker on the job!

He needs to go. Now.

Alice Ballesteros

Santa Monica

* * * *

It is said that the greenest building is an existing building. Residents of the Third Street Neighborhood Historic District who have carefully restored their period homes concur.

The owner of a property in the heart of the district at 2617 Third plans to tear down and replace an existing building at the rear of his property. After having agreed to withdraw his plan for an eight-foot cinderblock wall around the property, the owner still insists on pursuing a building project that is totally inappropriate for this highly sensitive site.

The owner has a charming California bungalow on his property that has stood unoccupied for the past seven years, but wants to build a whole new modernist style cantilevered house in the back yard. District residents are unanimously opposed to this unfriendly project. It violates the long-established Design Guidelines that have protected the district for over 17 years now. These require that new buildings be similar in scale, massing, style, and materials to surrounding historic homes.

Furthermore, the owner claims that this is a green project while he already has a neglected and empty bungalow on his property. One must ask is this really a green project or the inappropriate exploitation of a single property at the expense of the Historic District as a whole?

In January the Landmarks Commission denied the applicant a Certificate of Appropriateness. But the owner is now appealing the decision. The appeal will be heard by the City Council: next Tuesday, April 22, at 6:45 p.m. at City Hall.

Candra Docherty

Santa Monica

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