Susan Hartley, Vice Chair of Santa Monica’s Airport Commission, has decided to run for a City Council seat because she is “fed up with the disconnect between City Hall and the residents of Santa Monica.” Her theme is “let’s take back Santa Monica” for the residents.
Hartley emphasized in an interview with Mirror that she “wants to do everything I can to see Santa Monica retain what’s left of its small beach town atmosphere. I’m opposed to the growth, density, and height being proposed by City Hall that resulted from the City’s LUCE [Land Use and Circulation Elements] process.” These changes, Hartley laments, include six 9-story buildings around the City, and building up Santa Monica’s downtown shopping area to compete with the Grove. That’s why she worked for and supports RIFT, and why she also supports rapid transit and making the City very bicycle friendly.
The LUCE proposals have been developed by City staff through an extensive community input process. RIFT (Residents’ Initiative to Fight Traffic) – now Proposition T – is a ballot initiative that if approved by voters in November could reduce traffic in Santa Monica by reducing future commercial development by half to 75,000 square feet annually.
Another area of disconnect to Hartley between City Hall and residents is the City’s “failure to preserve, protect, and enhance our urban forest despite the broad-based community support” (all the neighborhood associations and over 10,000 petition signatures) to save the ficus trees on 2nd and 4th Streets. Hartley co-founded Treesavers because of this issue and supports having the City develop a tree preservation and enhancement policy and a tree commission.
Hartley is also concerned about the “pollution the neighbors of Santa Monica Airport have to endure daily.” She worked hard for and still supports the ban of C and D aircraft from the Airport and “would like to see mandatory tug usage of aircraft instead of the current taxiing up and down the runway which results in more polluting fumes.” Lastly, she wants “to see the City support, instead of thwart, health risk studies of the air quality studies around the Santa Monica Airport.”
Immediate clean-up of our beaches, especially in the vicinity of the Pier (labeled the worst polluted beach on the continental west coast) is also one of Hartley’s priorities, as is retaining the City’s stock of rent control apartments so that the City can maintain an economically diverse population base. Hartley also supports the City efforts to provide housing for homeless veterans.
Hartley lives in Sunset Park and also works in Santa Monica. She has been an employment lawyer for 28 years and specializes in discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination. She is used to fighting for a living and hopes she can use those skills to accomplish “taking back Santa Monica” for the residents. Hartley feels Santa Monicans have two choices: let the City’s small beach town atmosphere disappear, or fight to stop over-development.