March 25, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

Steve Stajich’s cogent and witty take on the outdoor advertising industry’s quest to saturate the visual environment with commercial pitches correctly identifies those of us who passively gaze upon the five-story image of Ellen as if it’s the Mona Lisa as enablers. However, the true enablers of this ongoing demotion of citizens to consumers are cities like Los Angeles that fail to enforce laws, fail to defend themselves against lawsuits, and willingly hand over chunks of public space to advertisers for the promise of a little revenue. In contrast, cities like Santa Monica long ago grasped the fact that an infestation of billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising not only constitutes visual blight, but makes the entire civic enterprise much less than it could, and ought, to be.

Dennis Hathaway

President, Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight

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Governor of the State of California

Representatives for the State of California

Representatives for the City of Los Angeles

Dear Governor and Representatives:

Pacific Palisades Residents Association is a community wide volunteer organization incorporated in 1958 whose goals are to preserve the quality of life in the Los Angeles Basin, the Coastal Zone and to protect recreational coastal and mountain resources.

PPRA strongly opposes the “OceanWay Secure Energy Project” proposed by Woodside Natural Gas. We have joined with other prominent opponents, including U.S. Representative Jane Harman, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the Cities of Santa Monica and Malibu, as partners in a coalition of concerned individuals, organizations and public officials, entitled No Way on OceanWay (

We ask that you review the pertinent facts without delay and conclude, as many others already have, that there is nothing “secure” about this proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project. It offers no benefit to Los Angeles or the State of California.

The project, located 27 miles off of LAX and 21 miles from Pt. Dume, threatens our coastal wildlife, coastal residents and the many recreational users of our coast from throughout the greater Los Angeles area. It will dump tons of air pollution that our coastal communities will be directly exposed to and will ultimately harm all of Los Angeles. Inland communities (including Inglewood and Watts), as well as the 21 schools located on or near the proposed inland pipeline route, will also suffer: they will be subject to major inconvenience and disruption due to pipeline construction as well as harmful pipeline leaks (according to the Office of Public Safety, Los Angeles has the record of the most oil and gas pipeline leaks of any city in the nation). The project additionally presents serious safety concerns for thousands of Los Angeles residents, as the underwater and onshore pipelines would be constructed across several fault-lines, with leaks and even dangerous explosions a potential result of seismic activity.

Our domestic natural gas supplies are at a 20-year supply, and available resources are sufficient for our energy needs for decades.

Imported LNG is not clean energy. Several studies indicate that over its lifecycle, imported LNG is nearly as dirty as coal and emits 25 percent more greenhouse gases than domestically produced natural gas. We cannot continue to delay the urgent need to begin to turn to non-fossil, renewable energies and user efficiency to solve our future energy needs – a safer and saner alternative.

PPRA urges you to protect our precious coast and thousands of innocent people, your constituents. Please publicly oppose this ill-conceived project.


Barbara Kohn


Pacific Palisades Residents Association

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Bad Timing for a Bogus Bond

The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees demonstrates a disturbing level of cluelessness by asking the citizens of Santa Monica to assume $300 million of Measure AA debt at a time when the financial infrastructure of the United States is imploding on a weekly basis. Ordinary citizens concerned with their employment prospects, retirement prospects, property values, future taxes, insurance costs, etc. are being called upon by SMC’s Board to give and give generously—for the sake of educating the mass of students from everywhere that they have spent millions soliciting to attend Santa Monica’s one and only community college.

How about if Santa Monicans give the SMC Board $300 so they can buy a clue? It would save a lot of time and money.

The Board tells Santa Monicans that this is a bond about education. In 2003 the SMC Board of Trustees axed nine vocational education programs, including architecture, geographic information systems, office information systems, respiratory therapy, and notably, SMC’s venerable automotive technology program. How many of these programs returned to SMC since 2003? Not one! The huge automotive shop on Pico remains idle. What is the Board talking about? When did they suddenly become concerned with education?

The Board tells Santa Monicans that the College needs to repair its decaying infrastructure. Why didn’t they repair the buildings with the $295 million in bonds they passed already? Wasn’t the infrastructure decaying when the Board took office? Did they just let it continue to decay on the supposition that the community would keep ponying up money for the College? And why do they operate the College and its four satellite campuses without a single plumber or painter on staff—doesn’t maintenance combat decay?

What have decayed at SMC are the fiscal responsibility, intelligence, and dedication to public service that once characterized the College. You can’t repair that sort of decadence with money or public relations. It’s a lesson that George Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger are learning. Let’s help teach the SMC Board the same lesson. No on AA.

You can save your rent money and save your city by saying uh-uh to AA. Perhaps the Board will get the message that they are supposed to see to it that your money is spent wisely instead of wildly. Perhaps they’ll get the idea that they’re running a college – not a real estate development company.

Carl Gettleman

20-year employee of Santa Monica College—Academic Computing Department

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I absolutely agree with Phil Hendricks opposition to SMC Bond Measure AA. Why should we, the residents, subsidize tens of thousand international and out-of-state students?

Vote NO on Measure AA.

George Vital

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The Santa Monica Annenberg Architectural monstrosity on Pacific Coast Highway only lacks guard towers on either end to pass for a Correctional facility look alike. Surely they don’t need a solid wall on the Highway side and for what purpose does it serve?

Bobby Edwards

Pacific Palisades

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In his recent letter published in the Mirror, Jay Johnson inaccurately said that the Santa Monica City Attorney’s analysis concludes that Measure T (RIFT) would have no fiscal impact. However, this is not factual. After this false information began to circulate, the City Attorney issued an unambiguous statement that her analysis did not imply that there would be no adverse fiscal impacts.

The City Attorney wrote, “The question was whether the fact that the analysis included no assessment of potential economic impacts attendant upon adoption of the measure [Measure T/RIFT] means that this office believes there are no such impacts. Nothing should be inferred from that fact that no such assessment was included. This office had no intent to communicate a viewpoint through silence. Nor does this office possess the expertise necessary to have analyzed the issue.”

Perhaps the pro-Measure T/RIFT campaign is simply misinformed. But based on the City Attorney’s clarification, there can be no doubt that they are absolutely wrong when they suggest her analysis indicates no adverse fiscal impacts.

The unintended but significant adverse impacts that would be caused by Measure T are a major reason that so many individuals and groups – Teachers, Police Officers, Firefighters, Homeowners, Tenants, and Environmentalists have come together to form the broadest coalition ever.


Pam O’Connor

Member, Santa Monica City Council

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Dear Editor,

The unfolding saga of SM Critical Mass (SMCM) versus the SM Police Department (SMPD) continues.

First some background: SMCM is not a formal organization, a legal entity with officers and formal leadership; it is just an ad-hoc group of bike riders, who enjoy getting out of their cars, if they own one, and riding with like minded people. There are over 700 “members” (more correctly, potential participants, who have requested ride information). Many are Santa Monica residents, but many are not. The primary focus is to convince people to get out of their cars and enjoy a night riding around Santa Monica and West Los Angeles.

On August 1, 2008, 14 police officers (in cars, on motorcycles and bikes) and, reportedly 2 undercover cops, shadowed SMCM through the streets and issued 14 citations. The city spent over $3,000 for police officer overtime. I witnessed one “violation” that was so questionable that it will likely be thrown out by the courts. Many other violations that night are for offenses seldom enforced, except for SMCM riders, or for misinterpretations of the Vehicle Code.

On September 5, 2008, there were eight police officers and eight citations. In one incident, an officer pulled over a bike rider and allowed a car that ran a red light go free. In another, a rider did not make a complete stop at a stop sign. But when the next 50, or so, riders made complete stops, the officer told them to “not stop” since they were holding up auto traffic. What irony!

SMCM has evolved in the almost two years since I started riding. Cautions about stopping for traffic lights and stop signs, and adhering to all vehicle codes are made at the beginning of all rides. Bikes on streets are governed by the California Vehicle Code, with a few exceptions. It is quite apparent that some SM Police officers are misinterpreting the vehicle code. For example, SMPD officers usually indicate that a bike without an operating headlight is “not a correctable violation.” According to the CHP it is. The difference is a fine of $10 (correctable) versus a fine of $100.

What is disturbing about this is that several bike advocates, who help coordinate the rides, have been rebuffed by city officials for over a year. Sgt. Horn of the SMPD, in two separate meetings, stressed the need for lawful rides and suggested “take a nice ride on the beach bike path.” You all know that the beach bike path is clogged with pedestrians, who violate the city ordinance knowing fully well that SMPD does not enforce the ordinance. It is irresponsible for a Public Safety officer to suggest that 150 to 200 bike riders use the path at night when they would pose a serious safety risk to pedestrians on the path.

When the City Manager asked Chief of Police Tim Jackman to meet with SMCM advocates in September 2007, Jackman scheduled a meeting. When the advocates arrived, he stepped in for 30 seconds, introduced himself, and returned to his office – skipping the meeting. Captain Mark Smiley sat in for Jackman and when the advocates suggested that SMCM riders might be receptive to a police escort, as is done on San Francisco Critical Mass, Smiley replied that “I couldn’t do something like that without authorization from the City Manager or the Chief.” Oh, you mean the Chief of Police who just skipped the meeting?

On November 13, 2007, over 50 SMCM participants attended a City Council meeting and over 30 advocates spoke in support of SMCM. Many of these same advocates attended numerous LUCE workshops and City Council LUCE review sessions to ensure that Santa Monica continued its support of bike related policies and projects.

Comments made in a recent City Council meeting indicates that some Council members still don’t understand that bikes are part of the solution (i.e., reducing traffic and CO2 emissions, while promoting health and recreation), not the problem.

After over a year of SMPD and Council behavior leads to some obvious questions: Does SMPD and the Council want to work together to solve the growing disconnect? Is it bad faith to agree to a meeting and then duck out? What solution saves taxpayer funds ($3000 in August 2008) without jeopardizing public safety and vehicle code enforcement?

Reaching some creative compromise with SMCM would illustrate Council support for bike riding in Santa Monica. The alternative might be bike advocates flooding the public comment portion of Council meetings. That would be a clearly undesirable outcome for all.

Let’s stop wasting taxpayer money on SMPD overtime to chase SMCM, which appears to be like swatting flies with a sledgehammer!

Roger Swanson

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