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City Budget Priorities:

City officials met Thursday, November 13, with Sunset Park residents to listen to what the residents think the City’s community priorities should be for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.

The November 13 meeting began with a presentation by City Manger P. Lamont Ewell on the City’s economic outlook. Members of the Friends of Sunset Park (FOSP) neighborhood group then suggested a list of priorities.

A key priority was improving traffic and parking management in the Sunset Park area, particularly as it relates to Santa Monica College (SMC). The FOSP pointed out that since August 2007, Big Blue Bus service has been increased in their neighborhood from one route to four routes in order to serve the SMC campus. These new routes have increased noise and congestion for area residents at the intersection of 20th and Pearl Streets, and all streets along the new bus routes from Pico to Ocean Park Boulevards. Residents also called for better parking enforcement around the College.

FOSP also requested that Santa Monica fund litigation so that the court case the City has been pursuing to ban Class C and D jets from Santa Monica Airport can continue. In addition, they requested that the City fund additional noise monitors around the airport, and fund air quality and jet fuel residue studies in areas adjacent to the airport.

Also on the FOSP list were public safety priorities. These included continuing the Neighborhood Resource Officer Program, increasing neighborhood patrols, increasing prevention/intervention programs to reduce youth violence, improving access to timely information via www.santamonicapd.org, improving street lighting, and keeping the crossing guards at the intersections of Ocean Park Boulevard and 16th Street, and Pearl and 20th Streets.

Another priority was the City’s open spaces. FOSP would like the City to fund more frequent, and better quality, tree-trimming programs, improve tree replacement programs, and put in improved buffers between Santa Monica Airport, Clover Park, and residential areas. They also mentioned the City forming a Tree Commission.

Development priorities were also mentioned. Sunset Park residents would like the City to restrict any future development in the Special Office District because of concerns that further development in this area would add more traffic congestion to their neighborhood. They also requested a central fire station/equipment yard in the City’s industrial area.

Sunset Park residents were also interested in seeing that the City continue to deal with the homeless issue.

Lastly, FOSP mentioned two citywide cultural priorities. They were replacing the lighting on “The Big Wave,” the 1989 public art steel arch that spans Wilshire Boulevard at Franklin Street and repairing the murals at Olympic High School and the ZJ Boarding House.

Additional neighborhood meetings will be held on November 24 at the Montana Library, and on December 3 at Virginia Avenue Park. All meetings begin at 7 pm. Those who unable to attend can give input on the City’s website: www.smgov.net by clicking on the City Budget Suggestions link or email at budget@smgov.net.

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