Santa Monica City Council will soon be acting to fill the seat vacated by member Herb Katz, who, sadly, passed on January 7th. Since then, much has been said about what Council should do next ‘look like’. Some have voiced that the city would benefit having a more resident-representative roster. A number think there should be a different gender- and ethnicity-mix on the dais. Age, experience, place of residence, even privilege status have been mentioned as elements worth considering in deciding now. Too, Kenny Mack’s “Council should call for a special election” [SMDP, 2/11], offered a very thoughtful (and eloquently-put) view about just how this vacancy-filling process might yet be handled [i.e., Should Council have difficulty appointing from among candidate applications it has recently solicited.]
Before entertaining any such suggested vacancy-filling needs or actions –and even ignoring all the other national/global attention-getting events occurring while such talking proceeds; societies on the brink of economic meltdown and environments dramatically/frighteningly shifting patterns of life-affecting nature, to note generally but two– one keystone factor which seems to trump all the others as this vacant-seat action moves toward resolution deserves attention first:
We just had a most-engaging (and expensive) election! Remember November 4th?
Consider this…Had the City suffered the great loss of Mr. Katz it did just before-, on-, or even immediately after-that voting day just over two months ago (instead of later, on January 7th, when he died), is there much doubt that the candidate who garnered the most votes after those Mr. Katz accrued then would already be in the vacated-seat and attending to duties? One of the reasons we have ‘runners-up’, yes?
If we truly believe that is it ‘democracy’ which makes societies most fair and workable for people, and that democracies cannot endure or function well-enough without citizens respecting the ‘rules of law’ which guide them, then we dare not flout what is the appropriate next-step here, nor waste further time, energy, or money with needless other actions in this seat-filling matter.
Now we need simply honor the next-in-line will of Santa Monica residents, as already on-record in the voting tallies of November 4th. Doing anything else would be, for various important reasons, both silly and a travesty.
David Latham, Santa Monica
Again, the City of Santa Monica is going to kill dozens of healthy trees merely for “design purposes.” These are New Zealand Christmas (Metrosideros excelsus) trees. All of them, on Colorado Blvd., on both sides of the street from Ocean Av to Lincoln Blvd., are to be torn out, hacked up, and thrown away. This so that replacements of a preferred species, Lemon Scented Gum (Eucalyptus citriodora) trees, can be planted in the holes left behind. As you read, this process has begun with the first seven trees, between 6th and 7th Streets on Colorado Blvd. already red-tagged for removal.
These New Zealand Christmas trees will not grow too large for the spaces they are living in. They are not disturbing the sidewalks. Any future sidewalk problems, if any, will be minimal. They present no hazard. Several of them are quite young and were recently planted.
They require almost no care at all. They are very well suited to our climate. All of them are healthy and thriving. They are evergreens. To remove trees Santa Monica’s Forestry Management Plan (2000) requires that the following criteria be met: the tree must be dead; be expected to die within one year; be diseased with a strong potential to spread the pathogen; be hazardous; or be unable to support itself due to extensive root damage. This is not “sustainable” behavior. We must at least follow our own existing rules, as well as come up with better ways to care for trees in our city. What is Santa Monica teaching our children about the value of life when we just kill and throw away defenseless living things as we tire of them with forever changing fashion? Why are we allowing all this thoughtless violence? Our world is alreadysuffering global warming. These trees are alive. We should not be destroying them just because we feel like it.
Cosmo Bua, Santa Monica CA