May 24, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

Dear Editor,

Time and again I’ve read in the Mirror how the City of Santa Monica pats itself on its shoulder about its streetscape improvements in progress. Parimal M. Rohit, a Mirror Contributor, wrote in the Mirrors in July 29-Aug. 4, 2011: “…enhance the streetscape environment to create an inviting pedestrian experience… seeking to improve the City’s aesthetic appeal.” I wonder when the members of the city council ever took a walk down 11th Street between Colorado Avenue and Olympic Boulevard. If the council ever had, it would have been a “pedestrian experience” they never forget.

When I got out of my car on the Salvation Army parking lot bordering Olympic Boulevard the other day, the smell of urine overwhelmed me and grew worse as I approached the store’s entrance. Due to the hot summer weather, the front door was left open. The smell inside the store was as sickening as it was outside.

Apparently, the pungent, air-filled stench was coming from two outhouses the City has permanently placed on the sidewalk of 11th Street, one in front of Bourget Bros., the other at the north wall of the Salvation Army building, for the convenience of day workers offering their services to Bourget Bros.’s customers. While supplying toilets for the human need of decreasing osmotic pressures during the digestion process is a noble gesture, but what noble gesture is it for the constant stream of Salvation Army customers frequenting the store Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the Salvation Army employees having to inhale the stench coming from the outhouses day-in and day-out? (And please do not stay around when Gump does its pickup of the filled containers — you will never go the Salvation Army or Bourget Bros. again.)

If Bourget Bros.’s customers benefit by the day workers, Bourget Bros. should allow the day workers to use their bathrooms inside their building. I don’t think that it is the City’s responsibility to supply toilets on sidewalks for people in need of one. Using a bathroom is a private affair. No one should relieve himself in front of other people and expose them to such stinky smell.

Rather than upgrading the “pedestrian experience” elsewhere in the City and “achieve an active social environment,” can we rid ourselves of the portable outhouses and create a healthy environment for the citizens of our City, which considers itself sustainable, green and superior in its environmental programs to all other cities in Southern California?

The City has created countless organizations and programs, honors its members with awards for their “significant achievements” in the areas of sustainable development, social responsibility, and stewardship of the natural environment. Yet, it allows an entire neighborhood (on and around 11th Street) to be used as a public bathroom.

Unless this situation is immediately remedied, all I can say is that the City has utterly failed in fostering a healthy pedestrian experience, i.e., an aesthetic culture the citizens of this City rightfully deserve. A culture of sustainability in cities, colleges, and businesses.

Monika Bialas,

Santa Monica

in Opinion
Related Posts

​​Doubt Removed: Oil Refiners Gouging Us

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist There was some room for doubt back in February, when gasoline prices rose precipitously: Until the...

Is the Big Housing Crunch Mostly Fiction?

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist In some parts of California, there is definitely a housing crunch: small supplies of homes for...

Is Gelson’s Our Future? Bigger Is Not Better & Not Necessary! – Part 2

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

The dream of our beachfront city is about to become a nightmare! Just imagine a tsunami of these projects washing...

Column From Santa Monica Mayor Himmelrich: We Walk the Talk

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

By Sue Himmelrich, Santa Moncia Mayor  I like the SMa.r.t. architects. I often agree with them. But in allowing Mark...

Is Gelson’s Our Future? Bigger Is Not Better!

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

It’s appalling to see what’s happening in our city – projects recently built or about to be approved – in...

Renting Your Second Home

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

If you are among the many Americans who own a second home that you occasionally use as a vacation getaway,...

Column: Cities Fight to Maintain Distinctive Characters

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist Anyone who knows California well will realize that Palo Alto does not look much like nearby...

SMa.r.t. Column: Gelson’s, Boxed-In

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

This week we are re-visiting an article from 2018 regarding the Miramar project, by simply replacing the word “Miramar” with...

Column: Are You Talking Yourself Out of Saving for Retirement? Here’s How to Break the Habit

May 5, 2022

May 5, 2022

Saving for retirement can be an abstract concept. It’s something we all know we should do, but the farther away...

SMa.r.t. Column: Failure to Plan…

April 30, 2022

April 30, 2022

Over the last approximately two years your City has been busy trying to respond to new California laws that are...

Letter to Editor: Your “Standing Firm With Santa Monica” Initiative

April 25, 2022

April 25, 2022

The following is an open letter to Councilmember Sue Himmelrich from Santa Monica resident Arthur Jeon regarding a proposed transfer...

SMa.r.t. Column: Planning The Real Future

April 24, 2022

April 24, 2022

In the 1970s, renowned USC architecture professor Ralph Knowles developed a method for planning and designing cities that would dramatically...

SMa.r.t. Column: New City Financial Plan: The Resident Homeowner Bank

April 15, 2022

April 15, 2022

Part II: Who pays the proposed transfer tax and where does the money go? Last week, we introduced the proposed...

Column: NIMBYs Getting a Bad Rap

April 8, 2022

April 8, 2022

By Tom Elias Rarely has a major group of Californians suffered a less deserved rash of insults and attacks than...

SMa.r.t. Column: New City Financial Plan – The Resident Homeowner Bank

April 8, 2022

April 8, 2022

Part 1 of 2 In this two-part article, we will discuss both the proposed transfer tax ballot initiative and the...