We are undergoing difficult transitions. Heck, even CEQA is changing. There is a lot of pain amongst drivers caught in congestion, especially those who still expect to drive themselves wherever they want to go.
Many can’t see beyond their windshields and seem blinded by a sea of red lights. All alone in their cars, they are angry and yelling, stop!
But we need leaders who are not blinded and can see the complex big picture of traffic woes, how we got here, how to get out, community values — and global warming. Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor is such a leader and can see a way out of this mess and through the pain to the other side.
In December, she was awarded the Streetsie Award by Streetsblog, for Politician of the Year. Pam, in her free time from her primary job as a historical preservation consultant, has committed her life to the public good:
* Santa Monica City Council for 20 years.
* Metro Board of Directors 13 years.
* Chair of the Expo Line Construction Authority.
* President of the Southern California Association of Governments.
* Board of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), a non-profit group looking to provide technical expertise and services to local governments looking to lead the transition to more sustainable places.
Santa Monica’s system of campaign contributions allows candidates without personal wealth to run for office. Council members should be held to the law regarding campaign contributions.
Pam has followed the law. Santa Monica has a reputation and history of clean and transparent politics. In fact, this dedication to ethics can become a fault when we throw out the most knowledgable and experienced community members who want to represent us, such as happened with architects on the planning commission. Many in the community are expressing the desire that Pam should have self-financed her campaign. But she is not a wealthy woman and has dedicated her best energies to moving through the painful present to a better future for us and our children.
Many Santa Monica residents don’t know the treasure they have in Pam O’Connor. Of all those on the council she has the best understanding of what works and what doesn’t in long-range transportation planning, how to battle global-warming, and what kind of world we can leave our children. I have voted for Pam and want her to continue to make decisions in line with her beliefs, which many people share, including some developers, donations or not. I would be angry if she recused herself from voting on the Bergamot Transit Village project. She represents me and many others. So, I say, go, Pam, go!