The lawsuit and referendum against the Hines Project is a big step in the right direction, but the issue at hand is far more than just the Hines project in particular and over development in general.
Residents need to be aware of just who benefits from development revenues. Developers are not the only special interest that determines who gets elected to the Santa Monica City Council.
I’m talking about the elephant in the room feeding at the public trough; the powerful city employee associations and 200 member Santa Monica Renters Rights. The 13 member SMRR Steering Committee is running scared; changing sides and abandoning the four current members of the council they endorsed in the last election, attempting to deceive the residents by belatedly distancing themselves from developer interests.
Every one on the current council has received endorsements and support from SMRR, city employees and/or developers! Already, several candidates are already jumping on the Referendum bandwagon to run for council this year. Opportunistic sycophants are toadying up to SMMR and the various city employee associations in the hope of receiving their endorsements and contributions; some may even be supporting the following:
(1) an immediate moratorium on all development not approved by the residents who are directly impacted.
(2) repealing LUCE.
None will they be:
(3) speaking out against cronyism, conflict of interest, or
(4) repudiating any past or present council or SMRR members employed by the city at six figure salaries, or received excessive consultant fees, or city contracts.
None of this is against the law, but it is highly unethical!
SMRR will not release the names of any of their members, or any present and past members of the City Council, who work for the city, school district, receive city contracts or consultant fees, etc. Nor will they release the names any SMRR members living in low income public housing.
As long as transparency and accountability is lacking in this city it will remain almost impossible to investigate the egregious conflict of interest and cronyism, so the coalition between SMRR, City Employees and developers will continue to influence elections, AND such rampant corruption will persist, unless a new council implements a Virtual Town Hall on the city website.
I will support any referendum that calls for a recall of any elected or appointed official that is part of the current ruling coalition. Unfortunately, (Santa Monica Daily Press columnist) Bill Bauer made sure that won’t happen when he ambushed Armen Melkonians into going on record that he would not use Residocracy to recall members of the council.
Jon Louis Mann