Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) issued a statement this week, claiming it “strongly objects” to the Miramar Hotel’s highly misleading full-page advertisements in the City’s local papers that seeking to open “an interest list for potential residents” of apartments they might build if they get approval for their massive expansion project.
The statement also claimed the Miramar’s weblink to sign up on the interest list “reveals the ad to be a grim deception.”
“There is in fact no list that gets one in line for an affordable apartment. Instead, the sign-up page appears to be a ruse to collect contact info from people they can recruit to support the project,” said SMRR co-chair Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein.
The SMRR steering committee voted on May 10 to condemn the Miramar advertisement “as cynical and deceptive.”
“Santa Monica holds economic diversity high amongst its most cherished values. Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights has fiercely fought for and defended affordable housing as the key and indispensable pillar supporting our community’s economic diversity,” Tahvildaran-Jesswein said.
“The developers of the Miramar Hotel are exploiting low-income families’ desperate need for housing in a deceptive ploy to promote their massive expansion project,” SMRR steering committee member and former Mayor Denny Zane stated. “They want to claim community support for high-rise luxury condos we don’t need by playing off our real need for affordable housing.”
Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown reportedly brought the advertisement to SMRR’s attention.
“There’s never been any discussion of letting this hotel make up its own rules on who gets affordable housing,” McKeown reportedly told the SMRR steering committee. “We need to protect working families and fixed-income seniors from being suckered and exploited.”
Michael Tarbet, a SMRR help-line volunteer, reportedly agreed.
“It’s important to make sure that truly affordable housing units are created and matched to the local workers and residents who need them. The Miramar’s goal of gaining support for its expansion by this artifice has righteously backfired. They owe an apology to each low-income person they led on, and to the community as a whole.”