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Letter: Response To “The Psychology Of Santa Monica Development”:

Editor’s Note: This Letter to the Editor is in response to Simone Gordon’s piece “The Psychology of Santa Monica Development” posted Thursday.

Dear Editor,

Psychology in the service of the dark side is not new – and it’s also not pretty. Rather than having a civil and rational discourse about differences of opinion with regard to land use and development policies in Santa Monica, Ms. Gordon, a supporter of the newly launched pro-development group “Santa Monica Forward,” while admitting she doesn’t know it all, has gone so far as to diagnose those who do not share her opinion.

To her, we are: “fearful, anxiety ridden, harboring an exaggerated sense of malice, suffering from serious personality disorders and emotional problems that cause us to be strident, defensive, mistrusting, unreasonable, conflicted and dysfunctional; also plagued with abandonment issues and unjustified paranoia, suspicion and distrust.”

Ms. Gordon compares those who don’t want to see Santa Monica destroyed by avaricious developers, to psychiatric patients throwing a fit and slamming themselves against padded walls. According to her, massive development in Santa Monica is inevitable and will occur whether all of the sick and unreasonable reactionaries in town buy into it, or not. Our only other option, according to Ms. Gordon, is to see Santa Monica decline into a depopulated and decaying city like Flint, Michigan. It seems she’s unaware of the protections provided to its residents by coastal cities such as Santa Barbara and Manhattan Beach.

It’s remarkable that someone such as Ms. Gordon, psychology student and consultant to developers, would condescend to “advise, protect and help” residents of Santa Monica as we “navigate this inevitable change and hopefully learn how to be more constructive, restructure our cognition, get more realistic, regulate our affect and modify our destructive reactionary behaviors.”

I wouldn’t stoop so low as to counter Ms. Gordon with the kind of smug, contemptuous, arrogance and insult that she employs, all the while disguising her aggressive doctrines in the half-baked terms of pop psychology.

Not being a credentialed psychologist, I wouldn’t pretend to know what to recommend in terms of effective therapy for this kind of pathology, but perhaps a good psychic-neurosurgeon should be called in.

I would, however, recommend to anyone wanting to know what makes a city happy to simply ask its residents. In the case of zoning and land-use policies, thousands of residents have spoken out loud and clear. They/we have said, “We don’t want Too tall, Too big, Too much!” We want a livable city with sunlight, air and a relaxed, non-congested lifestyle. And we want the City Council, Planning Commission and City staff to listen to us and not to favor developers. We are genuinely concerned about the very real consequences of over-development such as increased traffic and the degradation of our city’s character. And, lest we forget about the drought, what about water?! We have researched the facts and put forth logical means by which affordable housing, walkable streets and bike-paths can be incorporated into our city without selling its very soul to developers. We will not be silenced.

Gloria Garvin, PhD

Santa Monica

in Opinion
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