September 28, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Planning Commission Vote Sends One Council Member Headed For The Door:

The task of making appointments to the Santa Monica Planning Commission became heated at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 23 with Councilwoman Pam O’Connor almost storming out the meeting in dramatic fashion.

Frustrated with the way discussion was going late into the City Council meeting – namely that Council seemed poised to vote on all three open seats after there was a late withdrawal from incumbent Carter Rubin – O’Connor began packing up her things as Mayor Kevin McKeown had the floor. She had reached a boiling point it would seem.

“So you are going to leave instead of vote,” McKeown said to O’Connor as she got up from her seat at the dais.

O’Connor headed for the exit partly out of frustration, but mostly because McKeown had mentioned earlier that he wanted to get all the votes accomplished  that night because all Councilmembers were present, something that hasn’t happened since May 5, according to McKeown.

Her exit, perhaps, would have halted the entire Planning Commission appointment vote.  

“We should really try to act civil here,” Mayor Pro Tempore Tony Vazquez quickly said into the microphone as O’Connor made her way towards the exit door. “This isn’t the way you conduct business, I mean come on.”

The back and forth continued as O’Connor fired back halfway out of the room. What was said wasn’t picked up by City TV cameras that film the meetings.

“You don’t get your way and you walk out? We should behave like professionals here,” Vazquez said in response.

They volleyed a few back-and-forths before O’Connor made her way back to the dais to address Council in the microphone, on record.

“I am being told that the only way that we are not going to do this is if we don’t have a full Council,” she said, regaining composure. “So if that’s the threshold, I can help,” she got in before McKeown and Vazquez both began talking into their microphones, filling the Chamber with competing voices.

“Can you both just hold,” McKeown finally interrupted, taking control of the floor, both arms spread out, palms up, as a sort of peaceful gesture towards Vazquez and O’Connor, who were on opposite sides of the dais.

McKeown was able to regain control of the meeting and the matter was taken to a vote.

Councilmember Winterer made the first motion, seconded by Councilmember Sue Himmelrich, to go through with approving three Planning Commission appointments slated for the evening.

“I would support doing all three tonight,” said Himmelrich. “Primarily as I look at the applications, there’s only one person on this list that has applied after March of this year, so there has been plenty of time to interview all of them…everything else is from November and December of last year.”

It failed 4-3 with Councilmembers Gleam Davis, Pam O’Connor, Terry O’Day, and Tony Vazquez dissenting.

Vazquez made a second motion, seconded by O’Day, to vote on two of the three seats, allowing more time for Council to review applicants for the late withdrawal seat and giving time for the public, if they so wish, to apply for the position.

The motion passed six to one, with only Winterer dissenting, saying that for him it was all three or nothing.

When all was said and done, longtime Landmarks Commissioner Nina Fresco was appointed to replace Jim Ries on the Planning Commission and current Commission Chair Jason Parry was reappointed.

Carter Rubin, who was up for reappointment on Tuesday, withdrew his name in the lead-up to the meeting. His replacement will be decided at a future council meeting when all Council members are present and after they have all had time to review candidates.

It was a short lived position for Rubin – he was only appointed to the Planning Commission in late March of this year to fill the seat left vacant by Himmelrich who had to resign after being elected to City Council last November.

in News
Related Posts

OpEd: The Miramar Project Will Be a New Architectural Jewel

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

The Miramar Hotel has been a central part of Santa Monica’s history and an integral part of the community for...

Edify TV: Trident Center Redevelopment

September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020

The Westside’s Trident Center is getting a major overhaul and new name as part of a flurry of development in...

Miramar Project to go Before City Council Tuesday

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Councilmember Gleam Davis asks City Attorney whether she should rescue self from vote  By Sam Catanzaro  Santa Monica lawmakers will...

SMa.r.t. Column: Needed, A Heart Transplant

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

We have written about adaptive reuse in previous columns and have postulated that with proper incentives, the existing one, two...

Edify TV: Boulders Blocking Westside Encampment

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

City officials recently removed boulders placed on sidewalks by some Westside residents to prevent the formation of a homeless encampment....

Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? Santa Monica Beat – September, 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? * Increases In...

SMC to Be Online for Winter and Spring 2021

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

College cites lack of available vaccine  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has announced it will be delivering classes...

Edify TV: Al Fresco Program Ending?

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

During a COVID-19 pandemic many restaurants have found aid through the City of Los Angeles’ Al Fresco dining program, but...

Local Breweries Say They Have Been Unfairly Shuttered as County Passes Grant Program

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

$10 million grant program approved by Board of Supervisors  By Sam Catanzaro Will a $10 million grant program be enough...

Santa Monica Loses Vegan Restaurant

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

Space housing Santa Monica vegan restaurant Viva Vegan up for lease By Sam Catanzaro A vegan restaurant in Santa Monica...

Risks Posed by Wildfire Smoke

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

UCLA pulmonologist on how people can tell if the wildfires are making them sick By Toi Creel Even if you...

Will Los Angeles County See Another Spike in COVID-19 Cases?

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

County health officials keeping close eye on data this week By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health officials are monitoring...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Fire Department Fighting Blazes Across State

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

The Santa Monica Fire Department has been busy helping combat wildfires burning throughout the state. Learn more in this video...

Lawmakers and Residents Take Steps Towards Police Reform

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Santa Monica residents will soon have more control of policing after local lawmakers took significant steps to reform the Santa...

2020 Census Due September 30th: Santa Monica Beat – September, 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * 2020 Census Due September 30th * Bobcat Fire Reaches Historical Size...