December 8, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Opinion: Missed Tackles, Misplaced Accolades

Our Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem recently authored an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times (7/12/18) deriding the lawsuit that is pending against our City’s at-large election system by residents of the Pico Neighborhood. The article discussed the major city issues that the council has “tackled” successfully over the past few years and argued that a City Council elected through neighborhood districts would be too fragmented to work on issues that affect all residents. The trial of the Pico Neighborhood Association and Maria Loya versus the City of Santa Monica commences August 1 in a Los Angeles courtroom.

SM.a.r.t. has already made its position clear on the hoped outcome of the upcoming trial. We believe that neighborhood district representation will give rise to neighborhood-oriented advocates on our city council; lower campaign costs for all candidates and allow residents to have a stronger voice in our town. It is interesting that Mayor Ted Winterer and Mayor Pro-Tem Gleam Davis stated that they have been able to tackle significant issues, including crime, homelessness, affordable housing, mobility, economic growth, educational opportunity and community wellbeing. Since they used football terminology, we’ll use a little of our own.

Crime is up 18.5 percent over 24 months. Assaults, Robberies, and violent crime are up even more. Our City Council is gathering splinters on the bench.

Homelessness is down in L.A. County and L.A. City; up in Santa Monica. It appears to be a missed tackle.

Latest news relating to homelessness.

Affordable housing programs have given tidbits to our residents in need and provided developers with millions in profit. Another missed tackle.

Mobility is a mess. Crowded Streets, virtual traffic standstills, scooters and bicycles running amuck and pedestrians at risk. They haven’t even tried to tackle this problem. Their pants have no grass stains, and their helmets are still in the locker room.

The economic engine works to pay down pension liability and create more developer profits. Meanwhile, independent businesses are forced out by exorbitant rents. On top of which, our “powerful” economic engine generates infrastructure decay, high sales taxes, and even higher utility taxes. Where’s the benefit for our residents? Once again, nothing tackled.

Our wellbeing is suffering, from noise pollution to crime to a shortage of park space, the City’s studies have shown that our residents don’t feel particularly well. Have we even tried to tackle these issues? The City Council must have decided not to suit up that day.

We give Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) millions and provide sweetheart deals for Santa Monica College (SMC), yet our high school graduates still have to pay to attend SMC (only 4.4 percent go), and our district continuously teeters on insolvency. We haven’t tackled anything.

Honestly, it appears that our neighborhoods have no representation. Instead, the constituency that seems to matter is the neighborhood group, “The Developers.” Other than that select, moneyed group our residents have no representation. Council Members appear to not know about occurrences in our city’s neighborhoods, and they don’t want to tackle the problems inherent to each of our future council districts. The council member’s arguments would have an air of plausibility if there weren’t 11,400 people per square mile, a daily 150,000 influx of workers and 8.7 million yearly visitors. There is nobody to block for the 94,000 of us who live here. The defensive line is porous.

On July 20 Santa Monica’s hardworking Mayor Winterer penned a column for the community in which he highlighted city achievements over the past six months. He shone his spotlight on the near future of Santa Monica. In skimming the article, a couple of things stood out. One paragraph talked about city employee compensation and pensions. He discussed the citizen audit panel and the employee compensation study by an independent firm. Conveniently omitted from his comments was the fact that the City Council has only undertaken this review and passed new recommendations after a significant outcry by community members. Even then, the audit committee was disbanded rather than continued as an ongoing citizen oversight unit. Our compensation crisis is still looming. Neither Santa Monica’s senior city staff nor the city council has designed a playbook that will significantly stem the rise in public salaries.

He praised the new (under construction) City Services Building for potentially saving our community $10 million a year in offsite leases. He neglected to mention that we will not see any savings until the 15th year of its operation as the building, with interest, costs approximately $142 Million. He lauded the upcoming construction of the multi-use sports field at the Civic. It was approved in the Civic Center Specific Plan a decade and a half ago. It has taken the efforts of hundreds of dedicated Santa Monicans to push the City Council into allocating the funds needed to add this green space to a desolate parking lot.

Mayor Winterer admits that with summer upon us “it’s crazy out there” and that the City is playing catch-up with e-scooter rules. It seems to me that the city should have stopped the “end-around” of our regulations and taken a time-out to pro-actively regulate this new personal mobility option before it became a problem. Bird and Lime are on our 10-yard line and have already scored numerous times off our City Council. It seems our team hasn’t read the playbook.

Being a City Councilmember should mean accountability to your neighbors, doing the little things in a city that make a difference for the people down the street. I don’t see that happening here. The big vanity projects get built that allow City Councilmembers and City Staff to puff out their chests, but are they for you? I don’t think you can convince most residents that $142 million city hall annexes, a $2.3 million park restroom and $9 million stupid bus stools are benefiting us, the residents of Santa Monica.

Unfortunately, the tackling is non-existent and spending millions to fight district elections is just more of our money… down the drain.

Phil Brock for SMart (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow)

Thane Roberts AIA, Architect, Robert H. Taylor AIA, Ron Goldman FAIA, Architect, Dan Jansenson, Architect, Building and Fire-Life Safety Commission, Samuel Tolkin Architect, Mario Fonda-Bonardi, AIA, Planning Commissioner, Phil Brock, Santa Monica Arts Commission. For previous articles see www.santamonicaarch.wordpress.com/writings

 

 

 

in News
Related Posts

Paint:Lab Hosts Toy Drive and Scholarships for Young Artists

December 7, 2022

December 7, 2022

The Paint:Lab in Santa Monica is hosting winter camps and a toy drive. Learn how to get involved in this...

Local Artist Carries out Acorn Planting Project in the Santa Monica Mountains

December 6, 2022

December 6, 2022

Rebecca Youseff raising environmentalism awareness through art By Keemia Zhang  Los Angeles artist Rebecca Youseff is carrying out a project...

Samohi Students Make a Splash With Plankton Science Experiment

December 6, 2022

December 6, 2022

There’s a big world waiting to be discovered. By exploring what’s in their backyard Santa Monica High School students learned...

Los Angeles City Council Committee Moves Forward on Contentious Scattergood Power Plant Plan

December 6, 2022

December 6, 2022

Plan would shift power to green hydrogen instead of natural gas By Dolores Quintana On December 1, the Los Angeles...

Venice Sign Lighting Celebrates 11th Anniversary

December 6, 2022

December 6, 2022

Venice celebrates the 11th year of lighting the Venice sign on Windward ave for the holidays!.Video sponsored by School of...

AstraZeneca to acquire Santa Monica Biotech Company for $320 Million

December 6, 2022

December 6, 2022

Neogene bought by biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca  AstraZeneca recently announced an agreement to acquire Santa Monica-based Neogene Therapeutics Inc. (Neogene), a...

SMMUSD to Appoint Interim Superintendent Next Week

December 5, 2022

December 5, 2022

District looks to replace Dr. Ben Drati who is leaving to head up the Bellflower Unified School District The Santa...

New Report Predicts Rents Will Increase In Some L.A Neighborhoods: Santa Monica Real Estate Report – December 5th, 2022

December 5, 2022

December 5, 2022

Property, Developments, And Listings On The Westside.*  1920’s Vintage Mediterranean Listed For $8.3m*  New Report Predicts Rents Will Increase In...

Construction for 100-Unit NMS Lincoln Nearly Complete

December 3, 2022

December 3, 2022

Five-story project at 1550 Lincoln Boulevard almost done By Dolores Quintana NMS Lincoln is nearly finished after two years of...

 LA Home Prices Decline for Third Month in a Row

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

 Forbes analist shows pullback from buyers in Los Angeles home market By Dolores Quintana After a seller’s market reigned, the...

SMa.r.t. Column: An Urgent Appeal to Our New City Council & Management

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

The future lies within our cities, but our cities are crumbling! Cities are home to over 1/2 the world’s population...

“Art at the Airport” and 18th Street Arts Center Host Annual Winter Party

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Free event set for December 10 By Keemia Zhang The local organization “Art at the Airport” has collaborated with the...

Lyft Removes Scooters and Bikes From Santa Monica

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Santa Monica down to three shared-mobility companies By Dolores Quintana Lyft has removed its micro-mobility services from the cities of...

Separation of the Santa Monica-Malibu School District Moves Forward

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Public engagement to begin in early 2023  By Dolores Quintana The separation of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD)...

Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against Rihanna’s Lingerie Line Resolved With $1.2 Million Stipulated Judgment

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Lawsuit brought forth by Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office and other offices against Savage X Fenty A consumer protection lawsuit...