October 24, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

SMa.r.t. Column: ENOUGH!

Residents are lamenting the turn our beach town has taken in the last few years, and sadly it is not for the better. Mom & Pop stores and services are closing. Crime is up significantly. Homelessness seems to have increased, and from reading the various comments made on the local Santa Monica Facebook pages, there are more violent right wing comments being made within the various local pages. As recent violent incidents have occurred there are even those few who have posted about wanting concealed carry permits. The wild west all over again. One wonders and speculates about the root causes of this decline in our quality of life.

I pointed out in a previous column that our police vehicles were once blue and white, representative of a more peaceful beachfront town, but changed to a more aggressive urban presentation with the cars becoming traditional large city black & whites. And now there seems even to be unmarked, black ‘stealth’ SUV’s on the street. Why the shift? The change as I remember seemed to have begun when the City started re-writing it’s General Plan and LUCE (Land Use Circulation Element) which, as we witness, was the beginning of the intensive over-development that we are experiencing. About ten years now of accelerated over-development, most especially within the expanded downtown borders apparently requires that urban police ‘look’.

In last years election, the residents, voted to limit the number of years council members will be able to serve. Many of the council members are deeply, and apparently safely, encapsulated as members, year after year, due to the one-party power structure that seems to control our City politics. And it was about time for the term limits, as there were, and are, members sitting right now that have been there for well over twenty years and obviously are a part of the problem in the land speculation and over-development that has caused the decline in our quality of life. Faced with term limits may in fact be one of the motivating elements for them to continue their fight against what are already court-mandated district elections, at what appears to be at a cost to the residents in excess of $20 million, though no one seems to be able to find the exact and projected costs to date. It is also ironic that at least one, though there had been two, council member(s) also live(d) in rent-controlled apartments, and yet by their continued approval of expensive, high rent, small, non-family oriented units, long-time residents and lower-income families have been economically forced to leave their homes. There is something wrong with the system that is allowing this to occur.

SMa.r.t., over the last several years, have been describing how to better plan “responsibly” rather than in the reckless manner that you see around you. It is worth noting of course, that support for continued over-development seemingly comes solely from those people that stand to gain, one way or another, from the growth and development devouring our town. People that cannot see the difference between downtown Los Angeles, and our beach facing Ocean Avenue, for example. People that seem to think lining Ocean Ave., and Ocean Front walk, with large scale multi-story commercial, hotel/condo projects, currently three in the pipeline, is desirable. Unfortunately some of those ‘people’ also occupy seats on the City Council. We at SMa.r.t., and it appears six of the seven neighborhood groups, are also very concerned about the continuing processing, by the council, of our resident/City owned land at 4th/5th & Arizona, a proposed private development of a 12-story commercial/hotel project on the site contrary to the “Central Park” or “Public Plaza” that the majority of residents seem to desire. And note that within the newly created “downtown”, bounded by Ocean Ave to Lincoln, and the Freeway to Wilshire, and described in the City’s Downtown Community Plan, there is no land area designated as park or open space. It is hard to think of the commercial 3rd St Promenade as ‘open space’.

Some supporters of the over-development we are experiencing attempt to ‘justify’ it by crying “housing crisis”. Yet the proposed, more than 350,000 sq. ft. 12 story project at 4th/5th & Arizona, even with a small corner of the site left open as a small plaza, will probably have a daily work occupancy of close to 2000, but with only 48 housing units, further exacerbating the jobs/housing imbalance. And typical of the development approvals, in spite of ordinances that require 30 percent “affordable” units (much too little), it is our understanding that of the multitude of units approved in the last 5+ years, it appears only about 12 percent are deemed affordable.

So, we point out the negatives that are being foisted upon the residents by developers with the obvious blessing of a handful of people on the Council and planning department, and commissions that don’t even require their members to be residents.

And while several on this council are fighting hard to appeal the District Election judgement, there will still be another election next year, and it will be up to all of us to show up at the polls and vote for some new blood, as it seems very clear that unless stopped, the current political structure at City Hall is going to keep on doing exactly what it has been doing for the last many years. Enough!

Bob Taylor, AIA
for SMa.r.t.

Santa Monica Architects For A Responsible Tomorrow
https://santamonicaarch.wordpress.com

Related Posts

City Council Endorsements: Santa Monica Needs a Change

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Santa Monica City Council endorsements from the Santa Monica Mirror The following are two endorsement articles from Santa Monica Mirror...

Crime in Santa Monica Is Declining: Santa Monica Beat – October, 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Crime in Santa Monica Is Declining * 335 Homeless Residents Housed...

Forma Expanding to Main Street: Westside Food Scene

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Westside Food Scene October 22, 2020 By Kerry Slater Forma Expanding to Main Street Popular Santa Monica Italian restaurant Forma...

California Supreme Court to Hear Santa Monica Voting Rights Case

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Court to rule on future of at-large elections in Santa Monica By Sam Catanzaro The California Supreme Court will determine...

LA County Says Younger Adults and Teenagers Are Driving COVID-19 Cases

October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

68 percent of new cases among people between ages of 12 and 50 By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health...

Santa Monica Has Issued Over 40 Face Covering Citations

October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

City expanding COVID-19 compliance efforts with the addition of “Health Ambassadors”  By Sam Catanzaro The City of Santa Monica says...

Grand Jury Indicts Former Angel Employee in Tyler Skaggs’ Fatal Overdose

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

Fort Wayne grand jury indicts Eric Prescott Kay on drug distribution and drug conspiracy charges By Sam Catanzaro A federal...

YogaWorks Studios Closing Amid Pandemic: Santa Monica Beat – October, 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * YogaWorks Studios Closing Amid Pandemic * Carjacking Suspects in Custody All...

Edify TV: More Bike Lanes for Westside

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

A Westside city is adding more miles of protected bike lanes. Learn more in this video made possible by Santa...

Outgoing Santa Monica Police Chief Set to Receive Nearly $100K of Severance Pay

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

Santa Monica City Council approves retirement agreement for outgoing chief Cynthia Renaud By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica’s outgoing police chief...

Intravenous Vitamin Therapy: A Natural, Effective Solution for the Flu

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

By Dr. Mahboubeh Hashemi, ND and Dr. Matthew Cavaiola, ND  As fall and winter are fast approaching, many people, and...

Edify TV: Deal to House Homeless People Near Freeways

October 18, 2020

October 18, 2020

After months of negotiations, the City and County of LA reached a $300 million deal to house thousands of homeless...

Santa Monica’s Police Chief Retiring

October 16, 2020

October 16, 2020

SMPD Cynthia Renaud announces retirement, to be replaced by former Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica has announced...

Virtual Staging Changing The Way We Sell Property?

October 16, 2020

October 16, 2020

Today on Westside Cribz, Chuck Lorre buys his neighbors home, Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk selling his Santa...