December 6, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

SMa.r.t. Column: The Opportunity to Re-unite the Residents with their City”

As election season draws to a close, we are all deciding on how to best to provide for our city’s, and our families, future.  

Our Expectations for a Livable City

Two factors have created the residents’ unprecedented concern about our future. What should we as residents expect from our city? As Livablecities.org describes it, 

“The essential character of the city, “its urban character,” evolves through a confrontation of the public and private domains; a constant exchange, a separation and coming together of these two domains. Only when inhabitants live in both domains, can the city meet its full potential for enhancing the life of each, and serve its social and cultural functions.”  

Applying this definition of a successful city to Santa Monica over the past 20 years of the residents’ lived experience, it’s clear that the instances of the essential synergistic coming together of the public and private domains has been in inexorable decline. Compounding this decline at every step has been the complete absence of clarity about what the future holds.  

How and why the residents anticipate the future of the city

When the future outlook is essentially a fog, the residents default back to using the past as a guide as to what to expect going forward.  Unless real change is made, the only outcome that trendline provides here in Santa Monica is continued deterioration in the residents’ quality of life.  

One key benefit of the uninterrupted control of the city’s direction under one political group is the uncontested link between cause and effect. The residents have entrusted to the incumbent group complete decision-making authority on every aspect of the city’s development, both culturally and physically. The result has been deep dissatisfaction with the outcomes of both. Despite all the new housing construction in the city, the city has experienced a net decline in population over the last three years according to the CA Department of Finance. The residents are voting with their feet to become ex-residents. This is a key marker of a city in decline.

Residents exclusion from decisions impacting their lived experience

This election, unlike all previous elections, has provided the residents with a clear choice in the determination of our future quality of life. In may ways, it is our last chance to significantly influence the imminent major decisions that will impact our lives for decades to come. 

Without making their case to, or asking for the consent of, the residents for the decisions that most directly impact their lived reality for decades to come, the incumbents have embraced an accelerated and unbridled out-of-scale commercial and radical residential development agenda that will permanently transform Santa Monica as we know it. 

If the potential outcomes of this agenda are such a good thing for the residents, the incumbents should have been eager to share their vision with, and obtain the consent of, the residents. The fact this is being organized under the radar of the average resident, in ways that are irreversible once implemented, adds a questionable ethical dimension to what is already a set of outcomes that have been demonstrated to be hostile to the resident’s quality of life. 

Choices for change in the city’s trajectory and the residents’ connection with their city

The choice we are making in this election is to create a new direction that is driven by, and laser focused on, the re-establishment of the residents’ essential connection to their public spaces, their downtown, essential commercial resources, and their neighborhoods. 

  • To start, the Slate is committed to transparent government. That means supporting district elections, ensuring City Staff accountability, and an end to the cycle of Council members appointing their successors.
  • Financial accountability, responsibility and transparency. Financial management would be re-oriented to active management of the city’s core problem – out of control spending and mismanagement of pension risk. All city operations will be reviewed for cost saving opportunities while also enhancing quality of services. Real Financial accountability and transparency will include enhanced and real resident oversight and advisory participation in budget and fiscal sustainability. 
  • Crime will no longer be something to manage to the minimum extent necessary to keep residents from organized opposition. It will be based on proactive objectives measures to reunite the residents and their families with their public spaces.  
  • Responsible community-based and scaled development will ensure that the residents have a central role in deciding on the character of what actually gets approved, especially as over 30 additional developments are in the planning stages with four high rises planned from Ocean Avenue to 5th Street. 
  • Use of true sustainability metrics for water and power as real guides to development scope and city policy. 
  • Maintaining and improving affordable housing rather than using that term to justify gentrification. Rent control is a life-saver – it will be protected as enshrined in the City Charter. 
  • Residents’ cultural resources to receive the highest budgetary priority rather than be viewed as a cost to be minimized. Our senior programs, swim centers and parks and programs will be reviewed and enhanced. 
  • Creating and enacting policies to encourage a robust and diverse commercial environment scaled to the city and focused on residents will help reunite the city with the residents and help diversify revenue risk

It is not an exaggeration to say that we have a once in a lifetime choice. Choosing the status quo will result in irreversible decisions that will, over time, complete the divorce of the residents to their public spaces and commercial services. Rather than encouraging the residents to vote with their feet, let’s hope they vote for positive and lasting change and elect the Slate of Eight.
Council: Phil Brock, Oscar De La Torre, Mario Fonda-Bonardi, Christine Parra
School Board: Jason Feldman, Esther Hickman, Steven Johnson
SMC College Board: Brian O’Neil

Marc L. Verville for SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow)

Thane Roberts, Architect, Robert H. Taylor AIA, Ron Goldman FAIA, Architect, Dan Jansenson, Architect, Building and Fire-Life Safety Commission, Samuel Tolkin Architect, Marc L. Verville, CPA (inactive).

For previous articles see www.santamonicaarch.wordpress.com/writings

Related Posts

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...

NPS Confirms Mountain Lion That Killed Chihuahua in Hollywood Hills Was P-22

December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

Mountain lion will not be euthanized, NPS says By Sam Catanzaro During the evening of November 9, a large animal...

Westside Ballet Sells Out the Broad Stage for 9th Year in Residence

December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

The performance company’s 49th Season of the Holiday Classic features dancers beyond the Westside The longest-running Nutcracker production in SoCal...

Local Restaurant’s Burger Named Best in the Southland

November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Hank’s Palisades’ burger named best in the Southland by the LA Times Hank’s restaurant in the Pacific Palisades and Executive...