September 26, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

S.M.a.r.t. Election Recommendation

Editor’s note: The following endorsements should not be attributed to the Santa Monica Mirror. They are the opinion of Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow, a group of columnists who are not affiliated with the Santa Monica Mirror’s editorial staff. 

Many of you have voted already, but for those that are still debating here’s our recommendations. Needless to say, a diverse group like ours has many differing opinions which are continuously eveolving. We are indicating our preferences, but also where our group was divided:

US Senate: Alex Padilla

City Council: Lana Negrete, Armen Melkonians, Albin Gielicz

These are candidates who most likely would advocate for a SMa.r.t. growth agenda instead of the super growth proposed by candidates such as  Ellis Raskin, Caroline Torosis, Jesse Zwick 

SMMUSD School Board: Esther Hickman, Stacy Rouse, Angela DiGaetano, Miles Warner

We desperately need all new blood on our School Board

Santa Monica College Board: Sion Roy, Tom Peters, Nancy Greenstein, Patrick Acosta

This was a tough call, but we wanted a blend of new and old College Trustees

Rent Control Board: Kurt Gonska, Ericka Lesley, Daniel Ivanov

There are three openings and three candidates so voting for a particular candidate makes no difference in this case as all will be elected.

State Senator 24th District: Ben Allen

State assembly: Rick Zbur

This was also a divided vote with Lois Abramson. Both candidates are Democrats

United State Representative: Ted Lieu

Santa Monica Measure CS: Yes

Raises Hotel tax 1% paid by overnight visitors

Santa Monica Measure GS: No

Raises property sales taxes excessively to $56 per $1,000 sales cost, and has the negative side effect of encouraging altering ownership structures to avoid paying the tax.

Santa Monica Measure PB yes

Allows flexibility in residency requirements for the City’s personnel Board and shortens Board’s term to 4 years (from 5 years) making it in line with other SM Boards and Commissions

Santa Monica Measure DT: Yes but conflicted 

We are divided on this competing property sales tax increase. It is the antidote to GS with better wording, (has a 10 year sunset clause) lower cost  ($25 per $1000),  and less side effects but still increases taxes.  However note that our  City is in dire financial straits.

Santa Monica Measure DTS Yes 

This is complementary to DT and is advisory as to how funds are to be spent. This only goes into effect if DT passes.

Santa Monica Measure HMP yes

Sets tax on Marijuana sales, effectively making it more expensive but providing City funds.Unclear why a single class of products should be taxed higher than others.

Santa Monica Measure RC Yes or No

Has both some good (occupancy requirements after tenant  evictions) and bad (locks maximum annual rent increase to 3% and 0.8% for six months from February to August 2023) into the City charter which is not the place to tie the hands of the Rent Control Board.  

Santa Monica Measure EM Yes 

Gives Rent Control Board exceptional powers (eg up to disallowing any rent increases) if an emergency is declared by the President, or Governor, or County or City Council or County administrators. Might be useful in a massive earthquake when tenants and everybody need all the help they can get. 

Santa Monica Measure SMC No 

More resident/tenant exploitation for the College who still owes the City $20M and this measure has no provisions for net zero buildings and other sustainability and resilience elements.

County Supervisor: Bob Hertzberg

Divided between Bob Hertzberg and Lindsey.Hovarth Both are qualified competitive candidates. Bob may be better on homeless/mental health issues vital to Santa Monica. Bob is a very good more traditional candidate while the other is up and coming. 

Sheriff: Luna

Superior Court Judges: We don’t really have super detailed information on all of these candidates but after talking to a practicing attorney we are leaning toward: Anna Slotkin Reitano, Fernanda Marai Barreto, Renee Yolanda Chang, Melissa Lyons, Carolyn Park, and Patrick Hare

County Measure A: No

If the Supervisors want the Sheriff to report to that body, they should put the proposal before the voters. This proposal is aimed at the antics of the current Sheriff. The people will make that decision in a few days.

County Measure C No

This is a cousin of SMP. It Taxes marijuana producers, laboratories, testers etc a certain amount per square foot of retail, gross receipts etc etc in unincorporated areas. Just makes business more complicated and expensive in unincorporated  areas as the County competes with Cities for the marijuana dollar. 

For State offices we are voting the straight Democratic ticket:

Governor: Gavin Newsom (vote holding your nose over his misguided development policies)

Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis

Secretary of State: Shirley Weber

Controller: Malia Cohen 

Tresurer: Fiona Ma

Attorney General:Rob Bonta

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara

Board of Equalization: Tony Vasquez

Superintendent of Instruction: Tony Thurmond

State Measure 1 Abortion (Constitutional Ammendment) Yes

Reproductive freedom and pro abortion measure.

State Measure 26 Tribal Gambling (Constitutional Ammendment): No

Expands gambling: always a questionable funding strategy for government.

State Measure 27 On line Gambling (Constitutional Ammendment): No 

Expands gambling: always a questionable funding strategy for government.

State Measure 28 Increases public school art funding (Initiative): Yes

Art and music are always the first to get cut so they need formal support.

State Measure 29 Kidney Dialysis (Initiative)No

Makes this treatment more expensive by requiring higher level professional involvement.Its a recurring item.

State Measure 30 electric vehicle incentives (Initiative) Yes

While this  is a subsidy for Tesla, Uber etc.,  we do need the electric charging insfrastructure to be built out ASAP.

 State Measure 31 Continues prohibition of certain flavored tobacco (Referendum): Yes

State Judicial

We recommend a yes vote on all these 16 judges, as we have no particular knowledge of the judges or know of any particular scandal. They are already sitting and this vote is unlikely to change that. 

We hope this helps in your voting choices or if not, will stimulate debate over issues and candidates.

By S.M.a.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 & Planning Commissioner, Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA & Planning Commissioner, Marc Verville M.B.A, CPA (Inactive), Michael Jolly, AIR-CRE.

For previous articles see

in Opinion
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