Monday night, a group gathered outside of Santa Monica City Hall to stand with
the people of Ferguson MO. Tomorrow, November 25, we will gather AGAIN in front
of Santa Monica City Hall @ 5pm. We must not let these aggressions go unanswer-ed.Join us, Bring candles.




As we have previously noted, the current City Council will end its run at the conclusion of tonight’s meeting. At the next City Council meeting on December
9,the new City Council will be sworn in and take their seats on the dais immed-

Santa Monica residents’ relationship with the retiring Council has been tumult-
uous at best, as the Council majority took campaign contributions and orders
from developers and dutifully did their bidding, over the objections of most residents – until Armen Melkonians’ Residocracy restored residents’ autonomy by reviving direct democracy and the residents’ veto power.

Though Sue Himmelrich is the only new Council member, her presence will work
a major change in the Council’s posture and priorities. After decades of too
much, too fast, Santa Monica will finally have serious slow growth representa-
tives at the helm. Replacing Bob Holbrook, who’s retiring, Himelrich joins colleagues Kevin McKeown, Tony Vazquez and Ted Winterer to comprise our first dedicated and savvy slow growth majority in decades.

Mayor Pam O’Connor, who’s facing 31 complaints filed by the Santa Monica Trans-
parency Group, alleging that she accepted illegal campaign contributions, was
re-elected, but ran far behind McKeown and Himmelrich.Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’-
Day, Gleam Davis and O’Connor will be the new minority.

In the recent election, O’Day’s PAC (“Responsible Leadership for a Better Santa Monica”) spent at least $50,000, contributed by developers, led by the Miramar
Hotel and the Edward Thomas Company, peddling O’Connor, and Frank Gruber.

Tonight, according to the Council agenda, O’Day will request that the Council
support the reappointment of O’Connor for the L.A. Metro Board of Directors at
the end of her current term. In an earlier story (see below), we chided the cur-
rent Council for seeking to undertake other tasks that should be left to the new Council.

O’Connor, O’Day, Davis and Holbrook ignored our protests and did considerable damage to this gloriously idiosyncratic beach town, Now they should try silence for a


Tuesday’s City Council meeting will be long, expensive and will have its con-
troversial moments. It will also be the current Council’s last real meeting,
as at its next meeting, on December 9, the new Council will be sworn in, and
will take its seats on the dais..

Among other things, during its closed session, the current Council will con-
sider “an interim city manager appointment.” This makes no sense at all, as
said “interim city manager” won’t serve with this\Council, but with the new
Council, as he or she won’t assume the office until the end of January, when
City Manager Rod Gould departs.

It’s also scheduled to approve spending “$300,000” on a two-year “Water Con-
servation Communication and Behavior Change Campaign.” Clearly, City Hall
believes that Santa Monica residents are too selfish, too spoiled and too im-
mature to adjust to the drought – without “strategic communication assistance.”
But will they make house calls?

The Council will also be asked to approve a “Bergamot Station Arts Center
Advisory Committee and Guiding Principles” that will consist of one member
designated by each of the following groups: Santa Monica Arts Commission,
Santa Monica Planning Commission, Santa Monica Neighborhood Council, Bergamot
Station Gallery and Cultural Association, and Santa Monica Museum of Art,
and approve guiding principles for the project. To our knowledge, group think
has never improved art. Or commerce, for that matter.

Though many residents have expressed their opposition to the City’s “outsourc-
ing” custodial and other menial jobs, this Council is now preparing to app-
rove multi-million-dollar contracts, outsourcing such jobs, rather than employ-
ing residents, and providing them with promising futures.

Dominated by a majority of four who took campaign contributions from develop-
ers and dutifully did their bidding, this Council’s most significant, and inad-
vertant accomplishment was to mobilize residents. Armed with Armen Melkonians’ Residocracy, which has revived direct democracy .and activated residents’ veto
power, residents stopped the Hines mega-peoject and now look forward to the new
Council’s restoration of our town.


Danny Feingold, publisher of Capital & Main, reports that a week ago in downtown
Los Angeles, hundreds of low-income parents came together for a spirited conven-
tion sponsored by Parent Revolution, creators of the controversial “parent trig-
ger” law that allows public schools to be handed over to a charter school opera-
tion and entire teaching staffs to be sacked.

As Bobbi Murray reports, Parent Revolution looks like a grassroots movement, but
in reality, it’s a corporate-funded campaign to privatize education and turn
schools into just another market commodity. The organization owes its growth not
to a groundswell of public support for its agenda, but to the huge checks it
cashes from billionaires like Bill Gates, Walmart’s Walton Family, and Eli Broad.


The City will hold a community forum on the drought on Monday, November 24,
at the Ken Edwards Center, 1527 Fourth Street. 4 pm for businesses and 7 pm
for residents.Herewith, some of the questions that will be answered.

I think that there are ways that I can save water. Can you help me determine
how to conserve in and around my home? 
How and when will I be notified about
the allowances?
 When will the water allowances end?
 How can I tell how much
water I’m using? Who can I call if I have questions about my water bill? 

I live in a multi-unit building that has a master meter. I don’t know how much
water I am using. How will this apply to me? I’m a landlord for a multi-family property. Can I require my tenants to pay the penalty surcharges? 

My business does not have its own water meter. We are just one tenant within a
larger building that has one master water meter. How will this affect my busi-
Many people who use Santa Monica’s water are not residents. They’re tour-
ists, visitors, and people who work in offices here. What are we doing to change their behavior? Will Santa Monica’s water resources be able to meet the city’s growing water demand?
 Will water and wastewater rates change?


FROM: Erik.Milosevich@SMGOV.NET Neighborhood Resource Officer
FOR: Sunset Park
Subj: RE: Question re auto thefts?

As to your question about how the suspects are getting into the vehicles, several
of the reports state that there was no broken glass on scene so it does not appear, at least in these cases, that the windows are being smashed. If the suspects have the skills to steal a car, they more than likely know how to “Jimmy” a car door to get in. Suspects also know that driving around in a car with a broken window is a clear sign to police.

The GTA suspects typically work in teams. They will arrive in a car, drive around until they see a target vehicle, which is usually an older model Honda or Toyota. They will then drop off a suspect who works fast. They are usually into the vehicle and gone in five minutes or less.

The police department has recently had some success in apprehending GTA suspects, however there are still vehicles being stolen in the southeastern section of town, therefore the police department is continuing a focused effort on enforcement in
this area. We appreciate you spreading the word to the neighborhood to report sus-
picious activity to include car alarms that go off and are quickly shut off, as
this could be a sign of a vehicle being stolen.

Erik Milosevich #3131, Neighborhood Resource Officer Beat 2
Santa Monica Police Department


The Committee for Racial Justice, NAACP, Universalist Unitarian Church, African American Staff, Student, Parent Support Group, Pico Youth and Family Center and
the Church in Ocean Park and others will hold a vigil at Santa Monica City Hall
after the Ferguson grand jury decision is announced.

The decision could come over the weekend. If it is announced before 5 pm, the
vigil will be held at 5 pm the same day. If it is reported after 5 pm on what-
ever day, it will be held at 5 pm the following day.

The group will gather with candles, and everyone is invited to take part. There
will be speakers, music and solidarity actions. Similar vigils are being sche-
duled in Los Angeles, in other towns in Southern California and cities all over
the nation.

Tonight the streets in Ferguson are crowded with people, police and troops, and
they all appear restless. The Missouri governor has ordered a large police pre-
sence. The father of the unarmed young man who was shot and killed by a police officer has urged non-violence..


On Wednesday, November 19, the Santa Monica Planning Commission held a Town Hall Meeting at Lincoln Middle School starting at 7:00 PM to hear comments by residents
on the Zoning Ordinance. The following is the speech given there
by Ellen Brennan.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Planning Commissioners:

My sincere thanks to you for providing us this opportunity to speak. It’s late
and you’ve sat there all evening so we could be heard. Thank you.

Well, we now have the attorneys’ and their developer clients’ dream book. It’s 4 inches thick. It’s our Zoning Ordinace. And now it’s time to dissect it.

I’d like to start by referring to a piece of U.S. history, dear to those of us who grew up in this country. It’s an address given by our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, on the battlefield at Gettysburg, one of the worst battles of the Civil War. It’s become a classic. It ends thus: “That this nation, under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Notice he did NOT say, government of the attorneys, for the attorneys, and by the attorneys. He did NOT say, government of the developers, by the developers, and for the developers. However, up till the early part of this year, that’s what we’ve had in Santa Monica. There was no government of the people and by the people in Santa Monica. The Planning staff would steam roll over us and the majority on the council would rubber stamp any development that passed their way. We could stand at the microphone 100 deep (I remember the night I was speaker 104 out of 109) and we were totally ignored.

Then Armen Melkonians developed his website, Residocracy, and everything changed.

The Hines project was approved, by the City Council, promising to bring 7000 more cars a day to the most gridlocked part of Santa Monica.

Residocracy members took to the streets to collect 6500 signatures in 30 days. Instead we collected 13,500 verified signatures in 19 days. and the Hines project was stopped. We put the development community into shock and the energy of collaborating to stop development continues to grow.

Later in the year, when our Airport Commission came up with 3 things the city could do to stop the jets and fight schools from flying over our homes and schools, bringing us noise and danger and polluted air, the City council approved the suggestions. The Pilots Union out of Washington D.C. decided to flex their muscles. They filed an initiative and attempted a hostile take over of our airport, intending to force our city government to run it to suit them.

The people in Santa Monica, led by John Fairweather, Zina Josephs, Neil Carrey, and many, many others in a cluster of groups came together to defeat AOPA. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association came. They put on a memorable campaign of lies and deceit. They spent over a million dollars. Members flew in to go to our polls to persuade us to vote their way. And when the dust cleared, they had lost 40% to 60%. So when we tell you this zoning ordinance, dream of the developers, will not stand, you better believe that we mean it. And in this last year we’ve learned how to make such statements stick.

I suggest you get rid of tier 3 on all the boulevards. After listening to Ron Goldman tell us how unbelievably many one and two story buildings exist on the boulevards, it’s clear that tier 3 is no longer appropriate or needed on the boulevards. By adding stories to low buildings we can pick up all the housing we need along the boulevards.

Make sure that Wilshire Blvd is no higher and no denser than

Santa Monica Boulevard. There’s no excuse for higher, or denser buildings on Wilshire. That boulevard is bordered by neighborhoods whose residents deserve to have their life style preserved and their homes saved from overshadowing by huge buildings and the traffic they bring.

Get rid of the Activity centers. These were intended to be built at the subway stations. But the Subway has been cancelled. There is now no possible excuse for building higher, taller buildings at Wilshire and 26th or Wilshire and Centinela. Just get rid of these. The impact on neighborhoods and on traffic outweighs any rationale developers can think up.

Eliminate all opportunity sites. Everybody knows the Opportunity sites were never in the LUCE, but because of the tyranny of the process and the fact that residents never get to answer staff or question staff, this myth has perpetrated itself even though everybody knows its untrue. There’s no reason to allow any developer to penetrate a height limit, destroy our skyline, rob us of sun and sky.

Now lets talk about A-lots. They are overlay zones placed over the large boulevard parking lots to insure that when the lot changes purpose and the parking lot is not needed, the A-lots are to revert to Residential zoning. This is the law on the books now.

However, it’s been discovered by Amy Aukstikanis, chair of Northeast Neighbors, that someone (currently unnamed) in the Planning Department, in preparing the LUCE maps, changed all 33 of the A-lots to commercial zoning – without a change in the ordinance, no vote or discussion by council, no public discussion, and no notification of any kind. And now that it’s been discovered, the fight is to get all those 33 lots changed back to the legal designation – residential. We ask you Planning Commission members to pay particular attention to A-lots to be sure they are rezoned to residential. This makes a big difference. These lots were intended to be buffer lots between development and neighborhoods and fulfill the important promise of the LUCE to preserve neighborhoods, and their way of life.

Please notice that Abraham Lincoln did not say at Gettysburg that government “to protect and enhance the City’s fiscal health” should not perish. It’s likely that some of you don’t even know this phrase is in this document. That phrase needs to be taken out of this document. Someone in this town went seriously off the rails when they thought they could highjack this zoning ordinance for the benefit of the City with a capital C. – shorthand for City Hall. That phrase is a perversion of the democratic process. Just take that phrase out. It’s listed under Chapter 9.01 Title, Purpose, Authority. 9.01.020 Purpose L, M, N, O, P are added in red

(N. To protect and enhance the City’s fiscal health.) It is on page I-4

Kindly remove this phrase. There’s no way the city’s fiscal health should be placed above the general welfare of the people of Santa Monica.

This document shall be for the benefit of the people who live in Santa Monica. And in case you think that’s a joke, we remind you that twice in one year the people of Santa Monica have confronted an entity that did not respect our way of life. and twice – WE WON.

Against all odds, government of the people, by the people, and for the people is returning to Santa Monica.


I’ve been to more meetings, and more kinds of meetings than I can count — in
places I’ve lived, and places I’ve covered as a journalist – school board meet-
ings, City Council meetings, political meetings all kinds of meetings – but the
Town Hall meeting Wednesday night at Lincoln Middle School was, by any measure,
the oddest meeting I’ve ever attended.

Its purported purpose was to give residents an opportunity to tell the Planning Commissioners what they thought of the draft revised zoning code that both the
staff and the Commission have been working on for some time. The Commission meet-
ings that were devoted to the code were well-attended by residents, who found
more and more flaws in the revision, as the work proceeded. Many of their comp-
laints dealt with the City planners’ apparently deliberate efforts to exclude residents from the process, because their priorities were at odds with the City’s priorities.

An amalgam of information from Friends of Sunset Park, Northeast Neighbors, and
Mid-City Neighbors summed up the events that led up to the meeting. “After more
than a year of advocating to stop large traffic-generating development projects
in our city, residents still need to have their voices heard regarding the city’s
Zoning Ordinance Update. Developers and land use attorneys are advocating for zon-
ing ordinance changes that will allow them to maximize the size of their projects
and profits, while increasing the traffic congestion that is choking both residen-
tial and business districts in Santa Monica.

“The Zoning Ordinance Update – currently in “redline” to show proposed changes – will spell out what can be built in our city for decades. The redline lacks many protections for residents that the current Zoning Ordinance provides.That’s why
this Town Hall meeting and your input at this point is important. Wednesday
night’s Town Hall will be more relaxed than Planning Commission meetings. Speak-
ers can comment at the microphone without the usual time limits.

“Possible talking points

“1) Remove the ZOU Chapter 9.40 exemption from Development Permit Review requir-ements for 100% Affordable Housing Projects of 50 units or less. Many Sunset Park residents oppose CCSM projects being built in our neighborhood with no public hear-
ing regarding the design, other than at the Architectural Review Board, with no process for appeal, and with no public hearing regarding the funding. Examples:
2802 Pico; 2400 block of Centinela (south of Pico)

“2) Eliminate ‘Activity Center’ sites, such as the one proposed at Lincoln and
Ocean Park Blvd. (on the Albertson’s site), as they would be out-of-scale and
result in additional traffic congestion.

“3) Make lot consolidation rare in residential neighborhoods, to maintain resi-
dential scale and character, and to preserve courtyard apartments and condos.

“4) Maintain current Floor Area Ratio (FAR) limits on Lincoln Blvd. south of the
I-10 freeway. The current C4 zoning calls for an FAR of 1.0 and includes a ‘red-
uctive’ FAR, i.e., as the site area increases, the allowed FAR decreases. The proposed General Commercial (GC) zoning for Lincoln south of the freeway allows
up to an FAR of 2.0, i.e., a potential 1 00% increase in density.

“5) Encourage adaptive reuse of both commercial and residential buildings.

“6) Prevent traffic-generating over-development on the boulevards – Density and height should be limited by the removal of Tier 3.

“7) Eliminate so-called ‘Opportunity Sites’ in the downtown area that exceed zon-
ing height, massing and density standards.

“8) Ensure adequate parking for customers and employees to prevent spillover into residential neighborhoods – Parking standards must be set to protect neighborhoods, as promised in the LUCE.

“9) Create human scale buildings to prevent mega-development by prohibiting the consolidation of parcels throughout the city – This will increase the number of neighborhood serving businesses and improve the pedestrian experience, as planned
in the standards being advanced in the Zoning for Main Street.

“10) Maintain Planning Commission authority over new development by removing proposals for increased ‘administrative approval’ — This will give too much
power to staff, prevent public accoun-tability, and end any appeals process.”

“11) Prevent changes to residential lot designations throughout the city – These parcels serve as important buffers between homes and commercial boulevards.

“12) Remove from the new Zoning ‘Purpose; language that calls for regulations to ‘enhance the City’s fiscal health’ – Regulations should focus on enhancing the quality of life for residents.

“13) Preserve open, green space.Zoning should not allow developers to buy their
way out of providing open, accessible, green space in each project by paying ‘in lieu’ fees.”

“At a recent public meeting, developers persuaded the Planning Commission to NOT include in the Zoning Update important issues that residents have advocated for,
and that staff and the Planning Commission had previously supported, such as re-
moving Activity Centers from Wilshire Blvd.

“ This is why the Commission needs to hear and receive written comments for the record from residents now and continuing through the City Council approval pro-
cess of the final Zoning Ordinance document.”
By the time the meeting began, several hundred residents had gathered in the auditorium. Six of the seven Planning Commissioners sat at a table in front of
the stage. A billboard-size sheet of paper had been set on the stage behind
them.If there were any members of the City’s planning staff or other City off-
icials present, I didn’t see them. Chair of the Commission Jason Perry presided.

Some residents delivered written comments to the Commissioners’ table. Other residents lined up behind the two microphones to speak. Many of them spoke of
the items on the FOSP list. Others raised other issues. The audience gave stand-
ing ovations to many speakers. They were very angry. They found the notion of developments “enhancing the city’s fiscal health” particularly obscene —
hooting derisively, cheering the speakers who criticized it.

Some of the speakers were nearly quivering with rage. Others were cool, but
equally critical. And others were eloquent. But, no matter what their demeanor,
the speakers were virtually all opposed to the City’s effort to exclude them
and some of their most valued portions of the revision.

The crowd slowly diminished, but the speakers kept lining up at the microphones,
and some of the Planning Commissioners kept taking notes until after midnight
when the last speaker finished. The others just fidgeted.

The meeting had been touted by the City as an opportunity for the residents to
talk with the Commissioners, but, in fact, the City planners had residents’ comm-
ents noted – in a word or phrase – on the big white board – but that was the ex-
tent of the “conversation.” In sum. the City planners had planned a meeting that
wasn’t actually a meeting at all.



Kevin McKeown 10,138
Sue Himmelrich 9,262
Pam O’Connor 6,696
Phil Brock 5,854
Frank Gruber 5,222
Jennifer Kennedy 5,037
Richard McKinnon 4,890
Michael Feinstein 3,729
Terence Later 1,874
Jerry Rubin 1,634
Jon Mann 1,594
Nick Boles 1,328
Whitney Scott Bain 1,317
Zoe Muntaner 791




Nancy Greenstein 14,604
Louise Jaffe 14,447
Barry A. Snell 11,804
Andrew Walzer 11,031
Dennis C.W. Frisch 10,177
Maria Loya 9,242


Laurie Lieberman 15,247
R. Tahvildaran-Jesswein 12,277
Craig Foster 12,126
Oscar De La Torre 11,990
Ralph Mechur 11,522
Dhum May 5,169
Patty Finer 5,149