ACTION ALERT: COMMITTEE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE

Re: Racial Profiling/City Council Budget Hearings
Thursday, May 28th, 6:30 PM
Santa Monica City Hall, 1685 Main Street, Santa Monica, 90401

Please join CRJ, the NAACP Santa Monica-Venice Branch, and others today at Santa Monica City Hall to ask the Santa Monica City Council to budget $100,000 in 2016 for police data collection that ddresses racial profiling.

If you can’t testify at City Hall, email the Council to support our request. council@smgov.net or call 310-393-9975 to leave a message.

Purpose

Our purpose in requesting this budget expenditure is to work collaboratively with the SMPD to ensure all of our city’s residents feel safe and protected.

Details

The City Council is conducting budget hearings this week, so now is the time for us to speak up and request money to train and implement a police data collection system on stops, searches, tickets, citations and arrests by race and ethnicity in zip codes and/or census tracks.

We want the Santa Monica Police Department to collect this information on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis to serve as both an early warning system, as well as an assessment of existing bias training. Also, we want the information published on the City web site, so the entire community can work together to end racial profiling.

Currently, the SMPD web site publishes information on arrests, but we have been unable to determine the race or ethnicity of those arrested. Nor is there information posted on the race or ethnicity of those involved in stops, searches, tickets, and citations — and no way to see complaints registered about mad-dogging, a practice involving reported police stare-downs of men and women of color walking or driving on city streets.

Our committee’s coordinator submitted a public records request to learn if there had been complaints about discriminatory policing and excessive use of force, but the City Attorney’s office denied release of that information.

Please support our request for $100,000 to train police and implement a data collection system to address complaints about racial profiling.

Thank you for your support.

CITY COUNCIL NAMES DEPUTY L.A. MAYOR SANTA MONICA CITY MANAGER

The City Council announced at last night’s meeting that Rick Cole, deputy mayor of Los Angeles for budget and innovation, will be Santa Monica’s new City Manager.

Marcy Winograd II wrote on Residocracy, “Rick Cole, Santa Monica’s New City Manager – I knew him 35 years ago, when I was news director at PCC’s NPR station and Rick Cole was a local activist, a guy with a good heart and progressive instincts. Mayor Garcetti’s Deputy Mayor, former City Manager of Ventura, and Mayor of Pasadena – a good guy,
a great choice!

MAYOR GARCETTI STATEMENT ON DEPUTY MAYOR RICK COLE’S APPOINTMENT AS SANTA MONICA CITY MANAGER

“I want to congratulate Deputy Mayor Rick Cole on his appointment as Santa Monica City Manager. Rick has led our work to reform city government, balance our budget and adopt new technology across our departments. I wish him all the best and know that Santa Monica will benefit from his talent, experience and commitment to public service.” – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

NEW SANTA MONICA CITY MANAGER RICK COLE’S STATEMENT

“Los Angeles is on track, making real progress toward Mayor Garcetti’s vision of a data–driven culture of innovation. Mayor Garcetti’s budget was adopted unanimously with record reserves; our open data portal is now independently rated by the Open Data Census as best in the nation; we’ve launched the nation’s most ambitious and credible Sustainability Plan; and every department is implementing their own version of LAPD’s Compstat to track and spur progress on what matters most. While I’m truly passionate about government reform in Los Angeles, I’m excited about this opportunity as City Manager of Santa Monica to bring together every city department to make great places and improve the quality of life for all citizens.” – Deputy Mayor Rick Cole

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“WILL TO FORM,” NEW PAINTINGS BY DIANA GORDON, ON VIEW TODAY

Gordon writes, “Color is my artistic oxygen. The color in every painting is painstak-
ingly chosen, refined and influenced by what I observe, study, or recall that left
an indelible impression.

“Color is more to me than the main ‘actor’ or structural scaffolding: It is a visual representation of time, affected by memory, context, circumstance. Artists I revere
whose mastery of color in service of their work exude an enduring life force include Georges Braque, Pierre Bonnard, Chuta Kimura, Agnes Martin, Juan Miró, Vincent Van Gogh.

“Will to form describes my process; I rarely work from much of a preconceived idea or put marks on a canvas except as a catalyst. Too often they led down a blind alley or proved to be more of a distraction than a touchstone. I wrestle with an idea, discard it, regroup. As the painting becomes more committed, I search for the “right” resolution to every hurdle that arises until, for me, the finished work feels inevitable.”

The exhibition opens Wednesday, May 27, at First Independent Gallery (FIG) in Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Avenue. G-6. An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, May 30, 5-7. It runs through June 27. Website www.figgallery.com.

Gallery hours. hours Wednesday – Saturday, 11am-5pm

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WARRIORS, GHOSTS AND ANCIENT GODS OF THE PACIFIC

“What holds you, rather, is the stand-off between different kinds and orders of
imagery, between hard lines and sprayed ones. action and stillness, elegance and
regression.”

Justin Paton, the Curator of International Art of the Art Gallery of New
South Wales in Sydney, made the statement in an article for Art and Australia
about Gajin Fujita. .

Fujita took a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design, and an MFA from the
University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His work has been widely shown in museums
and galleries in this country and abroad, as well as in group shows here and
abroad.

Recognized for his painting style that merges traditional Japanese iconography
with Los Angeles street culture and American pop references, Fujita’s recent works display refinements of technical skill and subject matter Using a stable of
materials and methods, including spray paint (applied loosely and through
intricately hand-cut stencils), paint markers and gold leaf on wood panels, .
Fugita has created some of his most complex and ambitious paintings to date.

“Gajin Fujita: Warriors, Ghosts, And Ancient Gods of the Pacific,” the artist’s
fifth show at LA Louver opens Wednesday, May 27. A reception for the artist
will begin at 7 pm, .

An exhibition of works by six sculptors – Tony Cragg, Richard Beacon, Joel
Shapiro, Peter Shelton, Sui Jianguo and Matt Wedel — will open in the
Second floor gallery simultaneously

Valet parking is provided.
A new short film on Gajin Fujita produced in conjunction with the exhibition: www.lalouver.com/fujita

L A LOUVER 45 N. Venice Blvd.

PONIES END 12-YEAR RUN AT SUNDAY FARMERS MARKET

After featuring a carousel pony ride for twelve years at the Sunday Main Street
Market, the City of Santa Monica ended it earlier this month.

The ride featured ponies teathered to a metal bar, and, beginning in 2005, it became
the site of occasional protests. The protests culminated in 2014 with a petition
signed by over 2,000 people calling for an end to city-sponsored animal exploitation.

Market-goers no longer encounter children on ponies circling shoeless in one direction on a concrete surface. Now market patrons enjoy brunch while listening to bands, including the retro-Beverly Belles, and the rocking Masanga Marimba, an eclectic mix of sounds
from Zimbabwe and Latin America. Patrons are invited to join in singing, dancing, and marimba playing.

On the heels of a Sept. 9, 2014, City Council vote to give preference to non-animal vendors at the entrance to the market, the Department of Housing and Economic Develop-
ment launched a pilot program, inviting alternative children’s activity vendors and chefs to submit applications for painting, arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations, and more.

Those interested in participating in the pilot program may download an application here:

http://www.smgov.net/portals/farmersmarket/

and copy the following when submitting the application: application:jodi.low@smgov.net, jason.harris@smgov.net, andy.agle@smgov.net and elaine.polachek@smgov.net

Participants in the pilot program have included Main Street’s Books and Cookies, a children’s book store which offers story-telling and Bricks 4 Kidz, a company that
works with schools to encourage engineering through lego-building of space stations
and amusement parks.

Meanwhile, animal protection advocate Marcy Winograd is taking her case to the California Court of Appeal, where judges will be asked to dismiss the pony operators’ lawsuit on the grounds that it is an attack on the First Amendment and petition rights protected by California law . Previously, a lower court judge dismissed part of the suit against Winograd and all of the causes of action against another local resident, Danielle Charney, whose lawyers collected $20,000 in legal fees from animal vendors Tawni Angel and Jason Nester — this after the judge declared the suit a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation or SLAPP intended to chill public debate.

A BRIEF COURSE IN MEDIOCRE ARCHITECTURE

One of Santa Monica’s most significant assets is its ability to absorb mediocre
architecture without being diminished by it.

Since 1989, when the new buildings on the west end of Santa Monica Pier opened,
the City of Santa Monica has not built one really fine building. The pier buildings
overlook one of the great American coastlines. The old buildings, which were
destroyed in the storms of 1983, were glass boxes. The new buildings had no glass
at all..

The mystery of the missing windows was never resolved. The architect vanished, and
subsequently surfaced in San Francisco. Windows were eventually cut in some walls,
but they have a makeshift look, which is, of course, utterly honest and eternally disappointing.

Ken Edwards was a wise, kind mayor, who died in office. The notion of naming a
building for him was a nice idea, but the building looks like nothing so much as
a tract house in New Hampshire, overlooks Fourth Street traffic jams and has been expendable from the day it opened.

If the Ken Edwards center is pointless, the Public Safety Building is too emphatic
— a brutal structure that insults the gorgeous City Hall and looms over the east-
bound Fourth Street exit from the 10, as if to warn arrivals to mind their manners.

As the new Main Library was taking shape, someone summed it up succinctly and
.finally.“It looks like a branch of the L.A. County Jail,” he said. And it did.
And does. And it only provided space for 50,000 additional books, which, in effect,
suggests that literature is on its way to oblivion.

Then, as if to prove that it has no taste, the City commissioned what is surely the ugliest parking structure in the history of parking structures on Fourth Street.

But all that turned out to be a minor bleep on the townscape, when compared to the
City’s mega-blunder: “The Village.” .

In an astonishing move, unmatched in the annals of wrong moves, the City paid $53
million to buy back some of the land it sold to RAND decades earlier for $250,000.
RAND held onto four acres on which it built what appears to be an earthbound blimp
that is at odds with virtually everything else in the area.

The City got it wrong from the start. It dubbed its new mega-project, “The Village,” though it was not a village by any definition. and was a joint venture: the City of
Santa Monica and The Related Companies, which is one of the largest real estate developers in America,

Now virtually complete, “The Village” is a garish tall wall of 134 rent controlled apartments and about the same number of “luxury condos.” The sheer scale and size of
the project shattered all the precedents, and violated all the traditions. An unsubstantiated rumor has it that Related leased all the rental units in one day.

“The Waverly,” the first of the “luxury condominium” buildings is now open and sell-
ing ($2,500,000 – $4,150,000). Ultimately, it is said, there will be restaurants and shops in all the buildings. So it is that once upon a time, there were wide expanses
of open space and trees, gardens and grass, but now there are gangs of over-sized, visually noisy towers.

According to former mayor Richard Bloom, the primary purpose of “The Village” is to provide customers for Santa Monica Place and Third Street.

The condo marketing boasts about the “luxurious urban beach lifestyle.” But, of course, “urban beach lifestyle” is an oxymoron.

“The Village” has risen like a bizarre renunciation of everything we value in the
heart of our gloriously idiosyncratic beach town. The good news is that the City
Council majority of four who took campaign contributions from developers and returned
the favor by approving their projects no longer prevails. And the new majority of four doesn’t take campaign contributions from developers,

On June 3, the City’s proposed “Plaza at Santa Monica” will be reviewed by the Plann-
ing Commission. It’s not only mediocre architecture, it’s too big, out of scale and,
like the Hines project, the “activity centers,” the “tier threes” and “the Village,”
don’t belong here. . .

MAKING THE EXPO LINE A GAME-CHANGER — WHERE EVERYONE WINS

By SMa.r.t. on May 23, 2015 i

Now that our City Council has reformed the old zoning ordinance into a new, more opaque document, it is moving on to the adoption of a specific plan for our downtown. Let’s hope that the new Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) will fare better and result in a clearer, more resident-friendly document. The DSP should be a fact-based, open public process that sets out a vision for the integration of the new Expo Line into the downtown area. The success or failure to achieve this may well determine our City’s future. Will thousands of new daily visitors bring vibrancy to our City, or exacerbate the current problems of traffic and overdevelopment — or both?

When the new zoning code was being re-written, the process appeared to be driven more by external forces than the needs and desires of the City’s residents. It was a piecemeal approach that corrected some problem areas but ignored others. This must not happen with the DSP. The stakes are too high. It should provide a fresh vision that preserves our unique beach character while looking into to a future with an ever-growing daily visitor population. The new Expo Line will bring thousands into our Downtown area and the pressures on our infrastructure and current residents will be immense. It will require an innovative, well thought-out analysis and solution.

Residents and visitors alike desire a unified shopping and walking experience, one that is both convenient and enjoyable. Currently this is not always the case. More of an effort is needed to integrate our main commercial spine (The Promenade) with the rest of the downtown commercial district. One way to accomplish this would be with more mid-block pedestrian links between blocks, providing additional smaller tenancies and perhaps lower rents. This would help to broaden and enhance the downtown retail experience.

If the mid-block pedestrian passageways were open to the sky and tree-lined, they could create pathways to unify the downtown district and enhance the pedestrian experience with a secondary east-west circulation network. They would add convenience, greenery, charm and openness to a dense downtown that has now been expanded to Lincoln.

With the expansion of downtown the center has shifted east. A new urban park on the City-owned land at 4th/5th and Arizona could become the “heart” and focal point for the entire downtown district. The commercial areas east of 4th would become more connected to the west end, creating a cohesiveness to the downtown area that does not currently exist.
The next step would be to create a pedestrian-friendly link to the Expo Station. While there has been a laudable effort by the City’s planners to anticipate the impact of the new Expo Line, the resulting plan may not be robust enough to cope with the competing pedestrian and vehicle traffic effectively. Would the planned Esplanade to the Pier and beaches function better if it bridged above the north/south bound traffic at 4th St., or at the Main St. to 2nd St. crossings? And what about the impact of traffic as people pick up or drop off at the new Expo Station? How will commuters exit the 10 Freeway towards the Expo drop-off or Downtown?

Aware of the potential for gridlock at this important portal to the City, the City Council recently contacted Caltrans to request a study. Although it is late in the game, such a study is now being conducted, but it is difficult to understand how it was not integral to the original design. The area in and around the old Sears building will of necessity become a transit hub for our beach community. As such, it will require ample parking and different transit options for those who are not yet at their final destinations. Wouldn’t it make sense to create a convenient linkage to Lincoln Blvd. as well? The fact that the Expo Line will be entering downtown at street level creates numerous safety and convenience challenges. Current estimates put the eventual ridership on the Expo at more than 30,000 per day. While not all of these riders will end up in Santa Monica, those arriving downtown will have a great impact on our streets and infrastructure.

The ultimate question for the new Downtown Specific Plan is “are there no limits to growth downtown, and if there are, what are they?” We have already become the most densely visited and populated beach town in California, and at some point the City will need to answer the question, what is sustainable? Until that happens, one way to control the impact is to limit the heights of new structures downtown to 4 stories. This limit could be revisited later, but in the interim would provide some breathing room for the City to upgrade its infrastructure as well as multi-modal circulation elements, experience the arrival of the Expo, and evaluate its impact on the downtown and surrounding areas.

In summary, we would challenge the planning staff to draft a new Downtown Specific Plan only after a comprehensive traffic analysis and infrastructure review, and an analysis of the projected and actual impacts from the new Expo Line. We hope that the recommendations resulting from such a study will be respectful of the land-use and zoning wishes of the residents and without bias either for or against development interests. Ideally, the new DSP would provide additional open space, public ways for the safe mixing of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and insure that ample parking exists for residents and visitors alike at our new Expo Station.

It is already clear that the Expo Line will be a “game changer” for our “sleepy beach town.” Let’s do all we can to insure that it is a change for the better. If so, it will be a win for both residents and tourists so that Santa Monica can continue to be an attractive, enjoyable place to both live and visit.

Samuel Tolkin, Architect for SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow)
Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, Thane Roberts AIA, Architect, Robert H. Taylor AIA, Ron Goldman FAIA, Daniel Jansenson Architect, Samuel Tolkin Architect, Armen Melkonians Civil & Environmental Engineer, Phil Brock Chair, Parks & Recreation Commission.
For previous articles, see www.santamonicaarch.wordpress.com/writings.