It’s uniquely American – the national addic-
tion to new over old, means over ends, move-
ment over stillness, going over arriving.

Virtually everything is disposable, expend-

Never mind the Declaration of Independence
or the Constitution. Americans insult them
every day. Society’s primary allegiance is
to change. Not significant change –an end
to bigotry, or a national living wage that
workers and their families could live com-
fortably on, or first rate public schools,
but change that sells solely because it’s
new…and therefore better – whether it’s
Google glass or what passes for fashion
these days. Style, real style is as rare in
America as great towns, most of which are
merely fancy now, and therefore beyond sal-

In the last couple of decades, New York has
replaced its $10 million condominiums with
$20 million condos and is now replacing them
with $40 million models, but has yet to im-
prove housing for the majority of its resi-

Downtown L.A. was unmade and remade in the
1980s by insurance companies that found real
estate more interesting than health insur-
ance, and much more fun. Now the next “new
downtown L.A.” will include the “tallest buil-
ding west of the Mississippi,” courtesy of
the Koreans. Will it include warm, dry rooms
for the homeless, or cheerful, spacious and
efficient apartments for the so-called work-
ing poor? Probably not. It’ll just be tall.

Santa Monica was immune to these rolling
changes for 100 years. It’s a beach town,
and the first rule in a beach town is “less
is more.” Its primary fact, its shaping ele-
ment is the beach, and beaches are made by
oceans and they never repeat. There is no
such thing as a good man-made beach.

Beaches inspire great towns and Santa Moni-
ca is not only a great beach town, it’s one
of a handful of greatbeach towns that have
triumphed over the mindless drive that has
reduced so many American towns and cities to
what Saul Bellow called “pleasure slums.”

A holy bounce of light off the ocean illum-
inates Santa Monica. Its moist air compens-
ates for its flimsy soil, which is why our
palm trees outgrow the dirt they’re set in
– and bougainvillea riots, overtaking fen-
ces and anything else in its path. That
moist air rides fog into the heart of our
town, washing it down, softening its edges,
refreshing everything.

In recent years, residents have been bet-
rayed by City Hall, and Santa Monica has
been diminished here and there. Garden
apartments were once a Santa Monica hall-
mark, but too many have been knocked
down to make way for thuggish, pretent-
ious condominiums. Too many simple vin-
tage apartment buildings have been rep-
laced by buildings that look far too much
like New Jersey nightclubs. But, to a
remarkable degree, Santa Monica is large-
ly intact – still small, low-key, eccent-
ric, in the most profound sense of the

As City Hall moved inexorably toward ap-
proving the Hines mega-project that resi-
dents had opposed from the moment it was
unveiled, civil and environmental engin-
eer Armen Melkonians created Residocracy.
org., a form of direct democracy that per-
mits residents to take control of the pro-
cess and stop the reduction of this glor-
iously idiosyncratic beach town to an
ordinary money mill.

So it was that moments after the residents’
alleged representatives betrayed their con-
stituents and approved the Hines mega-pro-
ject, residents set out to revive the dem-
ocratic process via Residocracy, org. The
number of volunteers seemed to grow daily
and they collected more than double the
required 10% of registered voters in less
than the mandatory 30 days – with no commo-
tion at all, but a great deal of pleasure
and excitement.

In its 138 years, Santa Monica has shrug-
ged off many things that did not suit it.
A would-be titan tried to make it the Sou-
thern California terminus of the Southern
Pacific Railroad and, when that failed,
he set about to make Santa Monica Bay the
Port of Los Angeles, but was eclipsed by
Long Beach. Aviation pioneer Donald Doug-
las made the World Cruiser and the extra-
ordinarily successful D series here, but
took his jet plans to Long Beach. The Turf
Club and CBS planned to engineer the sec-
ond coming of the pleasure pier with the
very fancy Pacific Ocean Park Pier,but it
went bankrupt – with a nudge from the City.
In time, all the would-be titans failed,
or moved to more docile precincts. In 19-
73, City Hall decided to replace the San-
ta Monica Pier with an artificial island
and a convention center, but the people
said NO, and replaced the Council members
who’d backed the plan.

From its founding, Santa Monica has demon-
strated that less is more. With Malibu, it
was where surfing on America’s mainland
began, was and is the site of painters,’
writers,’ film makers’ and technological
whiz kids’ breakthroughs, the Eames’ rev-
olution, the platoon of great lady tennis
players, Dogtown’s Z Boys. It was the
Crossroads for New Roads.

Residents know their town is for using
well, for preserving not exploiting, and
they have no interest in “fancy.”

Tom Runyon’s family owned Runyon Canyon
in the hills above Hollywood, but Tom liv-
ed most of his life at the beach – in Mal-
ibu and, for a while, in one of the rooms
over the Carousel on the Santa Monica Pier
Like the ocean, he never repeated himself.
He was a fine writer, who boasted that
when he finished a 400-page novel, he did
the only sensible thing one could do with
a 400-page novel, he threw it into the oc-
ean. He was also an actor, but had no aspi-
rations beyond bit player. Still, he stole
scenes in one of his friend Sam Peckinpah’s
films. “The Getaway” from its stars, Steve
McQueen and Ali McGraw.

For years, he had a restaurant in the moun-
tains north of Malibu – in the Cornell/Agou-
ra area – the Old Place. It had a very short
menu – steak and clams. That was it. If you
didn’t like steak and clams, or wanted sal-
ad or dessert, you were out of luck.

When he was still in his teens, Tom bought
a car and a plane, flew in World War II,
and, some years later, he bought a surp-
lus Army bomber. He called one day and said
he was on his way to Aspen to see me. An
hour later, he called again. His bomber
wouldn’t go above 6,000 feet. Aspen was at
9,000 feet.

I asked what he was going to do. He said
he was “doing lazy eights in the old inef-

Tom died several years ago. I think of him
often and I miss him. Actress Katherine Ross
spoke at his funeral, and said, in part,
he “embodied honor, integrity, loyalty. He
was a force to be reckoned with… the real

Like Tom, Santa Monica residents spend a lot
of time doing “lazy eights in the old ineff-
able.” Literally, “lazy eights” is a flyer’s
exercise that hones his or her skills. But
Tom saw it as most Santa Monica residents
see it, as a way of living, and saving the
good beach towns from people who think they
can improve them.



The City has been talking about its need for
more office space for years. Nearly two dec-
ades ago, it began renting offices around
town. It was expensive, inefficient and in-
convenient, but every year the staff seemed
to grow and more offices were needed. And

At one point, City officials proposed build-
ing a second office structure – 60,000 square
feet == that would span Main Street, north of
City Hall. Some people didn’t like the idea.
It would, in effect, be a wall between down-
town Santa Monica and the Civic Center. Oth-
ers shuddered at its multiple impacts on tra-
ffic — whether it was routed through a
“tunnel” in the building or around it. The
discussion of that “plan” was lengthy and

In 1951, the City sold RAND about eight ac-
res across Main Street from City Hall for
$250,000 In 2000, the City bought the prop-
erty back from RAND for $53 million.Three
buildings had been added by RAND.They were
architecturally compatible with City Hall,
the Courthouse and the Civic Auditorium.
And with some minor rehab, they would be
ideal offices for the City.

I talked to Jim Mount about it. An archi
tect and longtime and devoted resident, he
often advised the City about things it
should do to preserve Santa Monica’s char-
acter and integrity. As it turned out, he
had already talked to City officials about
the RAND property. The trio of buildings
would not only end the City’s office short-
tage. it would serve as a prime example of
the efficacy of “adaptive re-use.”

But when I spoke to a City Council member
about it, he said that a condition of the
purchase was that the City would not use the
buildings, but demolish them. I asked him
why the City would accept such a ridiculous
condition. He said RAND was adamant about it.
I said, “But you’re the City and the City
needs the buildings.” He sighed.

I then called a RAND official to ask about
its selling the land with the proviso that
the buildings be demolished, and was told
that RAND had made no such demand. The City
çould do whatever it liked with the build-

Nobody in the City would talk on the record,
and,as you’ve probably noticed, the City did
demolish the buildings, and replace them with
a $44 million park, and the multi-million dol-
lar “Village,” which violates all practical,
aesthetic and zoning rules,and seriously dim-
inishes the Civic Center.

The Village is a joint venture of the City’s
Community Corp, Related, the biggest developer
in America. and another real estate company,
and consists of shops and restaurants, 164 “af-
fordable” apartments, and about the same num-
ber of “luxury” condos, but no offices.

At Tuesday night’s Council meeting, after seve-
ral decades of talk. the City finally took the
first step toward the construction of a 40,000
square foot “city services” building. It was
listed on the Consent Calendar, and approved,
with a number of other budget items.

There was a a written report from Martin Past-
ucha, director of Santa Monica Public Works,
on a “Professional Services Agreement” for
“Concept Design and Feasibility Analysis for
the City Services Building Project.”

“Staff recommends that the City Council:
1. Authorize the City Manager to negotiate and
execute a professional services agreement with
Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company, a Cal-
ifornia-based company, in an amount not to ex-
ceed $258,500 (includes a 10% contingency) for
initial design, cost estimation services, and
feasibility analysis for the City Services Bui-
lding. This agreement would be the first of
three phases in the design-build delivery meth-
od, with the final phases being executed under
a design-build contract. 2. Authorize the Dir-
ector of Public Works to issue any necessary modifications to complete the work within bud-
get authority…”

The report goes on and on and on, but no one
speaks.Eventually, one of the Council members
moves for approval of the consent calendar.
Mayor Pam O/Connor and Council member Bob Hol-
brook are absent. But the remaining members
vote to approve the Consent Calendar, and the
office project.

And so it is that a building that has been
needed for more than 20 years is finally go-
ing forward. It will cost much more than
it would have cost 15 or 20 years ago, and
the millions of dollars the City has spent
annually on rental office space will never
be recovered.

But the worst news of all is that the pro-
posed new 40,000 square foot structure will
be an addition to an existing architectural
masterpiece – our Streamline Moderne City

Given the years the City has spent fiddling
with a very simple problem — and its spec-
tacular mismanagement of the problem, we
shudder at the mere thought of its tamper-
ing with a true masterpiece.

In the last 20-some years, the City has com-
missioned buildings on the west end of the
Santa Monica Pier with no windows, the wholly
undistinguished Ken Edwards Center, the bru-
tish Public Safety building, the new Main Li-
brary that looks like a branch of the L.A.
county jail, the Fourth Street Parking Struc-
ture that may be the ugliest building in Cal-
ifornia, the $80 million-plus bus yards, the
monster Second Street parking structure, the
Pico Neighborhod library whose costs have
risen four times, and The mega-Village that
violates every aesthetic rule. At the same
time, City officials have approved a gang of
pack/and/stack commercial projects that
wreak havoc with our low-key small scale

Can we trust these people with our perfect
Streamline Moderne City Hall? I think not.



Several years ago, I wrote an essay called
“Three Perfect Things.”

The three perfect things were 501 Levis,
Palm trees and Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

Along with the 24-hour news cycle (CNN),
the restoration of the Buffalo populat-
ion, a multi-billion-dollar endowment
for the United Nations and numerous oth-
er innovations, Ted Turner, who is pro-
bably the smartest man in America, in-
vented TCM.

This week, TCM is celebrating its 20th
anniversary at the TCM Classic Film Fes-
tival in Hollywood.with a variety of
special screenings and a regiment of
guests. As ever, Robert Osborne and
Ben Mankiewicz, a member of Hollywood’s
first family, will be on hand.Informa-

When I wrote “Three Perfect Things” I
had only one complaint about TCM. All
too often, it screened especially great
films at 5:30 or 6 a.m.on this coast
– perhaps the only hour of the 24 that
is simultaneously too late and too ear-
ly, and thus impossible to watch. If
you attend the festival and happen to
encounter Osborne or Mankiewicz, please
beg them to make this simple change.



Samohi science teacher and wrestling coach,
Mark Black, is on paid leave and a Samohi
student has been charged with allegedly at-
tacking a school official and having mari-
juana and a box cutter on the school cam-
pus,among other things ––all misdemeanors,
following a classroom brawl between teach-
er and student.

After he was charged, student Blair Moore,
18, pled not guilty and was released on his
own recognizance. A second student,16, was
turned over to his parents and was schedul-
ed to be charged some time today.

According to police reports, Moore lives in
in Los Angeles. He was arraigned at the Los
Angeles Airport Court. Charges five in all —
were filed by the Santa Monica City Attorn-
ey’s office.

That would have been that – another unfort-
unate incident at Samohi-– except that a
cellphone video shot by a student showed
teacher Mark Black pinning Moore to the
classroom floor. On seeing the video, San-
ta Monica-Malibu Unified School District
Superintendent Sandra Lyon immediately or-
dered Black to go on paid leave and sent
an email to parents, teachers and staff,
in which she noted that Black had been in-
volved in a “deeply disturbing…utterly al-
arming incident” and used an “unacceptable
restraint.” A subsequent email was itself
more restrained.

But the video went viral, triggering a vol-
ley of emails, praising Black and demand-
ing that Lyon re-instate him immediately.
Signed by 7,000 people, a petition asked
for Black’s reinstatement, while a pro-
Black Facebook page was “liked” by 18,500

Black alleged that Moore was trying to sell
marijuana to other students, and that he
was trying to stop him.

Superintendent Lyon said yesterday that
Black’s “paid leave is a standard proced-
ure and not a determination of wrongful
conduct or decision to suspend or disci-
pline him.”



Wendy Greuel, David Kanuth, Ted Lieu and Matt
Miller all want to replace Congressman Henry
Waxman, who is retiring after 40 years in Con-
gress. They will appear Sunday, April 13, from
2 to 4 pm, in a forum presented by the Pacific
Palisades Democratic Club.

They will all speak and take part in a Q&A

When Waxman surprised everyone from L.A. to
Washington by suddenly announcing his retire-
ment recently, some 20 people instantly ann-
ounced their intention to run for his seat in
the 33rd Congressional District.These four
are all Democrats and credible.

Gruel is a former L.A. City Councilmember.
She ran for L.A. mayor against Eric Garcetti
last year. Ted Lieu is a State Senator (28th
SD) and has spent a lot of time recently in
Santa Monica. David Kanuth describes himself
as a defense counsel/entrepreneur. Matt Mill-
er is a writer and the longtime radio host of
KCRW’s “Left, Right and Center.”

The forum will be held at Pacific Palisades
Woman’s Club, 901 Haverford Ave., Pacific
Palisades. Snacks. Free parking. Admission
free. Donations welcome.

For more information: Twitter: @PacPalDemocrats 310-230-2084



As part of the Santa Monica Conservancy’s
continuing exploration of the extraordin-
ary history of the Annenberg Beach House,
on Saturday, April 12, Preservation cons-
ultant Christy McAvoy will talk about the
historic structures on the site and John
Berley of Frederick Fisher Partners Arch-
itects will discuss the transformation of
the site to today’s Beach House.

On Saturday, April 19, film historian El-
aina Archer will present her documentary
on Marion Davies and docent Kay Pattison
will discuss Davies’ long relationship
with Hearst.

The lectures will be held at 2 pm at the
Ken Edwards Center, 1527 4th St. in down-
town Santa Monica.

The lectures are mandatory for everyone
enrolled in the current docents’ train-
ing class and are free.

Tickets for members and the public are $10
per person for each of the two lectures. A
limited number of tickets will be availa-
ble at the door.

The Conservancy will join the L.A. Heritage
Alliance at its annual L.A. Heritage Day, to
be held in Pico House at El Pueblo Histori-
cal Monument, the birthplace of Los Angeles
and home of world famous Olvera Street,on Ap-
ril 27. A full schedule of speakers and chil-
dren’s activities and over 70 museums,preser-
vation groups, historical societies and other organizations dedicated to preserving our her-
itage will have exhibit tables. 11 am to 4 pm.

For more information, download the flyer from
the Los Angeles Heritage Alliance website or
see the Experience LA listing for driving di-
rections and a link to the Metro trip planner.

Annual Conservancy membership contributions
support its work to preserve the architectur-
al and cultural heritage of our town. In ad-
dition, members receive the Conservancy’s in-
formative quarterly newsletter and discounts
on tours and events – as well as compliment-
ary admission to Saturday’s annual Holiday

Questions? Email or
leave a message at 310-496-3146.



I was six the first time I dashed across the
long, broad Santa Monica beach and into the
ocean. It was love at first sight.

When I was ten, I was forced to accompany my
parents back to the east coast. As the Super
Chief rolled out of Pasadena, I vowed to re-
turn one day to the beach in Santa Monica.

After several stops along the way, I came
back to stay in 1979. Some self-described
“old radicals” and restless ‘60s activists
had recently passed what was described by
the national media as the strictest and most
radical rent control ordinance in America. Coincidentally, a book I’d written about
Aspen, Colorado’s decline from a gorgeous,
sassy, spirited town to mainstream success
of the oiliest sort was about to be publ-

Unfortunately, inevitably, the same mercan-
tile pressures that overtook Aspen were
soon at work here. City Hall presided over
a major building boom. Developers bought the
allegiance of a majority of residents’ elec-
ted representatives on the City Council.

It was our town, but it was a prisoner of
commerce: greed in City Hall, gridlock in
our streets.

Several years ago, a residents’ ballot mea-
sure that would have controlled commercial
growth was sabotaged by City Hall in concert
with a $700.000 developers’ campaign fund,
and a blizzard of lies from a bogus resi-
dents’ group, “Save Our City” co-chaired
by Judy Abdo and Terry O’Day. The ballot
measure failed and residents were reduced
to spectators in their own town.

But Santa Monica residents are smart,inde-
pendent, articulate and devoted to this
beach town, and, in a perfect example of
participatory democracy and/or a very ci-
vil war, they have recently acted to take
control of their town.

Rather than listening to and heeding the
countless residents who opposed the Hines
project — at countless meetings, hear-
ings and workshops , City Hall commiss-
ioned Godbe Research to conduct a survey
that reduced residents to categories –
age, race, neighborhood, and opinions
and attitudes ona variety of interests
and issues.

Godbe Research is located in San Mateo
county, adjacent to Silicon Valley, and
in the San Francisco orbit. City Hall
has always favored consultants from San
Francisco – though in every way it is
the polar opposite of L.A., but stran-
gers in a strange town are easier for
our officials to manipulate, which, of
course, is the point. City Hall doesn’t
really want wisdom or creativity, much
less truth from consultants and resi-
dents. It wants approval, agreement,
affirmation s – applause not opposi-

Godbe was given several “research obj-
ectives” by City Hall.

1. “Assess residents’ overall percept
ions of Santa Monica.”
2. “Gather feedback on the downtown
and Bergamot plans.”
3. “Assess Community Benefit priorities
for all development projects.”
4. “Gauge land use priorities.”
5. “Understand preferences on urban form
and aesthetics.”
6. “Identify any differences in resi-
dents’ opinions due to demographic char-

Godbe’s surveyors were here for nine
days, interviewed 500 people, chosen
for their demographic perfection out of
the Santa Monica “universe” of more
than 77,000 adults and spent 22 min-
utes with each of the 500. Statistic-
ally speaking, researchers believe
that the “right” 500 people can and do
represent the 77,000 – with a very
small margin for error: plus or minus 4%.

After nine days in all and 500 22-min-
ute interviews, Godbe reported that
41.7% of the 500 people polled thought
Santa Monica was going in the “right di-
rection,” 33.9 % said it was going
in the “wrong direction,” and 18.7%
said it was “staying the same.” Nei-
ther the right direction, the wrong
direction nor the same direction was
defined. In addition, it reported that
47% of the people polled said growth
was diminishing Santa Monica’s charac-
ter,while 42% disagreed.

Asked to evaluate downtown Santa Monica,
enthusiasts praised “restaurants, shop-
ping, entertainment, nice clean vibe of
area…upscale, walkability of area, good
parking, safe, accessibility…bus, rail,
subway is coming. (editor’s note: sub-
way is NOT coming).

Others described the downtown area as
“expensive…for tourists, not locals.”

Thoroughly disenchanted residents said
they “don’t go there much, dislike ever-
ything in the area…not enough trees or
open space or restrooms…ugly buildings…
dirty…Not enough shopping or unique
shops… homeless people panhandling…
crime…crowds, overdeveloped… chain
stores…high rise buildings…no parking…
expensive to park…. traffic congestion.”

Asked what they thought Santa Monica
needed, the Godbe 500 spoke in favor
of “traffic improvement, more public
parking, parks and open space, histor-
ic building preservation, active trans-
portation facilities, employment and
training opportunities, affordable
housing, museums, art and cultural ve-
nues, childcare, creation of distinc-
tive architecture,” all of which res-
idents have demanded countless times,
and been rebuffed countless times.
City Hall prefers the big stuff like
the new $44 million park and the Hines

But this time, unlike all the prior
times, residents refused to accept
City Hall’s decision because it had
the means to foil it — Arlen Melk-
onian’s brilliant, simple “direct
democracy” — If
residents could collect 6100 signa-
tures in 30 days, they could, in fact,
veto the Council’s approval, and put
a referendum on the Hines on the Nov-
ember ballot.

The speed, efficiency, ingenuity, good
humor and devotion of the residents’
campaign was unprecedented.

In 28 days, they collected 14,330 sig-
natures, and delivered them to the City
Clerk’s office, thus recovering their
inherent control and authority as Santa
Monica residents, and beginning a new,
unprecedented chapter in the long
life of this gloriously idiosyncratic
beach town.

The residents’ signatures are being coun-
ted now. But, whatever the outcome,the
deliberate disenfranhisement of Santa
Monica residents by City Hall has ended.

A thread runs through the Godbe report
that seems to question whether residents
are capable of accurately assessing dev-
elopment projects and land use priorities?

The unalloyed arrogance of the question
is profoundly insulting. For years, the
City has eagerly accepted bogus benefits
from developers in lieu of actual benefits,
even as residents have insisted, again and
again, that if the project itself isn’t
a benefit, it should be rejected.

But, here and now, residents have retr-
ieved the last word, and plan on keeping



An inside look at the scandals that rocked
Benedict’s Papacy.

Second Screening. RSVP, please.
Saturday, April 12th – 7:00 PM
Doors Open at 6:30

At The Home of Rachel & Jay, 601 9th Street,
Santa Monica. One Block East of Lincoln.
One Block North of Montana. Southeast Corner.
Easy Parking

RSVP to: or Call
310-780-7363 (First 20)

Optional**BEFORE FILM: Meet at Izzy’s Deli,
15th @ Wilshire @ 5:00 PM for Dinner.
FREE PARKING: At Izzy’s Deli: Rear lot on
15th or Computer Store lot on 15th.
STREET PARKING: Read the street parking
signs carefully.

90 Minutes – 2014

Pope Benedict’s Final Days and Francis’
Battle to Set the Church On a New Path.

Pope Benedict made history when he ann-
ounced his resignation, becoming the
first Pope to step down voluntarily in
six hundred years. In his wake, he left
a bitterly divided Vatican mired in
scandals. But is Benedict’s successor,
Pope Francis, taming the forces that
helped destroy Benedict’s papacy? Is
he succeeding in lifting the Church
out of crisis? Nearly a year in the
making, this special FRONTLINE goes
inside the Vatican–one of the world’s
most revered and mysterious institu-
tions–to unravel the remarkable ser-
ies of events that led to the resig-
nation that shook the world. Through
interviews with those at the very
heart of what happened–cardinals,
priests, convicted criminals, police,
prosecutors and whistle-blowers–
FRONTLINE gives a first-hand account
of the final days of Benedict’s pap-
acy and the current battle to set
the Church on a new path under

Discussion after the Film and Refresh-
ments. “End the Embargo to CUBA COFFEE,”
Gourmet Cookies.

In September 1998, five Cubans were ar-
rested in Miami by FBI agents. Gerardo
Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Fernando Gon-
zalez, Antonio Guerrero and René Gonza-
lez were accused of the crime of cons-
piracy to commit espionage. Rene’ Gon-
zález Sehwerert and Fernando Gonzalez
are back in Cuba after serving 13 & 15
years for an unjust sentence.

Gerardo Hernández:”We will always be
the Cuban Five.”

$5 Donation Goes to: International Com-
mittee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5



Was reminded this day of that P.F Slone song
Barry McGuire sang in ’65.

It came to mind when wondering about what be-
came of those many Village Trailer Park home-
owning residents who left the scene as deve-
lopment contention concerning the park played
out over these recent 7 or so years.

Recall those entrepreneurs who wanted to end
the trailer park business, change the zoning
on that cozy, plant-blessed, historic post
-WWII unique few acres in Santa Monica’s east
end, so that they could then put up more too-
large, neighborhood-inappropriate buildings
on it? And that the stresses over those years
of struggle impelled many, when pressured, to
abandon their homes and become renters else-

Recall too, that for those owning their homes
at the VTP who instead stayed to endure liv-
ing through those years of uncertainty, it
became recently shocking to learn that our
local government gave up on them and their
ownership rights, to actually then facili-
tate actions so the entrepreneur could pro-
ceed with the development? So much for
home-ownership rights, actually affordable
housing, and zoning/rent-control protection,
right? Not to but mention honorable and
ethical governance?

But—saving the day—early this March, as yet
the next chapter of this development thievery
assault on these residents’ lives was about
to occur, a respite came when one among the
home owners in the VTP settled a legal dis-
pute over the injustice all had been so long
suffering. The terms of that settlement gra-
ciously offered those remaining residents
some seemingly significant money in recom-
pense forwhat had been done to them. That
action, it seemed, giving at least some so-
lace for these seniors, many being elderly
and of very-limited-means. For having their
home-owner-hip agreement so rudely threat-
ened and their lives so insensitively com-
promised, it looked like they might yet be
ok after all that abuse.

Sadly though, that recent settlement gain
proved not enough and the residents’ plight
too seemed yet to be well enough addressed.
With housing costs rising again—remember
that economic bubble back in ’08 and ’09,
which served to put us in this modern de-
pression we’re still having a hard time
with?—the settlement monies granted these
home-owning residents turns out to cover
only about what they might have net if they
had sold their homes. Not enough to make
it possible for them to survive very long
as renters in Santa Monica, and certainly
very far from enough for them to buy a home
anywhere near where they have built their
lives for these decades. But for this un-
bidden, greed-driven effort to force them
from their homes, likely none of these res-
idents would, given these again-hardening
economic times, even be thinking now of
selling their homes; these times, they have
indeed changed, and not for the better if
one is not already employed, secure, debt
free, and quite flush.No, after years
building their lives in this now problema-
tic little town—just as it’s government
seems needing to soon face dealing with the
consequences of its over-developing aims
and, with that, the finding of a remedy
for the adversarial way it seems now tre-
ating its constituency in managing comm-
unity matters—these remaining trailer park
home owners also still face burdens. For
one:the still-persisting need for them to
soon move from their homes so this devel-
opment can proceed, and, with that, the
need to endure yet more of this poor tre-
atment, as they head now (so to speak)
toward their own very personal eve of

David Latham



KTLA-TV story

A teacher at Santa Monica High School, Mark
Black, was placed on leave Friday after what
the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Dis-
trict’s Superintendent, Sandra Lyon, called
an “utterly alarming” confrontation involv-
ing Black and a student.

Several students recorded the fight on their
cell phones and the video appeared on the web
soon after that, triggering protests from tea-
chers and parents over what they saw as the Superintendent’s excessive reaction.

At least one video captured science teacher
and wrestling coach Black and an unidentified
student at the front of the classroom already
involved in some type of physical confronta-

Other students can be seen scrambling to get
out of the way as the struggle between the
two individuals moves toward the back of the
classroom. Black was finally able to pin the
boy down on the floor.

“I can tell you that what I witnessed on one
of those videos is utterly alarming,” Superin=
tendent Lyon wrote in the letter.

Lyon said there was no serious physical harm
to anyone involved, but added, “that neither
dismisses the severity of this situation nor
my commitment to gather all the facts and make
sure the proper actions are taken.”

It was not known what triggered the confronta-
tion. But some students told KTLA, the student
\ may have been caught selling drugs in class.
“As a parent I understand the frustration of
the teacher… but I don’t believe he handled it
the right way,” said parent Skipp Townsend.

The teacher was placed on leave, pending the
outcome of an independent investigation, Lyon

“Until the investigation is complete, we will
not have all the details that led up to this
incident; nevertheless, based on the what I
have viewed, the kind of physical restraint
used by the teacher is unacceptable,” the let-
tter stated.

Stories about the incident have appeared on
TV and in newspapers all over the country and
over 2,500 parents and teachers’ comments ap-
peared on Facebook in less than half a day.

The video can be seen at:



Santa Monica’s Committee for Racial Justice
will focus on “Race, Politics and the Crimi-
nal Justice System” on Sunday evening, April 6.

Sydney Kamlager,District Director for State
Senator Holly Mitchell, Patrisse Marie Cullors
from Dignity and Power Now and the End Sher-
iff’s Violence in L.A. Jails, and Diana Zun-
iga, state-wide organizer for Californians
for a Responsible Budget, will discuss the
L.A. County Sheriff’s race; pending legisla-
tion that would push back against the mass
incarceration of people of color; and the
Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Ballot Init-
iative, which would militate against mass
incarceration by reducing simple drug poss-
ession from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Specifically, Ms. Kamlager will discuss Sen-
ate Bill 1010, which was introduced by Cal-
ifornia State Senator Mitchell and would
finally eliminate the wholly unjust crack/
powder cocaine sentence disparity.

Ms. Cullors will focus on the L.A. County She-
riff’s race and provide background and orien-
tation for the upcoming sheriff candidates’
forum, moderated by the League of Women Voters,
that will be held at the Church in Ocean Park
on April 24.

Incumbent Sheriff Lee Baca quietly resigned
not long ago, leaving the County Jail in dis-
array, owing to the jailers’ routine mistreat-
of inmates. The next sheriff’s first priority
will have to be the restoration of equity and
order in the jail.

Ms. Zuniga will talk about the fight to halt
further jail expansion in Los Angeles County.

Scheduled for Sunday, April 6, this important
meeting will begin at 6 p.m. with a potluck
supper. The program will get underway at 6:30
and conclude at about 9 pm.

It will be held in the Thelma Terry Building
at Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Avenue,
Santa Monica. Parking is available in the park.

Sponsors include the Committee for Racial Jus-
ice, African Parent, Student, Staff Support
Group, Virginia Avenue Park, and the Church
in Ocean Park.



Featured in Jacaranda Music’s April 5 “Civil
Wars,” the narrated work by David Byrne,
“The Knee Plays,” was written for the unfin-
ished “the CIVIL warS” Opera, and is part of
the L.A. Philharmonic Minimalist Jukebox
Festival. This will be its first performance
in 25 years.

Actor Fran Kranz, Lyric Quartet, Calder Quar-
tet, Organist/Conductor Mark Alan Hilt, Vin-
tage Collectibles Jazz Band and the Jacara-
nda Chamber Ensemble will appear in the Ap-
ril 5 concert. Also on the program is music
for the Paul Schrader Film “Mishima” by Phil-
ip Glass.

Byrne was famed driving force of the “art
rock” band, the Talking Heads.

This program of 1980s film, theater and cer-
emonial music is part of The Los Angeles
Philharmonic’s citywide “Minimalist Jukebox”
(through May 4)

Robert Wilson’s ambitious, unfinished opera
“the CIVIL warS” was intended for the 1984
Olympics Arts Festival in Los Angeles. “The
Knee Plays” was conceived as a set of 14
short interludes between sections of the op-
era to span an entire day. Jacaranda’s offer-
ing of the entire set, which Byrne toured
widely and recorded, will complement the
L.A. Phil’s two performances of the opera’s
“Rome Section” by Philip Glass. Together,
they constitute the only two completed parts
of “the CIVIL warS” united in Los Angeles
for the first time ever. “The Knee Plays”
tour ended in 1988.

Actor Fran Kranz will narrate Jacaranda’s
presentation. A rising actor in film (“Cab-
in in the Woods,” “Much Ado About Nothing”)
and television (“The Good Wife,” “Bad Sp-
orts”), Kranz appeared in director Mike Ni-
chols’ Broadway production of “Death of a
Salesman” with the late Philip Seymour Hoff-
man.In 2014 Kranz will share the big screen
with Niki Reed, Greg Kinnear and Blythe Dan-

“Super exciting that this music is being
performed again,” Byrne told Jacaranda’s
Artistic Director Patrick Scott, “and in
LA where it was originally supposed to be
presented. The music is a mix of original
compositions and brass transcriptions of
choral folk music from different places.
The little stories that make up most of
the narration are personal and for the
most part plausible. The brass was intend-
ed to cover the noise of the sets being
changed and the narration really has not-
hing directly to do with [the opera’s
story] though one is free to make connec-
tions of one’s own.

“This piece was originally conceived to
be a series of little playlets that would
happen downstage of a large curtain,”
Byrne said. “They’d occur as the big bits
of scenery for the larger acts of the Ci-
vil Wars piece were being changed. All
together they visually told a story, a
kind of myth involving a tree that be-
comes a boat, travels to a far off land
and a book that turns back into the tree.
The sets looked like Sol Le Witt sculp-
tures and the movement was choreographed
by the late Suzushi Hanayagi originally.
Those visual elements happened in silence.”

The Jacaranda program will open with works
by Philip Glass: “Mad Rush,” an elaborate
organ piece performed for the exiled Dalai
Lama’s first public visit to New York City
1981, and a suite from the soundtrack to
1985 film “Mishima.” Mark Alan Hilt per-
formed “Mad Rush” on Jacaranda’s first
concert, and it is included as a nod to
Jacaranda’s 10th anniversary. “Mishima,”
Paul Schrader film, chronicles with styl-
ized scenes the famed Japanese writer’s
failed coup d’état.

Saturday, April 5, 8 p.m., First Presbyter-
ian Church of Santa Monica, 1220 2nd St.,
Santa Monica, 90401. Concert tickets, $45
general; $20 students:
Information: (213) 483-0216.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Jacara-
nda’s full 2013-14 season information is
available at Most con-
certs are at First Presbyterian Church of
Santa Monica, 1220 Second Street.



After a four-year campaign led by LAANE and
the Don’t Waste LA coalition, today the Los
Angeles City Council adopted the nation’s
most far-reaching overhaul of a major urban
city’s waste and recycling system.

The plan, championed by Mayor Eric Garcetti,
sets a model for the nation to address the
social and environmental consequences of in-
efficient, dangerous waste disposal. Under
the new policy, L.A. will divert 90 percent
of its waste from landfills while ensuring
safe, sanitary job conditions for thousands
of trash hauling and sorting workers.

The Zero Waste LA Franchise Ordinance will
bring recycling to all Angelenos, dramatic-
ally improving a system that has excluded
hundreds of thousands of residents and bus-
inesses. It will also re- place dirty
clean-burning vehicles.

According to LAANE, this is a major vict-
ory for the environment, the men and women
sort and haul our trash and every resident
of the city.

(LA FOR A NEW ECONOMY) is a leading advo-
cacy organization dedicated to building a
new economy for all. Combining dynamic re-
search, innovative public policy and the
organizing of broad alliances, LAANE pro-
motes a new economic approach based on
good jobs, thriving communities and a heal-
thy environment.

Visit the Don’t Waste LA Facebook page for
more information.



The Samohi jazz groups – Jazz Band 1, Jazz
Band 2 and Combo — performed brilliantly
at the Newbury Park High School Jazz Fest-
ival on Saturday, March 22.

Under the direction of Sean Pawling, Jazz
Band 2, playing in the Novice Division, re-
ceived straight “Good” ratings, and guit-
arist Frankie Kohn, a junior. received
an ”outstanding soloist award.” It was
the Group’s first performance in a jazz

Jazz Band 1, under the direction of Tom
Whaley, received straight Superior rat-
ings in the “Advanced Division,” first
place in the Advanced Division, and had
the highest score of the entire day.

Seven Jazz Band 1 musicians won “out-
standing soloist awards.”
Julian Apter, junior, Guitar, Glennon
Davalos Stanton, sophomore, Trombone,
Jake Gold, senior,Trumpet, Zach Gotler,
junior, Drums, Kyle McCreight, senior,
Trombone, Andres Orellana, junior,
Tenor Saxophone, Jane Wickline, fresh-
man, Piano.

Each of the seven solo award winners
was given a $1,400 scholarship to the
Idyllwild Summer Jazz Camp.

The Samohi Jazz Combo also earned unan-
imous Superior ratings and placed first
in the festival’s combo competition,
with a score of 90 out of 100.

Julian Apter, junior, Guitar, Kyle Mc-
Creight, senior, Trombone, and Andres
Rellana, Tenor Saxophone, received out-
standing soloist awards for their per-

Samohi’s jazz program is a dual enroll-
ment program with Santa Monica College
and meets twice a week after school.
Virtually every other band at the New-
bury Park Jazz Festival meets five days
a week as a regular class.

Samohi’s jazz musicians’ outstanding per-
formances as soloists and band members
is further proof that – in this era of
chronic financial distress in our schools
–the music program’s tireless, talented
and dedicated teachers – from elementary
classes to high schools.

Like the young musicians, the program
and its makers deserve an extended stan-
ding ovation.



John Fairweather

The battle over the future of Santa Monica
Airport intensified this week as a national
lobbying organization for the aviation ind-
ustry filed a proposed initiative with the
Santa Monica City Clerk that would handcuff
the City of Santa Monica’s efforts to the
future of the City’s land at the airport.
Anti-airport resident organizations immed-
iately began recruiting volunteers to halt
the ballot initiative.

“As soon as the City Council voted last week
to begin a process to possibly reclaim our
land from the Federal Aviation Administra-
tion, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots’ Assoc-
iation (AOPA), the lobbyists for the avia-
tion industry, made their move, coming up
with a ballot initia-tive that pretends to
be against development at the airport, but
is actually designed to prevent Santa Mon-
ica from shutting the airport down or even
limiting aviation operations,” said Michael
Salazar of, the organiza-
tion residents formed last year to turn the
airport land into a great park.

“The initiative was filed by three Santa
Monica residents (one of whom is a lawyer
or a law firm that specializes in ballot
measures), but it was obviously orchest-
rated by AOPA, which promoted the initia-
tive on its website within minutes of fil-
ing of the paperwork with the Santa Moni-
ca City Clerk. The initiative says that
it’s to prevent development at the airport,”
Salazar said, “but in fact AOPA wants to
stop a planning process the council began
week for the express purpose of ensuring
that the airport land will never be inten-
sively developed.”

“If they can fool enough people into sign-
ing it, it’ll be on the ballot in November,
and the aviation industry will flood Santa
Monica with money to get it passed.

If it does pass, Santa Monica could be hand-
cuffed to corporate jets forever. The initi-
ative would change the City Charter to bene-
fit just a few people. We’ve got to stop
this big lie.”

The initiative purports to give residents
the right to vote on changes to the airport,
but this is a right they already have. Any
action the City Council takes regarding the
airport can made be subject to a referen-
dum if 10% of registered voters sign peti-

This was recently demonstrated in Santa
Monica when the Residocracy organization
obtained enough signatures for a ballot
measure that would rescind the council’s
approval of an unpopular development.

Salazar said that the real purpose of the
initiative is to handcuff the City from
running the airport in any way that the
aviation businesses there don’t like.

Section 2(b) of the initiative says that
the City won’t “impose additional restric-
tions on providers of aviation support
services to tenants and airport users and
inhibit the sale of fuel of the full use
of aviation facilities,” and additional-
ly gives the right to “any person with
a beneficial interest in the operation”
of the airport to sue the City to enforce
the initiative.

This could mean, among other things, that
the City would have to continue 30-year-
old leases to aviation tenants at below
market, subsidized rents. and anti-airport groups
like Community Against Santa Monica Air-
port Traffic (CASMAT) and Concerned Res-
idents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP)
have joined together to combat the misin-
formation AOPA and its signature gather-
ers will be spreading. “The claim that
closing the airport will mean ‘high-den-
sity’ development is an outrageous lie,”
said Salazar. “At its hearing last week,
the council specifically instructed staff
to initiate a ‘concept plan based on low-
intensity use’ for the airport. Council
members unanimously opposed density dev-
elopment at the airport

should it be closed. The most likely out-
come is a great park, which Airport2Park
has shown can be funded without money
from developers. The AOPA is masquerad-
ing its petition as preventing overdeve-
lopment when it is, in fact,their tool
to keep jets and planes flying over local
homes, creating noise and pollution, and
threatening health and safety. It’s real-
ly a ‘Kill the Park’ initiative.”

For information on Airport2Park’s and
other organizations’ plans to counter
AOPA’s petition and initiative, contact
Airport2Park at
Meanwhile, tell all your friends about
this deception. The more people that
know about it, the harder it will be
fo them to fool people into signing their