Everyone is invited to hear a discussion presented by the Santa Monica Democratic Club of the upcoming election Healthcare Initiatives.
The meeting will be held Wednesday July 30, at 7 pm, at Mt.Olive Lutheran Hall: 14th Street and Ocean Park Boulevard, Santa Monica.
Club Executive Board members, Dr. Sion Roy and Genise Schnitman will discuss changing the malpractice cap and giving Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones the authority to regulate insurance premiums prices, which are fundamental aspects of the Healthcare system.
In addition, club members’ recommendations for future projects/priorities of the Santa Monica Democratic Club will be discussed. The club wants to hear from you.
Public Invited, light refreshments, free parking, no charge.
The Natural History Museum has added garden parties to its summer program, beginning this evening. Future Summer Nights in the Garden will be held on August 1, 15, and 29.
Each of the four evenings, the museum’s Nature Gardens will be filled with music, food, drinks, and hands-on projects (crowd-sourced fingerpainting anyone?) each of the four days.
Tonight, from 5 to 9 pm, KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez will spin ambient tunes in the Nature Garden and cocktails will be garden-inspired. Guests may bring a picnic or visit a food truck or several: Peaches Smokehouse, S’Cream Truck, CreativEats Truck, No Jodas Cuban Kitchen Truck.
The Butterfly stilt performers and Toy Theater shows will be present throughout the evening.
A workshop on potting succulents will be given by urban homesteading experts Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne
Santa Monica artist Peter Tigler will lead a participatory image-making project that’s part finger-painting, part color-by-number.
NATURE MAPPING: Visitors can become citizen scientists and help the museum map nature in urban L.A. And museum staff will lead botanical tours of the Nature Gardens.
ADMISSION: Free with RSVP. Register online at nhm.org/summernights or call 213.763.DINO.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) is located at 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90007. It recommends that visitors take Metro’s Expo Line, and exit the Expo/Vermont stop. Parking in the NHM Car Park is $10. When that fills up, parking in Lot 3 across the street is available for $10 (though Lot 3 is not owned or operated by NHM, and prices are subject to change).
The Santa Monica City Council has offered residents the guarantee they asked for: limits on future development at city-owned Santa Monica Airport (SMO).
The city is asking for voter approval of a measure amending the City charter to prohibit new development on airport land, except for parks and open spaces, and recreational facilities. Any other type of new development would require further voter approval.
That gives residents what they wanted — the means to protect the airport land from over-develop- ment if flight operations are reduced or end.
Current non-aviation lease-holders could remain: restaurants, a little theater, the flight museum, Barker Hangar, and other cultural, educational and arts-centered facilities, as well as existing studios and offices.
“Santa Monica voters have made it clear they don’t want another Century City on the airport campus,’’ said John Fairweather, chair of the Committee for Local Control of Santa Monica Airport Land (CLCSMAL). “This assures residents that voting `yes’ on the city measure and ‘no’ on the lobbyist measure will end concern about high-density development on that land.”
Two Washington-based aviation lobbies, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), are funding an opposing measure. Although touting it as “anti-development,” it actually says nothing about development. It would simply preserve or increase flight operations. (Business jet operations at SMO have been growing steadily).
Their measure would also strip the city of its authority to run the airport and block it from managing its leases, potentially costing residents millions of dollars.
The lobbyists are reacting to three factors: 1. The city’s recent move to explore ways to reduce or eliminate jet traffic and student flight schools that produce most of SMO’s noise, pollution and danger. 2. The expiration in July 2015 of all leases at SMO. 3. The city recently increased SMO’s landing fees, ending years of using money from non-aviation activity and the general fund to subsidize flight operations.
Fairweather added that the city measure “will lead to a cleaner, quieter, healthier city that will benefit all Santa Monicans and make the city even more special than it is.”
Saturday, July 26th, 7:00 PM. Doors Open at 6:30 PM
At The Home of Rachel and Jay, 601 9th Street, Santa Monica.
One Block East of Lincoln, One Block North of Montana.
Southeast Corner – Easy Parking
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.
RSVP a MUST to: RachelJay@earthlink.net or: 310-780-7363 (First 20)
$5 Donation for The Defense Of The Cuban 5, www.thecuban5.org
WHICH WAY HOME 83 min 2009
As the United States continues to build a wall between itself and Mexico, WHICH WAY HOME shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the United States.
The film follows several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call ” The Beast “. Director Rebecca Cammisa (Sister Helen) tracks the stories of children like Olga and Freddy, nine-year old Hondurans who are desperately trying to reach their families in Minnesota, and Jose, a ten-year-old El Salvadoran who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and focuses on Kevin, a canny, street-wise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach New York City and send money back to his family. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow. They are the ones you never hear about — the invisibles, es.
Spanish with English Subtitles
Discussion after the Film and Refreshments. “End the Embargo to CUBA COFFEE”, Gourmet Cookies.
In September 1998, FBI agents arrested five Cubans in Miami. Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez were accused of the crime of conspiracy to commit espionage. Rene’ GonzÃ¡lez Sehwerert and Fernando Gonzalez are back in Cuba after serving
13 and 15 years of an unjust sentence.
Gerardo HernÃ¡ndez: “We will always be the Cuban Five.”
Council member Kevin McKeown writes, “Yes, I’m officially a candidate. I’m grateful to the enthusiastic residents who made my signature-gathering easy. One question we were asked over and over was who I hope gets elected with me.
“I’ve thought long and hard about who I hope gets other endorsements, including the SMRR nomination and goes on to win with me in November, and it comes down to two Planning Commissioners, experienced and trustworthy to represent residents, not special interests: Jennifer Kennedy and Sue
Himmelrich. Both Jennifer and Sue have pledged, like me, not to take developer or hotel campaign money.”
“Summer is the season when the pilots of private planes like to take to the skies. But summer flying often means thunderstorms and extreme changes that can lead to accidents. It’s also a time to think about a system that doesn’t do all it can to protect those pilots and passengers.Flying in small planes is far riskier than flying in commercial aircraft,” according to Damian Fowler, author of “Falling Through Clouds: A Story of Survival, Love, and Liability.”
In an OpEd article in the Thursday’s New York Times, Fowler reports that there are small plane or helicopter crashes every week. In January, a twin-engine private jet crashed and burst into flames, killing one and injuring two. In February, in Nashville, a twin-engine aircraft missed a landing approach and four people were killed.In March, in Ridgway, Colorado, a plane went into a flat spin, crashed into ice water and killed five people. Wednesday, a small plane went down in New Jersey.
He goes on to say, “The National Transportation Safety Board found that in 2011, 94 percent of fatal aviation accidents occurred in what’s called general aviation. By contrast, commercial aviation had no fatal accidents… Because the rules are looser for general aviation than for commercial planes, the risks are much higher…
“The current policies are not working. Five years ago, the FAA set a goal of reducing the accident rate in generalaviation by 10 percent by 2018, but it has remained static, with the NTSB reporting an average of 1500 aviation accidents a year, resulting in about 450 fatalities…(But) there is currently no federal requirement that the owner or pilot of a private aircraft carry insurance to cover injuries to passengers or a third party on the ground.”
Apparently, the announcement by AOPA that the County registrar had confirmed its collected signatures may have been premature. The announcement has now been removed from the AOPA site.
We have since spoken to the City Clerk, and she has no knowledge that the County has completed the validation process..
Chair – CLCSMAL
A federal judge declared California’s death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying that lengthy and unpredictable delays have resulted in an arbitrary and unfair capital punishment system.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney represents a legal victory for those who want to abolish the death penalty in California and follows a similar ruling that has suspended executions in the state for eight years.
Carney, in a case brought by a death row inmate against the warden of San Quentin state prison, called the death penalty an empty promise that violates the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
“Inordinate and unpredictable delay has resulted in a death penalty system in which very few of the hundreds of individuals sentenced to death have been, or even will be, executed by the State,” wrote Carney, a George W. Bush appointee.
He noted that death penalty appeals can last decades and, as a result, most condemned inmates are likely to die of natural causes before their executions are carried out.
Carney also wrote that since the current death penalty system was adopted by California voters 35 years ago, more than 900 people have been sentenced to death, but only 13 have been executed.
“As for the random few for whom execution does become a reality, they will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary,” the judge stated.
While the decision’s only immediate effect was on California, legal experts said it could echo elsewhere as the issues it addresses are in no way unique.
“Every state with a significant death row has the problem of cases taking a long time,” said Gabriel J. Chin, a law professor at the University of California, Davis.
Chin said he sees a long appeals process ahead and expects the case will reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling could be appealed by either the governor or the state attorney general.
Gil Garcetti, a former Los Angeles County district attorney who has become an anti-death-penalty activist, called the ruling “truly historic.”
“It further proves that the death penalty is broken beyond repair,” he said.
From Los Angeles Sports Journal
Daniel Archuleta, the Santa Monica Daily Press Managing Editor, died yesterday morning at his home in El Sereno, according to his family.
The 38-year-old had been with the westside newspaper for seven years and was responsible for the publication’s high school sports coverage.
Prior to joining the Daily Press, Archuleta had worked at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.He is survived by his wife Gayatri and two young daughters.
No cause of death was given.
[A memorial fund has been set up to support the Archuleta family due to Daniel's unexpected death. We at the Los Angeles Sports Journal respectfully ask our readers to donate to help Gayatri avoid a very difficult financial struggle in the coming months. No matter how small the donation, any amount will be appreciated.
A donation can be made at: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/cp6Eb]
Election Season Officially Begins Today! Come to the 1st ever Residocracy City Council Candidates Forum on Monday, July 28.
Dear Residocracy Members,
Today is the first day that candidates can begin the signature-gathering process to run for City Council in the Nov. 4 election. Residocracy.org is excited to announce that we will hold our first City Council Candidates Forum in collaboration with neighborhood groups from throughout the city. All City Council candidates who have filed with the city will be invited to participate and the event will be open to the public.
WHEN: Monday, July 28 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Martin Luther King Auditorium, Santa Monica Public Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Doors will open at 6 p.m. Seating in the auditorium is limited and is available on a first come, first served basis, so please be prompt.
YOU CAN PARTICIPATE:
In preparation for the forum, we are asking you – our members – to send us the questions you would like to have asked of these Council candidates.
Our goal is to make sure that your concerns are at the forefront and help guide the process.
YOU WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO RANK THE CANDIDATES: In addition to providing questions in advance, you will also have an opportunity at the forum to rank the candidates based upon their answers.
Following the forum, the Residocracy Advisory Board will meet to review your input and select the three City Council candidates whom we feel will do the best job of representing residents and addressing our issues and concerns.
email your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you at the forum and thank you for being part of our Coummunity Network of Residents!
The Residocracy Advisory Board
Copyright © 2014 Residocracy, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website to receive important Residocracy notifications. Our mailing address is: Residocracy 1112 Montana Ave, #358 Santa Monica, CA 90403
Add us to your address book
Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp
unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences | view email in browser
Santa Monica faces a historic election for City Council this November – when residents will have a chance to fundamentally change the current Council, from one where the majority largely rubber stamps a steady onslaught of high-density, traffic-clogging overdevelopment – to one that will act for residents, not developers. The scale, character and livability of our City is at stake.
From our inception in 2005, Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City has championed: 1) reining in rampant overdevelopment that has brought us terrible traffic and strained our infrastructure; 2) requiring that residents’ concerns about development be given more weight than developers’ and their lobbyists’; and 3) uncovering and objecting to council members who accept contributions from developers and then vote favorably for their pending projects.
We’ve spent the past month conducting in-depth interviews of serious council candidates. As a result, we strongly support three whose philosophies and actions are in synch with ours: incumbent Council member Kevin McKeown, and Planning Commissioners Sue Himmelrich and Richard McKinnon.
Kevin, Sue and Richard have been passionate about protecting Santa Monica from overdevelopment, and repeatedly sided with residents, standing up to developers, their consultants and City planning staff, in opposition to massive or poorly designed projects. Each has shown a respect for residents’ quality of life and the character of Santa Monica that has lately suffered from excessive, piecemeal, and unsustainable development. Each has pledged not to take money from developers.
All three have opposed the massive Hines project at 26th Street and they all currently oppose the three proposed out-of-scale, high rise condo-hotel towers on Ocean Avenue.
Kevin, Sue and Richard are strong, ethical, hard-working, smart candidates who can win in November. Their election – joining sitting council members Ted Winterer and Tony Vazquez – would constitute a resident-friendly majority, improve City government across the board, hold the City accountable as well as control the development juggernaut.
Now we need your help to build community-wide momentum. Please do two things right away: First, make a donation to SMCLC’s PAC today at http://www.smclc.net/help-effort.html. We will use these funds to counteract the heavily funded developers who will pour money into the Council race to try to confuse voters about which candidates support reasonable growth. We will provide voters with the facts.
Second, circulate this email to your neighbors and friends and ask them to join SMCLC’s email list at www.smclc.net so we can keep them informed throughout the election cycle.
In the weeks to come we will be sending out more information on Kevin (www.mckeown.net), Sue (http://sueforcitycouncil.nationbuilder.com) and Richard (www.richardmckinnon.com). Take a look at their websites and if you hear of an event for them, go meet them in person!
Diana Gordon, Victor Fresco, Sherrill Kushner and Jeff Segal
SMCLC-PAC ID #1292031 SMCLC | Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City
1223 Wilshire Blvd. Box 1002, Santa Monica, CA 90403-5400
Former Santa Monica Mayor and City Council member Michael Feinstein reports that he was the first candidate to arrive at City Hall today for the opening of the candidate filing period, and the first to file nomination papers for any office in the city’s 2014 municipal elections.
“I am full of energy and enthusiasm to roll up my sleeves and work on behalf of this City” said Feinstein, who arrived at City Hall at 8am and attended the City’s workshop for interested candidates at 8:30, after which he was the first candidate to file paperwork to take out nomination papers.
“I’m very excited for the community dialogue of this campaign. Over the next few weeks, I will be at local farmers markets and other community gatherings, talking to residents and gathering the needed 100 nomination signatures from residents in order to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.”
Feinstein’s next campaign event is an open to the public and press “Meet and Greet”, this Wednesday July 16, 7-9 pm, at ZJ Boarding House, 2619 Main St. Feinstein will be introduced there by former Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, who has endorsed Feinstein’s bid for City Council.
“In choosing locations for my campaign events, I seek to symbolize my policy goals and honor values this community holds dearly,” said Feinstein.
“I chose ZJ Boarding House surf shop on Main St., because I support local community-serving small businesses, and because Main St. is a great example of a low-scaled, local historic commercial district that is in scale with and embraced by the surrounding neighborhood.” Adds Feinstein, “I choose ZJ Boarding House itself because we must protect the feeling of being a beach side community and because I deeply respect the local surfer community and culture.”
Feinstein kicked off his campaign on June 17th in Santa Monica’s Tongva Park, in order to recall his integral role as a Councilmember in the city’s historic purchase of the RAND land in 1999; as well as to symbolize his campaign goal of significantly increasing the amount of parks and open space in the city; and to emphasize the importance of more public spaces overall and a healthy environment in our dense community.
Later that night Feinstein held his ‘after party’ at Chez Jay’s restaurant on Ocean Ave., to reflect his appreciation of community character by recognizing Chez Jay’s official city landmark status and its role as a iconic and historic cultural institution.
Feinstein is also campaigning upon supporting affordable housing and tenants rights, and the arts and social services, while addressing traffic, preventing over-development and achieving a responsive local government.
City propaganda machine notwithstanding, the Third Street Promenade is not the only street in Santa Monica.
Ocean Park was founded by Abbott Kinney, creator of Venice, but soon became part of Santa Monica. Its Main Street is its main street. There is a steep hill to the east, the ocean to the west, and
a thoroughly original gathering of restaurants and shops in the middle.
Montana, 7th to 17th streets, will hold its annual art walk and music festival on Thursday, July 17, from 5 to 9 PM, featuring 150 shops in 10 blocks — California art, jazz, bluegrass and classical guitar, and Lee Grant, who’s not only one of Hollywood’s most talented and accomplished actresses, but one of its best documentary film directors.
Ms. Grant will be at the Aero Theater/American Cinematheque at 7:30 pm, Thursday, for a screening of two of her most notable films – THE LANDLORD and SHAMPOO. Between the screenings, she’ll have a conversation with Larry Karaszewski. She will also sign her new book, “I Said Yes to Everything: a
Memoir.” She has been nominated for a number of Oscars, including supporting actress nods for both the films that will be shown Thursday. She has thus far won two Oscars, one for SHAMPOO, one for direction of a documentary film, DOWN AND OUT IN AMERICA.
During the ugly era of black lists and witch hunts that afflicted America in the 1940s and 1950s, Ms. Grant was blacklisted and couldn’t work in film or TV for 12 years, because she criticized the House UnAmerican Activities Committee for its harsh treatment of a friend, an actor who died of a heart attack shortly after his appearance before the committee. In fact, it was the Committee that was UnAmerican.
For an actress to be forbidden from working for 12 years at the height of her career is tantamount to murder, but Ms. Grant is a very game woman as well as a brilliant film-maker. She hasn’t even lost her sense of humor.
When the City announced it was going to spend $7 million on the design and installation of new bus stops, we were instantly wary. Design is not one of City Hall’s strong suits.
A few examples: the post-storm buildings on the west end of Santa Monica Pier had no windows – though the view from there is quite literally breath-taking. The Fourth Street parking structure is arguably the ugliest building in California. And the “so-called “Village” resembles nothing so much as an enormous, tragic accident.
When the new bus stops were finally installed, our wariness turned into profound confusion. What were they thinking of – popsicles, flagpoles, post-modern trees, a geometry problem, or nothing at all? The overhead circles aren’t big enough to block the sun or divert the rain and the seats are too small. The stops are too sparse to be actively offensive. They’re just…pointless.
Apparently, we aren’t the only person to wonder about these wan little gatherings of sticks and discs. According to a press release, “The City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB), in response to customer feedback, announced plans to modify elements of its new Bus Stop Improvement Project (BSIP) design, improving seating capacity and functionality.
“In 2009, (five years ago!), Big Blue Bus engaged an architectural design firm to work with BBB, city staff, and stakeholders to come up with a Santa Monica-inspired design that would also incorporate real-time information, solar lighting, updated maps and other desired amenities for riders.”
“Santa Monica-inspired design?” We cannot imagine what about this gloriously idiosyncratic beach town “inspired” this major undesign.
The press release went on to say, “The final design, called ‘The Blue Spots,’ is clean and unobtrusive…” It’s not “clean and unobtrusive,” it’s dumb. “It was designed to enhance the city’s coastal look and feel.” To enhance is to improve. One would have to be deluded to believe these “Blue Spots” have any relationship to Santa Monica’s “coastal look and feel.”
And the press release persists, “The new bus stop structures utilize a modular system flexible enough to adapt to various sized locations and rider volumes and the three stop configurations are designed to accommodate different passenger ridership volumes for designated ‘low,’ ‘medium’ and ‘high volume’ stops. The design is the result of extensive outreach to a great number of stakeholders, including; riders, City Council officials, business owners with storefronts behind bus stops, business improvement districts, neighborhood associations, and the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau.” On the basis of their work here, all these people are hereby disqualified from from further outreach.
“All 302 bus stops throughout Santa Monica, and various other stops located around Los Angeles serviced by the Big Blue Bus, will be updated. New features at each stop will include: A route map of lines stopping at that location. An ID number that allows for real time bus arrivals via cell phone. A canopy providing shade during peak travel times. Seating (space permitting). Trash and recycling containers.
“Medium and high volume stops will also receive: Signs that broadcast real time bus arrival information at 35 boarding locations. Additional seating and canopies. Select areas will receive solar LED lighting that illuminates the structure and waiting area.
“Installation, Design Modification and Next Steps BBB planned the construction to take place six to twelve stops at a time over a two-year period. Construction of the first six stops began Monday, March 31. Almost 40 of the low volume stops have been completed to date and BBB has heard customer and constituent concerns about seating capacity, shade, rider and driver line of site visibility, and functionality of the seats for elderly riders and riders with physical challenges. BBB researched and vetted these concerns and true to the iterative community engagement process, BBB is modifying the design of the new bus stops to address these concerns.”
If City Hall actually had a functioning “iterative community engagement process,” Residents would not be grappling now with all manner of problems.
“ ‘We have received numerous customer requests for additional seating, shade, and comfort and are working with the City’s architect, Public Works Department and project contractors to accommodate these requests as possible,’ says Ed King, Director of Transit for the Big Blue Bus. ‘While BBB and the City underwent an extensive public engagement process during the design phase for the Bus Stop Improvement Project, making adjustments once the design is built and installed based on customer experience is the mark of a dynamic public engagement effort.”
In fact, if we actually had a “dynamic public engagement effort,” the new bus stops would work – without further ado.
“Bus stop design modifications will include additional seating, and additional or expanded canopies at low volume stops, seating features allowing greater ease of use for riders requiring support to lift themselves up from a seated position, and when necessary, repositioning the seating such that the sightline for riders and drivers alike is not obstructed. Where feasible, BBB will convert ‘low volume’ stops currently designed to host two seats and a single canopy to ‘medium volume’ stops, adding seating as well as canopies. In addition, BBB is investigating modifying the existing seat design to improve the seating comfort and support, potentially through wider seats and higher backs.
To put it more bluntly, the sticks-‘n-discs will be replaced by little houses, which is not really what we had in mind, much less an improvement.
“Proposed modifications will go into effect over the next few months. BBB will also construct a few ‘high-volume’ stops over the next several weeks so that customers can see the full mix of stop configurations sooner than previously scheduled.
“’We believe when customers see the full scope of the project installed, there will be a greater understanding of seat and canopy configurations at each stop based on the volume of ridership,’” continued Ed King. “We appreciate the customer feedback as it has contributed to improving the design.’”
“To receive regular updates about the project, please subscribe to the Big Blue Bus’s dedicated Bus Stop Improvement Project email list at http://www.bit.ly/BSIPemailsubscribe.”
How about an “update” of how much of the original $7 million budget remains?
We were followed at the Farmers Market on Main Street in Santa Monica. I tried to file a “stalking” police report (incident #14-86402) Sunday morning, July 6, 2014, but Santa Monica police officer Gutierrez said being followed for ten minutes throughout the Main Street farmers market, run by market manager Jodi Low, did not rise to the level of stalking. I told the police the pony ride operators had weeks ago posted on Facebook a video of Tawni Angel, the operator with the contract with the city, practicing with a machine gun at a firing range, saying, “I like it,” as she sprayed her bullets, but the police officer still would not take my report, saying there would have to be physical intimidation or verbal threats to constitute stalking. The officer did, however, agree to walk down to the market to see what’s going on in this Ocean Park neighborhood, where three months ago I launched a petition to shut down the cruel pony ride and petting zoo. The petition now has 1,015 signatures.
When I showed up Sunday morning (7/6/14) to take photos of the animals — the tethered ponies, plodding round and round in a tiny circle on cement; the tightly penned alpaca at the petting zoo — Jason Nester, husband of pony ride operator Tawni Angel, together with the “friend” followed me and my husband as we wound our way through the market. Earlier, Jason tried to block me from taking any photographs, then stood next to me and my husband in what felt like an effort to intimidate us. I walked away.
“You must be nervous,” he said to my husband. “You’re sweating.”
A few weeks earlier, when I was taking photos of the chickens cowering in the corner of the petting zoo, Tawni Angel, the pony operator, said to me from the pony ride area adjacent to the zoo, “You’re a coward. You won’t even come over here.”
Routinely, when I attempt to video tape the ponies, forced to circle at a rapid clip, Jason Nester stands in front of the camera.
Not only are the ride operators stifling dissent, but so is the Santa Monica Main Street farmers market manager Jodi Low, who last Sunday, July 6th, told me and other protestors we could not enter the market with our signs that read, “Stop Animal Abuse.” We reminded her that we are city residents with every right to protest on city-owned land, and proudly held our signs for all to see inside the farmers market.
We now have three issues to confront in Ocean Park: animal cruelty; neighborhood disempowerment; and intimidation of dissenters. Neighborhood residents comment on the petition itself about their long-standing opposition to the animal exhibits, and how some of them have stayed away, tacitly boycotting the Main Street Farmers Market for years.
On the heels of the petition drive, I created a website http://www.freethepony.org/
to encourage residents to demand shade and water for animals, who for much of the last decade have been exhibited in direct sunlight. The web site also encourages visitors to submit bids to replace the animal vendors, who for the last eleven years have occupied prime front and center real estate at the Main Street market, each year their contract automatically renewed, the city market managers Jodi Low and Laura Avery refusing to issue a Request for Proposal for competing bids – this despite ongoing protests over animal cruelty.
The City of Santa Monica needs to outlaw the tethering of ponies, establish an animal welfare commission, and seriously address the deeply felt concerns of neighborhood residents.
Enough. We deserve better.
Marcy Winograd, Ocean Park Resident