Today the Big Blue Bus opened the first stops with real-time signage as part of its two-year Bus Stop Improvement Project. The previous 50 stops, already completed, had the project’s low-volume design, intended to enhance locations with fewer than 50 daily passenger boardings with new seating and an identifying canopy.
The first two stops to open with the high-volume treatment will be on both sides of Pico and 18th Street, which is utilized heavily by students from Santa Monica College (SMC). At these stops, BBB has installed a larger sign unit for the display of route maps and real time signage which will show the predicted real-time arrival information for the next three buses, along with their route number and destination.
The stops at SMC are also the first of the medium and high-volume stops to open since BBB announced the changes it was making to the project design. The redesign of the double seat is not complete, so the SMC stops will receive single seats in the interim.
BBB plans to open an additional group of medium and high-volume stops early in September: Lincoln at Pico (southbound, toward LAX); Lincoln at Ocean Park (northbound, toward downtown Santa Monica); Main and Ocean Park (northbound, toward downtown Santa Monica); Main and Ashland (northbound, toward downtown Santa Monica)
BBB will be installing solar-powered lighting at these locations, and a real-time sign at Lincoln at Pico (southbound).
The redesign of the double-seat unit is underway with anticipated modifications to the seat size, spacing, and the arm/back configurations. Redesigned double-seats will be installed at bus stop locations and positioned to maximize driver and rider sight lines. Updated double-seats will also replace most of the single and original double-seats installed at stops constructed to-date. To accommodate more riders, high volume stops may receive the full range of seating units that will include the original and updated double-seats as well as single seats.
Additionally, the refuse bins will be redesigned with enlarged openings to facilitate deposits of to-go boxes and other larger items. All new locations will receive the new bins, while previously installed bins will be updated with the larger openings.
BBB has already announced that in response to feedback from the community, the design of low volume stops will be modified where feasible to include shade structures, more accommodating seat design and placement of refuse bins so that sight lines are not blocked. While the low volume stops were not originally intended to include shade structures, Public Works and BBB staff are reviewing locations to determine if a shade structure can fit in the sidewalk without obstructing local businesses and disrupting existing infrastructure. Shade structures include two 6-foot diameter discs mounted on a pole, whereas the canopy structures originally designed for lower volume stops include one 5-foot diameter disc. Three low-volume locations already identified to receive additional shade structures are: Wilshire at 26th in both directions, Lincoln at Ashland (northbound)
Other modifications under consideration include using 6-foot discs in lieu of the 5-foot discs to match the medium and high volume stops.The BBB Bus Stop Improvement Project was launched to enhance the bus rider experience and encourage the use of mass transit.
Along with my husband, I have been opposing destruction of the home we own at Village Trailer Park for quite some time–covered by rent control in perpetuity, and protected against eviction of us or destruction of the Park by four state laws. We have been working fulltime, both of us, on this for almost five years. In all that time, I still have not become able to believe that people even exist who can have such inhumane opinions as Ben Swett, who wrote to you on August 26, 2014, that residents of VTP have “plenty of options,” along with his opinion that they are fair, and that our City Council “worked very hard” to make them fair.
I looked up and went by Mr. Swett’s home about a block away. I can’t tell if it is an apartment or a condominium, but it is for sure it is not a mobile home. That is why it is not covered by rent control in perpetuity, or protected by four state laws. And maybe that Mr. Swett doesn’t understand the difference between owning a mobile home and living in either an apartment or a condominium would explain why he does not understand the options offered are neither fair nor legal.
Nonetheless, what I fail to understand is how anyone whose own home is not at issue feels qualified to have an opinion at all about whether others–whose homes are at issue–have “plenty” of options, or even any. I would not judge how fair what he is offered is when the owner of his apartment building–if he lives in an apartment–decides to Ellis it. I also would not presume I know what he should get as a fair price for his condominium if he lives in one. What I do know is that price would have to be different if he decided to sell, from what would be required if he were forced to sell, as we would be if it were legal to force us to sell. The owners of two homes the school district wants to take to expand a school in Pico Neighborhood have turned down a million dollars each. Does Mr. Swett presume he knows whether that is fair or not, too?
I am grateful we have the law rather than Mr. Swett’s opinion to protect us. And no, it is not over, and no, we have not been offered fair options, and no, the City Council did not fight hard or at all for improving those options, which changed barely at all between the beginning and the end of the Council’s deliberations. The Council presumed without meaningful legal authority that the Park could be closed, as indeed it could if it were vacant. Instead of getting outside advice as we asked, the Council relied on its overpaid house attorneys, who are as unqualified about mobile home law and rent control as Mr. Swett obviously is. These are the same city attorneys who lost the Embassy Suites, a landmarked elegant apartment house in a neighborhood of such irreplaceable buildings, to Palihouse, a hotel in a residential neighborhood. Those attorneys convinced everyone but us to go to the question of how much so-called affordable housing would be put at the project they would approve.
It ain’t happening. It’s been 16 months since the City approved the development agreement, and seven years now since we got the first eviction notice. We cannot be evicted. That is why the City instead “tried very hard,” all right–to get us to leave without having to be evicted. Often City people came, up to six at a time, a city attorney, rent board administrator, special projects planner, and three others, and tried to convince us we had no choice but to take one of the “fair” options the developer was offering. That we cannot be evicted is why the developers settled with a few tenants for far more than the “fair options” the City got offered to us. For people like us who can do our own legal and planning work, however, the only fair option is the legal one, and that has not been offered. So we are still here and not planning to move. Have you seen “Up”?
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“People call me a painter but there’s a lot more to it than that. There are other aspects of what I do perhaps that lead to the paintings. That’s what I enjoy the most, the assembling of things, putting bits and pieces together, although I also enjoy taking things apart.”
Lora Schlesinger is pleased to announce Ruins, Gronk’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. This show features new abstract paintings and works on paper by the artist. The exhibition is on view Saturday, September 6 – October 18, 2014. The opening reception will be held Saturday, September 13 from 5 – 7 pm.
Gronk’s Ruins are a union of abstract concepts conceived in preparation for and in response to, his experience painting the sets for Peter Sellars’ adaptation of Henry Purcell’s Opera The Indian Queen. Reminiscent of Mayan codices and modern day graffiti, Gronk’s mark-making conveys the energy of a lost civilization in an ever changing world. Layers of information hover in harmony on each panel. Some elements float in the foreground, while others are negated with dabs of paint recalling the way street paintings are whitewashed on urban walls. With each shape, line, scribble or scratch Gronk is inventing a unique visual language resembling hieroglyphics, calligraphy and pictographs. Red, black, white and rust-colored hues, contrasted with obscure forms create an interplay between a vernacular historically found on walls of caves, and a contemporary visual language that is a record of the artist’s life.
Gronk is an award-winning set designer, muralist, performance artist, painter and printmaker, living in Downtown Los Angeles. His paintings are a collection of his observations that actively reflect the noise and movement of a growing city. The whirling shapes and gestural marks echo his affinity for German Expressionism. His work has consistently incorporated elements of film, music and performance art. Given the performance aspect of much of his work, there is a sense of impermanence in his oeuvre that mirrors a moving film. He documents memories and transitory cultures in an invented alphabet scribbled with paint.
Gronk was a founding member of ASCO, a multi-media arts collective in the 1970s. He has designed sets for organizations such as the Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Theatro Real in Madrid Spain and Perm Opera House & Ballet Theatre in Perm, Russia. He has exhibited nationally and internationally. In 2011 Los Angeles County Museum of Art held an ASCO retrospective that traveled to Williams College Museum of Art in Massachusetts and to Mexico City. He had a solo exhibition at LACMA in 1994, and has been included in exhibitions at The Fowler Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, The Smithsonian Museum of Art in D. C., and The Pompidou in Paris France.
Lora Schlesinger Gallery | 2525 Michigan Ave T3 | Santa Monica | CA | 90404
GALLERY HOURS: Tuesday – Friday, 10 -5:30 pm, Saturdays 11 – 5:30 pm
OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, September 13, 2014, 5-7PM
ARTIST TALK: Saturday, September 13, 2014, 4:30 PM (Please RSVP via email)
CONTACT: Lora Schlesinger or Stephanie Mercado
The Committee for Racial Justice will hold its monthly meeting on Sunday, September 7th, at Virginia Avenue Park, Thelma Terry Building, 2200 Virginia Avenue Park, Santa Monica. The workshop is from 6 to 8:30 pm. Potluck supper is served at 6 and the program begins at 6:30.
September’s speaker, Dr. Ikaweba Bunting, will examine the call for reparations for Black Americans.
Dr. Bunting lived in eastern and southern Africa for almost three decades before returning to the US in 2002. Bunting, who earned his PhD from the University of Whales U.K., lived and worked in humanitarian assistance sectors for the Danish Association for International Cooperation, the British NGO, Oxfam, The Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation and the Tanzania Film Co.
During the Genocide in Rwanda, he was the Region Policy and Communications coordinator for Oxfam (UK) and was instrumental in efforts to mobilize the international community and the United Nations to recognize that what was happening was, in fact, systematically planned genocide.
As a member of the Burundi Peace Negotiation Facilitation Team, Bunting was an advisor on Civil Society in the Great Lakes region and Rapporteur General for the Facilitation under former Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
Bunting is now a professor of sociology, Africana Social Sciences, at CSU, Long Beach and El Camino College.
For more information about the workshop, please call 310-422-5431.
To: City Manager Rod Gould
Fire Chief Scott Ferguson
Director of Human Resources Donna C. Peter
Cc: City Council
From: Board of Directors, Friends of Sunset Park (FOSP)
The one thing that all of us probably have in common is our belief in the importance of the safety of our community. With that in mind, the FOSP Board of Directors has the following concerns and respectfully requests that the City Manager, Fire Chief and Director of Human Resources respond to these questions:
1. Seemingly inadequate Fire Department staff and equipment – Fire Department expenditures are about 10% of general fund expenditures in Santa Monica, compared to 18% for Berkeley and 20% for Santa Barbara. Does Santa Monica have adequate fire suppression personnel and equipment to protect our city? If so, why does SMFD have to request “mutual aid” from Los Angeles and Culver City? How often has that happened, per year, in the last five years? When the Expo Light Rail arrives in 2016, how will only two engine companies serve the neighborhoods south of the rail line (Pico, Sunset Park, and Ocean Park)?
2. The recommendation to switch to “tiered dispatch” – Why are city officials considering going “back to the 80’s” with a tiered dispatch system that involves adding a 2-person rescue ambulance stationed at Montana Library, rather than staffing an existing 4-person fire engine with two paramedics and two EMTs? When department data seem to show that survival rates are greater when a 4-person engine company responds, why reduce the level of services? According to the city’s own data, one third of the city’s population is over 50 years in age and the percentage of adults 65 and older will increase dramatically over the next 10 to 15 years. Is there a fiscal crisis that would seemingly require putting their lives at risk in this way?
3. Hiring and promotional practices involving the Fire Department and the Human Resources Department – Why was Terry Garrison, former Assistant Fire Chief in Phoenix, not even accorded an interview at the time Chief Ferguson was hired? Why does there seem to be a trend to hire from outside the department rather from promoting from within? Why was an evaluator (who was subsequently fired from his own department) allowed by Human Services to rate a well-educated, well-trained SMFD firefighter applying for promotion as “zero” in training and “zero” in education? What changes in the hiring/promotion processes have been instituted since then? Why are experienced, highly skilled SMFD staff, including a division chief, a captain, and the dispatch supervisor, leaving the department?
4. An investigation regarding age discrimination within the Fire Department – Why are well-trained, experienced firefighters seemingly passed over for promotion in favor of younger, less-educated, less experienced firefighters? When an independent investigator found that Fire Chief Scott Ferguson used ageist comments in a way that violated the Department’s Code of Conduct, what action did the City Manager take?
5. The possible downside of combining Police and Fire Dispatch – When the Fire Department’s own paramedic coordinator has expressed concern that “there is a real difference in dispatching EMS (Emergency Medical Service) calls and police calls,” why is this still being considered, and who will suffer as a result?
6. Failure to staff the specialized aircraft crash rig near Santa Monica Airport 24/7 – Jet traffic at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) is increasing again and will probably reach 18,000 landings and takeoffs in 2014, an average of 50 per day. The FAA estimates that jet traffic at general aviation airports like SMO will increase by about 5% per year between now and 2032, primarily due to the growth in the business jet fleet. The first jet crash at SMO occurred in September 2013, and it seems to be only a matter of time before the next one occurs. Why is the SMFD aircraft crash rig, which is specially designed to fight flammable liquid fires (jets carries thousands of gallons of kerosene-based fuel) not staffed full time?
1. Seemingly inadequate Fire Department staff and equipment
In 1972, there were approximately 1,800 calls for service to the Fire Department. The department had 5 engines and 1 ladder truck.
In 2013, there were approximately 13,000 calls for service to the Fire Department. The department apparently had 6 engines and 1 ladder truck. http://www.santamonicafire.org/dailyreports.aspx
“Approximately 78% of emergency responses are medical in nature….All firefighters must possess EMT certification at the minimum. Almost half of the firefighters are licensed as paramedics.” All EMTs and paramedics are also firefighters, which allows the Fire Department to provide a full service response, whether it’s a medical emergency, fire, traffic collision, or any other emergency. http://santamonicafire.org/Content.aspx?id=9428
During special events such as GLOW or the LA Marathon, and increasingly even when there aren’t special events, SMFD apparently has to call on LAFD and Culver City for “mutual aid.”
According to the City of Santa Monica, “More than 1/3 of Santa Monica residents are over the age of 50, and the percent of adults 65 and older will increase dramatically over the next 10 to 15 years.” This will inevitably result in an increase in the need for emergency medical services. http://www.smgov.net/Portals/Seniors/content.aspx?id=19273
And when the Expo Light Rail starts bringing more people into the city on a daily basis in 2016 and tying up north-south traffic, there will apparently be only two engine companies to serve the neighborhoods south of the light rail, including the Pico neighborhood, Sunset Park, and Ocean Park.
Interview with Fire Chief Scott Ferguson — “Facing the future of fire” – 8/26/12 – Santa Monica Daily Press – http://smdp.com/facing-the-future=of-fire/111095 — “The department finds itself coping with new challenges like the coming Exposition Light Rail Line, which will create a barrier between the northern and southern portions of Santa Monica and bring thousands of newcomers to the city….we’ve got continuing construction.…it increases our response time….Our biggest concern right now is we don’t know what the impact of bifurcating our community will be….We do know that there will be a lot of people on the Santa Monica Pier….The pier is already overloaded.”
2. The recommendation to switch to “tiered dispatch”
“Santa Monica was the first fire department in the nation to deliver paramedic services via a fire engine company [in 1974]….The fire department sends paramedics on almost all medical calls to ensure the community has access to paramedic level care if needed. The dispatch center provides callers with Emergency Medical Dispatch, which includes pre-arrival instructions, including how to help a victim who is choking and how to do CPR.” http://santamonicafire.org/Content.aspx?id=11370
The Fire Chief, and perhaps the City Manager, seem to be contemplating moving the department to a “tiered dispatch” system and stationing a rescue ambulance (RA) with only 2 paramedics at Montana Library, rather than adding an engine company (staffed by 2 paramedics and 2 EMTs). The dispatcher will be expected to decide, given whatever information the caller provides, whether to send a 2-person Rescue Ambulance or a 4-person engine (which can handle any medical emergency). For example, if a caller reports that that a man who appears to be inebriated has collapsed, the dispatcher may send a 2-person Rescue Ambulance. But if it then it turns out that the man has had a stroke or heart attack, there will be a delay while the 4-person engine company responds, and the delay could have serious consequences.
This seems to demonstrate a “Back to the 80’s” mentality, and it could possibly put lives at risk. Recently an informal study, examining three years of data, seemed to indicate that victims requiring CPR had a much higher rate of survival (perhaps as much as 50%) when a 4-person fire engine responded to the call, compared to when a 2-person rescue ambulance responded. Perhaps this data should be further analyzed and verified.
Unless the city is facing a financial crisis, it does not seem necessary to reduce the Fire Department’s level of service in this way. This “tiered dispatch” system was seemingly recommended by the department’s Deployment Committee a couple months ago, but some firefighters on that committee say that they did not recommend this course of action.
According to a City of Santa Barbara — Comparative Indicators Report, Fiscal Year 2012 Budgets document, fire expenditure as a percentage of general fund expense in FY 2012 was 21% in Redondo Beach, 20.6% in Santa Barbara, 18% in Berkeley, and 10.8% in Santa Monica. http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/uploadedFiles/Council_5/Level_3_-_General/SantaBarbara.ComparativeIndicators.pdf
Background: Regarding types of calls for service, “basic life support” (BLS) means emergency first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedures, which include recognizing respiratory and cardiac arrest and starting the proper application of cardiopulmonary resuscitation to maintain life without invasive techniques until the victim may be transported, or until Advanced Life Support is available. EMTs, with about 300 hours of training, can provide BLS.
“Advanced life support” (ALS) means special services designed to provide definitive pre-hospital emergency medical care, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cardiac monitoring, cardiac defibrillation, advanced airway management, intravenous therapy, administration of specified drugs and other medicinal preparations, and other techniques and procedures. This requires a paramedic with about 1,100 hours of training.
In Santa Monica, fire engines staffed by 2 paramedics and 2 EMTs are currently dispatched immediately to ALS and BLS calls. ALS needs a minimum of 4 people. While providing care, they can call ahead to the hospital to provide information so that appropriate staff and equipment will be ready when the contract ambulance reaches the ER.
Even a BLS call may require 4 people. For example, in response to a call from a family member who had not been able to contact an elderly woman, an engine company ended up having to break into the woman’s home. She was upstairs, and it took 3 firefighters to carry her down the stairs, while the 4th firefighter calmed the patient and reassured her family members by phone that she was still alive.
With the “tiered dispatch” system, if only 2 paramedics respond to a call, and then find out that they need more help, there will be a delay while the engine company suits up and drives to the site.
“Conducted studies that were published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in 1989 and 1993 showed that for each minute that goes by, the mortality rate of a critically ill or injured person drops by about 10%. These studies have been validated subsequently by other studies and are especially true in a cardiac arrest.” http://www.emsworld.com/article/10323615/ems-tiered-systems-not-always-a-good-idea
Deputy Fire Chief Tom Clemo apparently informed some Fire Department staff members in a meeting that the citizens of Santa Monica need to get used to a lower level of service. If the city’s annual budget continues to be more than $500 million per year, why would we need to get used to a lower level of service in the public safety departments?
3. Hiring and promotional practices involving the Fire Department and the Human Resources Department
a. When Fire Chief Scott Ferguson was hired in March 2010, the appointment followed “a nationwide recruitment that attracted more than 67 candidates and interviews with 20 finalists.” http://www.smgov.net/Content.aspx?id=12921
Among the 47 applicants who weren’t granted interviews was Terry Garrison. Garrison is a former Assistant Chief of the Phoenix Fire Department and co-author of the workbook for Fire Command, “which is used by many major fire departments as it describes an orderly procedure for approaching a hazardous situation, from arriving and giving a cohesive description of the scene to breaking the incident into manageable pieces so it can be dealt with.” http://www.fireservicebooks.com/fire-command.html
The author of Fire Command is Garrison’s former boss, Phoenix Fire Chief Alan Brunacini, 1997 Public Official of the Year. http://www.governing.com/poy/Alan-Brunacini.html
Only a few months later, although not afforded an interview in Santa Monica, Garrison was hired in September 2010 as Chief of the Houston Fire Department. His 30 years of experience in Phoenix had included fire/arson investigator, recruiting, public information, management, and training in emergency medical services, fire operations, and dispatch. After leaving Phoenix, he had served as Fire Chief in Oceanside, CA, a city of 187,000. Garrison had earned a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science Management from Ottawa University and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, had completed a Certified Public Manager Program at Arizona State University, and had attended Harvard’s JFK School of Government. http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/divisions/firechief.html
Meanwhile, the press release that announced the hiring of Chief Scott Ferguson in Santa Monica noted his past service in Manhattan Beach (a city of 35,000); Peoria, Arizona; and Vancouver, Washington; as well as a master’s degree in Management from Wayland Baptist University. http://www.smgov.net/Content/aspx?id=12021
Why wasn’t Terry Garrison at least interviewed for the job?
b. Deputy Fire Chief Tom Clemo, “is responsible for all operational aspects of the department, including the Suppression and Rescue Staff, the Training Division, and the Emergency Medical Services Division.” http://santamonicafire.org/Content.aspx?id=31785
He is supervising Battalion Chiefs and Paramedics even though he seems to have not had much experience as a Battalion Chief (serving rather as a Communications Manager), nor was he apparently ever a licensed paramedic. At the time he was hired in Santa Monica, he seems to have been working on an as-needed basis as an hourly employee for the Oregon State Marshals Office on Incident Management Teams (“Salary: Varies based on deployments – $50 hourly”).
Clemo was hired in May 2012, and Chief Scott Ferguson noted in the press release that, “Tom has held nearly every rank in the fire service and has a proven record of performance, budget management, and leadership.” http://www.santamonicafire.org/Content.aspx?=31812
It‘s not clear why Clemo was hired from outside the department, while applicants from within the department, who had served as paramedics and battalion chiefs were passed over.
One example is Division Chief Jose M. Torres, who has been with the department since 1997 and has also served as a Captain and Battalion Chief. He was commended for outstanding service, leadership, and performance during the 2003 Farmers Market incident, when 10 people were killed and 63 injured by an elderly driver. For three years, Torres served as a clinical instructor in the UCLA Medical School, Daniel Freeman Paramedic Training program, the first nationally accredited paramedic education program.
From 1990 to 1997, Torres was a Fire Engineer and Acting Captain in the City of Ventura Fire Department, and he was commended for outstanding service during the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest. Before that, he served in the U.S. Air Force and was Assistant Chief for Training at Vandenburg Air Force Base, managing the DOD fire training program for about 150 military and civilian firefighters, and helping to develop and implement disaster drills.
Torres recently placed in the top 5 for Fire Chief in Oxnard (pop. 200,000), and he is currently a finalist for Fire Rescue Authority Chief of Loveland, Colorado (pop. 70,000 and home to Hewlitt-Packard and Teledyne manufacturing facilities). http://www.reporterherald.com/News/ci_26333388/City-narrows-candidates-for-fire-chief
If the apparent pattern of hiring from outside the Santa Monica Fire Department rather than promoting from within continues, it seems possible that we will be losing more outstanding members of the department to other cities.
c. The other Deputy Fire Chief, Bruce Davis, apparently plans to retire later this year, so there will be a vacant position. http://santamonicafire.org/Content.aspx?id=24487 The department will have a choice between hiring from outside, as was done with Chief Ferguson and Deputy Chief Clemo, or promoting from within.
It seems that qualified and experienced SMFD firefighters who have applied for various promotions may have sometimes been passed over in favor of younger, less experienced employees. One candidate for promotion, who had passed the written exam; had 29 years of experience as a firefighter; had 27 years of experience as a licensed paramedic; had earned two college degrees (Public Fire Service and Fire Administration); had been a Fire Academy instructor; had been a clinical instructor for a paramedic training program connected with UCLA; had certification from the State of California as Firefighter 1, Firefighter 2, Fire Officer, Incident Command, and Wildland Fire Behavior; had taken the National Fire Academy Course in Emergency Response to Terrorism; had been certified as an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighter; and had training regarding Hazardous Materials, nevertheless failed the oral interview.
When he asked Human Resources why he had been passed over, the head of Human Resources informed him that one of the interviewers had marked a “zero” on training and a “zero” on education. This seems incomprehensible. (It appears that this interviewer, who had been promoted by Chief Ferguson to Battalion Chief in Manhattan Beach, may have been subsequently fired from his department.)
At the current time, the dispatch supervisor has left to work elsewhere, a division chief is seeking employment elsewhere, the SMFD systems analyst is on a leave of absence due to stress during one of the most important radio and computer upgrades in the department’s history, and a highly respected senior captain, who is an integral part of the department, is being forced into retirement, apparently so he can be replaced by a civilian. As Fleet Maintenance Coordinator for many years, this captain’s knowledge of fire equipment is unsurpassed, it has apparently led to the department having the highest quality and the best maintained apparatus and equipment, it undoubtedly helped earn the SMFD a Class 1 rating by the Insurance Services Office in 2012 — http://santamonicafire.org/Content.aspx?id=31374 — and, most importantly, it has increased the safety of firefighters, residents, workers, and visitors to Santa Monica. Many of the staff feel that replacing him with a civilian who has not had experience in fire suppression and emergency medical services is penny-wise and pound-foolish, that it will ultimately waste money and, worst of all, that it may weaken the department and make the community less safe.
4. An investigation regarding age discrimination within the Fire Department
After an age discrimination complaint was filed by Fire Department employees in 2013 regarding harassment, intimidation, and creation of a hostile work environment, an outside investigator was hired (an attorney from San Diego). Almost half of the fire suppression staff were interviewed by the investigator. However, when one of the staff members went in for an interview, Deputy Fire Chief Clemo was apparently in the room with the investigator.
The firefighters who filed the complaint later received letters from Human Services stating that the investigation had been completed and that their claims based on age were not sustained. The Human Services letter described the Fire Chief using the phrases “knuckle-draggers,” 40-to-50-year-old knuckle-draggers,” and “dead wood” to refer to employees “who are not on board with the Fire Chief’s philosophy and changes to the Department….The investigator did find that Fire Chief Scott Ferguson used ageist comments in private conversations or writings; while the comments did not appear frequent or pervasive, they do constitute a violation of the Department’s Code of Conduct, line 21. Based on the results of the investigation, the City will take the appropriate action as determined by the City Manager.” What action was taken?
(A former Los Angeles Fire Department union leader told the Santa Monica firefighters who filed the complaint that their case should have been a “slam dunk.”)
5. The possible downside of combining Police and Fire Dispatch
“Santa Monica Considers Overhaul of Emergency Dispatch System” – 8/26/13 – Santa Monica Lookout — http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2013/August-2013/08_26_2013_Santa_Monica_Considers_Overhaul_of_Emergency_Dispatch_System.html
“ ‘There are concerns,’ said Michael McElvaney, paramedic coordinator for the SMFD, about the proposed consolidation. ‘One of the concerns is there is a real difference in dispatching EMS (Emergency Medical Service) calls and police calls,’ he said.
“Under the current system, all 911 calls go to a police dispatcher who determines whether the call needs to be directed to the fire department or if it’s a police emergency. Fire or medical calls are then forwarded by the police dispatcher to the fire department dispatcher. Having divided dispatches allows the phone operators to have specialized training tailored to the particular types of emergencies each dispatch office fields, officials said.”
6. Failure to staff the specialized aircraft crash rig near Santa Monica Airport 24/7
In September 2013, a jet aircraft crashed into a hangar near the west end of the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) runway, across the alley from homes on Pier Avenue. A specialized piece of airport firefighting equipment called an aircraft crash rig is stationed at Fire Station 5 at 25th and Ashland, adjacent to SMO.
In addition to the aircraft crash rig, Fire Station 5 has one fire engine, staffed by two paramedics and two EMT’s, as most calls for service are medical emergencies rather than fires. Unfortunately, when Engine 5 is out on a paramedic or fire call, there is no one left at the Fire Station 5 to operate the aircraft crash rig.
If the engine were to be out on a call, if and when another jet crash should occur, Fire Station 2 in Ocean Park is the back-up, with one firefighter trained to operate the airport crash rig. If that engine were also out on a call, any of the other 4 engines from more distant fire stations would probably go straight to the fire, without taking time to go get the aircraft trash rig.
The aircraft crash rig is currently “cross-staffed,” but it should be permanently staffed full time.
The city first purchased an aircraft crash rig at auction in 1989 for about $35,000 and refurbished it for $150,000. The need was considered absolute, in case a jet crashed into the neighborhood. That equipment was replaced in 2001 with a newer repossessed rig from Grand Junction, Colorado for about $500,000. No federal funds were available to help pay for the aircraft crash rig because SMO is not an “indexed” Part 139 airport that requires specific Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting equipment, i.e., it doesn’t have scheduled service, even though some of the executive jets flying in and out of SMO can carry up to 20 passengers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_rescue_and_firefighting
The new rig can be driven to the fire and then operated by a single firefighter with special training to dispense firefighting foam to combat flammable liquid, including jet fuel (kerosene) and the leaded aviation gasoline (Avgas) used by the piston-powered propeller planes. The rig carries 1,500 gallons of water and 210 gallons of foam (which can be mixed), plus a dry chemical system.
From the Denver International Airport website: http://www.denverfirejournal.com/dia—denver-airport.php — At a crash, ARFF crews work in three groups:
* Fire Attack for both exterior and interior suppression
* Rescue to locate, extricate and remove victims
* EMS which sets up an initial triage site within walking distance of the crash site in part to accommodate the walking wounded and to keep a running tally of the crew and passengers.
From the Los Angeles Fire Department website: Photo of LAFD aircraft crash rigs at Van Nuys Airport: http://lafd.com/apparatus/111-fire-a-rescue-resources/298-lafd-airport-crash-rig — “This is one of the very specialized apparatus stationed at airports in Los Angeles. Originally called “Crash Rigs,” these fire engines are specifically designed to quickly suppress fire in the event of an aircraft accident. These examples are stationed at FS114 at Van Nuys Airport. Today, fire suppression apparatus are referred to as ARFF rigs, or Aircraft Rescue Firefighting apparatus. Before any LAFD members can join an ARFF company, they must successfully complete training in ARFF practices that meet OSFM and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1003, Standard for Airport Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications.”)
Jets flying in and out of Santa Monica Airport (SMO) can carry thousands of gallons of fuel. Jet traffic at SMO has increased from 1,176 landings and takeoffs in 1983 to 14,284 in 2013. The high was 18,575 operations in 2007, before the economic downturn, and indications are that jet traffic in 2014 may exceed that number. http://www.jetairpollution.com/
According to FAA Aerospace Forecast Fiscal Years 2012-2032 – Active General Aviation Aircraft: “Hours flown by turbine aircraft…are forecast to increase 3.6 percent yearly over the forecast period….Jet aircraft are forecast to account for most of the increase, with hours flown increasing at an average annual rate of 5.3 percent over the forecast period. The large increases in jet hours result mainly from the increasing size of the business jet fleet….” http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/apl/aviation_forecasts/aerospace_forecasts/2012-2032/media/2012%20FAA%20Aerospace%20Forecast.pdf
Unfortunately, the Santa Monica Fire Department aircraft crash rig, specifically designed for suppression of flammable liquid fires, is not staffed 24/7.
The September 2013 jet crash occurred less than 500 feet from the west end of the SMO runway. The aircraft veered into a hangar directly across the alley from homes on Pier Avenue, and it was apparently still traveling about 40 mph when it crashed into the hangar.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) preliminary report on September 13, 2013 fatal jet crash at Santa Monica Airport:
NTSB Identification: WPR13FA430
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 29, 2013 in Santa Monica, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 525A, registration: N194SJ
Injuries: 4 Fatal.
Conclusion – Again, the FOSP Board of Directors requests that the City Manager, Fire Chief, and Director of Human Resources respond to questions stated at the beginning of this document.
City of Santa Barbara — Comparative Indicators Report, Fiscal Year 2012 Budgets http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/uploadedFiles/Council_5/Level_3_-_General/SantaBarbara.ComparativeIndicators.pdf — (Please see the attached chart for “Fire Expenditure as a % of General Fund Expense FY 2012” for a comparison of Santa Monica with other California cities of similar size.)
Members of the Santa Monica Democratic Club will vote to endorse candidates for local offices on Wednesday, Sept. 3.
The meeting will be held in the Santa Monica Public Library, Martin Luther King Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd. at 6:30 PM.
Democrats who are candidates for Santa Monica City Council, Rent Control Board, College Board of Trustees, and School Board will be considered by the membership.
Each of the candidates will make a brief statement and take part in a Q&A session.
At the conclusion of the candidates’ appearance, votes will be taken with 55% of votes cast needed for the Club endorsement.
The public is invited to attend, but only club members can vote.
Recommendations for endorsement by the club members are: Rent Board, Nicole Phillis, Steve Duron, and Todd Flora, incumbent; School Board: Laurie Lieberman, Ralph Mechur, Oscar de la Torre, incumbents and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein; Santa Monica College trustees: Louise Jaffe and Nancy Greenstein, incumbents, Maria Loya and Dennis Frisch; City Council: Sue Himmelrich, incumbent Kevin McKeown and Richard McKinnon.
No Charge. Parking available.
Artists Come Together to Raise Money for Dogs and Children with Special Needs
Exhibit ends August 30th
Nineteen artists have created works of art featuring dogs to raise money for The Frostig Center and THE MUTT SCOUTS dog rescue.
This exhibit, at the Frostig Collection Gallery in Santa Monica, is a departure from its norm where limited edition sculptures have been created by well-known artists to raise money for social skills programs for children with learning disabilities, Asperger’s and high-functioning autism.
Frostig Collection Curator, Kate Stern, a Mutt Scout volunteer and lover of all things dog, realized there was a symbiosis between the two causes, as the Mutt Scouts often rescue special needs dogs. Thor, for example, whose hind legs are paralyzed, was found in Mexico dehydrated, starving and dragging himself along the street. Once in the Scouts’ hands and with the help of almost daily therapy, Thor has risen to be a champion with tens of thousands of fans following his journey on the internet.
The exhibit is up through August 30th and all proceeds are split between The Frostig Collection and The Mutt Scouts.
Kent Twitchell, SUMO, 2014,Pencil on paper,12 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches (framed)
Brad Howe, HEAVEN,2014,Stainless steel and polyurethane mobile
Mike Stilkey, THE BIRTHDAY BLUES, 2014,Acrylic and colored pencil on discarded books
20 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 8 inches
Julie Arnoff, THOR, 2014,Acrylic on paper,29 x 41 inches (framed)
Bradford Salamon, SEVEN,2014, Oil on boxed canvas,12 x 12 inches
Bradford Salamon,GEORGETTE, 2014,Oil on boxed canvas,12 x 12 inches
Gwynn Murrill,UPSIDE-DOWN, SALUKI MAQUETTE, 2014,Bronze, 15 x 5 1/2 inches
Moye Thompson, CLAIM, 2014, Clay, wood and pebbles, 12 x 6 x 7 inches
Johnny Lane,STRAY GOLD, 2014, Acrylic on canvas,78 x 42 inches
Helen K. Garber, Cookie, 2014, Photo based encaustic mono print
21 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches (framed)
Tony Pinto,Walter Hill, THE CARY GRANT OF DOGS, 2014,Oil on board, 10 x 9 inches
For inquires and pricing contact the gallery:
Phone: (310) 828-3535
To view all artworks online please visit the DOG DAYS OF SUMMER album on our Facebook page.
or visit us at the gallery: THE FROSTIG COLLECTION at Bergamot Station,2525 Michigan Ave
Space B-5, Santa Monica, CA. 90404
By Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA for SMa.r.t.
August 30, 2014 — Just like your body, the urban fabric is continually renewing itself: buildings are continually torn down and new ones erected in their place in response to economic, demographic and political factors. But some parts of your body, such as adult teeth, need to last a lifetime. Likewise certain buildings should last the lifetime of a City.
These significant buildings play an outsize role in the City’s history, because of their particular architectural or historical impact. Usually they get landmarked and afforded the highest level of protection.
Santa Monica, a City of 51,000 units, has only 110 landmarked structures. If these structures were evenly distributed in the City’s 139 year history there would be less then one landmark worthy structure built every year. Its fun to guess which of the buildings being built today will be the landmarks of tomorrow?
But there’s another more common and efficient way the urban fabric renews itself and that is to take existing buildings and with minor modifications repurpose them to new uses (e.g. adaptive reuse) avoiding their outright demolition and preserving their presence in the community.
This adaptive reuse provides benefits that are shared by residents and developers alike:
The greenest building is the one not torn down. Some estimates say construction waste accounts for 40% of our landfills. But even with the City’s excellent construction waste recycling program, the stream of dumpsters leaving the City every time a building is demolished, inevitably creates an irreducible amount of waste that cannot be recycled. And all new buildings generate 10-15% waste in their “normal” construction.
If the amount of “new” construction in an adaptively reused or remodeled building is reduced in relation to new construction, this secondary waste stream is further reduced.
Finally, every building has “embedded energy” in it such as the energy needed to fabricate materials, the gas needed to bring the workers and materials to the site, the electricity needed to power their tools etc. etc.
When a building is completely torn down all that energy is totally wasted since it only appears as residual global warming with no ongoing benefit (and a considerable global penalty). But when a building is adaptively reused much of that embedded energy remains “in” the building to benefit future generations.
Adaptively reused buildings are quicker to complete This is a no brainer. Adaptively reusing a building is quicker than building new particularly since large new buildings often have to provide full subterranean parking with all of its attendant delays and neighborhood disruption. When construction moves quickly, both developers and neighbors benefit.
Adaptive reuse is typically cheaper than new construction Even with their higher relative cost for seismic reinforcement and energy efficiency upgrades, these older buildings, typically can be repurposed for less cost than starting from scratch. Since the shell of an adaptive reused building remains intact, it is an expense whose replacement is avoided. Often this remodeling work is akin to “putting a ship in a bottle” and may create more skilled jobs per square foot than new construction.
Adaptively reused buildings have more fans than new buildings
Buildings are not just time, money, square feet and kilowatts, there’s always an emotional component. Because these are familiar older buildings: people who have used them often still remember them in their previous incarnation. This familiarity adds an extra dimension or charm to our current experience of them. It takes a long time for a new building to build up all the positive associations and memories, while an adaptively reused building starts with a 30, 50 or even 70 year affinity head start. More people will fight to preserve an old building threatened with demolition than a new one.
Fortunately, Santa Monica has many different adaptively reused buildings for its residents to enjoy for example :
A large private home became a bar and event/banquet hall (The Victorian, 2640 Main St); two large homes became museums (Angels Attic and the California Heritage Museum); an airplane hangar became an event venue (Barker Hangar 3021 Airport Avenue); a church became a home (2621 2nd Street); a googie restaurant became a dental office (The Penguin 1670 Lincoln); a car dealer/garage became a restaurant (El Cholo 1025 Wilshire); a small shotgun house is becoming a new Preservation Resource Center (2520 2nd Street); a 7 story office building is becoming a new hotel (710 Wilshire); and our former post office is probably becoming a new office (1248 5th Street)
The list could go on and on. Of course, the biggest collection of adaptive reuse in the City is all the buildings on the 3rd Street Promenade and the surrounding downtown area. From this short sample list, it’s obvious that practically any building of any size can become another use and still remain a part of the living family of buildings that makes our city such an interesting place. That is the magic of adaptive reuse. Is every building worthy of adaptive reuse? Of course not. For the best candidates we could start with the 1500 buildings on the City’s Historic Resource Inventory (HRI) list. These buildings have substantial architectural or historical merit, and deserve special attention, yet will probably never rise to the level of being protected by landmarking. The City has done initial research on these buildings and determined they are worthy of future study, And they should be afforded the same modest parking breaks the current code allows for Landmarked buildings. You can see which buildings are on the HRI by checking http://www.smgov.net/Departments/PCD/Historic-Resources-Inventory.
Finally, when you realize the concentration of older industrial buildings in the Memorial Park area and that the vast majority of buildings in our downtown and along the major boulevards are 1 and 2 story (in excess of 75%), the city would do well to establish a policy outlining the circumstance that buildings need or could be maintained profitably by adaptive reuse.
Small incentives would often be enough to push a building from being demolished to adaptive reuse. Even the preservation of a relatively small number of adaptively reused buildings is of tremendous benefit to the architectural experience and soul of our City.
SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow) Ron Goldman FAIA, Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, Bob Taylor AIA, Dan Jansenson Architect, Sam Tolkin Architect, Thane Roberts AIA, Armen Melkonians Civil & Environmental Engineer, Phil Brock Chair, Recreation & Parks Commission. SMa.r.t. is a group of Santa Monica Architects concerned about the city’s future. For previous articles, please see santamonicaarch.wordpress.com/writings.
Originally Posted by Peggy Clifford on Saturday, August 2, 2014
NOTE: We ran these questions several weeks ago, but now that the campaign is underway, we thought voters as well as candidates should have another look at them.
SM a.r.t evaluates candidates’ suitability to the extent they adhere to our 5 principles outlined below. Based on this 5 -point philosophy, SM a.r.t. has created 10 questions for potential candidates. Hopefully, their answers will help you select the candidates that best represent your vision for Santa Monica’s future.
1. To preserve Santa Monica’s “relaxed” beach culture – The City’s “relaxed” style differentiates it from neighboring cities to the east and needs to be preserved.
Do you believe that new development should be “maxed out” or in scale and compatible with the City’s predominately low-rise, existing buildings?
Do you believe that a new “town square” with an open plaza surrounded by cafes and low-rise development is a better use of the City-owned site at 4th and Arizona than the 12-story devel- opment currently proposed?
2. To provide more open space and keep new construction in scale with the existing building stock, would you support specified MAXIMUM height limits for all new construction — 30′ for residetial; 40′ for “Boulevard commercial” and 50′ for “Downtown commercial?”
Would you support new design guidelines that encourage variations in building mass, require open space and encourage preservation of light and views for adjacent uses as opposed to the current crop of 5 and 6- story boxes being built to the property lines?
3. To build at a human scale and for family life, we should prioritize low-rise, residential buildings close to ground level in areas of the City that are the most compatible with family needs.
Would you support multi-unit family housing for areas that are low-rise and in proximity to parks and schools rather than in the downtown center or at transit hubs?
Would you promote policies that encouraged local commercial development that maintains Santa Monica’s small beach town atmosphere as opposed to large, generic “Box Stores” or 20-plus story hotels on Ocean Ave.?
4. To create a walkable, bikable and drivable city – Large sidewalks with outdoor cafes enhance the pedestrian experience. The result is a more dynamic street life for pedestrians and cyclists.
How would you address the problems of inadequate parking and traffic that currently exists in the City and is likely to worsen with the Expo line coupled with proposed development?
Would you be willing to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the current TDM guidelines that reduce needed parking but fail to provide residents with viable alternatives for their cars?
5. To be a connected and sustainable community, it is incumbent upon the City to make sure that our resources and facilities are adequate for the current population. “The greenest building is the one that is not torn down.”
Would you make adaptive reuse of the City’s existing building stock a priority to preserve our heritage and reduce waste?
Would you agree to have the cost of upgraded infrastructure necessitated by future development be borne by developers rather than the residents with higher utility rates?
We are in a severe drought and have been asked to reduce our water use by 20 percent. Should there be a moratorium on new development until our water resources are adequate to support it?
Thane Roberts AIA for SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow). Ron Goldman FAIA, Architect, Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, Robert H. Taylor AIA, Daniel Jansenson, Architect, Armen Melkonians, Civil and Environmental Engineer, Phil Brock, Chairman, Recreation & Parks Commission.
I first witnessed the thoroughly vile and barbaric practice of “outsourcing” jobs in Santa Monica
in the early 1990s.
The Santa Monica Pier was swept clean, polished and shined every day by a middle-aged woman and
her nephew. They had lived in Santa Monica all their lives, and they loved the pier and took
great pride in their work. But, without warning or explanation, the City fired them.
They’d had the janitorial jobs for years, and done them as well as they could be done. When they
asked why they were being fired, they were told that the City had made other arrangements.But from that day to this, the Pier has never shined as bright as it did when the woman and her nephew were taking care of it.
“Outsourcing” jobs by replacing longtime residents and dedicated workers with squads of workers from contractors is, of course, neither more efficient nor more economical, much less humane, — for the City, its workers or its residents. And what about the large number of senior staff members in City Hall who make $300,000 or $400,000 a year? Their jobs are never “outsourced.”
They’re too busy “outsourcing” other people’s jobs and writing wretched policies to justify them.
The City Ssaff put several items on last night’s Council agenda for the Council to approve — multi-
million dollar deals with “outsourcing” companies to provide Pier and beach workers for Santa Monica, along with Big Blue Bus “detailers” and other jobs that are now done by local workers.
But 30-some people – including workers, various union spokespeople and some very angry residents — including Marcy Winograd II, Sue Himmelrich, Nicole Phillis, Danielle Charney and Buddy Gottlieb – told the Council it should not and must not approve these truly awful deals. .
And the Council did not approve them. If the middle-aged woman and her nephew had been there, they
would have been very happy. .
The Arts Commission held a very rare “special meeting” in the Civic Auditorium on Saturday at the request of City staff, which was “seeking feedback” on three proposals for a radical enlargement and alteration of Bergamot Station.
Specifically, the staff wanted the Commission to “1) affirm the staff recommendation of 26Street TOD Partners team, and 2) identify the priority issues from the arts commun- ity’s perspective that should be addressed as part of the interim operations and the longer term revitalization and renewal process, such as tenant retention, construction phasing and parking.”
We can’t remember staff’s ever consulting the Arts Commission at a public meeting about a project it was considering. Indeed, this may have been a first for both staff and Commission. And it may have been triggered by objections to the proposal from Bergamot gallery owners and residents.
According to its report, “Staff will include the commission’s feedback and recommendations in the materials that go to Council for deliberation on September 9. If Council affirms the Preferred Concept and authorizes staff to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with one of the teams, the ENA and entitlement process would include extensive community outreach and would result in refine-ments to the proposed project plan.”
The Commission invited residents to attend the meeting and comment and staff brought along staff members from both the Housing & Economic Development Department and the Cultural Affairs Division to answer questions about “the planning process that led to the RFP for developers, as well as the overall public policy objectives governing the site’s designation as a community cultural center.”
About 100 people attended the meeting, including most of the gallery owners, residents and Wayne Blank, who had first proposed the creation of Bergamot Station on the site of an abandoned industrial operation.
It soon became a unique and highly regarded cultural outpost.
Several years ago, owing to Bergamot’s proximity to the proposed EXPO light rail station, the City announced its plans to enlarge and, in effect, “commercialize” it, adding a hotel, “creative work space” (i.e., more people in less space), restaurants, shops, and so on. Bergamot gallery. owners and many residents immediately opposed the plan. But the City ignored the critics and sought proposals from developers.
Opponents of the City’s grandiose plans held an email referendum on the issue. To date, it has had over 12,000 responses.
The City’s “special meeting” was an effort to win support for its proposal. Seven of the Arts Commissioners were there, along with Jessica Cusick, Cultural Affairs Manager, and Jason Harris, Economic Development Manager.
Two dozen people spoke during public comment, including ten gallery owners, three representatives of the developer, and Mary Marlowe and two other people who presented a letter signed by five of the seven neighborhood organizations (see letter below).
When the discussion ended, the Arts Commissioners voted 4 to 3 to support the staff recommendation of the developer, 26Street TOD Partners. In addition, they recommended setting up a working group with seven to nine members, including art gallery reps, slow growth advocates, and other stakeholders.
Scott Ginsburg, representing the 26th Street TOD Partners, acknowledged the need for the public to participate in the development of a project for the location.
Mary Marlowe said the community, including the gallery owners, were opposed to any of the proposals but added that the fault for the poor design lay with a flawed RFP issued by the city. “This will change it from a cultural center for the arts to a multipurpose mall,” she said.
Laurence Eubank asked that any project be built in phases. He said developers should find parking solutions that don’t displace galleries, keep the current leases, reduce it to a smaller scale project, and asked for a working group that included the public and gallery owners.
Gallery owner Lois Lambert said Bergamot businesses had already taken a beating. She said her business has declined by about 50 percent recently, partly due to the recession but mostly due to the impacts of EXPO construction. She said the current proposals would kill the gallery community and that unless the RFP was redrawn and reissued, Bergamot would cease to exist.
Lambert said, “We went into this because we believe in art and what we do,” she said. “If you put in under-ground parking, we have to go.”
Residents were generally opposed to the proposals, but several speakers praised the opportunity to think about Bergamot and to create a larger plan for the local arts community.
In contrast, some speakers said any changes were unnecessary. Lia Skidmore said, “We already have the jewel, it’s perfect.”
Blank acknowledged rumors regarding the sale of his property to a development team. However, when asked by Commission Chair Michael Myers if the property had in fact been sold, Blank said the details weren’t pertinent. “I brought it up but I’m not about to speak about it,” he said.
Earlier this year, Blank had been part of one of the development teams but he withdrew. He added that any of the proposals would remove his legacy from the Bergamot project. “I’m now going to be a gallery owner again,” he said.
Myers said the Commission’s choice to support staff’s recommendation of an exclusive negotiation with the 26th Street team was not necessarily meant to move the project forward but to provide a means for the developer to begin a community dialogue.
Included with the Commission’s support were several recommendations including the formation of a citizens’ panel to work with the developer and more information regarding the public/private partnership on the site.
To: City Council, City Manager, Economic Development Manager, Cultural Affairs Manager
From: NOMA, FOSP, MCN, PNA, and Wilmont Boards
RE: Council 9/9/14 agenda – Proposals for Bergamot Station Arts Center
On May 6 of this year, the City held a community meeting in the Bergamot Station Art Center to present the development proposals of three respondent teams to the City issued RFP. The gallery owners and the residents of Santa Monica reacted with strong consensus feedback that it is VERY important to “get this right,” by preserving as many galleries and authentic industrial spaces as possible, together with the unique experience that the history of the place provides. Bergamot already IS a respected, well known cultural resource and a tourism driver.
COMMUNITY AND ART GALLERIES REACTION TO ALL THREE DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS:
All three development proposals offered unacceptable scale, size and design that would fundamentally change the character of Bergamot – from a concentration of art galleries and supporting creative and business uses — into a multi-purpose covered “mall” of office, hotel, retail, and other uses that would drastically take away from Bergamot as an arts center. The RFP proposals would change it into too many other things for too many different people, ending its unparalleled attraction as a unique arts center.
RESIDENTS AND GALLERIES CHALLENGED THE ASSUMPTIONS OF THE CITY RFP:
Plans for subterranean parking ignored the devastating disruption of construction on existing art galleries and didn’t offer adequate parking for the current users, much less contemplate the likely increased resident Expo parking needs.
Also ignored was the ability of galleries to pay the increased rents that would be required by the substantial increase revenues to Big Blue Bus both short and long term.
RFP DYNAMIC CHANGED:
The longtime owner of a property adjacent to Bergamot Arts Center sold to TOD, one of the three RFP respondents.
The current gallery owners formed the Bergamot Art Station Gallery and Cultural Association in reaction to the developer proposals requested by the City.
PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENTS:
Many of the Neighborhood Associations, the Bergamot Art Station and Cultural Association, and other community groups agree that the City should only pick a developer for an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) who agrees to ALL of the following:
The developer is willing to go forward with a phased development plan in 2 separate, multi-year-phases that:
1) In Phase I, first builds adequate, adjacent (not subterranean) parking to serve Bergamot
and Expo needs;
2) Keeps the master lease with the City (Big Blue Bus revenue) at a modest rate for multiple years so as not to drive the galleries out;
3) Agrees to a realistic revenue increase (Big Blue Bus) for Bergamot longer term that would result in less drastic redevelopment;
4) Understands that what the developer may have paid for adjacent property, which may be included in the site for development, is not a basis for proposing a project that overdevelops the site on the basis that the project is otherwise “unfeasible;”
5) Agrees to a plan and begins Phase 2 (development phase), only AFTER the Expo impacts on the area are understood;
6) Understands that an acceptable development proposal (for the community and the galleries) will be one that scales back the extent of the development from that developer’s initial proposal (RFP), and that includes maximum preservation of the arts buildings and authentic feel that is there now, and doesn’t drastically alter the mix of uses to the detriment of the longevity of the existing Bergamot Station arts community and the worldwide cultural reputation it enjoys; and
7) Agrees to form and work together in good faith with a “working group” of residents, art businesses, and the SMMoA selected by the Bergamot Station Arts Gallery Association, the Neighborhood Council and the developer, (not the City), in order to arrive at a project proposal for approval by the Arts Commission, Planning Commission and the City Council that has the “buy in” of the community and protects Bergamot and keeps its character in place for many years to come.
As stated in the Bergamot Area Plan, “Planning the area’s future represents an opportunity to preserve a fragile ecosystem that could easily be damaged if the emerging opportunities are not handled in just the right way.”
We intend to see that the plan is respected and guides the appropriate scale of development.
North of Montana Association Board
Danilo Bach, Chair
Friends of Sunset Park Board
Zina Josephs, President
Santa Monica Mid City Neighbors Board
Andrew Hoyer, President
Pico Neighborhood Association Board
Oscar de la Torre, Chair
Wilshire Montana Neighborhood Coalition Board
Laurence Eubank, President
Cc: Arts Commission (Hand Delivered on 8/23/14)
Bergamot Art Station Gallery and Cultural Association
Closed due to accident: 10 (I-10 Santa Monica Fwy) West at Pacific Ave 6:11 AM * !! SIGALERT !! Santa Monica – 10 WEST at McClure Tunnel: A motorcycle crash has ALL LANES blocked. Traffic is being diverted off at Lincoln. It’s jammed at 20th St. ALT: Santa Monica Blvd or Wilshire.
Santa Monica College Executive Vice President and Chief Instructional Officer Randal “Randy” Lawson died unexpectedly on August 19, 2014. He was 66.
Lawson, who was appointed SMC’s Executive Vice President in 2005, began his lifelong career at SMC as a faculty member in the Music Department in 1979. Over the years, he involved himself deeply in SMC. Among other things, he was Chair of the Music Department and the first coordinator of the Arts Mentor Program.
In 1987, Lawson was elected President of the Academic Senate, and was also a member of the Educational Policies Committee of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. He was Vice President of Academic Affairs from 1998 through 2004, and served previously in several administrative positions, including Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Administrative Dean of Instruction, Administrative Dean of Academic Personnel, and Dean of Arts.
Randy also served as the College’s Chief Instructional Officer, taking a lead position in the development of the curriculum for SMC’s successful Academy of Entertainment & Technology, in the creation of SMC’s High School Dual Enrollment Program, and in facilitating significant growth in the College’s general instructional program. He also served as Accreditation Liaison Officer and co-chaired the 1998, 2004, and 2010 accreditation self-study processes.
A member of the Executive Board of the California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers organization since 2000, Randy served as CCCCIO President in 2002-03 and again in 2006-07, and was the 2007-08 recipient of the Carter Doran Leadership Award.
He was the recipient of the 2008-09 ACCCA Administrative Excellence Award. He was a founding member of the System Advisory Committee on Curriculum, and served as one of its co-chairs for 2005-06, 2007-08, 2008-09, and 2009-10. He was also a member of the ETS (Educational Testing Service) National Community College Advisory Council.
Randy earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma City University—where he studied under Professor Robert Laughlin—and a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California (USC). He performed as a pianist in solo and chamber music recitals throughout Southern California, and appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra, the USC Symphony Orchestra, and the SMC Orchestra.
“The impact that Randy had on Santa Monica College as well as the statewide system of community colleges and all of the students we serve cannot be overstated,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Chui L. Tsang. “But it is not only his professional leadership and accomplishments that engendered our admiration and respect. Randy was a mentor and adviser to so many members of the college community. He was an excellent listener who always expressed care for others and the concerns that were brought to him. With his wisdom he helped individuals navigate difficult times in both their professional and personal lives. Randy had a great sense of humor and loved a good story—and he was a great storyteller. He loved Broadway musicals, opera, great music, movies, and television. Those who had the opportunity to work with him every day enjoyed the stories and music and a lot of laughter.”
“Randy had an unparalleled passion and commitment to Santa Monica College,” said former SMC Interim President Darroch (Rocky) Young. “I often felt that he transferred his dedication and love of music that he developed as a concert pianist to a love and dedication for SMC. I will miss Randy as a dear and caring friend, and I will miss his professionalism as a colleague during all of the years we worked together.”
“Randy was a great friend and mentor to many of us who dedicated our careers at Santa Monica College,” said recently retired SMC Vice President of Academic Affairs Jeffery Shimizu. “He also had a major impact and made significant contributions to the Chief Instructional organization, as well as the State Chancellor’s Office. He was the most knowledgeable colleague I ever worked with, and I am going to deeply miss him.”
Irvine Valley College President Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore, upon receiving the news, wrote, “In the early years of IVC, Randy partnered with Peter Morrison in the development of what is still today the most successful, universally adopted, and effective, scheduling/enrollment management methodology. When I served in the CIO role, between 1997 and 2005, Randy was my trusted mentor. His charm and good humor made him a joy to serve with, in any capacity, and he was one of the most intelligent and exacting Chief Instructional Officers that I have ever met.”
SMC Dean of Academic Affairs Erica LeBlanc said, “Randy left an amazing legacy across the state as a result of the many training sessions he did for the CIO group. He always enjoyed training new and aspiring CIOs during their conferences in the ‘411’ sessions.”
Randy is survived by his sister Regina Yates, brother-in-law Howard, and nephew Tyler.
Funeral services will be private. A memorial event in Randy’s honor will be held at Santa Monica College at a date and time to be announced shortly. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations to a scholarship established in memory of Randal Lawson be sent to Yates Family, c/o Santa Monica College Foundation, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405. The family will also be contributing to the scholarship, and plans to donate Randy’s grand piano to the SMC Music Department.
A memory book is available for messages and signatures in the SMC Office of Academic Affairs. Cards will be delivered to the family if sent to the SMC Office of Academic Affairs, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405.
FILMS4CUBAN5 PRESENTS SECOND SHOWING OF ROADMAP TO APARTHEID
Saturday, August 30th – 7:00 PM, Doors Open at 6:30 PM
At The Home of Rachel & Jay, 601 9th Street, Santa Monica
One Block E. of Lincoln, One Block N. 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. STREET PARKING: Read the street parking signs carefully.
RSVP A MUST to: RachelJay@earthlink.net or: 310-780-7363 –
$5 for Cuban 5
ROADMAP TO APARTHEID (2012) 96 min
Ana Nogueira is a white South African and Eron Davidson a Judaic Israeli. Drawing on their first-hand knowledge of the issues, the producers take a close look at the apartheid comparison often used to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their film breaks down the rhetorical analogy into a fact-based comparison, noting where the analogy is useful and appropriate, and where it is not. There are many lessons to draw from the South African experience relevant to conflicts all over the world. This film is as much a historical document of the rise and fall of apartheid, as it is a film about why many Palestinians feel they are living in an apartheid system today, and why an increasing number of people around the world agree with them.
Combining painstaking research and powerful production, the documentary deftly traces the physical parallels — check points, house demolitions, shootings — as well as exploring the psychological traits shared by the Jewish and Afrikaner leaderships.
Discussion after the Film and Refreshments.
“End the Embargo to CUBA COFFEE”, Gourmet Cookies.
In September, 1998, five Cubans were arrested in Miami by FBI agents. 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 for an unjust sentence.
Gerardo HernÃ¡ndez:”We will always be the Cuban Five”.