THE GOOD GUYS WIN A MAJOR VICTORY

THE GOOD GUYS WIN A MAJOR VICTORY

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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. .

CITY PERSISTS IN PUSHING FLAWED BERGAMOT EXPANSION

CITY PERSISTS IN PUSHING FLAWED BERGAMOT EXPANSION

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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.


COMMUNITY CONSENSUS OF WHAT PEOPLE EXPECT FOR BERGAMOT

COMMUNITY CONSENSUS OF WHAT PEOPLE EXPECT FOR BERGAMOT

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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.

Sincerely,
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
City Clerk

CRASH CLOSES FREEWAY

CRASH CLOSES FREEWAY

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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.

SMC’S VICE PRESIDENT RANDAL LAWSON DIES UNEXPECTEDLY AT 66

SMC’S VICE PRESIDENT RANDAL LAWSON DIES UNEXPECTEDLY AT 66

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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.

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FILMS4CUBAN5 PRESENTS SECOND SHOWING OF ROADMAP TO APARTHEID

FILMS4CUBAN5 PRESENTS SECOND SHOWING OF ROADMAP TO APARTHEID

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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 –
(First 20)

$5 for Cuban 5
www.thecuban5.org

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’ González Sehwerert and Fernando Gonzalez are back in Cuba after serving 13 and 15 years for an unjust sentence.

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

__._,_.___

IT’S OUR TOWN. PERIOD!

IT’S OUR TOWN. PERIOD!

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Last week, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. delivered its annual report, during which its CEO Kathleen Rawson, Mayor Pam O’Connor and City Manager Rod Gould all played cheerleaders.

They boasted shamelessly — visitors are spending more money than ever…office occupancy is at an all-time high…housing is booming. In sum, on its 25th anniversary, the Promenade is a cash cow.

Naturally, the officials talked primarily about money, because they were talking to “stakeholders” and “civic leaders” who are primarily interested in money, aka profits.

O’Connor focused on bikes and the Expo light rail station that’s “75 percent complete,” and “leading the way in regional efforts to shorten commutes and increase mobility.”

Apparently, Santa Monica’s light rail, which is under construction, and not scheduled to start running until 2016, is already superior to functioning lines.

Gould said visitors spent $1,056 billion last year in Santa Monica, up 4.7 percent from 2012, and Third Street “generated” $470 million of taxable sales. He concluded, “Santa Monica’s downtown area is one of the most healthy, attractive, clean, safe and inviting Downtowns in California. Period. Without Downtown, Santa Monica cannot claim to be a world-class city.”

In fact, residents, unless they’ve been seized by City Hall hyperbole, never claim Santa Monica is a world class city. Period. It was legendary long before most of us were born. It’s been on a first-name basis with the world for generations. More significantly, it’s where we live. It’s home. Its beach front character is cherished by residents. It’s priceless and irreplaceable. It’s our town.

Period!

Several months ago, Arlen Melkonians introduced residents to Residocracy,org. a form of direct democracy. We organized, mobilized and vetoed the Hines mega-project, which the city planners and Hines’ Council cohort had imposed on us.

Residocracy org. held its first mayoral candidates’ forum several weeks ago. It will make endorsements at an appropriate time.

Period!

THE OPPORTUNITY SITES

THE OPPORTUNITY SITES

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By Sam Tolkin

The America Oxford dictionary defines opportunity as a time or set of circumstances that are suitable for a particular purpose. Our city planning staff in formulating the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) has identified a total of eight sites.

As follows: 
1. The new Expo Station and its adjacent City-owned property. Multiple transit related are envisioned at this site. 
2. The Sears Building property adjacent to the Expo
Station under construction.

3. The Miramar Hotel proposed for significant redevelopment including a hotel and condominium (+/-320′tower). 
4. Ocean / 2nd and Santa Monica Blvd. Site currently being proposed as a hotel and museum, designed by Frank Gehry and including the ubiquitous affordable housing (+/- 260′).


5. Ocean / Colorado Site currently the Wyndham hotel to be demolished and replaced with a terraced 9-15 story hotel (+/-175′). 
6. 4th / 5th and Arizona. The City owned property designated to be hotel, office, commercial, affordable housing, public space and parking (+/- 148′).


7. 5th and Broadway. The Fred Segal site slated to be commercial and residential with some affordable housing. 
8. City-owned property adjacent to the Big Blue Bus Yards to be developed in a way to enhance the bus operations, provide open space and affordable housing. 
It appears from a glance that development on these sites has been generously assigned to the developer owners and to developers as surrogates for the City.

This is not necessarily a bad marriage but are the citizens getting the full value from these agreements? In the case of the City owned property at Arizona and 4th, it will be violating its own development guidelines, i.e. zoning ordinances, heights, setbacks, floor area ratios (density). This will benefit the developers at the expense of the scale of our beachfront community. Another case where opportunity means exceeding the code for excessive profit.


My fundamental question as an architect: does the selection of these eight sites represent an underlying vision for our city’s downtown beyond the simple zoning restrictions? It appears not. 
Considering each of the opportunity sites, I’ve yet to discern any particular logic in their placement other than those adjacent to the Expo Line.
The Expo station and the adjacent opportunity sites should have transit related activities and uses such as commuter parking, transit-related commercial and convenient interfaces with other modes of transportation, i.e. bus, taxi, bike, as well as enhance pedestrian access to Downtown and the Pier as primary destinations.


To put some perspective on the magnitude of these, it is expected that by 2030 this location will need to accommodate a ridership of 60,000 per day or 2/3 of the city’s current population.
This figure begs the question. Was this indeed the optimum location?

In my opinion it was not and like the decision to run the line on grade is a major missed “opportunity.” 
The line should at minimum have been elevated throughout the Downtown area running down Colorado terminating adjacent to the Wyndham Hotel. A new pedestrian bridge and/or people mover should have planned to move the tens of thousands of visitors to and from the Pier. Such a bridge could serve also to make the Pier more ADA compliant and family-friendly. Further, parking on the Pier should be eliminated as inherently problematic to its structure and pedestrians.


The Sears site being adjacent to the station could accommodate transit-related parking with housing above, both moderate and affordable, as well as a pedestrian bridge to Tongva Park.


The current Miramar Hotel should be allowed to renovate or rebuild to the density and height currently allowed, taking into account the historic nature of its existing assets. As there is a new design architect, I will withhold any judgment until his concept is made public. Whatever is proposed should reflect the parking requirements of the current ordinances without reductions.


The Ocean Ave./Santa Monica Boulevard Site with its multi-story hotel and condo proposal should also be scaled down to reflect the existing zoning. It should be 3-4 stories in compliance with current codes, maintain the landmark structures on the site and not be required to provide affordable housing. By example, one only has to look at the new Shore Hotel down the street.
 The Ocean and Colorado site, the Wyndham Hotel, should be allowed to rebuild replacing like for like in regard to height, lot coverage, parking, etc.

The proposed design missed an opportunity to be integrated into what might have been an above grade terminus of the Expo and a dramatic Pacific Window access to the Pier.
 The 4th/5th and Arizona site SMa.r.t. has discussed in detail in a position paper which expressed the belief that this City owned parcel be developed as a major sorely needed Plaza space with only low rise structures, perhaps a boutique hotel, some appropriate commercial, shade trees and fountains, and perhaps a tall iconic piece of public art. This development would exist above a City owned multi-level garage with revenue solely the City’s. The Plaza would be connected to the 3rd Street Promenade by a mid-block arcade.
 The 5th and Broadway site, familiarly known as the eastern portion of the Fred Segal site should be developed adhering to current zoning into residential and eighborhood/transit- oriented commercial.

In every one of these sites there should be strict requirements for open space and sufficient parking.
The Big Blue Bus Yards site should be developed as a transit interchange or hub allowing City residents access to the Expo terminal by way of smaller feeder buses, jitneys, taxis, autos and bikes. Expo riders would benefit from improved access to the rest of downtown. Sites 1, 2, 5 and 8, would be a linear transit related corridor and developed cohesively. 
Opportunity sites in downtown abound but we as residents should insist on these being developed to enhance and respect our quality of life.

They should all have significant architecture but should not be allowed to become opportunistic monuments to satisfy few at the expense of many. 
In planning Santa Monica, the staff, Planning Commission and the Council should free themselves from the ordinary, develop a visionary overall concept for the downtown at a scale that we as residents expect. It should not be one that will further stress the fabric and infrastructure of our downtown. We need to re-establish trust and transparency while planning our downtown. These sites should be considered “public benefit sites”, not opportunity to exceed code for excessive profit.

Sam Tolkin is a Santa Monica Architect
SMa*r*t* Santa Monica Architects for A Responsible Tomorrow
Ron Goldman FAIA, architect
Bob Taylor AIA, architect
Dan Jansenson, architect
Thane Roberts AIA, architect
Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, architect
Armen Melkonians, civil & environmental engineer
Phil Brock, Chairman, Santa Monica Parks & Recreation

CITY STAFF SHOULD START LISTENING TO RESIDENTS: TAKE 2

CITY STAFF SHOULD START LISTENING TO RESIDENTS: TAKE 2

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About 200 residents gathered Wednesday night in support of the introduction of a ballot measure that would insure local control of the Santa Monica Airport, thus paving the way for the removal of the airport and the subsequent installation of parks, playgrounds and other compatible elements that would complement adjacent residential neighborhoods rather than imposing on them, and subjecting them to unbearable noise, pollution and the constant threat of another airplane crash.

Tomorrow morning, residents will gather at 10 am in the east wing of the Civic Auditorium at a special meeting” to hear various City departments
discuss the future of Bergamot Station.

The City has proposed reducing it to a commercial muddle with the addi-
tion of a hotel, “creative office space,” and an assortment of shops and restaurants over the objections of gallery owners and residents, who want to preserve this unique and esteemed art complex, adding only some much needed parking space. Thus far, over 12,000 people have responded to an e-petition, opposing the City plans.

Residocracy, org., residents’ means of vetoing projects they believe would diminish Santa Monica’s priceless and irreplaceable beach town character, has begun to quietly collect signatures in case City staff and members of the City Council ignore residents and persist in pushing an over-sized, badly designed Plaza at Santa Monica. What belongs on the site at Fourth and Arizona is a park, which would soften the increasingly frenetic downtown area, but the City’s first priority, as usual, is
more revenue.

The City Council’s primary reason for being is to represent Santa Monica residents, to speak and act on our behalf.But four members of the current City Council –- Mayor Pam O’Connor, Mayor Pro Temp Terry O’Day, Bob Holbrook and Gleam Davis – have taken campaign contributions and, in return, approved their benefactors’ proposals, however dubious.Holbrook is not seeking re-election, while O’Connor is running for another term, though she has already served six terms and been mayor four times,.and become a major EXPO light rail player. Neither Davis nor O’Day is up for re-election this fall.

Incumbent Council member Kevin McKeown is running. He doesn’t take money
from developers, but he has, thus far, enthusiastically supported the misbegot Plaza, perhaps because the hotel workers’ union is pushing for
the project as it includes a hotel, and more hotels mean more jobs.

If residents elect two good people this fall, they will finally regain the majority they deserve and need. As it happens, two very good people are running: Sue Himmelrich and Richard McKinnon.

The Dispatch endorsed McKinnon in the last election. He lost by a narrow margin, but remained active and involved and we are endorsing him again.

We endorsed Sue Himmelrich (see prior Dispatch stories) when she announced her candidacy several weeks ago. Her focus as a lawyer has been affordable and rent controlled housing. She is currently of Counsel with
The Western Center on Law and Poverty.

We believe that McKinnon and Himmelrich are clearly the best candidates we’ve had in a while and will represent residents’ interests and our gloriously idiosyncratic beach town faithfully,fully and well.

Neither of them takes campaign contributions from developers. Both are Planning Commissioners, and have spent much of their time this year and
last trying to make sense out of the draft zoning code, as well as reviewing proposals for new developments. Thus, they know more about what’s in the proverbial pipeline than almost anyone, and are not afraid
to speak truth to developers and their lawyers.

Himmelrich and her husband, who’s also a lawyer, moved to Santa Monica 21 years ago, drawn by its beach town character and progressive politics.
Their two daughters grew up here, and are both now away at college.

McKinnon, his wife and son moved to America from Australia, settled in Santa Monica, and became American citizens. Their son went to school here graduated from Samohi and is now at Berkeley. McKinnon is a business consultant, a bicycle enthusiast and has proposed that Santa Monica become an arboretum..

Himmelrich and McKinnon are not running as a “team,” they are much too independent for that, but they are both outspoken, articulate, smart and meticulous Planning Commissioners. They do their homework and each of them has very clear ideas about what Santa Monica is and how to insure that it will not be further damaged,but will be restored and preserved.

As planning commissioners, they can only advise. As City Council members,
they can decide, and with incumbents McKeown,Tony Vazquez and Ted Win-
terer, they will comprise a majority that will represent the residents
who have gone unrepresented for far too long.

City Manager Rod Gould has resigned, and will leave early in January.
Given that Residocracy.org. has declared war on the status quo – at the Airport, on overblown, ill-considered proposals in downtown Santa Monica and Bergamot, and has veto power, and two of the most formidable Council candidates in some years are on the ballot, AND the boss of City Hall will soon be gone, City staff would be well-advised to start listening to residents, rather than continuing to pander to developers.

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KICK-OFF FOR LOCAL CONTROL OF AIRPORT DRAWS CROWD

KICK-OFF FOR LOCAL CONTROL OF AIRPORT DRAWS CROWD

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More than two hundred residents packed a meeting to launch the campaign for Measure LC, to guarantee Local Control of Santa Monica Airport land.

Santa Monica City Council Members Ted Winterer and Kevin McKeown drew cheers when they urged residents to work for Measure LC, which would block the aviation lobby’s effort to take control of land the city has owned for a hundred years. Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin said this was a historic chance for Santa Monica to free a large residential area in both cities from the growing noise, pollution and danger from business jets.

Local resident and retired Air Force pilot Joe Schmitz pointed out increasing accident rates at the airport and the danger of a large business jet crashing into homes. Schmitz said his military flying experience tells him SMO’s restricted runway length will ultimately
lead to pilot error and a disaster both for residents and those aboard the plane.

Campaign Chair John Fairweather explained that the aviation lobbyists’ Measure D, described as “D for Deception,” pretends to give voters a choice about the airport’s future, but is worded so that changes in flight operations would be almost impossible to make. Specifically, the measure says the majority of voters of the city would have to approve any future change (not the usual majority of those voting). The lobbyists claim they won’t insist on the excessive standard later if Measure D passes, but Fairweather said it was written that way on purpose so the standard could not be met.

“Measure LC will allow Santa Monicans to vote against any development of the airport except for parks, recreation facilities and existing cultural uses,” he told the meeting. “The aviation lobbyists’ measure has no safeguards against development, while Measure LC does.”

Many residents at the kickoff meeting at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church volunteered to work on campaign committees to counter the aviation lobbyists’ financial advantage.
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SCAG AWARDED $115 MILLION FOR TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM

SCAG AWARDED $115 MILLION FOR TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM

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Los Angeles – Active transportation efforts in Southern California received a major financial boost this month with the awarding of $115.2 million to fund 68 projects, including $2.3 million for a region-wide safety and encouragement campaign.

Santa Monica will receive $450,000 for its “Safe Routes to Schools”
program.

As part of the 2014 Active Transportation Program (ATP), adopted Wednesday by the California Transportation Commission, the six-county region served by SCAG (the Southern California Association of Governments) will receive about 63 percent of total funding awarded through the statewide ATP competition.Los Angeles – Active transportation efforts in Southern California received a major financial boost this month with the awarding of $115.2 million to fund 68 projects, including $2.3 million for a region-wide safety and encouragement campaign.

As part of the 2014 Active Transportation Program (ATP), adopted Wednesday by the California Transportation Commission, the six-county region served by SCAG (the Southern California Association of Governments) will receive about 63 percent of total funding awarded through the statewide ATP competition.

SCAG itself will receive $2.3 million to conduct the Southern California Active Transportation Safety and Encouragement Campaign, designed to promote walking and biking and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists. SCAG will collaborate with county transportation commissions, departments of public health and stakeholders to develop a regional advertising campaign, community outreach/tactical urbanism events, and active transportation training and toolkits designed for target audiences.

An average of 38 pedestrians or bicyclists are injured or killed every day in the SCAG region.

“Active transportation is a vital component of Southern California’s transportation and mobility needs moving forward, and we applaud Gov. Brown, the Legislature and the Transportation Commission for making this such a significant funding priority,” said Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of SCAG. “This kind of commitment to active transportation programs will reap long-lasting benefits in terms of health, safety and the sustainability of our communities.”

Among the specific benefits often cited with regard to active transportation are reductions in traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and chronic disease. According to the Center for Disease Control, incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity into everyday routines significantly reduces the risk among adults of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

When combined with other funding sources, the $115.2 million in state ATP money will actually result in $248 million worth of investment in active transportation facilities, plans and programs in the six-county SCAG region. Among the major ATP awardees were:

o The City of Los Angeles – $18.9 million for five different Safe Routes to School programs.
o The Coachella Valley Association of Governments – $10.9 million for its CV Link project connecting eight cities and two Native American tribal communities through a combination of pedestrian, bicycle and low-speed electric vehicle routes.
o The City of Palmdale – $5.3 million for its Avenue R Complete Streets and Safe Routes program.
o The San Bernardino Associated Governments – $4.7 million to improve transit access for cyclists and pedestrians at Metrolink stations throughout the county.

Nearly $500 million was requested in the six-county region to implement projects in over 100 different cities. Those projects not selected through the statewide competition have a second chance for funding through the regional portion of the program, which will be approved by SCAG in October and include awards totaling $78 million.

“In 2012, we adopted a Regional Transportation Plan that focuses on increasing transportation choices, including the tripling of investments in active transportation.” Ikhrata said. “The broad interest in the ATP from across our urban, suburban and rural communities reflects a strong and growing commitment from our elected officials, planners, businesses and residents towards meeting this goal.”

SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 18 million residents.

SCAG itself will receive $2.3 million to conduct the Southern California Active Transportation Safety and Encouragement Campaign, designed to promote walking and biking and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists. SCAG will collaborate with county transportation commissions, departments of public health and stakeholders to develop a regional advertising campaign, community outreach/tactical urbanism events, and active transportation training and toolkits designed for target audiences.

An average of 38 pedestrians or bicyclists are injured or killed every day in the SCAG region.

“Active transportation is a vital component of Southern California’s transportation and mobility needs moving forward, and we applaud Gov. Brown, the Legislature and the Transportation Commission for making this such a significant funding priority,” said Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of SCAG. “This kind of commitment to active transportation programs will reap long-lasting benefits in terms of health, safety and the sustainability of our communities.”

Among the specific benefits often cited with regard to active transportation are reductions in traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and chronic disease. According to the Center for Disease Control, incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity into everyday routines significantly reduces the risk among adults of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

When combined with other funding sources, the $115.2 million in state ATP money will actually result in $248 million worth of investment in active transportation facilities, plans and programs in the six-county SCAG region. Among the major ATP awardees were:

o The City of Los Angeles – $18.9 million for five different Safe Routes to School programs.
o The Coachella Valley Association of Governments – $10.9 million for its CV Link project connecting eight cities and two Native American tribal communities through a combination of pedestrian, bicycle and low-speed electric vehicle routes.
o The City of Palmdale – $5.3 million for its Avenue R Complete Streets and Safe Routes program.
o The San Bernardino Associated Governments – $4.7 million to improve transit access for cyclists and pedestrians at Metrolink stations throughout the county.

Nearly $500 million was requested in the six-county region to implement projects in over 100 different cities. Those projects not selected through the statewide competition have a second chance for funding through the regional portion of the program, which will be approved by SCAG in October and include awards totaling $78 million.

“In 2012, we adopted a Regional Transportation Plan that focuses on increasing transportation choices, including the tripling of investments in active transportation.” Ikhrata said. “The broad interest in the ATP from across our urban, suburban and rural communities reflects a strong and growing commitment from our elected officials, planners, businesses and residents towards meeting this goal.”

SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 18 million residents.

DEBORAH SUSSMAN, DESIGNER OF SANTA MONICA LOGO, DIES

DEBORAH SUSSMAN, DESIGNER OF SANTA MONICA LOGO, DIES

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LA Observed story

Designer Deborah Sussman began her career as an office designer for Charles and Ray Eames in the 1950s. She started her own firm, Sussman/Prejza, in 1968. Archinect says Sussman is “perhaps best known for her environmental and graphic design for the 1984 Summer Olympics….[Also] her distinctively colorful and intrepid graphical work brought character to Disney World, the city of Santa Monica, and the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.” She died this morning at age 83 of cancer.

Los Angeles Magazine’s 1980s retrospective issue in July included a piece in which Sussman recalled the Olympics experience. “The 1984 Summer Olympics are the most aesthetically memorable Games of our generation: buildings constructed of scaffolding and tubes, ‘LA 84′ banners hanging from light poles, a palette that burned bright,” the magazine said. “For the first time in its history Los Angeles told a cohesive visual story. And that story was largely written by architect Jon Jerde and designer Deborah Sussman.”

Sussman in the Los Angeles piece:
Our first assignment was to do only the signing plan for the UCLA Village, so the athletes wouldn’t get lost. Jon said, “Don’t even think about that. You dream, see the big picture,” and I did. I saw in my head this sky and the ground sprinkled with confetti, sprinkled with all this magical stuff that shimmered and expressed joy, excitement—expressed the goals of the Olympics. Jon invented this phrase for it: “An invasion of butterflies.”


Everybody was crying out for a color palette. I’m very intuitive, but when it comes to color I’m also very conceptual. I had a mania for collage, which was nourished in my years with Ray Eames and Alexander Girard. I pulled these colored papers out, and they turned out to be the very colors we used. They were the colors I had observed in areas of celebration along the Pacific Rim—Mexico, Japan, India, China—the colors of the Hispanic and Asian communities that impact Los Angeles. Had I never been at the Eames office, had I never known Girard, I don’t know what I would have done.

THE FUTURE OF BERGAMOT STATION IS IN OUR HANDS

THE FUTURE OF BERGAMOT STATION IS IN OUR HANDS

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Several decades ago, Wayne Blank, an art gallery owner, and Tom Patchett, a talented TV producer-writer who’d decided to change lanes, approached City Manager John Jalili with an unusual proposition. They wanted to lease some old warehouses that lined rusted unused train tracks along Olympic Boulevard, combine them with land Blank owned, and create Bergamot Station, a unique gathering of galleries.

A deal was done. Galleries, including Blank’s Shoshona Wayne Gallery and Patchett’s Track Sixteen, opened and Bergamot Station soon became a popular and esteemed stop on the art circuit.

It also solved a growing Santa Monica dilemma. It had long attracted artists in all media. Richard Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” series of paintings elevated him to superstar status after decades in the trenches elsewhere.But City Hall’s excruciating drive for more revenue was elevating commercial rents beyond reason and galleries were, like Santa Monica, more about love than money, so Bergamot Station became serious art’s HQ, and refuge.

But the promise of the EXPO light rail sent City Hall’s commercial ambitions soaring, and developers to their computers. The first EXPO station would be right across the street from Bergamot. The City would “develop” it, add its mandatory “shopping and fine dining,” and a hotel. Apparently, someone thought the light rail ride from downtown L.A. would be so exhausting that disembarking riders would have to check into the hotel before going home.

In due course, the City sent out requests for proposals, chose the
three most likely and displayed them to residents at a meeting in the spring. Residents were more appalled than impressed. Three weeks after the meeting, Blank announced his withdrawal from the project (scroll down to see his announcement). Shortly thereafter, The Bergamot Station Gallery Cultural Association posted an electronic petition, “Save Bergamot Station from Overdevelopment” on Change.org. Thus far, it’s received nearly 12,000 e-signatures.

The three would be-developers are ReThink Development/Kor Group, Bergamot Station Ltd/ Worthe Real Estate Group and 26Street TOD Partners LLC. All of the proposals feature a hotel and office space as required by the City.


In its column in the Dispatch, Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow (SMa.r.t) called for changes to the proposals, including more parking and focus on the arts and culture.”The City needs to accept this mantle of leadership and rethink their program. It should be a vision for the future unfettered by the past. It should prioritize the Arts not commerce.

Bergamot should be an Arts complex focused on entertainment, education and the promotion of the arts in all its forms. Bergamot is a unique opportunity to celebrate Santa Monica’s connection to arts and culture at a prominent gateway to our City. Let’s take a little more time to make sure we get it right.”

Last week, the City announced it would hold a “special meeting”
on Saturday, April 23, in the east wing of the Civic from 10 to
noon, to show residents the latest iterations of the three proposals,
prior to their presentation to the Council on Tuesday, April 26.
About the same time it was learned that Blank was in the process of selling his land to one of the developers, and the sale would be finalized this weekend. Maybe. But subsequently, the City removed the item from the Council agenda on Tuesday.

The residents’ opposition to the City’s determination to reduce one of Santa Monica’s proudest achievements to commerce demonstrates how deep the division is between residents and City Hall, and how crucial the upcoming election is.

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WRONG Rx FOR CALIFORNIA

WRONG Rx FOR CALIFORNIA

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Lawyers look to line pockets with Proposition 46, which would raise caps on medical injury damages.

By Dr. SION ROY Monday, August 11, 2014

As a cardiologist and educator, I care deeply about California families’ ability to access high-quality, affordable health care. I wake up thinking about my patients and am always striving to improve their care. Likewise, I must be alert to anything that threatens their health and well-being.

That’s why I am opposed to Proposition 46 – a ballot measure sponsored, and almost exclusively funded, by lawyers for their own benefit.

California doctors, dentists, hospitals and community clinics have banded together against this measure because it is a deceptive budget buster that would jeopardize patients’ access to care and raise costs for us all.

Not only is Proposition 46 bad medicine and bad for California families, but it’s also bad for business. Just ask the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Small Business Association, the Valley Industry & Commerce Association and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, all of which oppose Proposition 46.

Doctors and hospitals, business groups and labor, local government and community clinics – we all object to Proposition 46 because it would make it easier and more lucrative for lawyers to sue doctors and hospitals, resulting in billions of dollars in higher health care costs annually. That would make it harder for patients to see their doctors and get the care they need. It would make health care more expensive and further strain state and local budgets recovering from the economic downturn.

Proposition 46 would quadruple the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) cap on noneconomic damages, thus increasing the number of medical lawsuits.

According to California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the initiative could increase state and local government costs by several hundred million dollars annually – costs that would be passed on to taxpayers. State and local governments would incur additional costs because they pay health care costs for current and former employees as well as paying for care for many low-income Californians.

Cost increase
Worse, a recent study by former Legislative Analyst Bill Hamm estimated that overall costs for everyday Californians would increase by $9.9 billion annually – or about $1,000 a year for an average family of four.

Proposition 46 would make it harder to attract skilled doctors to the state, especially specialists, and drive physicians to leave to practice in places where malpractice insurance rates are lower. This would be a potential disaster, as there are many areas of California that are underserved by health care providers, even here in Los Angeles County. Additionally, as we strive to provide high-quality care to new patients in our system with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we need more doctors, not fewer.

Proposition 46 is a measure that California patients and taxpayers cannot afford.

Dr. Sion Roy is a board member of the Los Angeles County Medical Association and a California Medical Association trustee. He is a practicing cardiologist in Los Angeles.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal

COMMITTEE FOR LOCAL CONTROL OF AIRPORT LAND MEETS WED.

COMMITTEE FOR LOCAL CONTROL OF AIRPORT LAND MEETS WED.

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With its campaign kick-off event set for Wednesday evening, Aug. 20, the Committee for Local Control of Santa Monica Airport Land (CLCSMAL) announces that its initiative on the November ballot has been designated Measure LC (for Local Control).

CLCSMAL (ItsOurLand.org) was organized to ensure future low-density use of city-owned Santa Monica Airport (SMO) and to protect our city from Measure D, sponsored by two powerful and wealthy pro-aviation lobbies. Measure D would block city control of SMO, making it all but impossible to ever reduce the increasing jet traffic and flight school problems at SMO.

CLCSMAL is inviting residents who want to maintain Local Control over our airport to join us Wednesday, Aug. 20, from 7-9 p.m. at Mount Olive Church, 1343 Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Some parking available in the church lot off 14th St.; or walk, bike, ride the bus.

All leases at SMO held by aviation or non-aviation businesses are set to expire next July. Measure LC guarantees any SMO land now used for aviation would have only low-density uses after aviation activity was reduced or eliminated. Any attempt at higher (denser) development would require voter approval. Low-density uses include parks, open space, recreational areas such as playing fields, spaces for arts, festivals and community events, while retaining current attractions such as restaurants, Museum of Flying, Ruskin Group Theatre and Barker Hangar.

At the Wednesday meeting, we’ll show how Measure LC provides voters a concrete way to overcome the Washington aviation lobby’s attempt to run SMO for its benefit, allowing more jets, more pollution and more uncertainty.

For additional information, go to ItsOurLand.org
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