Santa Monica Dispatch

The Santa Monica Dispatch is an independent newspaper founded and edited by Peggy Clifford. Our objective is to give voice to the community.

Monthly archives "July 2008"

Quake Shakes Region

A 5.4 earthquake shook Southern California at 11:42 this morning.

The epicenter was 10 miles south of Chino Hills, and the quake was felt as far away as San Diego.

There were 27 aftershocks in the hour following the quake.

Immediately after the quake, system overload caused cell phones to go dead, but service was soon restored.. Disneyland closed its rides, and Metroline trains stopped running for a short time.

There were reports of minor damage and injuries , but nothing major.

All Politics, All the Time

VI. Deranging the Townscape

Like the beach itself, beach towns are in constant motion, endlessly evolving, and, over time, shedding whatever is not vital, essential and useful.

Unfortunately, like the beach itself, beach towns are often assaulted by litter, meaning anything that violates, insults or deranges them..

In its 133 years, Santa Monica has suffered all manner of litter, but the last three decades have been especially rough — with nine million square feet of new commercial development, with traffic to match, deposited on our streets, courtesy of City Hall, the chief architect of the assault.

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Spot Closures on PCH Continue

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close one lane of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in alternating directions in spot locations between La Tuna Canyon and the McClure Tunnel for manhole frame and cover adjustment and between Cross Creek and the tunnel for pavement markings and striping from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly Monday, July 28 through Thursday, July 31.

The closures are part of a $7 million, 11.6-mile paving project from Malibu Lagoon Bridge to the McClure Tunnel.

Whither the Weather 7/26 -8/1

By Ava Tramer

Beaches
Mostly sunny
Highs: 69-76; Lows: 61-65

Inland
Hot and sunny
Highs: 91-96; Lows: 62-65

Deserts
Clear and hot
Highs: 105-110; Lows: 79-82

And Santa Monica…
This weekend will be sunny and bright, not to mention hot, with highs in the mid 70s, so slather on the sunscreen, perch those sunglasses on your nose, and head on down to the beach to soak in the sun! But come Monday, be sure to bundle up. Get out your parkas, boots, and mittens, and prepare yourself a steaming cup of hot chocolate. The dramatically colder weather will have highs in the high 60s and low 70s (brrrrrrrr!). And there is even the potential for some clouds to float by (oh no!). Stay warm, Santa Monica. Stay warm.

Sore Winners

Last night, as the City Council’s final review of the planners’ “Strategic Framework” for the revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE) got underway, four Council members were out of sorts.

At the previous review, they had voted to approve increases in height and density limits, as recommended by the planners. And they had prevailed: 4-3 . They were winners! But they were not happy.

Apparently, not everyone was pleased with their vote. Perhaps they got emails. Or phone calls. It wasn’t clear. Of the four, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom was the most vociferous, but he wasn’t very
explicit.

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The NAYS Have It!

It was 3 to 4 over and over again at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Council members Ken Genser, Kevin McKeown and Bobby Shriver voted consistently against increased density and height limits as proposed in the planners’ “Strategic Framework” for the revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE).

But virtually every time they voted No, Mayor Herb Katz, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom, and Council members Bob Holbrook and Pam O’Connor voted Yes.

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“That does it!”

Why I Support RIFT

by Jay P. Johnson, Planning Commissioner

As my mother said to me, after being divorced for 30 years from my father, and learning he was now, 30 years later, dating another
woman: “That does it!”

After last nights’ city council meeting, where Ken Gensers’ valiant fight against taller and more dense LUCE recommendations for Wilshire, Santa Monica Blvd and Pico were defeated 4-3, I realized that the final nail in our coffin has been struck. Now I feel the same: “That does it!”

Ken’s thoughtful objections, with the support of Bobby Shriver and
Kevin McKeown, to staff and council members precisely noting that heights and density on those streets should be categorically denied were refused, obfuscated , “put off to later”, and denied. Ken was>correct–it is too much!

I did not sign the RIFT petition, feeling skeptical about its purpose, its potential conflict with LUCE plan and the low 75,000 square foot annual limit on commercial development . I have waited 6 months to arrive at this conclusion of full >support of RIFT. I have attended the workshops, read the full draft>LUCE document, recommended and had adopted many ideas and changes and have watched the LUCE process proceed. Now, with it having moved from Planning to Council, I have watched to see how the wind is blowing. Wrong direction I’m afraid.

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Beyond Baroque in Lease Limbo

The Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution unanimously on February 29, renewing Beyond Baroque’s lease on the space at 681 Venice Blvd that it has occupied for many years.

But, five months later, the 25-year lease remains unsigned.

Beyond Baroque officials reported yesterday that they “have learned from sources inside City Hall that, contrary to the City Council resolution , the nationally recognized cultural institution may lose the historic theater, which has been the heart of its operation since 1979,“
According to the officials, “Loss of the theater would cripple Beyond Baroque’s control over its future and severely impair its capacity to represent and serve the community as it has for forty years.”

The Friends of Beyond Baroque have issued a call to “ all people who care about Beyond Baroque to contact Councilman Bill Rosendahl at (213) 473-7011 or Councilman.Rosendahl@lacity.org to urge him to uphold the Council Resolution awarding Beyond Baroque’s lease to all its historic space and protect this precious Venice institution intact. Please cc: FriendsByndBaroq@aol.com on your e-mails to Councilman Rosendahl.

All Politics, All the Time

V. Thorns In the Townscape

Based on what we’ve seen so far, the revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE) that’s now in the final stage before the final stage contains virtually everything but a coherent plan for the next two decades in the life of this iconic beach town.

Rather than developing a comprehensive plan for this 133-year-old town, which currently has a really bad case of traffic, the planners and the ubiquitous consultants have chosen to focus on the parts at the expense of the whole.

City Hall has painted itself – and us — into the proverbial corner, because it is unwilling to do the things that must be done to solve the problems that nearly three decades of mindless growth have inflicted on us. That is, rather than limiting new growth, it is simply proposing new sites for it, because continued growth is its top priority.

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PCH Closures Continue

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close one lane of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in alternating directions in spot locations between La Tuna Canyon and McClure Tunnel for manhole frame and cover adjustment, and between Cross Creek and the Tunnel for pavement markings and striping.

The closures will occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. nightly from Monday, July 21 through Thursday, July 25.

The closures are part of a $7 million, 11.6-mile paving project from Malibu Lagoon Bridge to the McClure Tunnel.