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 "March 2010"

St. John’s RNs Allege More Harassment

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Registered nurses at Santa Monica’s St. John’s Health Center alleged last week that hospital officials are continuing to harass nurse activists even after being put  trial by the National Labor Relations Board  on charges that it violated RN rights.

The RNs, who have been meeting with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, also unveiled a billboard on Santa Monica Blvd. between Brockton and Armacost calling on the hospital to adhere to Catholic teachings, and respect the nurses’ rights.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has specifically stated that “the basic rights of workers must be respected—the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions.” is among the key themes of Catholic Social Teaching.

Earlier this month, St. John’s was put on a three-day trial by the National Labor Relations Board on charges of illicit spying on RNs, and interrogating nurses about union activity, among other serious violations. A decision is pending. But since the trial ended, harassment of nurses who are CNA/NNU supporters at the hospital is continuing, nurse leaders say.

“Saint John’s administration should open its heart to respecting RNs’ rights and embrace the fair union election principles of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,” said Lori Hammond, an RN who works in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital, in the days before the trial.

“This has gone on too long and has taken too high a price on our nurses, our patients and our community. We urge our hospital to respect their nurses and stop the attacks on our attempt to gain collective bargaining rights so we can advocate for our patients,” Hammond said.


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By Ava Tramer


Mostly sunny, with mid-week showers

Highs: 60-72; Lows: 47-55


Partly cloudy

Highs: 58-81; Lows: 39-47


Mostly sunny

Highs: 62-90; Lows: 47-61

And Santa Monica…

Are you familiar with the letter “U”?  If so, this week’s weather will be easy for you to understand.  You see, we’ll start out at the top left of the U, with daytime temperatures in the 70s and mostly sunny clouds.  But then as the week moves on, daytime temperatures will drop to the low 60s, and towards the middle of the week, and we’ll have rain and maybe even some thunder.  Egads!  Or maybe more appropriately for this weather report, U-gads!  At this point, we would be at the bottom of the middle of the U.  And then, as the weekend approaches, we’ll steadily climb back up, towards the top right of the U, with mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures.  See?  Now I’ve proven to you that the alphabet is actually useful for something!  Who knew?*

*If you are confused by this U explanation, because you think that the weather would be better described by an A-like letter because you happen to enjoy rain and cold weather, I’m sorry for confusing you.  That being said, you kind of deserve to be confused, because really, who likes rain and cold, anyways. Loser.**

**Disclaimer: Ok fine, I actually like rain and cold too, because it makes my job so much more interesting.

A Truly Local Museum

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Though Eli Broad is not scheduled to decide where his museum will be located for several months (see story below), the smart money is on downtown Los Angeles.

Whether or not the rumors are true, it’s time for the community to explore an idea Bruria Finkel (see letter below) has been developing for some years.

She wants to make an archival

museum devoted to the archives of artists in all media who have lived and worked in  Santa Monica.

If done properly, and if Bruria is in charge, it will be done properly, it could be a brilliant and altogether

fitting addition to this iconic beach town.

Architect Frank Gehry has already promised his archives to Bruria.

Where is Walter Hopps When We Need Him?

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Say, “Broad…billionaire…2,000 works of art…world,” and almost everyone says, “Yes!”

Almost everyone.

What could be better? A world class museum…designed by a world class architect to house a world class  collection of  2,000 works of world class contemporary art owned by world  class billionaire Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe…Right here in Santa Monica,

Or Beverly Hills.

Or downtown Los Angeles.

Tuesday night, the City Council reviewed and approved, 5-1, a staff report on the state of the negotiations to date, as well as general principles for the actual agreement – assuming Santa Monica is Broad’s fimal choice.

As  he did at the initial discussion of the Broad proposal last fall, Council member Bobby Shriver voted not to approve the staff’s draft agreement, and posed  a series  of questions that no one, including Deborah Kantor, Broad Foundation lawyer, could answer definitively. .

Broad is expected to choose the winning site in about six months..

The Broad Foundations own the collection and will build, own and operate the museum. Here and now, it wants Santa Monic to rent it 2.5

acres in the Civic Center for

$1 a year for 99 years, pay all the fees, estimated  at nearly $I million, spend $750,000 on site preparation and pay $1 million of the architect’s fees.

Estimating the value of 2.5 acres two blocks  from the beach over 100

years is virtually impossible, but two years ago Hines, a developer, paid an estimated $73 million for six-plus acres

28 blocks from the beach.

Shriver believes that the City should be represented on the museum board. No such provision now exists. He is bothered that the proposed 110,000 square foot museum contains only 30,000 square feet of exhibit space and 80,000 square feet of “offices.”

He also has questions about the collection. Will it remain intact and static through the years, representing a specific period, or will it evolve, reflecting changing tastes, aesthetic shifts, and new forms.

Shriver also suggested that the City consider issuing Requests for Proposals from other musems.

The evening only other smart and  relevant comments were contained in a

letter to the Council from Bruria Finkel, a leading Santa Monica artist and shaker and mover.(See letter below).

Dear council members

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I am truly sorry I cannot come and discuss with you the staff recommendations on the E.Broad Museum proposal in civic enter.

Here are some of my thoughts:

It seems that the opportunity for this to happen has passed. Mr. Broad is foraging in other places, and may not be interested in pursuing; his Museum in Santa Monica.

Staff has done a wonderful rich presentation with information about other institutions; their square feet, endowments, visitors, land gifts etc.. good information to have.

The report is lacking in details that are of the foremost important:

Who is the world-renowned architect? I have 200 plus signatures by members of the community who insist on the world-renowned architect to be our Frank Gehry.

The square footage went up from 85 K sq feet to 110 K sq feet and the estimated costs for the building went down from $100 M to $50-75 M. please explain

The collection issues have not been articulated either. What happens at the end of 99 years? Will Santa Monica own the collection in the building?

We have an important task to create a Museum of Art in Civic Center. The Community is supporting it and is enthusiastic about the future. We recognize the importance of an Art Museum in our midst. We also recognize that artists (locals who are world renowned) will not be represented in this private collection.

If it is a matter of 6 months before we hear YES or NO I personally have waited for 30 years and am willing to be patient just a little longer.

However I would encourage the council to direct staff that in the event of a NO response from Broad we open up a competition for this piece of Civic Center land that is so dear to ALL of us and see what offers comes back to build a Museum that we all agree upon and support.


Bruria Finkel

The Benefit That Isn’t

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The City of Santa Monica  regularly allows developers

to violate zoning and other regulations in return for the  inclusion of what the City calls “community benefits” in their  projects.

The so-called community benefits have included some affordable housing—often located off-site —  and open space that’s accessible to the public.

It’s a bad bargain. The developers increases in the maximum allowable height, mass and overall  size fracture the  town’s prevailing low scale  that has made it possible for residential neighborhoods to co-exist compatibly with boulevard businesses.

“Community benefits” is a misnomer. The community

doesn’t “benefit” from these outsized edifices. City Hall does. Developers do. They both make

more  money. We don’t.

The City budget now tops half-a-billion dollars a year, but residents haven’t  enjoyed a comparable expansion of City services. In fact, the only increases residents have seen have been in the utility tax, water rates, bus fares, and so on.

In sum, as currently constituted,  “community benefits” is a scam, perpetrated by the City and the developers on the rest of us.

Ironically,  if City Hall were motivated by more than simple

greed, new commercial  projects could actually compliment the townscape rather than disrupting


Developers from all over the  place  want to build here.   But, given its extreme age and small size, it can’t afford any more blunders of the sort that made the last several decades so grueling.

The revised land use and

Circulation elements of the

General Plan(LUCE)

should state that no commercial

projects will be considered  that will not benefit the community in  substantial ways, They must be  architecturally distinctive, useful, needed, and compatible. No

trade offs. No tricks. No compromises  Just first–rate   projects that  meet our standards address our needs and generally improve the prospect.

It is worth noting that none of the City’s own projects would pass the

the test.


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By Ava Tramer


Mostly sunny

Highs: 68-74; Lows: 51-54


Warm and partly cloudy

Highs: 72-78; Lows: 45-48


Mostly clear and hot

Highs: 81-86; Lows: 56-59

And Santa Monica…

Spring has sprung, and it’s lovely to see!

Mother Nature has sung a tune of pure jollity!

The clouds are few, and the sky is blue,

The sun is bright, with evenings so light.

Grass grows green and the air is mild,

So be happy it’s spring and celebrate!

(Poems don’t always have to rhyme, you know…)

Red Cross Car Wash Benefits Disaster Victims

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American Red Cross of Santa Monica volunteers will  hand wash and vacuum cars, trucks and SUVs on Saturday at Red Cross HQ, 1450 11th Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wash and vacuum is $8 for cars, and $13 for trucks and SUVs. Proceeds will replenish the chapter’s disaster response fund,.

and its community preparedness and relief programs.

Grilled hot dogs, chips and beverages will be available for purchase. .

Reality TV: City Council

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Never mind the battling couples,  the loons, the believers and the misfits, the Santa Monica City Council leaves all of them in the shade. For inadvertent  comedy, tragedy — almost unbearable, surprises, high drama and slapstick, it can’t be beat.

Though two Council members – Bob Holbrook and Bobby Shrivrer – were absent, the five members who were present carried on valiantly at the  most recent episode (March 9, 5:45 p.m. channel 16, Live; rebroadcasts.

Various times, channel 20).

Among the highlights was Mayor Pro Tem Pam O’Connor’s effort to scuttle educe  the latest  Landmarks Commission’s designation.

As regular viewers may recall,  O’Connor is a historic preservationist by trade, so she always has something to say about the  Commission’s decisions.

In this instance, the landmark was three pre-cut houses with a common

Garden on Ninth Street near California Avenue.

In the 1920s and ‘30s, these pre-cut  houses were mass-produced in factories, shipped to their sites and assembled. They were very popular  with working class families.  Historically and architecturally significant, they are very rare now.

The owners of the houses appealed the designation. They want to  demolish the houses and build condominiums.

O’Connor did her usual critique of

The Commission’s  designation, adding that only one house could be seen from the street – not true, and that all the other buildings on the block were two-story, multi-family structures, so the one-story houses are    out of place. – not true, and NOT TRUE.

Missing all the points, she proposed    lamdmarking only one of the houses. The other pro-development Council members – Richard Bloom abd Terry t O’Day – voted for the witless proposal, but it failed for lack of a fourth vote.

In another sterling “trying to please everyone in an election year” segment, the City Council, with advice from City staff, groped for the means to make peace between a noisy business and its residential neighbors. It’s  a familiar dilemma, and the Council has never managed to resolve it to anyone’s satisfaction.

The Parlour, a sports bar and restaurant at Wilshire and Fifteenth,

is so popular that there’s a waiting line at 1 p.m. According to residents,  It’s noisy. Departing  patrons are sometimes apparently drunk and noisy, sometimes just noisy, but  almost always verbally abusive when asked  to be quiet. Not all neighbors had complaints.  Some

patronized it. One was crazy about  its lamb chops.


But the conflict between noisy bars and nearby residents has been around for years. The City could have solved it years ago by creating a special zone for noisy bars many blocks away from residential neighborhoods. It could also use the permit/preferential parking system far more effectively.

But instead of solving the problem, and ending the conflict, the City  once again fiddled with the seating capacity,, hourss and number of security guards.

And so… City Hall fiddles while residents burn, Stay tuned!

Students in Concert at Disney, Barnum

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The irony is overwhelming.

Days after the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District eliminated the elementary school music program, as part of its  budget slashing, two of Samohi’s most accomplished music  ensembles will perform in concert.

The Santa Monica High School Symphony Orchestra will perform in Disney Hall,

Lauded as one of the best high school orchestras in the nation, it  has been invited to play in a free concert on Saturday, March 13, at 4 p.m. It’s not the first time the orchestra has performed there.  ere Indeed, it has performed all over the world.

On Tuesday, March 16, the Santa Monica High School Choirs, in conjunction with the instrumental music program, will perform Mozart’s monumental Requiem Mass at 7 PM in Barnum Hall.

Completed mostly by his pupil, Süssmayr, as Mozart died before he could finish the work, the Requiem contains eccentric drama, pristine beauty, and a rigorous orchestral score, and is often revered as Mozart’s crowning achievement.

As it is frequently featured in movies and commercials, everyone will recognize melodies from the Introit, Kyrie, Dies Irae, and the Requiem’s most famous movement, Lacrymosa.

Jeffe Huls will conduct.

Tickets are $10 Adults, $5 Students; Ticket reservations and information, 310-395-3204 x403.

Tickets will also be available at the door.

It all begins with the elementary music program -that SMMUSD has has just cancelled. Bad decision.