STILL TAKING THE MONEY
Five of the seven current Santa Monica City Council members have taken campaign contributions from developers: Mayor Richard Bloom, Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis, Bob Holbrook, Pam O’Connor, and Terry O’Day.
It is probably not a coincidence that developers are currently flourishing in Santa Monica – despite the opposition of a rapidly increasing number of residents.Nor will it surprise anyone that developers are major donors to the current campaigns of incumbents Davis and O’Day.
But it is mildly surprising that O’Day, a principal beneficiary of the developers’ largesse, now claims to be their principal critic.
He recently issued an email, in which he wrote, in part, “Given the ability of some PACs and Independent Expenditures (IE) to reach a scale that dwarfs individual candidates own campaigns and misrepresents them, these ‘pop-up’ groups that claim to be community-based but don’t have community credentials can have a deleterious impact on our elections and we denounce them.”
O’Day is one of four candidates who appear on flyers issued by a brand-new developer-funded outfit, Santa Monicans United for a Responsible Future (SMURF), which was founded in late September, raised $175,000 in a wink and has already invested a chunk of it on polling, consultation and mailers hyping O’Day and Davis, along with Planning Commissioner Ted Winterer and Shari Davis.
Its founder and leading contributor is NMS Properties. The other donors are Century West Partners, LLC., Ideal Properties, LLC. and Roberts Business Park –all developers with projects and/or interests in Santa Monica whose projects are moving briskly forward. Collectively or singly, they exemplify the “pop-ups” O’Day decried.
He confesses, “When I was a newcomer….I was happy to receive support from anyone in the community who wanted to back my candidacy, Today I have more experience with the way elections in this city are run, and voters need to be clear as to who is speaking when they receive announcements of endorsements.” But he’s still taking the money.
In fact, he made a thoroughly sordid splash into what passes for bigtime politics in Santa Monica during the 2008 election. With Judy Abdo, he co-chaired a particularly odious “pop-pop,” SAVE OUR CITY, allegedly comprised of leading citizens, whose sole purpose was to defeat Prop T, a residents’ ballot measure that would have put an annual cap on commercial development, as well as slowing the growth of gridlock in our streets.
O’Day and Abdo had a $700,000 budget, courtesy of developers, and a 99-cent Store version of the Carl Rove playbook. They hit residents with a perfect storm of slick mailers featuring lies contrived by them and told by so-called community leaders. The principal lie was that prop T would drastically reduce City revenue and thus “destroy” our schools.
Early on, City consultants analyzed Prop T and found no evidence, no basis in fact that its enactment would have dire consequences. But O’Day and Abdo had no interest in the facts. Their scare tactics panicked the populace, Prop T failed, gridlock proceeded, and O’Day was rewarded with an appointment to the Council to fill the late Herb Katz’s seat. And now, older and wiser, a self-proclaimed environmental eminence, he’s still taking the money and running, “deleterious impact” not withstanding.