Here is a story about sinkholes in Florida, where a man was pulled into the ground in his sleep and the county containing Tampa is called “sinkhole alley.” The particular problem causing these sinkholes that eat up houses is a different problem from the one Santa Monica has, but I can imagine David Martin saying the same thing he said to the Council about the combination of high liquefaction danger land and high seismic danger that creates a similar but less visible result–buildings falling. What he said was, “We have an app for that.” November 14, 2012, First Reading, Village Trailer Park Development Agreement.
The issue is the same. High danger of DEATH from buildings collapsing, but the Planning Department allows them to be built anyway. High liquefaction danger land in earthquake zones is called “jello land” by people who have ever seen liquefaction. There are already liquefaction cracks in the asphalt on the street in front of Village Trailer Park. People who live here have seen liquefaction and they tell us, once you have seen the earth open up and buildings settle into it, you never forget it.
This is not the reaction of David Martin, the City’s Planning Director. In fact, his reaction is complete disregard of any danger. He along with the Assistant City Manager wooed more development to Santa Monica on a July 2012 two-busloads of developers bus trip around town ending at Santa Monica Place.
Here is a youtube video of liquefaction during an earthquake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLZFlnND0hA&list=PL4E05E6BD45DB2B6A
Instead of deep holes, like the sinkholes in Florida, there is just settling and cracking of heavy buildings that have been built on such soil. The beachfront in Santa Monica and large portions of the industrial area in Pico Neighborhood, including Village Trailer Park land, has this high liquefaction danger. See Map of Geologic Hazards in Santa Monica, LUCE EIR, p. 277.
Trust me, Santa Monica does not have an app for this, any more than Tampa does for sinkholes.
Two things convince me of the known danger and that SM does not have an app for it.
The first is that both of the proposed building projects to our west–on less liquefaction danger land than VTP is–had hundreds of pages discussing the soil-earthquake danger in their EIRs. VTP’s had five pages of reports of e-mails back and forth from colleagues in the Planning Department, concluding testing the soil was not necessary. Then after we pointed out there had been no soil testing in the first EIR, the City hired a consultant who very specifically stated he did not test the soil. Then Martin said when the Council asked about it, “We have an app for that.” What this means is the VTP projects proposed by Luzzatto and Co. are just shams. The City knows they will never be built here. Therefore, the City did not need to and did not discuss liquefaction in the EIRs, since what was planned is that our homes would be demolished and then this land would be used for a parking lot for the Bergamot Station. This would happen once the liquefaction danger was “discovered,” after Luzzatto the land speculator sold the then-vacant land with permits to an innocent Bona Fide Purchaser (“BFP”). Now there will be no BFP, so Luzzatto sued the City to try to get his money back–no use suing us, since we have no assets to speak of.
The second thing is that LUCE hid the geologic hazard map while deciding without any discussion that the development of the City in the next 20 years would occur downtown and in the former industrial area. But when it came to the first three of these projects, for VTP the City “cannot locate” the original building permit from 1951. We believe that will be located along the way–employees cannot be counted on to lie when their own skins are on the line–and that permit will show lightweight development of this area and lack of subsurface parking lots was already done because danger in the combination of liquefacting soil and earthquake hazards was already known in the 1950s. I grew up in Bakersfield and experienced the Tehachapi earthquake of 1954. I know this is not the long-decent past when people did not know anything about earthquakes. However, ignoring this danger now is not really something the City is going to do. Martin is just pretending it is to get rid of the pesky homeowners here who are standing in the way of the Bergamot Station parking lot.