Another Dishonest Anti-T Mailer

Julie Lopez Dad
President, Santa Monica Democratic Club

There is another dishonest, lying mailer out from the developer-funded group which is against Measure T. This one, arriving in mailboxes today, in huge type, says that the Santa Monica Democratic Club “refused” to support Measure T. Clearly, there are Anti-T people who aren’t terribly good with word definitions, since the club did not refuse, in any meaning of the word, to support Measure T. THE CLUB DID NOT EVEN TAKE A VOTE AYE OR NAY! The meeting ended precipitously without a vote on the measure.

Therefore, the Santa Monica Democratic Club is in a Neutral position regarding Measure T.

Slightly more than half of the club members present at the meeting where the club discussed Measure T were there in SUPPORT of Measure T. But it takes a 60% vote to endorse. Not taking a vote, or even taking a vote that does not garner 60% does not constitute a refusal of anything.

The Club’s Executive Board is more than 60% in favor of Measure T but did not have a recommendation to the membership because we felt the members should have a presentation and discussion, then vote its beliefs. We were fair and open, but that is not being reciprocated by those of our members (and their developer and developer-friendly cohorts) who are against T.

Members, I urge you to repudiate Anti-T, its tactics, and its untrue messages.

No On T Campaign Aims to Confuse

By Peter Donald

It’s time to vote and, as is often the case, the truth seems to suffer in the process. Measure T, the Santa Monica limited growth initiative, has produced a blizzard of spin. That the No On T campaign is mainly underwritten by development interests such as Equity Office Properties of Chicago to the tune of almost $750,000 (witness the plethora of slick mailers) should alert any Santa Monica resident to the possibility of self-interest on the part of the initiative’s opponents.

It is truly a mystery to this writer as to why so many city officials, most of whom have been advocates for our neighborhoods, are endorsing this irresponsible reaction to a strict but not unreasonable measure endorsed by more than 10,000 residents. The education community seems to have been stampeded by distortions such as those cited below. The No On T supporters who are residents and have developer ties have an understandable interest, as conflicted as that may be. The large out-of-town development companies trying to defeat the measure have an obvious and non-conflicted interest, but their interests are not ours. Santa Monica residents have been playing host to their business enterprises and suffering the consequences of over-development for a long time. We need to slow down – not cease – commercial development for a few years and give the city a chance to thoughtfully plan its future.

In the October 24th issue of The Santa Monica Daily Press, a piece by Terry O’Day and Judy Abdo gives a rationale for voting against Prop T, but it is filled with contradictions, half-truths and outright lies.

Among other troubling quotes, O’Day/Abdo state that

A.)“the only expert traffic study of T concludes that it will have virtually no impact on Santa Monica traffic.”

What study? Who did it? What was its methodology? The No On T group has not produced any evidence of a credible counter argument to date. Furthermore, it seems counterintuitive that less commercial development will have no affect on reducing traffic volume.

.)“the city’s new LUCE incorporates strict controls on development, including a braking mechanism unanimously supported by the City Council that will regulate the pace and amount of new development.”

The updated LUCE is still on the drawing boards and the 1984 version has vastly exceeded its development targets. Prop T in no way interferes with LUCE’s goals, but does cap development footage for a fixed period of time.

O’Day and Abdo go on to say that:

C.) “Proposition T also restricts new health-care uses,” and “T also classifies nonprofit uses — including those serving our youth, senior citizens and the disabled — as “commercial,” which explains why it is opposed by key non-profit leaders”

Section 1.1.2 A of the initiative clearly exempts from its purview “residential, parking, schools, child or adult day care facilities, hospitals, rest homes, residential care facilities for the elderly, places of worship, government facilities, or neighborhood-serving goods, services or retail uses located on the ground floor of an affordable housing development….”.

O’Day and Abdo have not read the text or are attempting blatant obfuscation.

D.) “T will harm renters as well, especially vulnerable seniors.” and “And T would impede the city’s strategy of building workforce housing (with resident-serving commercial uses) in its commercial zones — housing for those who work in Santa Monica but are not now able to live here.”

This is pure speculation. There is no causal relationship that I know of in which the absence of commercial development promotes, ipso facto, residential development, unless there are specific policy inducements to do so. Prop T contains no such inducements and, further, doesn’t restrain the city from developing additional affordable rental housing.

In addition, the second sentence in this quote seems to contradict the first, i.e., why would Prop T impede building workforce housing if its de facto purpose is to encourage residential housing?

E.) “According to an independent financial study, T would deprive City Hall of millions of dollars in tax revenue that we need to fund our schools and other important services.”

This, once again, begs the question(s): What study? Who did it? What was its methodology? As far as I know, the state primarily funds public education, and city revenue is a tiny part of the school system’s budget. In the absence of any credible evidence to the contrary, the most reliable analysis of this topic is provided by the City.

F.) “In addition to these major flaws, T suffers from being poorly drafted and rigidly inflexible.”

The initiative does have teeth and its conditions are quite specific. Its “flaws” are the regulation of pell-mell growth. As for poor drafting, the measure was drafted by the law firm of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger of San Francisco (http://www.smwlaw.com/practice.htm) who specialize in public law and drafting initiatives statewide.

Again, why all the hue and cry? The measure is simply proposing to slow down the pace of development for a relatively short period of time, so that Santa Monica can catch its breath and plan for the future sensibly. Our quality of life is being sold out by the opponents of Prop T. It should be adopted.

Peter Donald
Santa Monica Resident for 35 years
Founding member of The Friends of Sunset Park
Santa Monica Airport Commissioner

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A Fraud

By John Petz

After reading your coverage of the campaign, I have been stunned and dismayed to see the role local education leaders are playing in the campaign against Measure T. As a long time education advocate I have been working on behalf of children and families here for the last 13 years and have served on the campaign committees for all of the recent school funding initiatives including Measure S, Measure R and Measure BB.

During this time I have worked closely with education minded community members from across the political spectrum and have gotten to know many of them on a personal level. I have enjoyed their friendship and I have great respect for the energy and commitment they have brought to creating great public schools for our children.

Then along came Measure T – a citizen backed initiative designed to slow development in Santa Monica – and suddenly our cozy little education community began to splinter as the big-money players and their representatives started to pressure our local education leaders in CEPS and on the School Board to take a stand against Measure T, or risk losing future support for school funding campaigns.

The fact that measure T has nothing to do with schools was irrelevant. The anti-T campaign strategists needed a winning argument and they knew that Santa Monicans could be counted on to step up and protect our schools. So they created a lie, and then got our education leaders to sell it.

And what is that lie? It is the lie that the passage of Measure T will cost our schools $11 million dollars in city funding cuts. We’ve all seen the mailers. Slick campaign pieces with the photo of an education leader on the cover imploring us to save our schools from Measure T. It’s a fraud.

A fraud which can be easily exposed if you bother to check. The independent analysis done by our own Santa Monica Malibu PTA concluded that the passage of Measure T “would not cut existing city funding”. – And you better believe that if our schools were at risk of losing funding then the PTA would be the first to sound the alarm.

But they didn’t, and for good reason. It’s a false alarm, being rung for the singular purpose of getting you to vote against Measure T, not on its merits, but because you don’t want to hurt our schools.

Don’t be fooled. If you think slowing the pace of development in Santa Monica would be a good thing, then vote yes on T. If you want to see development continue at its current rate then vote no on T. But do it because of your stand on development, not because you have been mislead by a campaign that lied to you about measure T hurting our schools.

Hartley Endorsed By NWPC -LA

The National Women’s Political Caucus-LA Westside (NWPC-LA Westside) has endorsed Susan Hartley, a candidate for the Santa Monica City Council.

A community activist, Hartley has been an employment law attorney for nearly three decade. She has also been a teacher.

On learning of her endorsement, Hartley said, “I feel extremely honored to be endorsed by an organization of such high caliber as the NWPC-LA Westside. Coming of age in the early days of the women’s movement, I’m proud that my life’s work, including running for city council, parallels the causes of the NWPC-LA Westside. Santa Monica needs more women on the council.”

The purpose of the National Women’s Political Caucus is to increase women’s participation in the political process and to identify, recruit, train and support women for election and appointment to public office. While in pursuit of this goal, NWPC strives to win equality for all women; to ensure reproductive freedom; to achieve quality dependent care; to eradicate violence and poverty; and to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, age, physical limitations or sexual orientation.

As an employment law attorney representing employees, Hartley fights for equal treatment in the workplace of women, minorities, seniors, gays, lesbians, and the disabled. She has devoted her professional life not only to equality in the workplace but also to combating sexual harassment and other forms of workplace harassment. Her work has included forming professional organizations for employment lawyers. She is the founder of LEFTJAW, a Los Angeles based employment lawyer group, and a founding board member of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA).

Hartley has also been endorsed by the Sierra Club, the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC), Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP), Treesavers, the Santa Monica Dispatch and the Santa Monica Mirror.

BIG Mistakes

I.

The Santa Monica Mirror opposes Prop T, the ballot measure that would limit new commercial development to 75,000 square feet annually.

“Unlike the LUCE effort, T has not had broad community participation; it has not been fully vetted by the public. We prefer our existing processes, city council, planning, and all the ways in which Santa Monica organizes itself….Vote NO.”

In other words, the Mirror has swallowed the SMRR/CityHall/Chamber of Commerce line that the big decisions should be made in City Hall, not the voting booth, by “experts,” not the people, and via the bureaucratic process not the democratic process.

Residents crafted Prop T. Over 10,000 residents signed the petitions that qualified it for inclusion on the ballot. Next Tuesday, residents will
pass it or reject it. That’s democracy at its purest.

The revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE) was mandated by the state. The City began the revision in 2004, the year it was supposed to completed. As a result, we have been in planning limbo for four years

Planning Director Eileen Fogerty now predicts that the revision will be completed sometime next year, though it is deeply flawed, the Council was divided on some basic questions at its most recent review, and the latest iteration ignores residents’ clear preference for a low rise, small scale beach town. That’s the bureaucratic process at its purest.

So, according to the Mirror, if you want more bureaucracy, vote against T, if you want less traffic and commercial development, vote for T.

II.

Marion Blount has lived in Santa Monica for 16 years. Her name appears on the Save Our City list of people who oppose Prop T. Not only does she not oppose it, she has already voted for it.

III.

Last Friday, L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents Mar Vista, Brentwood, Santa Monica Canyon, Pacific Palisades and Venice, joined Santa Monica Councilmen Kevin McKeown and Bobby Shriver and about 30 other people in a demonstration for Prop T at the Cloverfield on-ramp to the 10 Freeway.

Mayor Herb Katz and Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom, both of whom
are running for re-election, have been endorsed by Rosendahl, and have more gall than good manners or sense immediately scolded him.

According to the Santa Monica Daily Press, Katz said, “He and his city are probably more of a traffic generator in Santa Monica than anyone else. If you took L.A. out of the equation, we wouldn’t have traffic or most of it.”

Wrong and wrong. Of course metropolitan L.A. is a “traffic c generator.” It has 10 million residents. But on Katz’s watch, as he often boasts, the Third Street Promenade was created, the Santa Monica Pier was amped up, Santa Monica became a “regional commercial hub,” the promotion budget climbed to $2.4 million, and our daily transient population shot up to 300.000.

How does Katz think they get here — by parachute? In fact, Santa Monica has become a major traffic magnet, thanks to Katz and his City Hall pals, including Bloom, and now the once-serene communities to our north, south and east suffer the multiple consequences of our alleged success, and enjoy it about as much as most of us do.

Bloom was quoted by the Daily Press as saying that he called Rosendahl and said ‘Bill, why don’t you just pull back, take some time to consider it and then make a decision,’ and he declined…He represents a city that is repeatedly referenced as one of the top 10 worst traffic generating cities in the nation and so he needs to focus on the problem he has in his
City.”

That’s exactly what the Councilman from L.A. was doing last week, trying to alleviate a problem that dogs his constituents. That’s what our Councilmen Mckeown anf Shriver were doing, too, And what Bloom and Katz, and Genser, Bob Holbrook and Pam O’Connor should be doing, but their primary interest is in preserving their power, not reducing traffic.