Why We’re Here

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The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right, and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a govetnment without newspapers or newspapers without a government I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world, as storms in the physical.

n    Thomas Jefferson, 1787

Happy New Year, 2010

Whither…Happy New Year

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By Ava Tramer

Beaches

Partly cloudy

Highs: 67-72; Lows: 48-51

Inland

Mostly sunny

Highs: 67-75; Lows: 41-42

Deserts

Clouds and sun

Highs: 71-76; Lows: 48-49

And Santa Monica…

Dear Diary,

Here are my New Years Resolutions for 2010.

1. Be nicer to Scott.  Just because he’s not a great next door neighbor, it doesn’t make it ok for me to leave my trash on his yard and blame it on the kids who live across the street.

2. Eat more healthy.  Just because I take all of Scott’s groceries from the back of his car when he’s unloading his car and he’s away from it for a moment, and he happens to eat a lot of ice cream, it doesn’t make it ok for me to eat so much ice cream.

3. Chop down Scott’s tree so I can get more sun to work on my tan.  It’ll just be partly cloudy and in the high 60s all the time, so why not get a nice bronzey glow to start of the new year?

4. Bike ride to work more often.  “Borrow” Scott’s bike to do so.

Our Town, Our Call

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At frequent intervals, during discussions of the revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE), the City’s Planning Director, Eileen Fogerty, notes that our residential  neighborhoods, which amounts to 94 percent of Santa Monica, ,  will not be revised.

As Hemingway said, in another context, “Wouldn’t it be nice to think so?”

In fact, every alteration in the business and commercial areas of the city is felt in the neighborhoods.

This continuing perturbation has accelerated as City Hall’s ambitions have grown.

An extreme example of a so-called  improvement in the business area causing serious problems in  residential neighborhoods

occurred when the City’s brand-new luxe office district triggered the traffic tsunami that swamped the freeway, the Pico Neighborhood and Sunset Park, and has grown worse every year.

But that pales when compared to what’s now in the works.

City Hall’s exploding  commercial/municipal development policies, as limned in LUCE, and  already underway, are already ricocheting through the allegedly sacrosanct residential neighborhoods with lethal force.

What we need in LUCE is a restoration plan for repairing the damage done in the last two decades. What we’ve got is a bulldozer.

28th Street becomes Stewart Street at Pico, runs under the freeway  and north to Colorado, linking Sunset Park, the Pico Neighborhood and the Mid-City neighborhood. Now it’s ground zero  in the latest and largest commercial/municipal assault.

The  City has ignored residents’ objections and okayed the installation of the Expo Light Rail maintenance yard at Stewart and Exposition Boulevard ––

literally in the midst of a pleasant residential neighborhood.

City Hall is also proceeding with its long-simmering plan to expand its recycling and maintenance yards from Cloverfield to Stewart.

Richland, a Texas-based company, has leased 30 acres at 1800 Stewart from the City on which it plans to  build a medical research facility and a 300-unit housing complex.

Santa Monica College recently opened its new $40 million theater complex at 11th and Santa Monica Boulevard. Now it wants to build another theater, with parking for 600 cars, at its

Arts and Entertainment Technology campus on Stewart Street.

Lionsgate Films will present its plans for its new offices at Stewart and Colorado to the the Planning Commission in  February.

And last week we learned that Hines, a Texas-based developer, is making plans, in concert with the City, to  build the Bergamot Transit Village Center on Olympic  between 26th and Stewart. It will combine offices, housing  and retail in a one million square foot complex

If all these projects go forward, Stewart Street, between the freeway overpass and Colorado will  soon be “enhanced” by two maintenance yards, a research facility, nearly 700 new apartments, hundreds of new offices, a theater, a film company HQ and a huge “village.”

This isn’t planning. It’s lunacy. It takes “mixed use”

to a whole new level, shatters the existing residential neighborhood  and compounds the traffic problems suffered by Sunset Park and Mid-City residents.

And that’s just the beginning.

Three large projects have bcen proposed for the area between Stewart and Stanford on Colorado in what is now a residential neighborhood with tree-lined streets and fine old houses and apartment buildings.

What was Drescherville, a grandly eccentric  gathering of small artists’ studios, between Olympic and Nebraska is the site chosen by a developer who wants to build over 1,000 SROs (single rooms about the size of a parking space).

And as we have previously reported, just across Centinela, in West L.A.,  developer is planning the  1.3 million square foot Olympic Village and “Medical Park” at Bundy and Olympic.

This misbegot package of mega-projects wil not make Santa Monica a better town or fill any needs. It will disrupt or destroy irreplaceable neighborhoods, such as the Village Trailer Park. It will  enlarge and extend the traffic nightmare that dominates that area. It will make a lot of money for the developers and City Hall.

But, in their excitement, the City  and the developers have got ahead of the process.

The state mandates that cities revise their General Plans every 20 years in order to ensure that citizens maintain control of their town’s destiny. In effect, it is our Constitution.

The 1984 revision expired in 2004. The draft of the 2004 revision has just been released. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) won’t be released until next month.

Strictly speaking, as we are without a current General Plan, and the zoning that derives from it, commercial development should be on hold. The state permits cities in these circumstances to declare a moratorium on new projects. Months ago, the neighborhood organizations asked the City  to declare a moratorium. The City Attorney said it “would be difficult to craft,”

And that was that. And the  City and the developers went on talking.

But the LUCE is OUR Constitution, , not City  Hall’s, not the developers’

And it’s our town and our destiny.

Read the LUCE, the EIR, follow the Planning Commission and City   Council discussions, and, above all, speak up – unless you look forward to living in “the little city with the really big traffic jams.”

Whither…ungalore

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By Ava Tramer

Beaches

Mostly sunny

Highs: 61-66; Lows: 43-53

Inland

Partly cloudy

Highs: 63-69; Lows: 33-44

Deserts

Sunny with occasional clouds

Highs: 62-71; Lows: 39-50

And Santa Monica…

This week holds in store weather ungalore.

It may rain early on, but by Christmas, rain’ll be gone!

Clouds will blow through and bring presents for you,

Gifts of warmth and sun, perfect for holiday fun!

So there’s no snow, but outside we can go,

So be thankful and happy, and be sure to thank Santy,

TIME: Jet Noise Is Major Health Hazard

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According to Time Magazine/CNN,

a study shows that airport noise increases the risk of strokes.

A story in the December 15 issue ,  says, in part, “Living under a flight path can seriously damage your health. German researchers have discovered that people who are exposed to jet noise have a substantially increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease. The findings are bound to provide further ammunition to anti-airport campaigners and make uncomfortable reading for world leaders at this week’s climate summit in Copenhagen.

“According to the unpublished study, commissioned by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, men who are exposed to jet noise have a 69% higher risk of being hospitalized for cardiovascular disease. Women living under flight paths fare even worse, logging a 93% higher rate of hospitalization with cardiovascular problems, compared with their counterparts in quiet residential areas. The study found that women who are exposed to jet noise (of about 60 decibels) during the day are 172% more likely to suffer a stroke. )…”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1929071_1929070_1947782,00.html#ixzz0ZvnWds5G