Democratic Statewide Candidates Forum

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On fheir way to the state’s June  primary, many of the Democratic candidates will spend Sunday afternoon, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the

Olympic High School Cafeteria at  721 Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica)

The forum is being  sponsored by:

Santa Monica Democratic Club, Pacific Palisades Democratic Club, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains, Progressive For

Forbore information, contact Jonathan Troen, 310 560 4317, jonathan@troen.net

Democrats of Los Angeles.

Whither…surprise

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By Ava Tramer

Beaches

Mostly sunny with some showers

Highs: 62-70; Lows: 45-53

Inland

Partly cloudy

Highs: 62-72; Lows: 37-40

Deserts

Mostly sunny

Highs: 62-72; Lows: 37-45

And Santa Monica…

Commericials fade out.  Focus on announcer:

“Welcome back, I’m Rob Coastos.  We return now to the ultimate test of ability, and with only three players left in this final round, it’s sure to be exciting.  And here’s the starting bell!  The sun races across Wilshire, clouds following closely behind, and rain falling into third.  But now clouds are taking the lead as they head over San Vicente, but wait!  The rain is dashing into first.  Clouds and rain are neck and neck, and now, wow, the sun is pulling into first as they head towards the pier and it’s going to be….THE SUN crossing the finish line with the gold!  Ladies and gentlemen, what a race that was!  We’ll be back after these messages.”

Screen goes to black.

Rob’s audio still on: “Jeez, Bert, can you get any more predictable than that?  I’m sick of the favorites always winning the race.  I can’t keep trying to act like there’s any suspense about this any more… what?  I can’t hear you.  What?  Oooooh…”  We hear the rumpled sound of a microphone being fiddled with.

The People’s Choice

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By Susan Hartley

Santa Monica is up for grabs again.  Forget about residents’ votes in the most recent election.  Forget about democracy.  That doesn’t happen in Santa Monica.  SMRR and the developers are at it again.

Ted Winterer was the obvious choice for Herb Katz’s seat last year because he received the next most votes in the November 2008 election.  Instead, SMRR and developers’ backroom machinations gave us Gleam Davis, who didn’t even run in 2008.  Now they’re pushing for another non-candidate Terry O’Day.  Not only has he never been the people’s choice, didn’t even run in 2008, but he has a history of being ultra pro-development, pushing for more and higher developments.  Cry for Santa Monica.

Ted Winterer was next in line as the people’s choice.  The vacant council seat should be his.

Susan Hartley

Who’s Confused?

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According to a recent headline in SurfSantaMonica – “Multiple Development Agreements

Confusing Public, McKeown Says”

City  Councilman Kevin McKeown prides himself on listening to  and responding to residents.

But, in this instance, not only did he misread residents’ state of mind, and, manage, in the doing, to insult them, his response is still in the works. .

He is  scheduled to ask his Council  colleagues  at Tuesday night’s meeting to join him in directing the  staff to “briefly forego”

bringing  development agreements  to the Planning Commission and  the Council, until the new  land use plan (LUCE) is adopted and new standards are set.

The so-called public is  not “confused” by development agreements. They see them for

what they are  – devices that are meant to ease the passage of mega-projects by expanding the staff’s  authority and short-circuiting the public review process.

Nearly two years ago, in the belief that what has happened would happen, Santa Monicans for a Livable City and the neighborhood organizations asked the City to declare  a moratorium on new commercial development until the LUCE was adopted. The state has approved such moratoriums. The City refused. It also refused a subsequent request by the same groups to make no  development agreements until the new rules

are written.

Where were McKeown and the  other Council members then?   When the question of the moratorium came up, the City  Attorney said, “It would be difficult

to craft.” And that was that.

Apparently, it did not occur to  anyone that an iconic beach town

Is far more difficult to craft than a legal  document, and even more difficult to protect from the advancing hordes of developers with big ideas.

Santa Monica has been in land use  limbo since the expiration of the  1984 plan in 2004. Restdents were glad to see the end of it, as it  had overrun its own stated  limits  by 1996, but construction of more  commercial projects continued  unabated.

Without a moratorium or a ban on development agreements, residents believed the the  City would use  this limbo as an opportumiy to impose its planning preferences on Santa Monica, add more and bigger  commercial  developments, and, in that way, codify them before new  standards were established.

McKeown’s measure may fail Tuesday night. For one thing, the Planning Commission has already

reviewed a number of major  and controversial projects. For another, at least two Council members – Mayor Pro Tem Pam O’Connor and Richard Bloom — have taken campaign contributions from developers and may be disinclined

Here and now, we’d all be better off, if the Council spent more time listening to residents, which is, after   all, what they’re elected to do, and less time listening to staff, assorted consultants and “experts,” and  developers

Council’s ClearChoice

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Though there are seven candidates for  the vacant seat on the Santa Monica City Council, only three of the seven are apt to  make the cut Tuesday night when the  Council is scheduled to choose the  late Ken Genser’s successor.

The three are Oscar de la Torre, Terry O’Day and Ted Winterer.

De la Torre founded and heads the Pico Family and  Youth Center, is a member and former President of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and a leader of the new campaign to  end gang violence in Santa Monica (see “White Paper” below). A dedicated community leader, de la Torre would be a fine City Council member.

But  this community needs him to remain where he is – resolving the School District’s financial crisis   without depriving our children of the education they need and deserve, offering  young people the means to determine their own destinies, and  continuing his vital role as  spokesperson and advocate for  unrepresented residents, and unpopular causes.

O’Day’s trajectory has been quite  different. He was appointed to the Planning Commission, served as  Chair for a while, but resigned before his term was up. He next surfaced as a  City Council candidate, but finished out of the money.

In his next incarnation, O’Day co-charted, with Judy Abdo, “Save Our City.” Its sole  reason for being was to kill a residents’ ballot measure

(RIFT)_ that would limit annual commercial growth.

The group collected $800,000 from developers and mounted an elaborate campaign that was based on an utterly false and ominous premise: that limiting commercial growth would  put our schools in jeopardy.

The measure lost. Santa Monica lost. , O’Day, Abdo and the developers won.t

Ted Winterer co-wrote the ballot  measure and made limiting commercial growth the centerpiece of his campaign fot a Council seat in 2008.

Winterer worked with Santa Monicans for a Livable City, which spearheaded  the limited growth measure, has been president of  the  Ocean Park Association and a Parks and Rec Commissioner.

He ran fifth in the 2008 election, directly behind the four incumbents. When Herb Katz died a month after  being re-elected, it was widely thought that, given his strong showing in the election, Winterer  should fill the  vacancy.

He was nominated, as were the co-chairs if Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR).

SMRR Co-chair and Planning  Commissioner Gleam Davis won the requisite four votes on the seventh ballot, and the seat, giving SMRR a 5-2 majority.

When Davis resigned from the  Planning Commission, the Council

appointed Winterer to replace her..

Ironically, Winterer and his colleagues are now in the midst of reviewing nearly two million square  feet of proposed commercial projects clustered in the southeast section of  the city. Residents appear at every meeting to  criticize the projects’ size, designs, number and location.

Clearly, more voters should have ignored O’Day and company’s scare tactics and approved Winterer’s  measure and elected him to the  Council in 2008. The Council

can finally do the right thing Tuesday night and appoint Winterer to

the Council. å

If the six members fail to agree on  one person, they are required to set a special election, which would be held in June.