Political Incest in Santa Monica

Richard Tahvildaran is a professor of political science at Santa Monica College. He is also co-chair, with Patricia Hoffman, of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR).
During the recent political campaign, about 80 of his 300 Political Science 1 students distributed SMRR campaign materials, which, according to local attorney Stanley Epstein, constitutes a conflict of interest and breach of professional ethics. Continue reading Political Incest in Santa Monica

SHOTGUN HOUSE GIVEN C.U.P.

Last Wednesday night, the Planning Commission approved the Santa Monica Conservancy’s application for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and variance to allow it to relocate the landmark Shotgun House to the parking lot across from the Ocean Park Library, and operate it as a Preservation Resource Center for the community.

The CUP is the first major step in a series of reviews required before the project can move forward. The Landmarks Commission, the Architectural Review Board, and the California Coastal Commission must also approve the project at public hearings expected early next year.

The Conservancy signed a 20-year renewable lease for the Shotgun House with the City of Santa Monica in January. Its rehabilitation as a Preservation Resource Center will serve as a model of adaptive reuse and will provide a base from which we can offer expanded educational programming as well as one-on-one support and technical assistance with historic preservation questions.

If you would like to help with the rehabilitation of the Shotgun House and the creation of the Preservation Resource Center, please send a check to the Santa Monica Conservancy, P.O. Box 653, Santa Monica, CA 90406.

To volunteer, contact the Conservancy by email at info@smconservancy.org or leave a message at 310-496-3146.

Santa Monica: Lost Cause

City Hall has revived its “Buy Local Santa Monica” campaign, which features a website (www.buylocalsantamonica.com), Facebook and Twitter pages, newspaper ads, community events, and “discount days.”
The City’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment, Housing and Economic Development, the City Manager’s Office, City TV, the Chamber of Commerce, the Bayside, Pico, Main and Montana business improvement districts, the Pier Restoration Corporation, Sustainable Works, Santa Monica Jaycees, and the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau are all involved in the campaign. But it isn’t “generating enough sales,” according to City officials.

Of course it isn’t, because there’s very little “local” locally. The City has spent millions of dollars creating and promoting downtown Santa Monica in general and the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place in particular, and, in the doing, has overseen the wholesale exodus of unique local shops and basic services to make way for the ubiquitous chain stores that can be found in the Westside Pavilion, Century City, the Grove and other places where parking is not a nightmare.
There once were nearly a dozen independent bookstores on and near Third Street. The City imported Barnes and Noble and Borders, because it knows nothing about the book business, and now all the independent bookstores — except Arcana and Hennessey and Ingalls — are gone — along with Borders.
The City’s merchandising touch is so lethal that it managed to kill two legendary bookstores — Midnight Special, which literally strangled on City red tape, and Dutton’s, which couldn’t abide in the crass commercial climate that enveloped the area.

Just as the City labored to turn downtown Santa Monica into a “regional commercial hub” and perpetual traffic jam, it ignored the basic needs, particular charms and local focus of Main Street, Montana and Pico. Most of the galleries. boutiques. stores, services,cafes and restaurants on those streets were owned and operated by residents and were of a piece with Santa Monica. They were here because we needed them to be here. A great many of them are gone now, owing to the City’s capitulation to commercial landlords.
All the local independent stationary stores are gone, but Staples is here. Call a plumber or electrician and these days he’s more apt to come from Beverly Hills than Santa Monica. But the Wherehouse and Blockbusters are gone, and Vidiots is still here, no thanks to the City’s mercantile wizards, who once charged it with violating the sign code because it featured painted scenes from films on its windows.
Those same wizards vetoed the only chain store residents have ever wanted — Target.
Never mind. We may not have a Target, but we have a Tiffany’s.
Now, having dramatically cut local business, the City has tuned up its loony BUY LOCAL campaign and simultaneously adopted a “transaction and use” tax, which will hit some of our oldest and best businesses hard.
Barrett’s Appliances has been in business for 64 years. It’s a Santa Monica
institution. It sells great appliances. Its service is impeccable. There’s a Barrett art gallery at Santa Monica College. The new tax will add enough to the cost of a dishwasher or refrigerator at Barrett’s to encourage naive shoppers to go out of town in search of “bargains.”
Smooth!

Winterer Narrows Holbrook Lead to 42

The County Registrar added 365 votes to Bob Holbrook’s tally and 366 to Ted Winterer’s on Monday, giving Winterer a net gain of one vote, leaving him 42 votes behind. Holbrook is seeking a sixth term on the Santa Monica City Council, Winterer a first term.

Information regarding remaining votes to count is still unavailable to the public, but Winterer’s camp believes new totals will be released Friday.  The county must complete the count by the end
Of the month.

“THE BEST CITY COUNCIL MONEY CAN BUY:” Part II

By Ty Wapato

On November 2, Santa Monica got the best City Council money can buy. The disgrace is that it was big development money that bought it with dirty election tricks. This installment illuminates the connection between the recent election and the City Council decision to deny an appeal to reverse a Planning Commission decision allowing Trammel Crow to move forward with the 301 Ocean Avenue development without an Environmental Impact Report to safeguard the interests of Santa Monica citizens. First, take a close look at how the current council won their seats.

Continue reading “THE BEST CITY COUNCIL MONEY CAN BUY:” Part II