Facts vs. Fictions

In a story listing the ten top news stories of 2010, the Santa Monica Daily
Press lards the facts with fiction.  According to the story, a “$12 million budget gap and more than 60 layoffs at the district…brought together school advocates and the electoral might of City Hall’s municipal unions. Known as Measure Y, the half percent sales tax increase proposal needed only 50 percent of the vote to succeed…and passed with a landslide on Nov. 2. Expected to raise $12 million per year — half for City Hall and half for public schools — the passage of Measure Y was a sweet victory for school advocates…the worst recession in decades was no match for a united front put up by Santa Monica’s traditional power brokers.”
That’s a lovely story: the good people of the community working together to save the schools. But it’s not true. As the people who opposed passage of proposition Y said, the additional tax was not necessary. Then-Mayor Bobby Shriver put it succinctly. The City was “rich,” he said. Jeff Segal, in an analysis of the current half-billion dollar City budget, noted that it included a $26 million allocation for employee raises – in a year when no one, including Social Security recipients, was given the customary cost of living increase, much less a raise, and many residents’ incomes had dropped. Continue reading Facts vs. Fictions

It’s Time for a Change

From the first issue of the Dispatch: 4/21/2007

Santa Monica is a legendary beach town.
It was founded in 1875 as a simple real estate development. Five generations of bright, talented, devoted, diverse residents have made it a gorgeous, complex, idiosyncratic, grandly volatile and deeply satisfying place to live and work — perfectly located on the ocean, small in scale, low key, prosperous – in the midst of the myriad glories and excitements of 
Los Angeles.
It’s unique, an original, not a copy.
The primary fact of Santa Monica, its shaping element, is the ocean, and, aside from its sublime location, its greatest asset has always been its residents. They are smart, savvy and independent, and they are fiercely devoted to Santa Monica.
But Santa Monica’s residents have lost control of their town. Continue reading It’s Time for a Change

Merry Christmas! Unmerry Muddle


A couple of years ago, the City decided to install a mega-housing project in the Civic Center. 364 units — slightly less than half “affordable” rental units, slightly more than half “luxury” condominiums, underground parking, stores, cafes, massive buildings of no distinction, including some that exceed existing height limits. A joint project of the Community Corp. and the Related Companies of Los Angeles, one of America’s largest developers,
“The Village,” as the City named it, has yet to be built, but, if the City has its way, we are in for a plague of “villages,” including the proposed 35-acre “Bergamot Transit Village,” and the proposed 960,000 sq. ft. office/residential/mixed use project at Olympic and 26th Street, with 2,000 parking spaces, “Bergamot Transit Village Center,” and the newly approved revised land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE) mandates the creation of multiple “urban villages.”
This late-day rush of “villages” in our midst is undoubtedly inspired, in part, by the belief in City Hall that “village” sounds less threatening than, say, a ” 960,000 square foot commercial
Like so many planners’ devices, “urban village” is an oxymoron, but almost any “commercial development” here and now is ominous, given the gridlock that afflicts most streets in Santa Monica. Continue reading Merry Christmas! Unmerry Muddle

Whither…Weather Identity Crisis

Whither…Weather Identity Crisis

By Ava Tramer

Partly cloudy
Highs: 59-65; Lows: 46-52

Sunny with clouds
Highs: 60-68; Lows: 40-47

Mostly sunny
Highs: 63-69; Lows: 48-51

And Santa Monica…
Anchor 1: And we’re coming to you with breaking news:
Anchor 2: His (gesturing to anchor 1) dog isn’t as cute as he thinks it is!
Anchor 1: That was unnecessary. This breaking news just in:
Anchor 2: You pooped your pants!
Anchor 1: Cut it out!! We’ve just received word of breaking news:
Anchor 2: The weather is bad!
Anchor 1: Hey!!!! Stop stealing my thunder!
Anchor 2: Alert! Weather pun!
Anchor 1: Stop it stop it stop it!
Anchor 2: Just trying to spice things up.
Anchor 1 (trying to snap out of his annoyance): Ok. (deep breath) With all this rain we’ve been having, it’s almost as though we’re in Seattle and not Santa Monica!
Anchor 2: Identity Crisis 2010!
Anchor 1: That’s actually kind of good.
Anchor 2: Duh!
Anchor 1: Breaking News Alert! Identity Crisis 2010!
Anchor 2: Christmas Identity Crisis 2010!
Anchor 1: Oh that’s really nice. Friends?
Anchor 2: Maybe.

Developers Threaten Santa Monica Way of Life

by Ty Wapato

The 2010 City Council election is a vivid example of how big money developers distort the truth to impose their wills on the citizens of Santa Monica. The contemptible slate mailers that misrepresented the endorsements of CEPS and the Santa Monica Police Officers Association, while they may seem like yesterday’s news, are a clear demonstration of how low the developers will stoop. The Police Association issued a statement protesting the misuse of their logo on the mailer, but by then the damage was done.

More troubling is the appearance that the candidates benefiting from their treachery were complicit in the deception. In small print the mailers stated that these candidates had paid to be included. Later they denied any connection with the mailers. It was convenient that they did not have to issue their denials until after the election. Continue reading Developers Threaten Santa Monica Way of Life