In my article, “Downtown Specific Plan; the City vs the Residents” I provide considerable substantive information about why the Plan presented by consultant Neal Payton, is not acceptable to residents, and why it shouldn’t be acceptable to the City.

See: http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/12/downtown-specific-plan-the-city-vs-the-residents/

In his response, Neal Payton says “I write this not to engage in a discussion about the issues Ms. Brennan raises but to clarify a few things.” He goes on to clarify very little, but to dwell on trivia that doesn’t warrant a response..

However, he makes one comment that solidifies my suspicion that he has little knowledge about the traffic pattern of Downtown Santa Monica. He talks about Olympic going through to Ocean Avenue. Olympic Boulevard which runs the length of the city, actually dwindles to one lane on either side of the freeway. North of the freeway going west, its single lane spins cars off onto 5th street at Colorado. On the south side of the freeway going east, its single lane ends at 11th Street. It’s actually Olympic Drive (not Olympic Boulevard) that is going through to Ocean Avenue. . Olympic Drive is a new short street that currently runs between the Police building and City Hall on one side, the parking structure and court house on the other side, between 4th street and Main Street. It will be extended one block and will connect with Ocean Avenue between Colorado and Pico, between the new park and the new civic center village now under construction.

It’s a single lane in each direction, and features several stop signs in its short length. This one-block extension will make it possible for cars to turn off Ocean Avenue onto Olympic Drive (between Colorado and Pico), cross Main Street, continue across 4th street to access the Freeway going east. With only one lane going east, this extension will have little affect on the gridlock in the downtown grid. since it is located south of the downtown grid, will carry little traffic and is not a through street.

Ellen Brennan


There are many animal shelters in Southern California (check Google and/or yellow pages for the ones nearest you). They are filled with dogs, cats and other animals who have been abandoned by their owners. Tragically, because there is not enough space in the shelters, if animals are not adopted, they are put down.

We cannot think of a worthier and more joyful way to celebrate the holidays than to adopt a pet from a shelter.

Do it. Adopt a dog or cat from a shelter and have a very happy new year.


We asked the United States Postal Service politely and nicely not to close the Main Post Office, at Fifth and Arizona, as it is not only historically significant architecturally, but is conveniently located in the heart of the city and used by untold numbers of residents.

It said NO – flatly, brusquely. It was moving its services to a Colorado Avenue out of the way, inconvenient, and difficult site, and that was that. There was nothing in the USPS response that suggested that it gave a damn about its customers.

Okay. If USPS officials don’t care about our problems, why should we care about theirs? We suggest that the City streets and traffic wizards enact a series of “emergency” regulations in and around the proposed Colorado location that will have USPS vehicles going in circles, backwards,sideways, and anything but straight-forward. Perhaps several months in our special USPS traffic maze will convince the postal mucky mucks that the Fifth and Arizona location is not so bad, after all, and remind them that it may be their building, but it’s OUR town, and we make the rules.


The stories of this season are ALL about miracles, one after another.

But there are stories right now that can only be called miracles – places where people are turning the tables on power and position – unheralded, unexpected.


Read these great breakthroughs for a season when light shines through the darkness and hope prevails.

May you experience it this Season.


Rev. Jim Conn
Santa Monica

The Frying Pan – Writer
United Methodist – Retired
CLUE-LA – Member of the Board
ABCD – Circle of Friends


The City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB) just rounded out its staff roster with two promotions from within the City’s ranks and two new hires. According to Director Ed King, “This group brings decades of transit knowledge and experience to supporting BBB’s vision of continual service improvement.

“For the Big Blue Bus to improve service and customer communication, we need team members experienced in planning and implementing complex initiatives. I am confident these professionals will provide leadership on key projects like the introduction of new fare boxes and Expo Light Rail coming to town,” said Ed King, Director of Transit Services for the Big Blue Bus.

Tim McCormick, BBB’s new Transit Planning Administrator, hails from North County Transit District (NCTD) in Oceanside, California where he served as the Director of Service Planning. Linda Gamberg, who has worked with BBB for five years, has been promoted to Transit Community Relations Officer. Jennie Campos, the new Transit Community Relations Coordinator, recently served as a Marketing Specialist at the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). Bridget Cade has been promoted to Administrative Services Officer for BBB. She previously served as a Senior Human Resources Analyst in the City.

As a veteran transit professional, McCormick has experience managing the operational planning and scheduling functions for bus, light rail, commuter rail, and paratransit services. Prior to his role at NCTD, McCormick was the manager of the planning division for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority for 12 years. From 2004-2009, McCormick also directed Commuter Resource RI, Rhode Island’s Statewide carpool and rideshare program. He holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Rhode Island, and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from City University of New York. McCormick will be responsible for updating BBB’s routing and scheduling standards and overseeing how buses will interface with Expo light rail.

Gamberg served as the Marketing and Public Information Coordinator for BBB prior to being promoted to Transit Community Relations Officer. In her new role, Gamberg will be responsible for developing, directing and evaluating a comprehensive program to inform the public of BBB activities and objectives. Gamberg brings over 18 years of experience in the marketing and community relations field, including three years as Marketing Director for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. She is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with an undergraduate degree in Work and Organizations.

Campos will be responsible for coordinating and implementing community relations activities and assisting in the development of interactive communication programs between BBB and various community and interest groups. Before joining the BBB, Campos worked on strategic marketing and public outreach campaigns for transit programs as well as utilizing multi-platform communications tools for both the OCTA and LA Metro. Campos holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Political Science and Global Studies, and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside.

Cade brings a wealth of experience to BBB where she will be performing a variety of complex personnel, financial, administrative and managerial functions as the new Administrative Services Officer. Her prior experience includes 16 years in the human resources field and three years in the Personnel Department for the City of Manhattan Beach. Cade is a graduate of the California State University, Long Beach where she earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice with an option in Administration, and a graduate degree in Public Administration.

“As we implement BBB’s vision to provide excellent, reliable and sustainable service to residents and visitors of Santa Monica, we need a strong foundation. Tim, Linda, Jennie, and Bridget will help strengthen our department as we continue building for the future,” added Patrick Campbell, Chief Operations Officer for the Big Blue Bus.

The Big Blue Bus operates a fleet of over 200 vehicles transporting more than 70,000 passengers daily across a nearly 52-square mile service area. Nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to a cleaner environment, the entire fleet operates on alternative fuels, including liquefied and compressed natural gas (LNG/CNG), which helps to cut emissions by over 80 percent. Serving Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area since 1928, the Big Blue Bus has won numerous awards for its customer service, safety and efficiency.