In 1974, Henry Waxman ran for Congress,won
and for the next 40 years, he represented
the 33rd District in California –- what Ham-
lin Garland dubbed “the fortunate coast” –-
Malibu, Topanga, the Palisades, Santa Mon-
ica, Palos Verdes, Brentwood, and Belair.
Total population: 700,000 people..

His particular areas of interest were health
care and the environment, and his name is
on some significant bills. Recently, he’s
worked with the Santa Monica and West LA res-
idents who want to shut down the Santa Monica

Earlier this week, without any fanfare, Wax-
man, a small, quiet man with considerable
clout in Congress, owing to his long run and
his connections to the leaders, announced
that he would retire at the end of his cur-
rent term. He said he was 74, and would like
to do something else now.

His upcoming retirement triggered instant
speculation about his successor. Among the
hats tossed in the general direction of
the ring were those belonging to Wendy
Greuel, recent LA mayoral candidate and for-
mer City Controller, State Senators Ted Lieu
from Torrance and Fran Pavley, Agoura Hills,
Richard Bloom, first term State Assemblyman
and former Santa Monica City Councilman and
mayor, Secretary of State and former South
Bay lawmaker Debra Bowen, radio host Matt
Miller, women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke,
Manhattan beach Republican Bill Bloomfield,
who spent $7 million in a campaign to defeat
Waxman in a previous election, Brent Roske,
TV producer/director, and Marianne Willi-
amson, a self-help guru and writer.

There was some short-lived speculation about
Shiela Kuehl, former State Senator, and for-
mer Santa Monica Councilman Bobby Shriver,
both of whom are running to replace retir-
ing County Supervisor Zev Yaraslovsky. But
hey both declined to switch. Kuehl has been campaigning for months, raised a large sum
of money for her campaign, and, the moment
Shriver, announced his candidacy, she began
sniping at him. To date, Shriver has let his
staff return the fire. Politely.


Dear Editor,

We’re in the middle of a drama with the
innocent city heroine courted by a mature
developer, like the smart, beautiful girl
at the dance choosing the 1st guy making
empty promises. The cast includes a star-
ry-eyed planning staff, planning commis-
sion, and city council, the wise city ma-
nager, planning director, & chamber, and
finally the Texas interloper.

This is local government in search of
process – flirting & dating over 7 years
– involving community audience for four
years of the pubescent LUCE period fol-
lowed by birth of the “Bergamot Village

These plans herald transformation of in-
dustrial area into a “village” with “ad-
aptive re-use particularly in Bergamot
Transit Village,” “respectful of human,
not corporate scale,” and “minimizing
interaction of vehicles & pedestrian/bi-
cycle activity.”

The drama has many dark spots and incon-
sistencies. The central scene – 19,000
sq ft public park – is playground to
500 families in “the village” and more
living in adjacent neighborhoods. How
will they co-mingle in a park the size
of 2 1⁄2 residential lots – not really
a park, but a parklet!

Another interesting scene is the 49,000
SQ FT office floor plates in the “village”
– 3 times the area of Century City floor
plates. This exception to recently app-
roved & bloated 35,000 sq ft design stan-
dards is one of dozens of exceptions in
a convoluted plan taking 4 years to nur-
ture to maturity. Large, flexible office
areas attract corporate regional offices
employing more people/sq ft in “creative”
environments requiring more cars in a
garage already 1,500 spaces short! Not
a problem – those 1,500 continue the
drama by searching for curb-side spaces
in surrounding neighborhoods.

The biggest drama and inconsistency is
backstage with the 2,000 car garage. En-
tering off Olympic with a sharp right
and immediate sharp left turns and sta-
cking space for 4 will undoubtedly back
onto Olympic with fast moving traffic
and bus lane. Don’t forget your card
key at the entrance.

Drama continues in the final scene of
Act I – the afternoon when +/- 1,200
cars exit every ten seconds creating
total conflict on a “shared street”
mixing cars, cyclists, pedestrians &
baby strollers in the active village
core described in our illustrious pre-
play Bergamot program.

Intermission brings community benefits
to share – $2m annually – half from pa-
rking revenue – unless the 70% garage
shortage of spaces doesn’t allow!
Is the council willing to prostitute
our city for $2m a year, less than 5%
of interloper’s annual profit while
increasing density 67%!

This mouth dropping play continues with
dramatic scenes in Act II including

– possibilities for adaptive re-
use as directed in LUCE & Bergamot plans

– public services and sustainabi-
lity including emergency response in a
gridlocked environment

– massive design and jobs/housing

– contamination issues

– and ending with referendums &
legal trials

But time and space brings this review
to an end. Hard to be part of the audi-
ence knowing this drama foreshadows in-
numerable impacts, followed by immeasur-
able pain in the slow death of our beach-
front city.

This is not a play for faint of heart,
but life-long drama in which the city is
playing the role of innocent bystander.


Taking 7 long years of time & energy on
part of the public, council & developer
to reach a climax. Will the fair lady be
mistreated or escape with her honor.
Will she end with a dagger in her heart
or have the courage and dignity after
7 years of submissiveness to JUST SAY NO.

Quoting from an LA Times letter, “Santa
Monica may be an urban planner’s dream,
but for the rest of us it’s become a

Ron Goldman FAIA
abused resident of Santa Monica
and architect


It’s not just an event, it’s a tradition,
and there’s virtually nothing in this area
that has a longer or more impressive hist-
ory than the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified
School District’s annual Stairway of the

The 65th Annual Stairway of the Stars will
be held in the stunning Art Deco Barnum
Hall on the campus of Santa Monica High
School, and will span three nights: Choir
on February 7, Band on February 11, and
Orchestra on February 13. Each of the three
concerts will begin at 7:00pm.

For decades, Stairway has been an eagerly
awaited spectacle in both Santa Monica
and Malibu, as it spotlights the district’s
music students, teachers, and music curri-
culum. This year, twenty-six choirs, bands,
and orchestras, including students from all
of the school district’s sixteen schools,
will dazzle the audiences at the three
Stairway of the Stars concerts.

As a special treat, there will be three
guest conductors this year – one for each
night of the concert. The Stairway Guest
Choir Conductor will be Dr. Albert J.
McNeil, the Guest Band Conductor will be
Dr. Thomas Lee, and the Guest Orchestra
Conductor will be Mr. Bruce Kiesling.

Professor Emeritus of Music at UC Davis
and founder of the Albert McNeil Jubilee
Singers, Dr. Albert J. McNeil is Profe-
ssor Emeritus of Music at UC Davis and
founder of the Albert McNeil Jubilee
Singers, an ensemble that has toured in
forty-four states and seventy-seven
countries. Dr. McNeil will be the guest
conductor at the February 7 Choir Concert,
which will feature African American spir-
ituals and art songs, such as “Down by
the Riverside” and “Follow the Drinking
Gourd,” as well as George Gershwin’s
“Summertime.” Dr. McNeil will be joined
by soloists Nell Walker and Michael
Wright from the Jubilee Singers.

2014 Stairway Guest Band Conductor, Pro-
fessor Emeritus, Director of Bands and
Conductor of the UCLA Wind Ensemble, Dr.
Thomas Lee will be guest conductor at
the February 11 Band Concert, which will
include “The Trombone King” by Karl L.
King, “Blessed Are They” by Johannes
Brahms, and Camille Saint Saens’ “French
Military March.” The Jazz Bands will
play Chick Corea’s “Spain,” with special
guest soloist John Beasley.

2014 Stairway Guest Orchestra Conductor
Bruce Kiesling, is Assistant Conductor of
the Pasadena Symphony and Conductor of
the LA Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra of
Los Angeles (YOLA). He will be the guest
conductor at the February 13 Orchestra
Concert, the music of which will range
from Ray Anthony’s “Hokey Pokey” and “Bun-
ny Hop” to “Scarborough Fair” to the beau-
tiful Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No.
5 (which the composer wrote as a love
letter to his wife), and conclude with
Rossini’s exciting “William Tell Overture.”

Each year, the district’s music teachers
vote on the “Stairway Honor Award Recip-
ient.” The award is presented to a former
student, teacher, or an organization that
has contributed enormously to the advanc-
ement of music and arts education in the
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
This year, the 2014 Stairway Honor Award
Recipient will be the Beasley family.
The late Lida Beasley taught orchestra
at John Adams Middle School, Santa Monica
High School, and Santa Monica College.
Her husband, Rule Beasley, taught classes
ranging from composition to jazz improvi-
sation at Santa Monica College and played
bassoon in the Santa Monica Symphony for
twenty years. Their two sons, John and
Paul, attended local schools, and John,
who is an internationally renowned jazz
pianist, will perform at the February 11
concert, and, with Rule, will accept
the award on behalf of the family.

The ensembles that will perform at the
65th Annual Stairway of the Stars con-
certs are the All-District Elementary
Honor Choir and Middle and High School
Choirs (Friday, February 7); Elementary,
Middle, and High School Bands and Jazz
Bands (Tuesday, February 11); and Elem-
entary, Middle, and High School Orches-
tras (Thursday, February 13). In all,
more than 1,100 of the district’s nearly
5,000 student musicians will be perform-
ing at the this year’s three Stairway
concerts. Organizing rehearsals for
student musicians from sixteen schools,
stretching from the Ocean Park neigh-
borhood on the south side of Santa Mon-
ica all the way to the northern reaches
of Malibu, thirty miles away, is a daunt-
ing task. But each year, the Stairway
concerts result in students from all
across the school district making music
together, beautifully.

Make a donation to support the extraor-
dinary quality of the SMMUSD Music Prog-
ram! You can include a donation when
you purchase your tickets, or by using
the Online Stairway Form on the Stairway
of the Stars website
vapa/stairway/. If you have an instru-
ment that you no longer use, please con-
sider our “PLAY IT FORWARD” instrument
donation program. Visit http://smmusd.
org/vapa/ and click on “DONATE AN INS-
TRUMENT!” for details.

As there is high demand for tickets to
the Stairway concerts, only families
of the student performers were given
access to advanced ticket sales through
January 26. Tickets not sold during the
advanced period are now available to the
public through January 31 during an on-
line sale hosted by Brown Paper Tickets.
Visit and enter
“Stairway of the Stars” in the “Find an
event” field. After January 31, if any
tickets remain, they will be on sale for
$15 at the Barnum Hall box office on the
night of each concert, starting at 5:30
p.m. Each evening, tickets will be sold
ONLY for that night’s concert.

Parking will be available at the Civic
Center Parking Structure. The entrance
is on 4th Street at Civic Center Drive
(between Pico Boulevard and Olympic Drive).

For many years, Stairway was staged in
the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, but it
is currently closed while a committee
charts its future course. Barnum Hall was
restored some years ago and is once again
a fully functioning theater. If you have-
n’t been there since the renovation, you
should allow time to look around as it
is quite beautiful, and unique, and a
fitting hall for Stairway’s very tal-
ented young musicians.



Perhaps the letter my wife and I submitted
to the Santa Monica City Council may merit
publication in Santa Monica Dispatch. We
have lived here since 2001 and, like many
other residents, care deeply about the qua-
lity of life in this paradise by the sea.
We view the nature and pace of development
in our town as deleterious to the general
well-being of our community. The city coun-
cil has a unique and momentous opportunity
to exert civic leadership on this issue
Tuesday evening (January 28th). If they
miscalculate the pulse of Santa Monicans’
sentiment on this issue, the result may well
be disastrous for this city and sobering
for some council members when voters have
their turn.

Thank you,

Leigh Brumberg

[The below-stated remarks were sent to coun
cil members and the city clerk by email on
January 27, 2014]

Council Members,

On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, you will have
the opportunity to stand up for the people
of Santa Monica and reject the development
agreement for the Bergamot Transit Village
Center. The overwhelming majority of Santa
Monicans oppose the Bergamot project as
grossly out of scale and ultimately contri-
butory to traffic tie-ups impacting nume-
rous north-south arteries which are alrea-
dy jammed. Additionally, Olympic Boulevard,
once a reliable east-west route crossing
our town will be condemned to the likes
of Santa Monica, Wilshire, and Pico Boul-
evards, thoroughfares now choked with cars.

The Bergamot project is emblematic of self-
serving greed on the part of developers who, collectively, stretch propriety to the break-
ing point in the pursuit of profit. Consi-
derations of human scale and need are being
relegated to afterthought at best. Assets
which would accrue to the City coffers as
a result of abominations such as the Berg-
amot Transit Village Center project will
ultimately be rendered miniscule when meas-
ured against the resultant deterioration
of Santa Monica life likely to occur.

We strongly urge you to represent the inte-
rests of the vast majority of Santa Moni-
cans and to vote to reject this affront
to our community. Your vote will largely
determine not only the future quality of
life in our city, but also your political
future as represented by the people’s vote
in the days to come.


Leigh Brumberg and Elaine Blaugrund

EDITOR’S NOTE: The vote on the Hines Project has been delayed until Feb. 4.



Hi Everyone:

We will be getting everyone’s committed sig-
natures on a R-petition
(petition of 6100 registered Santa Monica
voters, 10% of the total) in the two weeks
after the Council votes for the current pro-
ject or some tweak of it the way they did
about Village Trailer Park when as much op-
position came out as came out against Hines
last night. That number qualifies for a re-
ferendum election and stops the project in
the meantime.

Then all the litigation about the EIR not
being proper in not discussing the liquefac-
tion danger in the soil–that can’t legally
be put off to the building permit stage the
way Jing Yo said at the beginning of the
Staff Report they proposed to do it, and
there is a letter in the file we will be
sending in this week saying Atkins cannot
sign off on the soil danger there–will
stop the project until after the November
election, when three anti-overdevelopment
candidates can be elected making a 5-2 maj-

In the meantime, here is a way the Council
could cover its prior-made commitment to
the developer (also illegal) and still not
approve the Hines project, so I’m sending
it to all of you.

Thanks to Gregg Heacock, and Denny Zane,
Bob Taylor, Ellen Brennan, Armen Melkon-
ians, Phil Brock, the Transparency Project,
and all the other thoughtful people using
their brains trying to get us out of this
with as little animosity and disruption
as possible.

Brenda Barnes

To those who have an interest in what is
decided regarding the Hines proposal,

Because I spoke after 12:30 when most peo-
ple had left the room and those remaining
were barely awake and because some friends
of mine thought what I said was worth repeat-
ing, I am repeating it to you now:

I’m Gregg Heacock. City Council Members,
it is good to see you again.

You know, it is ironic that City Council mem-
bers who opposed building significant under-
ground parking adjacent to the Expo Station,
5 years ago, where cars could access it from
the freeway without entering our city streets,
now might vote in favor of the same amount of underground parking–not connected to the Expo
–where cars would enter our city streets.

I urge you to reject Item 7-A–step back from
the specifics of this Hines proposal, and ask
that they provide funds to build parking for
the Expo–a short walk away–so that cars can
enter it directly from the freeway without
coming onto our streets.

Then, link parking fees to help fund public transportation to jump-start an integrated
multi-modal circulation plan for our city.

That would be a winning plan for everyone!


What I saw last night was that everyone in
the room was in a difficult position. I
find that I am not so much about taking
sides as finding openings that might allow
people to discover solutions. We are stuck.
It is time to get unstuck.

I may not have the solution, but I have a
direction worth exploring. Like most peo-
ple in the room, despite what some were
saying, I am not afraid of change. I am
afraid that we won’t change, but, instead,
will continue down the path of least resis-

I think we are able to do more.

I hope you do, too.


Gregg Heacock