Join or renew your membership. Residents’ donations helped us make great progress for preservation in 2014:

Our advocacy helped to preserve the 5th Street Post Office building, strengthen the Mills Act tax abatements for owners of historic properties, and make historic districts easier to form,
while the new Zoning Ordinance redline contains many changes
we requested to support the preservation of historic properties throughout the City,
We moved the Shotgun House to its permanent site next to the Ocean Park Library and, as its rehabilitation progresses, our long-held dream of establishing a Preservation Resource Center is nearing reality.

With your support, we can accomplish even more in 2015:

We will open the Preservation Resource Center in the Spring and will provide practical, user-friendly information about the methods and benefits of preserving older buildings;

We will complete development of our innovative “Building a Neighborhood” curriculum, which will teach elementary school students about community development, architecture and using the Third Street Historic District as a learning laboratory, and

We will hire our first executive director to lead us into a new era of growth and effectiveness.

Your generous donation can make these things possible, and more!

Become a Founding Member of the Leadership Circle! We are creating new categories of individual and business membership for those who are able to donate $1000/year or more to make an even greater impact on the work of the Conservancy. Members of the Leadership Circle will have additional benefits including a private reception in a historic home.

Questions about the Preservation Resource Center, the Leadership Circle or any other aspect of the Conservancy’s plans and goals for 2015? Contact Conservancy President Carol Lemlein at president@smconservancy.org.

Together we will protect Santa Monica’s historic places for the generations to come.

Mailing Address: Santa Monica Conservancy
PO BOX 653, Santa Monica, CA 90406

Contact Name: Santa Monica Conservancy. Telephone Number: (310) 496-3146


#BlackLivesMatter encampment at LAPD headquarters.

We still need more art supplies, blankets, sleeping bags, snacks, water, back up battery packs (charged), and PEOPLE!

Calling all artists to come out to #Ocupy LAPD today. Bring your canvas, your dancing shoes, musical instruments. Let’s turn it up for Justice!

Perimeter prevents folks from parking near #OccupyLAPD. Please keep coming! Park
and walk over to 100 W. 1st Street, Downtown Los Angeles. We need your support! JUSTICE FOR #EzellFord! #BlackLivesMatter.

Bring your cell phone camera. Holding it down and putting everything on the line
are Black single mothers, BLMLA organizers, and warriors for justice Sha Dixon
and Shamell Bell. We MUST stand with them and demand JUSTICE FOR #EzellFord.


By now everyone knows about the drought, although some people seem to be in de-
nial about the problem it presents. For those who haven’t heard yet, there is
a 20% reduction in water use mandated for residents and businesses.

However, new developments – some of them especially water-intensive – continue
to make their way through the planning process. Even as residents try to reduce
their consumption, the city’s overall consumption is well on its way to new

Santa Monica gets much of its water from its own wells, purchasing the rest from
the Metropolitan Water District. MWD water, which comes from the Colorado River,
rain and snow melt, is especially susceptible to the effects of drought, and as
the water supply from the state diminishes, the cost of that water will rise.

To reduce the impact of an unstable state water supply, the City developed a plan
to be water self-sufficient by 2020. Included in this plan are construction of
two new wells, and various other water-conservation measures and treatment plant improvements.

As with our current wells, new wells will draw from a vulnerable underground sup-
ply shared, and desired, by others, with no current restrictions on who can draw
upon that underground source.

New conservation measures, while laudable, will not reverse the rising water-consumption trend, because conservation cannot trump an increase in the number
of users, and the proposed increased fees do not ‘make’ more water.

In January, 2013 the city consumed approximately 10 million gallons of water per day. We were asked to conserve a mere 200,000 gals per day, a reduction of two gallons per day per person, or 2 percent. One year later, in January of 2014, wa-
ter consumption had jumped to 12 million gallons per day, a 20 percent increase!
And now, after the State declared a severe drought and asked for voluntary cons-
ervation efforts, consumption has risen another 2 percent.

Today we’re faced with mandatory cuts at the risk of significant penalties. Yet
we see no serious attempt to put the brakes on excessive development, with seve-
ral development agreements having just been presented to the Planning Commission
and City Council.

A 12-story mixed-use commercial/residential/hotel project proposed downtown, will have enormous impact on existing infrastructure, especially water demand. Two ho-
tels have already been approved, and another very large mixed-use project at the
Fred Segal site, as well as eight mixed-use residential/commercial projects in a four-block area along Lincoln Blvd.

Twenty-two projects in a 12-block area of downtown have applied for development agreements. And this does not include the three proposed condo/hotel projects on Ocean Avenue that many in this community consider ridiculously over-scaled.

City government has not asked us to subsidize new development. but that is the
net effect of continuing to encourage and process large developments that in-
crease the city’s water consumption–especially projects substantially larger
than basic zoning allows. Is this something residents want?

This past year has been the driest in recorded California history. There was a similar dry year over 100 years ago, but our population has grown 40 times since then–and with indoor plumbing and hygiene changes, consumption is probably clos-
er to 100 times what it was then.

The City’s solutions to water shortages depend on access to resources over which
the city has little control. This includes the new wells, accessing regional aqui-
fers over which we have no control of depletion since they are available to oth-
ers. And with any shortfalls provided by the wells, the City will have to purch-
ase water from MWD, whose sources are also being depleted.

The reliance on uncontrollable resources means that a reliable plan cannot, in
fact, be prepared, and the risk of draconian cuts and ballooning costs increases
with each new project being approved. We already see proposed rate increases to account for aging infrastructure, which loses about 13% through leakage, and
these costs will increase further as the infrastructure must be adapted to all
the new projects approved or in the pipeline.

The City is already doing some things right, on the water conservation side. But
more must be done:

• The city must commit to the widespread use of greywater systems, and plan for
a fully greywater-enabled city within the next twenty years;

• The city should require the installation of water meters in all dwellings and apartments;

• Efficient metering and control systems for hotels should be mandatory;

• A more aggressive water-use policing effort throughout the City should be imp-
lemented immediately;

• A strong rain harvesting effort is needed as well.

It is clear that with a severe drought upon us, we should all do our part to con-
serve water, even as we understand that conserving water is not the same as in-
creasing the supply.

The State requires new developments with more than 500 units to supply their own water, exclusive of the city’s supply. Such projects must go outside the city to obtain their own water. As part of SMa*r*t*, we believe that our City’s own poli-
cies on infrastructure and development should be held to the same standard of re-
duced demand, including placing a hold on large projects unable to provide their
own water supplies.

There are at least 2100 new units in the pipeline just downtown, but the City does not require those projects to bring their own water because none reaches the 500-
unit threshold (the defunct Hines project ‘oddly’ limiting itself to 498 units).

Residents and local businesses already carry the weight of conservation in the city, even as daytime population swells to over 300,000 transient visitors who consume water at hotels, restaurants, beach showers, and public restrooms. There is no rea-
son to burden residents and local businesses with the increased infrastructure
costs that large developments bring, in this water-constrained environment.

For many years, comedians and radio pundits, led by Harry Shearer, referred to San-
ta Monica as “the home of the homeless.” Let’s make sure our city will never be
known as “the home of the waterless.”

By Dan Jansenson, Architect and Bob Taylor, A.I.A. for SMa*r*t*,
Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow

Ron Goldman FAIA, Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, Bob Taylor AIA, Dan Jansenson Architect, Sam Tolkin Architect, Thane Roberts AIA, Armen Melkonians Civil & Environmental Engineer, Phil Brock Chair, Recreation & Parks Commission. SMa.r.t. is a group of Santa Monica Architects concerned about the city’s future. For previous articles, please see santamonicaarch.wordpress.com/writings.


If there were a Santa Monica Prize and residents awarded it to the person
who had made the most significant improvement in Santa Monica in a given
year, Armen Melkonians, a civil and environmental engineer, would be this
year’s winner.

Nothing anyone else has done, and a number of people have done laudable
things, has had a more positive and powerful impact on Santa Monica than
Residocracy, which Armen devised.

City Hall had almost literally tied residents in bureaucratic knots, rend-
ering them helpless to act in their own best interests and in the best in-
terests of their gloriously idiosyncratic beach town.In response, Armen
devised Residocracy, a form of direct democracy that restores residents’
most basic and benign power– veto power.

Residocracy enabled residents to stop the Hines project, end the developers’
control of the Council majority, and gave them the means to stop other pro-
jects and policies that threatened to diminish and/or damage this beloved
beach town.

Now, for the first time in many years, thanks to Armen and Residocracy, res-
idents are truly represented by the City Council majority and are ready and
able to control growth, preserve this beach town’s character, and restore

Ironically, about the time Residocracy restored Santa Monica’s democratic pro-
cess, a group of distinguished scholars from Princeton and Northwestern dec-
lared that American democracy had been replaced by an oligarchy — but, here
and now, democracy flourishes, thanks to Armen Melkonians.


The Big Blue Bus will participate with LA Metro to offer free rides on New
Year’s eve to help people in the region get home safely. .

Customers can hop on any Big Blue Bus from 9:00 pm Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014
until 1:00 am, Thursday, January 1, 2015, and ride for free. Regular BBB
fares of $1 will apply for customers boarding the bus before and after this
time period.

Plan Ahead:Type your location and desired destination in Google trip planner
(located on the homepage of BigBlueBus.com) to find out where to catch the
bus, and the time it is scheduled to depart. Big Blue Bus reminds customers
that it is a good idea to plan return trips ahead of time as not all buses
have late night service, and you should get to the bus stop 10 minutes before
the bus is expected to arrive. For customers traveling before 9:00 pm on New
Year’s Eve, be sure to have the $1 bus fare ready in hand.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Big Blue Bus and thanks for a great year.