BIG Mistakes

I.

The Santa Monica Mirror opposes Prop T, the ballot measure that would limit new commercial development to 75,000 square feet annually.

“Unlike the LUCE effort, T has not had broad community participation; it has not been fully vetted by the public. We prefer our existing processes, city council, planning, and all the ways in which Santa Monica organizes itself….Vote NO.”

In other words, the Mirror has swallowed the SMRR/CityHall/Chamber of Commerce line that the big decisions should be made in City Hall, not the voting booth, by “experts,” not the people, and via the bureaucratic process not the democratic process.

Residents crafted Prop T. Over 10,000 residents signed the petitions that qualified it for inclusion on the ballot. Next Tuesday, residents will
pass it or reject it. That’s democracy at its purest.

The revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE) was mandated by the state. The City began the revision in 2004, the year it was supposed to completed. As a result, we have been in planning limbo for four years

Planning Director Eileen Fogerty now predicts that the revision will be completed sometime next year, though it is deeply flawed, the Council was divided on some basic questions at its most recent review, and the latest iteration ignores residents’ clear preference for a low rise, small scale beach town. That’s the bureaucratic process at its purest.

So, according to the Mirror, if you want more bureaucracy, vote against T, if you want less traffic and commercial development, vote for T.

II.

Marion Blount has lived in Santa Monica for 16 years. Her name appears on the Save Our City list of people who oppose Prop T. Not only does she not oppose it, she has already voted for it.

III.

Last Friday, L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents Mar Vista, Brentwood, Santa Monica Canyon, Pacific Palisades and Venice, joined Santa Monica Councilmen Kevin McKeown and Bobby Shriver and about 30 other people in a demonstration for Prop T at the Cloverfield on-ramp to the 10 Freeway.

Mayor Herb Katz and Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom, both of whom
are running for re-election, have been endorsed by Rosendahl, and have more gall than good manners or sense immediately scolded him.

According to the Santa Monica Daily Press, Katz said, “He and his city are probably more of a traffic generator in Santa Monica than anyone else. If you took L.A. out of the equation, we wouldn’t have traffic or most of it.”

Wrong and wrong. Of course metropolitan L.A. is a “traffic c generator.” It has 10 million residents. But on Katz’s watch, as he often boasts, the Third Street Promenade was created, the Santa Monica Pier was amped up, Santa Monica became a “regional commercial hub,” the promotion budget climbed to $2.4 million, and our daily transient population shot up to 300.000.

How does Katz think they get here — by parachute? In fact, Santa Monica has become a major traffic magnet, thanks to Katz and his City Hall pals, including Bloom, and now the once-serene communities to our north, south and east suffer the multiple consequences of our alleged success, and enjoy it about as much as most of us do.

Bloom was quoted by the Daily Press as saying that he called Rosendahl and said ‘Bill, why don’t you just pull back, take some time to consider it and then make a decision,’ and he declined…He represents a city that is repeatedly referenced as one of the top 10 worst traffic generating cities in the nation and so he needs to focus on the problem he has in his
City.”

That’s exactly what the Councilman from L.A. was doing last week, trying to alleviate a problem that dogs his constituents. That’s what our Councilmen Mckeown anf Shriver were doing, too, And what Bloom and Katz, and Genser, Bob Holbrook and Pam O’Connor should be doing, but their primary interest is in preserving their power, not reducing traffic.

One thought on “BIG Mistakes”

  1. I am a resident of Santa Monica, living here, working here, and playing here too. Prop T deserves to fail for many reasons. I’ll go over a few of the more notable ones.

    1. Does not reduce traffic, it theoretically prevents some future traffic.
    2. Has no targets to gage progress, lacking accountability for results.
    3. By lumping mixed use developments with all forms of commercial development, it undermines aspects of LUCE that encourage walkable and bikeable communities.
    4. Does not limit housing development, so mono culture housing developments can be built without abandon, and just like too much commercial development is problematic, so to is too much mono culture housing.
    5. By putting such a tight cap on commercial development, the cost to set up business in Santa Monica will be so prohibitive that only corporate operations will be able to afford new spaces. I imagine a lot more Starbucks, and a lot less Unurban Cafe.
    6. Shifts the blame for traffic away from the fact that people make too many unnecessary car trips.
    7. Fails to acknowledge proven ways to reduce traffic like enforcing the already existing but rarely discussed let alone enforced, Parking Cash-Out law. The LA City Council is however in talks to enforce it now, although the law went into effect in 1992.
    8. This is not an anti-traffic measure. It is an anti-development measure, you’ll notice no where in the ballot description is the word traffic even on there. The support for this prop was created by using bait and switch fear tactics. I saw them getting signature at the Co-Op market by going up to people and asking, hate traffic, sign this, and of course people signed it.

    So I urge my fellow citizens of Santa Monica to vote no on this poorly written excuse for traffic policy, and let’s get the ball rolling on real traffic reduction measures within LUCE.

    I could go on all day. For some more of my thoughts on this, check out my blog post on the topic.
    http://garyridesbikes.blogspot.com/2008/10/no-on-santa-monica-measure-t-also-known.html

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