BUTLER, BLOOM WIN PRIMARY

Incumbent State Assembly member Betsy Butler, Marina del Rey,and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom led the field of four in the Presidential Primary election Tuesday and will face off against each other in a mandatory run-off in the November general election.

It was a close race, but Butler took a narrow lead from the start and held it, followed by Bloom. Community organizer Torie Osborn, a Santa Monica resident, and, like Butler and Bloom, a Democrat, ran third, and Bradley Targon, a Republican, ran fourth.

With all the 283 precincts in the reconfigured Assembly District 50 reporting, Butler garnered 12,519 votes, Bloom, 12,417, Osborn, 11,744 and Targon, 11,730.

Osborn was endorsed by Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, the Santa Monica Democratic Club and several other Westside Democratic organizations. Bloom was backed by his City Council colleagues Gleam Davis, Terry O’Day, Bob Holbrook and Pam O’Connor and Santa Monica Police and Firefighters. Butler was backed by the County Democrats and Assembly Speaker John Perez,who is chiefly notable for demanding absolute loyalty from Assembly Democrats.

Commenting to the LA Times on the new districts, which were drawn by citizens’ committees rather than politicians, Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, said, “Candidates of both parties are being forced to talk to a much wider range of voters than ever before, instead of relying on the ideological bases of their parties, to get to the general election. “We’re going to see a greater number of competitive elections, and that’ll lead to the election of more responsive candidates.”

Not so far.

BODY ON BEACH IDENTIFIED

From the Los Angeles Times

A homeless man found in the surf along the Santa Monica beach Tuesday has been identified.

A passerby flagged down a parking enforcement officer near Nielsen Way and Marine Street about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, saying a body was on the beach near the water, said Sgt. Richard Lewis of the Santa Monica Police Department.
Lifeguards and police were then called to the scene where they found the body of a man wearing beach shorts and a shirt. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office later identified him as 42-year-old Paul William Nolder.
Lewis said there were no obvious signs of trauma or foul play, but a coroner’s spokeswoman said Wednesday morning that an autopsy had yet to be scheduled.

MANY CANDIDATES; ONE ENDORSEMENT

California’s Presidential Primary Election is Tuesday, and the most interesting thing about it is the number of candidates on the ballot.

13 people are running for seven seats on the Democrats’ County Central Committee. Eight people, including Henry Waxman, are running for Waxman’s Congressional seat, including a Republican, Libertarian, Green, “None” and three Democrats besides Waxman.

16 people, including some sitting judges and prosecutors are
competing for six superior court judge seats. We have always wondered at the wisdom of recruiting judges from the ranks of the prosecutors This time, a “legal commentator,” domestic violence
litigator, two consumer attorneys, and an environmental attorney are running. If they were all elected, would the temper and tone of Superior Court change in any way? Four deputy District Attorneys and two prosecutors are seeking to replace DA Steve Cooley, who
is retiring. And 24 people, including veteran Senator Dianne Feinstein, are running for her seat.

There are four candidates for our State Assembly Seat. Three are Democrats – Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, a Democrat who ended up in our district in the redistricting melee, and Torie Osborn – and Environmental attorney Bradley S. Torgan is a Republican.

In a recent article in THE NATION, Tom Hayden wrote, “Torie Osborn’s campaign for a West Los Angeles assembly seat (50th District) is stirring excitement and mobilizing grassroots volunteers like nothing else so far this year in dreary California, where budget deficits keep deepening and politics decays despite a Democratic governor and legislative majority.

“Osborn, a leader of the LGBT community since the AIDS epidemic, the former executive of the nonprofit Liberty Hill Foundation, which supports community-based organizing across Los Angeles, has motivated a solid core of young volunteers, appeared at eighty house parties, raised over $750,000 from 2,200 campaign contributors (many who gave $100 or less) and won eleven endorsements from local Democratic clubs across a district including Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades and Malibu. Recently, inspired by her experience in the 2008 Obama campaign, Osborn has been organizing boot camps where young activists become trained organizers…

“One would think this is Osborn’s moment. Almost twenty years ago, she led an embattled LGBT delegation in a White House meeting with Bill Clinton. Today, after decades of political struggle, Barack Obama supports same-sex marriage. With her record of turning apparently lost causes into mainstream successes, Osborn has a rare credibility when she now declares she will find a way to achieve progressive taxation and single-payer healthcare in a state mired in stalemate and dysfunction.”

In the belief that Osborn will quickly master what Governor Brown calls “the pretzel palace” and back the things that need backing, we urge you to vote for Torie Osborn on Tuesday.

DOING THE BIG THINGS

Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell is one of America’s most progressive and thoughtful political leaders. He’s a Democrat, of course. There are no thoughtful, much less progressive Republican leaders at the moment.

Rendell believes that in order to recover from its current malaise, America must focus on the “big things.” By “big” he doesn’t mean large or costly or showy, he means important, fundamental, vital things.

In recent years, Santa Monica has spent much too much money, attention and energy on large, showy stuff, trimmings, and far too little money, time and energy on those things that are vital to this community.

Here and now, the most vital need is affordable housing. The number of affordable apartments has dropped dramatically in the wake of the passage of Costa Hawkins and the “luxury condo” boom.

Currently, the City’s Community Corp. and the Related Companies are collaborating on “The Village,” a mega-housing project that’s located in the Civic Center. It will contain 160 “affordable” apartments and 158 “luxury condominiums.”

Why is the City collaborating on condos rather than including more affordable apartments? Probably because that’s where the money is for the commercial developers. But the City exists to serve Santa Monica residents, not to make more money for Related, which is one of the largest and richest real estate companies in America, and probably could get by without a
159-year lease on City land.

In the last decade or so, developers have demolished far too many apartment buildings to make way for luxury condos, though the need for them has never been established. Several years ago, the City Council overturned the designation of both a garden apartment complex in Ocean Park and former mayor Clo Hoover’s large apartment building on Ocean Avenue as landmarks, permitting developers to evict their inhabitants, demolish the landmarks, and replace them with outsized, graceless condos.

One of the garden apartment residents now lives in San Pedro, as she couldn’t find an affordable apartment in Santa Monica. The commute, which she does several times a week, is a nightmare,

As the number of affordable apartments has fallen, the number of chronically underpaid workers in the town’s burgeoning “hospitality industry” has grown, but the City Council has refused to require that a true living wage for hourly employees be included in hotel development agreements, fearing that the hotels will reject the agreements, and abandon Santa Monica.

Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce officials oppose a real living wage, but an industry that can only make a profit by exploiting its most vulnerable workers shouldn’t be in business in Santa Monica. Or anyplace else.

Rendell would probably agree with us that the single most urgent problem in Santa Monica right now is the perilous situation of the residents of the Village Trailer Park. It is utterly remarkable, affordable housing at its simplest. Its residents have lived there for years, most them are old and some are in fragile health, but they are fighters and eloquent and very angry.

The trailer park is a landmark (worthy, but undesignated), a fragment of another time. Over the years, it has become quite lush,with 107 trees, 27 different species, an oasis for birds and people in a hectic precinct. But a developer has proposed demolishing it to make room for another oversized unneeded mixed-use complex, and the City has neglected to take any of the steps it could to preserve the homes of the residents and the park itself.

It’s in the eastern reaches of Santa Monica, On the western edge,
overlooking the ocean, other residents are engaged in another struggle. The owner of the old Miramar Hotel is Michael Dell, whose $15 billion fortune makes him the 19th richest person in the world. His minions have cranked out a “revitalization” plan that would demolish nearly all of the modest, existing buildings and replace them with a 560,000 square foot complex. Twice the size of the existing hotel, and several stories taller. it would not only cut off its neighbors’ ties to the ocean, it would shatter the serene neighborhood, and jam the surrounding streets with traffic..

As many people have said, the behemoth belongs in Miami, or Las Vegas, not this casual, low-key beach town. Its neighbors and hundreds of other residents are fighting it, but the City is on the side of the billionaire, not the residents.

The City is building a $47 million, six-acre park in the northwest
corner of the Civic Center to serve as a “gateway” to the Pier and the ocean. The notion of a small, overcooked park serving as a gateway to the largest body of water on the planet is as ludicrous as the notion that it needs a gateway.

There are too few parks in the residential neighborhoods, and the
town and its residents, especially its children, would be better-served by several such parks rather than a $47 million six-acre park across the street from the ocean designed by a “world-class” landscape architect.

Affordable housing, preservation of a lovely old trailer park and a portion of the ocean front in this idiosyncratic old beach town, a true living wage, a few new neighborhood parks – truly big things.

SAMOHI CHOIR SPRING CONCERT IS NEXT FRIDAY

One of the bonuses of the end of the Samohi school year is the concerts the very talented music students stage for the community.

The Santa Monica High School Choir’s Spring Concert will take place Friday, June 8, at 7 p.m. at Barnum Hall, featuring music by Debussy, Brahms, and others.

In addition, special awards will be given, each graduating senior is honored, and, in a beloved tradition, alumni are invited to the stage to sing the Duson Irish Blessing and the Samohi Hymn of Praise.

Barnum Hall is located on the Samohi campus. Parking is available
In the Fourth Street parking structure.

Suggested donation: $10 general, $5 students (at the door).