COMMITTEE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE TO HOLD WORKSHOP

DISCRIMINATORY POLICING & USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE: WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Sunday,June 7th Free Workshop: 6:00-8:30 pm. Potluck supper at 6pm & program at 6:30pm.

PANEL MEMBERS: Kimberly Burke, Project Coordinator for the Center for Policing Equity, UCLA, Darrell Goode, President of Santa Monica/ Venice NAACP, Marcy Winograd, Former Congressional Candidate, Volunteer Organizer with the Industrial Workers of the World and Venice High School Teacher, Tommy Walker, Board Member on Venice Neighborhood Council

Location: Virginia Avenue Park, Thelma Terry Bldg, 2200 Virginia Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

With national attention focused on police racial profiling and excessive use of force, the Committee for Racial Justice has been circulating a petition since November calling for more data on Santa Monica Police Department stops, searches, and arrests.

Concerns about discriminatory policing take on an even greater urgency in light of the recent fatal police shooting of an African American homeless man in Venice and the police pepper-spraying and assault on an African American man charging his electric car in Santa Monica’s Virginia Park.

On Sunday, June 7th, the Committee for Racial Justice will host a panel discussion to formulate strategies to address discriminatory policing and excessive use of police force in Santa Monica, Venice and neighboring communities.

As project coordinator for the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA, Kimberly Burke will talk about the Center’s experiences working with police departments all over the US to establish standards for data collection on stops, searches, citations, and arrests. Once discriminatory patterns and practices are surfaced, the entire community can collaborate on solutions.

Darrell Goode, Chair of the NAACP Venice/Santa Monica branch for over 12 years, will share highlights of the NAACP’s document on racial profiling.

Tommy Walker, Board member of the Venice Neighborhood Council, will report on local actions following the recent fatal police shooting of an unarmed African American man in Venice.

Marcy Winograd, a former congressional peace candidate and community organizer, will talk about state & federal legislative efforts to keep data on police use of force, as well as the Committee’s work to lobby local lawmakers for increased police accountability.

There will be time for Q & A and discussion of strategies on how to move forward to address concerns over discriminatory policing.This is part of an ongoing monthly workshop series sponsored by the Committee For Racial Justice.

Co-sponsored by Virginia Ave. Park; the African American Parent, Staff, Student Support Group; and the Church in Ocean Park.

For more information, call 310-422-5431

PLANNING COMMISSION AGENDA WEDNESDAY: 4th, 5th, ARIZONA

June 2, 2015

RE: Planning Commission Agenda Item 9A:
Dear Planning Commissioners:

Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City strongly opposes the proposed 12-story,148-foot-tall project between 4th and 5th on Arizona.

This massive 420,000-square foot, mixed-use project would be nearly as big as Santa Monica Place and it will be significantly higher. It is in the heart of Santa Monica’s already gridlocked downtown, spanning a full city block and constitutes one of the largest publicly funded site acquisitions in Santa Monica’s history (over $100 million dollars for properties at Arizona/ 4th and 5th Streets).

Public ownership of such a major downtown site by the City imposes special responsibilities: The site should be developed compatibly with its neighboring surroundings and equally important, the new project should create uses that Santa
Monica needs and residents support.

Unfortunately, the current proposal resembles the failed 2005 proposed Santa Monica
Place project and the rejected Hines project, both of which were successfully opposed
by residents. This new, primarily commercial project is massive, out of scale and ignores residents’ widely expressed opposition to its height, density and increase in traffic congestion. Currently the site houses parking lots and two banks. If built,
the project will be a major traffic generator in an area already rife with traffic congestion

Residents’ opposition to huge, new downtown developments that would be exempt from
zoning limitations and would generate more traffic is real, it’s resolute and it’s a fact.

Last year, to better gauge residents’ views about the appropriate heights and densities in our downtown, the City Council commissioned a scientific survey of residents (City of Santa Monica: 2014 Development Survey). The result: by well over a 2:1 margin, randomly surveyed residents, young and old, citywide said they wanted downtown to be within existing zoning and were opposed to taller heights and greater densities even for “architecturally distinctive” hotels. Residents wanted less, not more traffic downtown and rejected “community benefits” as justification for increased downtown heights and densities.

The community process thus far regarding the downtown (and so-called “opportunity sites”) has shown that residents have decisively claimed the downtown as theirs, not a place primarily for tourists (with residents adding an authentic touch as city consultant Torti Gallas infamously wrote in a 2013 report concerning the downtown real estate market outlook). Santa Monicans view the downtown’s low-slung identity as essential to the rest of Santa Monica and as something our city government is obligated to protect, not exploit. (A copy of SMCLC’s March 5, 2014 letter summarizing the downtown survey is attached).

Last year, residents also successfully rose up against the Hines project that proposed a predominantly office campus in an already gridlocked corridor that would have resulted in over 7,000 additional daily car trips despite the new Expo line that will run across the street.

Given this background (and the overabundance of office space we already have with its tremendous traffic impacts), it is hard to take seriously this latest proposal that actually INCREASES the amount of office space (a big traffic generator).

Additionally and significantly, the proposed project also reduces the overall public open space in favor of greater privatized open space for office and hotel users and adds a traffic generating use — more public parking spaces in the heart of our downtown — that will exacerbate the existing traffic problems.

As to the height and density: It’s still much taller at 12 stories and 148 feet than anything around it, including our beloved historic post office building, and it violates the latest draft downtown building requirements in multiple ways (maximum heights, number of stories, FAR, and maximum floor plate ratios) — in order to offer hotel guests an unimpeded view of the Ocean.

It’s clear from the downtown survey that residents don’t share this vision or this mix of uses on our public land. Indeed, one is left wondering, why does the City pay to commission these studies if the results are only to be disregarded?

Our City has an overabundance of commercial office and retail space. Adding more in the form of a building fortress that will eclipse everything around it is merely a revenue generator without meeting a demonstrated public need. Our city is in sound financial shape. We want our city government to live within its budget means, not partner with the biggest developer around in order to chase new revenue streams with massive developments that inevitably require more staff, more police and fire personnel, and ever more infrastructure demands, including water, now becoming a scarce resource.

Approving this project would send a powerful signal to other developers with projects in the downtown now and in the future that our City’s zoning and building regulations are not enforceable and will be waived Development Agreement by Development Agreement. The result will be a downtown vastly taller, denser and more gridlocked than residents have said they want. We will lose the defining character of what we love about Santa Monica.

Last year the City Council erred in not requiring this developer to respond to the community’s widespread opposition to this project by not insisting that the developer also generate an alternative project that would be consistent with the draft downtown plan and LUCE.

It’s not too late to rectify that error: We urge you to require concept drawings for a zoning/LUCE compliant project. But regardless of what you Planning Commissioners or the City Council does, any environmental impact report for any project on this site must fully and adequately analyze a project alternative that complies with the zoning code and LUCE. As our decision-makers, you must also weigh the greater environmental benefits of a superior project, one that IS consistent with our land use policies and compatible with Santa Monica.

Sincerely,

Victor Fresco, Diana Gordon, Sherrill Kushner, Jeff Segal

TOM HAYDEN RECOVERING FROM A STROKE

Tom Hayden was felled by a stroke in Kern County on May 21 during a protest of frack-
ing. Now in UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, he is, in his word, “recovering,” working with hospital staff.

Now 75, Hayden has spent his life protesting – writing, marching, demonstrating. He was a founder of Students for a Democratic Society, and author of the Port Huron Statement. He was one of the leaders of the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations during the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. and one of the defendants in the trial of the Chicago seven.

Hayden and his then wife Jane Fonda and their children lived in Santa Monica, protested the Vietnam war and organized and led the campaign for economic Democracy, Fonda not only worked with Hayden and made films, she produced films.

Hayden became a member of the State Assembly, moved up to the State Senate, and, in all, served nearly 20 years in the State Legislature.

He’d long lived in Santa Monica, but when he decided to run for L.A. mayor, he moved into Los Angeles, and to the dismay of many Santa Monicans, he has stayed there.

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