Half a century ago I was a year out of high school
and still living with my parents while I went to
community college. I was just waking up to the
world around me – a world larger than anything
I had imagined in a growing up circumscribed by
a narrow Southern fundamentalism. Then the March
on Washington happened, and I watched it all,
from beginning to end, on the little black and-
white TV in my parent’s living room. What hap-
pened to me in that moment, you can read about here:

It was that kind of turning point for me, and for
our country.


Rev. Jim Conn
230 Pacific St #108
Santa Monica, CA 90405

The Frying Pan – Writer:
CLUE-LA – Member of the Board:
ABCD – Circle of Friends:
United Methodist – Retired:


On Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 2:52 PM, Brenda Barnes wrote:

To All Whom It May Concern, Recipients and
Others Unknown to the Undersigned:

This confirms that between that 8:26 and 10:22
AM 8/27/13 I was disturbed as I had been yester-
day, as indicated by email then, by noise and
dust emanating from workers working at 2930
Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404, com-
monly known as VTP. I later confirmed they were
working near the large white truck I referred
to in my email yesterday, with the name “Alex-
ander Demolition and Hauling” and address, on the side. I also
confirmed as I had been informed it had been
yesterday, that the truck had again been parked
in Row A, when I saw a lone male drive it from
the north end of Row A out the front of 2930
Colorado at about 11:40 AM, while I was stand-
ing between the pool and office in Row C writ-
ing details from permit papers posted on the
office window there.

This further confirms the two permit papers
dated 8/9/13 for permit number 13STP1448–one
issued to the Luzzatto Company at 3110 Main St.,
Ste. 200, SM, and the other issued to Alexan-
der Demolition and Hauling at 14000 Halldale,
Gardena, CA 90249–both state they are a “Sin-
gle Trade Permit” for “removal of ancillary
appendages to trailers located at A7, A17, B12,
B19, B21, B23, C10, C11, D4, D7, and D18” at
2930 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, APN # 4268-
002-006. As such, this permit(s) is covered
by the criminal penalties in SMMC § 8.04.010(a)
if the work done violates any provision(s)
of SMMC Chapter VIII. That is because—however
carefully it may have been worded to attempt
to appear not to be so—it is in fact a permit
to alter, . . . move, remove, convert, demolish,
. . . use or maintain any . . .mobile home or
trailer, or fixture attached thereto, as used
in that section.

In the last two days I and various other resi-
dents of VTP and at least one member of the
local press have taken numerous videos and
still pictures and recorded audio and video
of residents regarding noise, dust, and dis-
turbance to our quiet enjoyment of tenancy by
workers employed by our landlord represented
by Luzzatto Company. Those workers’ “removal
of ancillary appendages to trailers” created
numerous piles of debris around, under, and
inside trailers A7, B12, and B19, and in large
trash cans, as we had observed and documented
on July 24, 2013 as to trailers D12 and B19,
when the only permit was to cap utilities and
sewers. We were told by Chief Code Enforcement
Officer Warren on June 23, 2013 that Building
Department Manager (?) Ron Yamaguchi had sta-
ted no permit was required for Luzzatto to
move trailers he owned here. The latter, of
course, is not true, SMMC § 8.08.050(a), so
now there is the permit “to remove ancillary
appendages,” a permit that does not exist in
SMMC Chapter VIII.

On the latter date we also observed and re-
corded evidence of all the contents of those
numerous debris piles being put in VTP domes-
tic dumpsters, and thereby mixed with domestic
trash without being segregated, weighed,
tracked, or inspected for hazardous materials.
We then observed and documented that mixed
domestic and demolition debris being hauled
away by City workers regularly employed to
remove our domestic trash dumpsters, as I
wrote to you about at the time. This violates
SMMC Chapter VIII require-ments of a Means
and Methods Plan, a Waste Disposal Plan, writ-
ten individual notice to tenants, a relocation
plan, posting security for performance in ac-
cordance with approved plans, public inspec-
tion of plans, and a plan for replanting 65%
of landscaping disturbed and recycling 65%
of other debris produced, plus appeal rights
as to all of this, as discussed further herein.
I am emphasizing today that besides that, be-
cause demolition was in fact being done here
of “fixtures attached to a trailer,” putting
said debris in VTP dumpsters means, to add
further injury, we residents actually paid
for disposal of the debris.

The three (3) workers working for Alexander
yesterday and today have not yet been observed
and documented putting anything into VTP dump-
sters. In fact, the “hauling” in the name of
the Alexander Company has been observed and
documented, as well as the “demolition” in it.
However, because this has not been deemed by
the City to be a “demolition” project, it is
clear from materials being just dumped toge-
ther in a waste disposal truck, that still no
debris has been weighed, tracked, segregated,
checked for hazards, or diverted from landfills.

The Code sections being violated by conspiracy
0f the City with the Luzzatto Company to claim
this is not a demolition project, therefore,
are SMMC §§ 8.08.050(a) (work not exempted by
any provisions of § 8.08.050(c); 8.08.060(a);
8.08.070(a); 8.08.090(a), (c), (d), (f), and
(g); 8.08.150(a) and (f); 8.08.180(a); 8.100
.010(a), (b)((5)-(8), (c) and (d); 8.100.
020(a)-(e); 8.100.030(a)-(d); 8.100.040(a)-
(c); 8.100.050; 8.100.060(a) and (b); and
numerous provisions of section 8.108 (which
appears to be but is not labeled Subpart B of
Chapter VIII).

I have determined I shall not make citizen’s
arrests of the workers continuing to proceed
under the illegally issued Permit #13STP1448
for “removal of ancillary appendages to trail-
ers located at” at 2930 Colorado Ave., Santa
Monica unless they disturb landscaping, inter-
fere with residents’ use of utilities (as
occurred without notice for over five (5)
hours on Friday, August 2, 2013), proceed in
a way that exposes residents to danger of fire
or explosion (as occurred on July 24 and 25,
2013, when workers were smoking under and
around trailer B19, which was later deter-
mined to have a gas leak), make noise or
cause dust sufficient to disturb me to the
extent that I have respiratory or mental
interference with daily activities, negli-
gently or recklessly cause injury to me (as
occurred on July 24, 2013, when a worker
left a rusty trailer hitch right in the mid-
dle of a common area walkway and I tripped
over it, causing infections requiring over
$5,000 in medical expenses and interfering
with my work); or if they do any work what-
soever as to remaining trailers workers have
not yet touched, since all those remaining
trailers have fixtures attached that required
building permits, so no argument can be
made removing or altering them is anything
but removing or altering a building or

The people who should be arrested—and who
in due course will be held responsible for
the illegalities occurring here—are everyone
working for the City who allowed and are
continuing to allow demolition here without
the required safeguards to our rights,
health, and safety, as discussed above.
Rather than arresting City employees at
City Hall, I will file the appropriate
claim(s) for just damages for those acts
and failures to act constituting numerous
separate instances of illegality. This is
because I do not now know who is respon-
sible. I also have no faith City-employed
police would follow through as required by
law in effecting arrest of those who I
might designate through citizen’s arrests,
and at my age I do not need the drama and
stress of trying to get them to do so.

This, however, is the only notice I will give
to whichever City employees are responsible,
that the illegal acts listed above are beyond
their lawful duties and therefore ultra vires.
Since the duty to require permits when the
plain meaning of Chapter VIII so provides is
ministerial, not discretionary, under the
Code sections listed, refusal to do such
duties listed cannot be insured against or
indemnified by the City, but instead is per-
sonal liability of responsible parties. These
actions also constitute an illegal conspiracy
under color of law to violate constitutional
and statutory rights, and include but are not
limited to environmental injustice, elder
abuse and violation of civil rights under
the Americans with Disabilities Act. I there-
fore will proceed against all City employees
and officials responsible when their ident-
ities are determined in discovery in future

Very truly yours,

Brenda Barnes

“The truth of a thing is the feel of it, not the think of it.”
Stanley Kubrick


Several years ago, the City began accumulating
property in the heart of downtown Santa Monica —
specifically, property between Fourth and Fifth
Streets, south of Arizona. It was expensive –
ultimately the most expensive land purchase in
the city’s history.

It’s currently occupied by two parking lots, two
bank buildings, a store, and, in what passes
for winter in this beach town, the ice skating
rink. City Hall insiders rhapsodized over it,
saying it was “a dream site.” But, in fact, it
didn’t appear to be any dreamier than any other
downtown site.

The City might have sold or leased the entire
site to a developer, or sold or leased pieces
of it to several different developers and/or
architects. Given the City’s dismal architect-
ural history, I hoped it would take itself out
of the development game as quickly as possible.
But I knew all that talk about the “dream site”
boded badly. City Hall had begun racing its
design motor from the moment it bought the first

Of course, what the City should have done was
to involve residents in the process from the
beginning, and give them the last word — on
both practical and aesthetic levels.

But the City prefers dealing with developers
than talking – and listening – to residents.
The results to date have not been encouraging.

The City’s Hall of Architectural Shame includes
the buildings on the west end the Pier that
overlook singularly spectacular vistas, but
were built without windows, the Ken Edwards
Center that looks more like a farm house in,
say, Kansas than a community building in a
beach town in Southern California, the brutish
hulk of the Public Safety building that insults
our gorgeous City Hall daily, the Main Library
that looks like a branch of L.A. County Jail,
the Fourth Street parking structure that is,
without question, the ugliest building in
California, the Mega-Village that’s now ris-
ing all over the Civic Center, and a number
of affordable housing complexes that must
have been designed by the Scrooge Brothers.

Now, City Staff is about to turn the “dream
site” over to one of the world’s most famous
architects, Rem Koolhaas and a consortium of
local developers (see article below) and it
has already submitted renderings (see links
in article below).

The City Council recently rejected staff’s
recommendation that height limits of new
buildings in the downtown Santa Monica Spe-
cific Plan be substantially increased over
the existing limit of 84 feet, and voted
instead that developers proposing buildings
over 84 feet pay for their own Environmental
Impact Reports – a virtually perfect recipe
for chaos – especially since three proposed
“opportunity site” tower projects range up
from 175 feet to 320 feet.

The current iteration of the “Plaza at Santa
Monica” show it to be 12 stories tall – sug-
gesting that the City’s hand-picked devel-
opers of the “dream site” will be given
special license or the City and its own arch-
itects will find themselves in hand-to-hand
combat over the question.

The site is very large, and whatever rises
there will play a significant role in the
future of our town, literally changing the
character and workings of downtown Santa
Monica, quite possibly diminishing it.
Given that, the City’s exclusion of resi-
dents from the selection process, rolling
right by their need and their right to be
involved in the selection of the architect
/developer combine seems downright loony.

As Bette Davis famously said in one of Joe
Mankiewicz’s masterpieces, ALL ABOUT EVE,
“It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

Another bumpy ride.


Story:The Architect’s Newspaper, 7.17.2013 issue

Santa Monica chooses OMA for new mixed-use deve-
lopment project.

Rem Koolhaas and his Rotterdam-based firm OMA
have defeated two teams made up of local power-
house architects to win a one million square
foot mixed-use development project in Downtown
Santa Monica on Arizona between 4th and 5th
Streets. OMA’s winning proposal, which is be-
ing called the Plaza at Santa Monica, was
a package submitted in response to an RFP
issued by the City of Santa Monica earlier
in the year. A selection committee made up of
officials from several city departments chose
the scheme.

This will be OMA’s first ever project at this
scale in Los Angeles. They have tried to break
into Los Angeles on three other occasions with
proposals for LACMA, downtown’s Broad Museum,
and Universal Studios in the San Fernando Val-
ley. This time, the City of Santa Monica gran-
ted them their wish.

The other two teams, all with deep local port-
folios, included Brooks + Scarpa with Robert A.M.
Stern and Koning Eizenberg with Rios Clementi
Hale and RTKL.

OMA is design lead in a joint venture between
Metropolitan Pacific Capital, Clarett West Deve-
lopment, and DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners.
Local architects Van Tillberg, Banvard & Soder-
bergh (VTBS) will be the firm carrying the pro-
ject through as the local office. Landscape de-
sign will be by OLIN, known for the gardens at
Getty Center and whose founder, Laurie Olin re-
cently won the National Medal of Arts.

OMA and VTBS’s design is comprised of block-
length bars that step up and back from Arizona
Avenue, canting one way and then the other to
create a cascading effect with accessible roof
terraces and, as the proposal states, a number
of “exchange opportunities for indoor and out-
door program continuity.” These four elevated
terraces, which include gardens, cafés and
other public amenities, overlook a public plaza
with a central water feature that will be tran-
sformed into a public ice skating rink in winter.

Pocket parks lining the Fourth and Fifth Street
edges will provide open spaces and mark ent-
rances to the over 400,000 square feet of com-
mercial space, which includes retail, office,
live/work, an open-air market, and a four-story,
225-room boutique hotel to top it all off at
twelve stories. Parking, always a critical is-
sue in Santa Monica, is extensive and tucked
away underground. The design places a great deal
of emphasis on “indoor/outdoor culture” and high-
lights so many outdoor spaces and amenities that
it appears OLIN will be guaranteed the opport-
unity to make a big impact.

With this proposal, Santa Monica is being pro-
mised green roofs—let’s see if they actually
materialize—and an ambitious LEED Gold rating.
The design also calls for multi-modal transpor-
tation infrastructure, including a bike path,
bike facilities, and a bike share station. The
design team also anticipated the arrival of
light rail, making provisions for a gondola
station that could directly tie the project
into the planned Expo light rail station at
4th Street and Colorado. By maintaining a
significant 20,000 square feet of public space
along Arizona Avenue the architects tried to
reach out to the 3rd Street Promenade to the
west. Though the bar forms are block-length
they do not appear monolithic and engage the
surrounding city with shifting scales, and
perforated metal screens with dancing open-
ings and vertical fins.

According to the public report issued on
July 10, Santa Monica’s selection panel,
comprised of city staff from the departments
of Planning and Community Development, Com-
munity and Cultural Services, Public Works,
and Housing and Economic Development, sel-
ected the OMA team’s proposal because they
felt it was the “most compelling.” Key
factors were the thoughtfulness of the de-
sign approach on all sides of the property,
how it integrated with the overall city,
its highly flexible interior space as well
as how it activates all areas of the site.
They also appreciated how the tiered design
maximized public space and view opportunities
and how it could potentially allow for adap-
tation in the future.

The selection committee’s recommendation
contains just one caveat: they would like
to see the team and the Santa Monica City
Council formally “pursue affordable housing
as an element of the project.” The scheme
did include a provision for the possible
inclusion of affordable or workforce housing.

Sarah Johnson, Principal Analyst for the
City of Santa Monica’s Housing & Economic
Development department and project manager
for this redevelopment project, says the
City Council is scheduled to take action
on the formal recommendation on August 27.
Due to the significance of the site and the
high-level of public interest the city
is soliciting public feedback on the pro-
posal prior to the August 27 meeting.

At that meeting the selection committee
will formally recommend that the Council
enter into “exclusive negotiations” with
the winning team and then begin an exten-
sive phase of community outreach on the pro-
ject’s design and open space programming.
It is anticipated that a development agree-
ment would likely occur sometime in 2014.

By Guy Horton


The covenant to protect the 5th Street Post Of-
fice is on tomorrow night’s City Council Agenda.
The future of the Civic Auditorium may well be
decided by theCivic Working Group. Applications
are now being sought.

Protecting the Post Office: The City Council
will act on a staff proposal to accept respon-
sibility for the preservation covenant on the
5th Street Post Office at its Tuesday night
meeting (agenda item 8B). Conservancy Board
of Directors strongly supports the staff rec-
ommendation, which, together with the recom-
mendations of the Landmarks Commission regard-
ing the character-defining features and other
aspects of the covenant, fullfills our objec-
tives for making sure the Post Office is pro-
tected from inappropriate alteration before it
is sold.

We have included links to the staff report and
the covenant for your convenience, and we en-
courage you to email council expressing your
support for this action.

Once the covenant is defined, the Post Office
will be offered for sale. The new owner will
be required to submit any proposed changes for
the exterior and the lobby for review, as
would be required of any designated structure
under our Landmark Ordinance. The Landmarks
Commission is expected to move to designate
the property as a City of Santa Monica Land-
mark as soon as it is in private ownership;
this will have the additional advantage of
making the property eligible for preservation
incentives such as the Mills Act.

We look forward to a future adaptive reuse
of the structure that recognizes its important
role in our history.

Help Shape the Future of the Santa Monica Ci-
vic Auditorium! If you have experience manag-
ing, building, booking, restoring or financing
an entertainment venue – the City of Santa Mon-
ica needs you!

A Civic Working Group (CWG) is being formed
that will meet monthly to provide professional
and community input on the renovation, program-
ming and long-term operation of the Santa Mon-
ica Civic Auditorium.

The CWG’s objectives are to work with City staff
and consultants to:

* Draft a vision for the future cultural
and community use of the Civic as the hub of a
cultural campus
* Explore an appropriate mix of compatible
adjacent uses, from open space to additional
facilities as identified in the Urban Land
Institute report
* Evaluate potential financing options and
programming and operating models for the Civic
* Convene a community process to gather
input and to build consensus regarding the fut-
ure of the Civic
* Provide Council with recommendations regard-
ing the vision, feasible renovation options and
the preferred long-term operating model for the

Members of the CWG will be appointed for one
two-year term. The City seeks members who col-
lectively demonstrate expertise in the areas

* strategic planning
* policy development
* performing arts production
* real estate development
* construction
* fundraising
* event management

Five of the nine members will selected by City
Council in October. All applicants are wel-
come, but those who live or work in Santa Monica
will be given priority. The remaining four
will be current or former members of the Arts,
Landmarks, Planning and Recreation and Parks
Commissions, to be selected by the Commissions
in September.

A three-member Technical Advisory Subcommittee
is also being formed. Members will possess ex-
tensive professional and technical expertise
associated with the CWG objectives, in particu-
lar the financing, management and programming
of venues similar to the Civic.

Follow this link for details and the applica-
tion. Completed applications must be submitted
by September 16. Santa Monica City Council will
appoint the five positions on October 22, 2013.

Do you know someone who qualifies? Can you post
this information on a website, Facebook page or
twitter feed that might reach interested people?
Please share the link today!

Thank you to Board Member Nina Fresco and the
“Save the Civic” group for everything they have
done to get us moving toward a plan for the fu-
ture of this important building.

Are you a current member of the Conservancy?
Your annual membership contributions support
our work to preserve the architectural and
cultural heritage of our city. You will re-
ceive our informative quarterly newsletter
and discounts on tours and events.

Join or renew now! You may donate on our
website as an Individual or Household Member
or as a Business/Corporate Member. Or send a
check to the address below. Thank you for your
support! Questions?. Call 310-496-3146 or

Mailing Address: Santa Monica Conservancy.
PO BOX 653, Santa Monica, CA 90406 US. Contact
Name: Santa Monica Conservancy. Phone Number:
(310) 496-3146.