HANDS OFF: IT’S OUR BEACH TOWN: II

ioThe big winner in the recent election was the status quo.
That’s good news for incumbents, and bad news for the
rest of us, because things weren’t going all that well before
the election.
The City Hall/SMRR/developers axis, and their
consultants, once again swamped voters with lies and deceptions. As a result, a majority of voters backed a tax
we don’t need, re-elected incumbents who should have
been rejected, and rejected worthy candidates who should have been elected.
Though Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR)
managed, by means we can’t imagine, to wring endorsements of its entire slate of candidates by every
conceivable and prestigious liberal organization in the
area, they can’t seem to muster four votes on the Council to protect renters from being abused by landlords and/or developers, as in the 301 Ocean Avenue case (see related stories).
This legendary beach town went off the rails a while ago. The town is very small — eight square miles. Its population has hovered around 87,000 for decades. In recent years, City staff has doubled. And the City budget topped half-a-billion dollars, but our quality of life has deteriorated.
Who are all those people in City Hall? What are they
doing? Why are they making more money than most
residents? And why, in these hard times, did they just
get raises that totaled $26 million?
Since the early 1980s, 9 million square feet of new commercial development has fractured the townscape, ten major new projects are in the hopper right now, traffic congestion ties up our streets daily, and the daily transient population is over 300,000. But the City spends over $3
million annually on promotion.
Over the objections of almost everyone, the City has done
a deal with the Expo light rail to place its maintenance yard
on a serene residential street in the Pico Neighborhood.
There will be more concessions to Expo, and we can look
forward — with fear and loathing — to the unfurling of the Jumbo LUCE sometime soon.
But, for all the boasting, blundering and bullying that the
SMRR Council majority and the mega-City Hall staff
engage in, they don’t own Santa Monica, the increasingly
beset residents do, and they are increasingly angry, and
that’s good news for this iconic beach town and bad news
for City Hall.