CITY STAFF SHOULD START LISTENING TO RESIDENTS: TAKE 2

CITY STAFF SHOULD START LISTENING TO RESIDENTS: TAKE 2

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About 200 residents gathered Wednesday night in support of the introduction of a ballot measure that would insure local control of the Santa Monica Airport, thus paving the way for the removal of the airport and the subsequent installation of parks, playgrounds and other compatible elements that would complement adjacent residential neighborhoods rather than imposing on them, and subjecting them to unbearable noise, pollution and the constant threat of another airplane crash.

Tomorrow morning, residents will gather at 10 am in the east wing of the Civic Auditorium at a special meeting” to hear various City departments
discuss the future of Bergamot Station.

The City has proposed reducing it to a commercial muddle with the addi-
tion of a hotel, “creative office space,” and an assortment of shops and restaurants over the objections of gallery owners and residents, who want to preserve this unique and esteemed art complex, adding only some much needed parking space. Thus far, over 12,000 people have responded to an e-petition, opposing the City plans.

Residocracy, org., residents’ means of vetoing projects they believe would diminish Santa Monica’s priceless and irreplaceable beach town character, has begun to quietly collect signatures in case City staff and members of the City Council ignore residents and persist in pushing an over-sized, badly designed Plaza at Santa Monica. What belongs on the site at Fourth and Arizona is a park, which would soften the increasingly frenetic downtown area, but the City’s first priority, as usual, is
more revenue.

The City Council’s primary reason for being is to represent Santa Monica residents, to speak and act on our behalf.But four members of the current City Council –- Mayor Pam O’Connor, Mayor Pro Temp Terry O’Day, Bob Holbrook and Gleam Davis – have taken campaign contributions and, in return, approved their benefactors’ proposals, however dubious.Holbrook is not seeking re-election, while O’Connor is running for another term, though she has already served six terms and been mayor four times,.and become a major EXPO light rail player. Neither Davis nor O’Day is up for re-election this fall.

Incumbent Council member Kevin McKeown is running. He doesn’t take money
from developers, but he has, thus far, enthusiastically supported the misbegot Plaza, perhaps because the hotel workers’ union is pushing for
the project as it includes a hotel, and more hotels mean more jobs.

If residents elect two good people this fall, they will finally regain the majority they deserve and need. As it happens, two very good people are running: Sue Himmelrich and Richard McKinnon.

The Dispatch endorsed McKinnon in the last election. He lost by a narrow margin, but remained active and involved and we are endorsing him again.

We endorsed Sue Himmelrich (see prior Dispatch stories) when she announced her candidacy several weeks ago. Her focus as a lawyer has been affordable and rent controlled housing. She is currently of Counsel with
The Western Center on Law and Poverty.

We believe that McKinnon and Himmelrich are clearly the best candidates we’ve had in a while and will represent residents’ interests and our gloriously idiosyncratic beach town faithfully,fully and well.

Neither of them takes campaign contributions from developers. Both are Planning Commissioners, and have spent much of their time this year and
last trying to make sense out of the draft zoning code, as well as reviewing proposals for new developments. Thus, they know more about what’s in the proverbial pipeline than almost anyone, and are not afraid
to speak truth to developers and their lawyers.

Himmelrich and her husband, who’s also a lawyer, moved to Santa Monica 21 years ago, drawn by its beach town character and progressive politics.
Their two daughters grew up here, and are both now away at college.

McKinnon, his wife and son moved to America from Australia, settled in Santa Monica, and became American citizens. Their son went to school here graduated from Samohi and is now at Berkeley. McKinnon is a business consultant, a bicycle enthusiast and has proposed that Santa Monica become an arboretum..

Himmelrich and McKinnon are not running as a “team,” they are much too independent for that, but they are both outspoken, articulate, smart and meticulous Planning Commissioners. They do their homework and each of them has very clear ideas about what Santa Monica is and how to insure that it will not be further damaged,but will be restored and preserved.

As planning commissioners, they can only advise. As City Council members,
they can decide, and with incumbents McKeown,Tony Vazquez and Ted Win-
terer, they will comprise a majority that will represent the residents
who have gone unrepresented for far too long.

City Manager Rod Gould has resigned, and will leave early in January.
Given that Residocracy.org. has declared war on the status quo – at the Airport, on overblown, ill-considered proposals in downtown Santa Monica and Bergamot, and has veto power, and two of the most formidable Council candidates in some years are on the ballot, AND the boss of City Hall will soon be gone, City staff would be well-advised to start listening to residents, rather than continuing to pander to developers.

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KICK-OFF FOR LOCAL CONTROL OF AIRPORT DRAWS CROWD

KICK-OFF FOR LOCAL CONTROL OF AIRPORT DRAWS CROWD

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More than two hundred residents packed a meeting to launch the campaign for Measure LC, to guarantee Local Control of Santa Monica Airport land.

Santa Monica City Council Members Ted Winterer and Kevin McKeown drew cheers when they urged residents to work for Measure LC, which would block the aviation lobby’s effort to take control of land the city has owned for a hundred years. Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin said this was a historic chance for Santa Monica to free a large residential area in both cities from the growing noise, pollution and danger from business jets.

Local resident and retired Air Force pilot Joe Schmitz pointed out increasing accident rates at the airport and the danger of a large business jet crashing into homes. Schmitz said his military flying experience tells him SMO’s restricted runway length will ultimately
lead to pilot error and a disaster both for residents and those aboard the plane.

Campaign Chair John Fairweather explained that the aviation lobbyists’ Measure D, described as “D for Deception,” pretends to give voters a choice about the airport’s future, but is worded so that changes in flight operations would be almost impossible to make. Specifically, the measure says the majority of voters of the city would have to approve any future change (not the usual majority of those voting). The lobbyists claim they won’t insist on the excessive standard later if Measure D passes, but Fairweather said it was written that way on purpose so the standard could not be met.

“Measure LC will allow Santa Monicans to vote against any development of the airport except for parks, recreation facilities and existing cultural uses,” he told the meeting. “The aviation lobbyists’ measure has no safeguards against development, while Measure LC does.”

Many residents at the kickoff meeting at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church volunteered to work on campaign committees to counter the aviation lobbyists’ financial advantage.
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SCAG AWARDED $115 MILLION FOR TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM

SCAG AWARDED $115 MILLION FOR TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM

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Los Angeles – Active transportation efforts in Southern California received a major financial boost this month with the awarding of $115.2 million to fund 68 projects, including $2.3 million for a region-wide safety and encouragement campaign.

Santa Monica will receive $450,000 for its “Safe Routes to Schools”
program.

As part of the 2014 Active Transportation Program (ATP), adopted Wednesday by the California Transportation Commission, the six-county region served by SCAG (the Southern California Association of Governments) will receive about 63 percent of total funding awarded through the statewide ATP competition.Los Angeles – Active transportation efforts in Southern California received a major financial boost this month with the awarding of $115.2 million to fund 68 projects, including $2.3 million for a region-wide safety and encouragement campaign.

As part of the 2014 Active Transportation Program (ATP), adopted Wednesday by the California Transportation Commission, the six-county region served by SCAG (the Southern California Association of Governments) will receive about 63 percent of total funding awarded through the statewide ATP competition.

SCAG itself will receive $2.3 million to conduct the Southern California Active Transportation Safety and Encouragement Campaign, designed to promote walking and biking and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists. SCAG will collaborate with county transportation commissions, departments of public health and stakeholders to develop a regional advertising campaign, community outreach/tactical urbanism events, and active transportation training and toolkits designed for target audiences.

An average of 38 pedestrians or bicyclists are injured or killed every day in the SCAG region.

“Active transportation is a vital component of Southern California’s transportation and mobility needs moving forward, and we applaud Gov. Brown, the Legislature and the Transportation Commission for making this such a significant funding priority,” said Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of SCAG. “This kind of commitment to active transportation programs will reap long-lasting benefits in terms of health, safety and the sustainability of our communities.”

Among the specific benefits often cited with regard to active transportation are reductions in traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and chronic disease. According to the Center for Disease Control, incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity into everyday routines significantly reduces the risk among adults of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

When combined with other funding sources, the $115.2 million in state ATP money will actually result in $248 million worth of investment in active transportation facilities, plans and programs in the six-county SCAG region. Among the major ATP awardees were:

o The City of Los Angeles – $18.9 million for five different Safe Routes to School programs.
o The Coachella Valley Association of Governments – $10.9 million for its CV Link project connecting eight cities and two Native American tribal communities through a combination of pedestrian, bicycle and low-speed electric vehicle routes.
o The City of Palmdale – $5.3 million for its Avenue R Complete Streets and Safe Routes program.
o The San Bernardino Associated Governments – $4.7 million to improve transit access for cyclists and pedestrians at Metrolink stations throughout the county.

Nearly $500 million was requested in the six-county region to implement projects in over 100 different cities. Those projects not selected through the statewide competition have a second chance for funding through the regional portion of the program, which will be approved by SCAG in October and include awards totaling $78 million.

“In 2012, we adopted a Regional Transportation Plan that focuses on increasing transportation choices, including the tripling of investments in active transportation.” Ikhrata said. “The broad interest in the ATP from across our urban, suburban and rural communities reflects a strong and growing commitment from our elected officials, planners, businesses and residents towards meeting this goal.”

SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 18 million residents.

SCAG itself will receive $2.3 million to conduct the Southern California Active Transportation Safety and Encouragement Campaign, designed to promote walking and biking and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists. SCAG will collaborate with county transportation commissions, departments of public health and stakeholders to develop a regional advertising campaign, community outreach/tactical urbanism events, and active transportation training and toolkits designed for target audiences.

An average of 38 pedestrians or bicyclists are injured or killed every day in the SCAG region.

“Active transportation is a vital component of Southern California’s transportation and mobility needs moving forward, and we applaud Gov. Brown, the Legislature and the Transportation Commission for making this such a significant funding priority,” said Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of SCAG. “This kind of commitment to active transportation programs will reap long-lasting benefits in terms of health, safety and the sustainability of our communities.”

Among the specific benefits often cited with regard to active transportation are reductions in traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and chronic disease. According to the Center for Disease Control, incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity into everyday routines significantly reduces the risk among adults of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

When combined with other funding sources, the $115.2 million in state ATP money will actually result in $248 million worth of investment in active transportation facilities, plans and programs in the six-county SCAG region. Among the major ATP awardees were:

o The City of Los Angeles – $18.9 million for five different Safe Routes to School programs.
o The Coachella Valley Association of Governments – $10.9 million for its CV Link project connecting eight cities and two Native American tribal communities through a combination of pedestrian, bicycle and low-speed electric vehicle routes.
o The City of Palmdale – $5.3 million for its Avenue R Complete Streets and Safe Routes program.
o The San Bernardino Associated Governments – $4.7 million to improve transit access for cyclists and pedestrians at Metrolink stations throughout the county.

Nearly $500 million was requested in the six-county region to implement projects in over 100 different cities. Those projects not selected through the statewide competition have a second chance for funding through the regional portion of the program, which will be approved by SCAG in October and include awards totaling $78 million.

“In 2012, we adopted a Regional Transportation Plan that focuses on increasing transportation choices, including the tripling of investments in active transportation.” Ikhrata said. “The broad interest in the ATP from across our urban, suburban and rural communities reflects a strong and growing commitment from our elected officials, planners, businesses and residents towards meeting this goal.”

SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 18 million residents.

DEBORAH SUSSMAN, DESIGNER OF SANTA MONICA LOGO, DIES

DEBORAH SUSSMAN, DESIGNER OF SANTA MONICA LOGO, DIES

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LA Observed story

Designer Deborah Sussman began her career as an office designer for Charles and Ray Eames in the 1950s. She started her own firm, Sussman/Prejza, in 1968. Archinect says Sussman is “perhaps best known for her environmental and graphic design for the 1984 Summer Olympics….[Also] her distinctively colorful and intrepid graphical work brought character to Disney World, the city of Santa Monica, and the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.” She died this morning at age 83 of cancer.

Los Angeles Magazine’s 1980s retrospective issue in July included a piece in which Sussman recalled the Olympics experience. “The 1984 Summer Olympics are the most aesthetically memorable Games of our generation: buildings constructed of scaffolding and tubes, ‘LA 84′ banners hanging from light poles, a palette that burned bright,” the magazine said. “For the first time in its history Los Angeles told a cohesive visual story. And that story was largely written by architect Jon Jerde and designer Deborah Sussman.”

Sussman in the Los Angeles piece:
Our first assignment was to do only the signing plan for the UCLA Village, so the athletes wouldn’t get lost. Jon said, “Don’t even think about that. You dream, see the big picture,” and I did. I saw in my head this sky and the ground sprinkled with confetti, sprinkled with all this magical stuff that shimmered and expressed joy, excitement—expressed the goals of the Olympics. Jon invented this phrase for it: “An invasion of butterflies.”


Everybody was crying out for a color palette. I’m very intuitive, but when it comes to color I’m also very conceptual. I had a mania for collage, which was nourished in my years with Ray Eames and Alexander Girard. I pulled these colored papers out, and they turned out to be the very colors we used. They were the colors I had observed in areas of celebration along the Pacific Rim—Mexico, Japan, India, China—the colors of the Hispanic and Asian communities that impact Los Angeles. Had I never been at the Eames office, had I never known Girard, I don’t know what I would have done.

THE FUTURE OF BERGAMOT STATION IS IN OUR HANDS

THE FUTURE OF BERGAMOT STATION IS IN OUR HANDS

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Several decades ago, Wayne Blank, an art gallery owner, and Tom Patchett, a talented TV producer-writer who’d decided to change lanes, approached City Manager John Jalili with an unusual proposition. They wanted to lease some old warehouses that lined rusted unused train tracks along Olympic Boulevard, combine them with land Blank owned, and create Bergamot Station, a unique gathering of galleries.

A deal was done. Galleries, including Blank’s Shoshona Wayne Gallery and Patchett’s Track Sixteen, opened and Bergamot Station soon became a popular and esteemed stop on the art circuit.

It also solved a growing Santa Monica dilemma. It had long attracted artists in all media. Richard Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” series of paintings elevated him to superstar status after decades in the trenches elsewhere.But City Hall’s excruciating drive for more revenue was elevating commercial rents beyond reason and galleries were, like Santa Monica, more about love than money, so Bergamot Station became serious art’s HQ, and refuge.

But the promise of the EXPO light rail sent City Hall’s commercial ambitions soaring, and developers to their computers. The first EXPO station would be right across the street from Bergamot. The City would “develop” it, add its mandatory “shopping and fine dining,” and a hotel. Apparently, someone thought the light rail ride from downtown L.A. would be so exhausting that disembarking riders would have to check into the hotel before going home.

In due course, the City sent out requests for proposals, chose the
three most likely and displayed them to residents at a meeting in the spring. Residents were more appalled than impressed. Three weeks after the meeting, Blank announced his withdrawal from the project (scroll down to see his announcement). Shortly thereafter, The Bergamot Station Gallery Cultural Association posted an electronic petition, “Save Bergamot Station from Overdevelopment” on Change.org. Thus far, it’s received nearly 12,000 e-signatures.

The three would be-developers are ReThink Development/Kor Group, Bergamot Station Ltd/ Worthe Real Estate Group and 26Street TOD Partners LLC. All of the proposals feature a hotel and office space as required by the City.


In its column in the Dispatch, Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow (SMa.r.t) called for changes to the proposals, including more parking and focus on the arts and culture.”The City needs to accept this mantle of leadership and rethink their program. It should be a vision for the future unfettered by the past. It should prioritize the Arts not commerce.

Bergamot should be an Arts complex focused on entertainment, education and the promotion of the arts in all its forms. Bergamot is a unique opportunity to celebrate Santa Monica’s connection to arts and culture at a prominent gateway to our City. Let’s take a little more time to make sure we get it right.”

Last week, the City announced it would hold a “special meeting”
on Saturday, April 23, in the east wing of the Civic from 10 to
noon, to show residents the latest iterations of the three proposals,
prior to their presentation to the Council on Tuesday, April 26.
About the same time it was learned that Blank was in the process of selling his land to one of the developers, and the sale would be finalized this weekend. Maybe. But subsequently, the City removed the item from the Council agenda on Tuesday.

The residents’ opposition to the City’s determination to reduce one of Santa Monica’s proudest achievements to commerce demonstrates how deep the division is between residents and City Hall, and how crucial the upcoming election is.

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WRONG Rx FOR CALIFORNIA

WRONG Rx FOR CALIFORNIA

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Lawyers look to line pockets with Proposition 46, which would raise caps on medical injury damages.

By Dr. SION ROY Monday, August 11, 2014

As a cardiologist and educator, I care deeply about California families’ ability to access high-quality, affordable health care. I wake up thinking about my patients and am always striving to improve their care. Likewise, I must be alert to anything that threatens their health and well-being.

That’s why I am opposed to Proposition 46 – a ballot measure sponsored, and almost exclusively funded, by lawyers for their own benefit.

California doctors, dentists, hospitals and community clinics have banded together against this measure because it is a deceptive budget buster that would jeopardize patients’ access to care and raise costs for us all.

Not only is Proposition 46 bad medicine and bad for California families, but it’s also bad for business. Just ask the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Small Business Association, the Valley Industry & Commerce Association and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, all of which oppose Proposition 46.

Doctors and hospitals, business groups and labor, local government and community clinics – we all object to Proposition 46 because it would make it easier and more lucrative for lawyers to sue doctors and hospitals, resulting in billions of dollars in higher health care costs annually. That would make it harder for patients to see their doctors and get the care they need. It would make health care more expensive and further strain state and local budgets recovering from the economic downturn.

Proposition 46 would quadruple the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) cap on noneconomic damages, thus increasing the number of medical lawsuits.

According to California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the initiative could increase state and local government costs by several hundred million dollars annually – costs that would be passed on to taxpayers. State and local governments would incur additional costs because they pay health care costs for current and former employees as well as paying for care for many low-income Californians.

Cost increase
Worse, a recent study by former Legislative Analyst Bill Hamm estimated that overall costs for everyday Californians would increase by $9.9 billion annually – or about $1,000 a year for an average family of four.

Proposition 46 would make it harder to attract skilled doctors to the state, especially specialists, and drive physicians to leave to practice in places where malpractice insurance rates are lower. This would be a potential disaster, as there are many areas of California that are underserved by health care providers, even here in Los Angeles County. Additionally, as we strive to provide high-quality care to new patients in our system with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we need more doctors, not fewer.

Proposition 46 is a measure that California patients and taxpayers cannot afford.

Dr. Sion Roy is a board member of the Los Angeles County Medical Association and a California Medical Association trustee. He is a practicing cardiologist in Los Angeles.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal

COMMITTEE FOR LOCAL CONTROL OF AIRPORT LAND MEETS WED.

COMMITTEE FOR LOCAL CONTROL OF AIRPORT LAND MEETS WED.

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With its campaign kick-off event set for Wednesday evening, Aug. 20, the Committee for Local Control of Santa Monica Airport Land (CLCSMAL) announces that its initiative on the November ballot has been designated Measure LC (for Local Control).

CLCSMAL (ItsOurLand.org) was organized to ensure future low-density use of city-owned Santa Monica Airport (SMO) and to protect our city from Measure D, sponsored by two powerful and wealthy pro-aviation lobbies. Measure D would block city control of SMO, making it all but impossible to ever reduce the increasing jet traffic and flight school problems at SMO.

CLCSMAL is inviting residents who want to maintain Local Control over our airport to join us Wednesday, Aug. 20, from 7-9 p.m. at Mount Olive Church, 1343 Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Some parking available in the church lot off 14th St.; or walk, bike, ride the bus.

All leases at SMO held by aviation or non-aviation businesses are set to expire next July. Measure LC guarantees any SMO land now used for aviation would have only low-density uses after aviation activity was reduced or eliminated. Any attempt at higher (denser) development would require voter approval. Low-density uses include parks, open space, recreational areas such as playing fields, spaces for arts, festivals and community events, while retaining current attractions such as restaurants, Museum of Flying, Ruskin Group Theatre and Barker Hangar.

At the Wednesday meeting, we’ll show how Measure LC provides voters a concrete way to overcome the Washington aviation lobby’s attempt to run SMO for its benefit, allowing more jets, more pollution and more uncertainty.

For additional information, go to ItsOurLand.org
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DOWNTOWN SM MAKES ANNUAL REPORT TO CITY LEADERS

DOWNTOWN SM MAKES ANNUAL REPORT TO CITY LEADERS

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On Thursday, August 21, Downtown Santa Monica. Inc. officials will present the “Year in Review” to “City leaders.” Highlights will include “New Eco-Friendly Parking Structure, the 25th Anniversary of the Third Street Promenade, and Progress on the Exposition Light Rail Line, Downtown Specific Plan, A New Movie Theater and Downtown Specific Plan, a new Movie Theater and Hotels.”

According to a press release issued this week, “The close of the 2013/2014 fiscal year leaves a wake of progress in Everyone’s Downtown…reflecting on 12 months that worked towards economic improvements and achievements, forward movement on ambitious plans,
and a comprehensive 25th Anniversary Celebration for the locally
created and globally celebrated Third Street Promenade.”

The presentation will be delivered by DTSM, Inc. CEO Kathleen Rawson and the Board of Directors at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel from 8:30am to 10:00am, and will focus on “critical and exciting initiatives, including completion of the new parking structure 6 (400 additional spaces), near completion of the Exposition Light Rail Line, approved creation of two moderately priced hotels, construction on the District’s first movie theatre in decades, and celebration of the Third Street Promenade’s 25th Anniversary “

The report will also cover future plans, including the Esplanade Project that will “transform” Colorado Ave. into a “pedestrian-friendly downtown Santa Monica gateway,” reconstruction of the California Incline, addition of housing and commercial space to “create a more diverse and vibrant downtown, infrastructure renewal plans to better activate the north end of Third Street Promenade, exploration of incorporation of Lincoln Blvd. north of I-10 into the District.

“In step with its grander goals and projects, DTSM, Inc. has remained passionate about the day-to-day operations of keeping the streets clean and presentable, as well as coordinating lively activities to keep the city culturally and artistically relevant.”

“We know how fortunate we are to have such a magical place that is more than just a collection of restaurants and retail, more than just concrete, steel and bricks,” says Rawson, “We welcome the opportunity to engage our community partners and forge ahead with solid plans for progress and prosperity for all of Santa Monica. After all, it is Everyone’s Downtown.

“Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. is a private non-profit 501c(3) that works with the City of Santa Monica to manage services and operations in Downtown Santa Monica that promote economic stability, growth and community life within Downtown Santa Monica. DTSM, Inc. manages the Property-based Business Assessment District (PBAD) that encompasses the area bounded by Ocean Avenue (W), Wilshire Boulevard (N), 7th Court (E) and the Santa Monica Freeway (S).”

RESIDENTS SETTLE LAWSUIT WITH CITY OVER BALLOT MEASURE

RESIDENTS SETTLE LAWSUIT WITH CITY OVER BALLOT MEASURE

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Mathew Millen, founding member of No Taxes to Fund Development (NTFD), has settled his lawsuit with the City of Santa Monica over the ballot argument rebuttals regarding the Transfer Tax, now known as Measures H and HH. The City has agreed to eliminate the illegal signatures and everywhere publish the rebuttals in the correct fashion.

“We are happy the suit is settled, arguments and rebuttals which are meant to educate voters will be published properly in all places. All eyes are now open, rules are being followed. Public debate should focus on the measure. The more daylight on this issue, the more voters will see the necessity in rejecting this tax,” says NTFD member Peter Tiger.

“Our position is that this measure is an unfair tax on voters to fund even more unwanted and unneeded development.”

“The absurdity of this proposed tax is best illustrated in numbers we can all understand. The City proposes to use this tax money to solely fund more residential development. Yet the amount of residential development currently in the pipeline is surpassing the city’s own projection for 2030 – 15 years from now! The City is processing close to 4,000 housing units which is 80% of the 5,000 benchmark adopted.” A tax that never expires for an unneeded purpose deserves a NO vote at the polls.”

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RESIDOCRACY TAKES ON COUNCIL CANDIDATES IN ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

RESIDOCRACY TAKES ON COUNCIL CANDIDATES IN ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

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By Tricia Crane, Residocracy Advisory Board

Armen Melkonians, founder of Residocracy.org, took it seriously when he was dared by Santa Monica City Council candidate Nick Boles to join the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” Sunday afternoon

Melkonians assembled members of the Residocracy advisory board on the steps of City Hall to publicly challenge the entire list of Santa Monica City Council Candidates. The challenge also went out to City Manager Rod Gould, City Attorney Marsha Moutrie and Planning Director David Martin.

The Residocracy dare was posted on Facebook and by email and has thus far has sparked donations from Commissioner Phil Brock, Planning Commissioner Sue Himmelrich, and Frank Gruber.

Generosity inspired by the Ice Bucket Donations Campaign continues to exceed expectations. As of Monday, August 18, The ALS Association has received $15.6 million in donations compared to $1.8 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 18). Often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a progressive neurodegrnerative disease. The ALSO Association’s mission includes providing services to assist patients and their families.

To donate to the “ALS Ice Bucket Campaign” go to http://www.alsa.org

Residocracy.org is dedicated to placing the needs of residents at the forefront in City policy. To join, go to www.Residocracy.org

DOWNTOWN DESIGN DILEMMA: LOVE OR MONEY?

DOWNTOWN DESIGN DILEMMA: LOVE OR MONEY?

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The developments now under consideration with the Santa Monica City Council will irreparably alter the face of our city. Council members are faced with a huge responsibility and hopefully will understand that greed and density are not synonymous with quality of life. And publicly, fueled by our “democracy of gratification,” of buying and selling, too many of us have relinquished our interest in “community” in favor of “consumerism.” We are unanchored. We need to balance our values between GNP and GNB – between production of product and profit and production of beauty.

Another byproduct of this consumerism is industrial waste. How do we balance this need for greed with a healthy environment? Santa Monica is attracting pollution at an alarming rate. We are already living with traffic-polluted streets and toxic high density developments. Like the imperceptibility of climate change, we de-humanize our environment one building at a time. Are we afraid of prolonged intimacy with our sense of place? We need to make decisions based on human cultural and biological needs, instead of only looking at economic profit – and the paradox is that good environment is good economics. So few developers and city managers understand this.

The character of a city is embodied in its architecture and open space. Change and destruction of the traditional are too often the order of the day. How do we adapt? Asheville, Charleston, and Savannah are communities that have realized substantial growth in the past two decades, but have held onto their iconic history and sense of place. All these downtowns, similar in area to Santa Monica, are flourishing, with creative open space, pedestrian activity and adaptive re-use.

If you don’t want to travel that far to experience successful town planning, just go to Pasadena and experience passageways and arcades filled with people and small shops – walkways exclusively for pedestrians, not automobiles. Rather than high rise, the city is replete with restaurants opening to street-side patios, passageways with café seating and florist shops, or twenty-foot-wide skylit shopping arcades where development covers multiple lots. Pasadena sees the importance of green areas even WITHIN its developments. As blades of grass or roots of trees can grow in the narrowest of spaces between boulders, landscape can certainly flourish alongside our streets, buildings, and cars.

Is anxiety over tax revenues worth architectural mediocrity? What and why are we erasing what we have and love? Our urge is to undo things, that our tinkering will make it better. Are ocean breezes, blue skies, and sunshine flooding the pedestrian at street level, to be lost in the shadows of ever taller buildings? The real issue is what we can do to improve on the vibrant community we have created – to add the new without taking away from the old in Santa Monica.

The city manager, planning staff and the Council need to wake up! Downtown shouldn’t be about increased height and density. It should be about a pedestrian-friendly environment with open space, adaptive re-use, and better building design. It should be about wider sidewalks, passageways, arcades, green space between buildings and sidewalks, and variation in building heights and stepbacks. Santa Monica’s image as we know it is melting away. We are building barricades when we should be constructing altars. In ten years, will our city consist of massive building fronts, one similar design to another, whose seams are stitched and hemmed together with cars? Over-development is slowly covering the downtown like a cataract, and leaving at best, only a blurred vision of our wonderful beach and ocean community.

Architecturally we seem to have lost the ability to tell winners from losers as we are confronted with still more oversized projects. An example of this massiveness is the development that would take the place of Fred Segal on 5th Street. It’s an oversized, robotic design without wider sidewalks or any open space connecting public and private realms, the largest downtown project to date! It contains a six-story building which could easily be 70-75 feet but is bloated to the 84-foot maximum, with 250 apartments and 640 cars on four subterranean levels. And this will replace a humane, open shopping oasis – how sad!

Life is one of balance – tipping and tilting, gaining and losing – unending rock and roll. If this rampant rush of development is allowed to proceed, Santa Monica will lose its balance. City Council, we hope you realize the reckless course we’re on and will slow this development steamroller, not just downtown, but throughout the city.

With this corporate, consumer economy, we have lost our ability to say no, enough! City Council, we beg you to step into another way of seeing – keeping our values while adapting to change. Our overall quality of life is what’s iconic. Le Corbusier said “the fate of cities is decided in the town hall!!” W. Somerset Maugham put it this way: “It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.” You have signed on by putting yourself in this decision making role and the ability to stop this destructive behavior is in your hands.

By Sam Tolkin, Architect

SMa*r*t* Santa Monica Architects for A Responsible Tomorrow

Ron Goldman FAIA, architect
Bob Taylor AIA, architect
Dan Jansenson, architect
Thane Roberts AIA, architect
Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, architect
Armen Melkonians, civil & environmental engineer
Phil Brock, Chairman, Santa Monica Parks & Recreation

BERGAMOT FOUNDER WITHDRAWS FROM PLANNING PROCESS

BERGAMOT FOUNDER WITHDRAWS FROM PLANNING PROCESS

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Press Release: Wayne S. Blank Bergamot Station Ltd.
Santa Monica, CA May 20, 2014

After careful consideration I am announcing my decision to withdraw from the Bergamot Station developer selection process. I have become convinced that the City of Santa Monica’s current approach to redevelopment of the site is fatally flawed and that if the City remains on its current path, it will likely result in the death of Bergamot Station as a world-renowned arts center. I would urge the City Council to reject all three of the current development proposals and postpone major redevelopment of the complex at this time.

There are three major problems with the current developer selection process.

First, the City’s requirement that all parking for new buildings planned for Bergamot Station must be located on-site and will be primarily subterranean will result in severe disruption to the existing galleries and other tenants. As a gallery owner myself, and as one who has recruited and worked with the art gallery owners for the past 20 years, I do not believe we could survive the transition period. The City originally told potential developers to consider building a new parking structure on the adjacent City Yards property, but half-way through their selection process, staff rescinded that possibility citing too many questions about financing a parking structure and a City Yards master planning process which has not yet progressed to the point where such a site planning decision could be made. The City should postpone the Bergamot development process indefinitely until these critical questions are answered and should make a comprehensive parking program that realistically addresses the needs of Bergamot Station, Santa Monica City Yards and the impact of the new EXPO light rail station their top priority.

Second, the current process has veered drastically from the community’s desire to maintain the unique low scale industrial feel, and primarily arts-focused uses that define Bergamot Station. After seven years of community planning efforts for the area, the current staff-recommended development proposal departs most radically from the goal of preserving the special adaptive re-use qualities of Bergamot, as was suggested by the community during the LUCE process.

Third, the City’s developer selection process unwisely prohibited potential developers from including the adjacent privately owned parcels along Michigan Avenue in their designs and programming proposals. The City owns approximately 60% of today’s Bergamot Station land and the adjacent privately owned parcels comprise about 40% of the remaining area. 40% of the Bergamot galleries are located on the private portion. The private properties have operated in seamless connection to the City-owned land for more than 40 years, even when the entire site was a water heater manufacturing plant. The adjacent properties can provide critical relief to the phasing and parking issues facing this complex project. Including them in any proposal may make the difference between survival or extinction for many of the current art galleries at Bergamot. Moving forward, the City should work collaboratively with the adjacent property owners. It is the only realistic approach.

The cumulative impact of these problems outweighs any desire to rush hastily into a redevelopment plan for Bergamot Station. We should leave Bergamot Station as it is for now, except that a simple and cost-effective pedestrian connection to the new EXPO light rail station should be created in the interim. The City should focus its efforts on thinking through a more comprehensive parking program, should clarify its commitment to preserving the unique character of Bergamot, and should expand its thinking to include the historically connected privately-owned properties. Without this “re-boot” of the process, Bergamot Station as a rare and precious arts center and cultural resource will be unnecessarily threatened and potentially destroyed.

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HITTING LATEST CITY CHARADE ON THE HEAD

HITTING LATEST CITY CHARADE ON THE HEAD

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To Jessica Cusick, Cultural Affairs Division

Dear Jessica:

I received a notice about a two-hour long meeting Aug 23, 2014 about the above, which ended with this: “Staff from the City’s Housing and Economic Development Department, as well as the Cultural Affairs Division, will be in attendance to help answer questions about the multi-year community planning process leading to the RFP for developers and the overall guiding public policy objectives governing the site’s designation as a community cultural center.” This email responds. It is public, so feel free to share it with anyone you wish, and I specifically request it go to all members of the Arts Commission.

First, in the 21st Century there is no excuse whatsoever for having a meeting if it is just going to be the same charade check-off-the-box top-down so-called “community outreach” meeting the City has held for lo these many years, on this and every other subject. If staff is just going to tell us how they claim they thought to come to whatever decisions they have already come to, give us their so-called “expert” opinions and those of their hand-picked collaborator consultants, then put us in groups to pick a leader and tell that leader what to say on how to arrange deck chairs on the Titanic in five minutes that go overtime at the end, so most of what little the public got to say is heard hurriedly if at all and not heard by many who have to leave–spare us, we don’t need to come to a meeting for any of that.

Post all the FAQs, charts, links to more information, summaries, reports, and EVERYTHING ELSE YOU HAVE in one place on the Internet. If you’ve been working on this “multi-year” time, you should be ready to do that. In fact, even if there were an excuse for having a meeting in this day of instant and complete communication without that horse-and-buggy communication method, you still should post everything in advance so people could be prepared. Or is that the idea, to “document dump” and “information overload” people so they can’t properly respond?? These are well-known ploys used by planning staffs all over the world to try to keep the pesky public from interfering with the well-laid plans of so-called “experts.”. If there is to be a two-hour meeting, we want all the information in plenty of time to review it in advance–not 1,000 pages three days before the meeting, on a site not told to anyone, and malfunctioning half the time, as is your wont–and we want the ENTIRE two hours to be public input, recorded and on City TV, and transcribed and available to the rest of the public who did not attend.

Second, again even if there were a reason to have a meeting, it should not be held on the same day as the Citywide yard sale, which is held twice a year, advertised long in advance, registered for likewise, long in advance, and a major event. There are 51 other Saturdays you can pick from, so did you pick this one to intentionally exclude the poor who live near Bergamot and are most likely to be participating in the Citywide Yard Sale?

Third, again even presuming there were a need to have a meeting, two hours is not long enough to both do what is quoted above and hear any meaningful input from the public. Again, is that the purpose of having a two-hour meeting? and

Last, the Arts Commission should take seriously the fact that a real revolution is brewing in SM about the “arty” things that have been foisted on the public lately. The bike racks that need a sign to identify them as bike racks in Ocean Park, the length the public had to go to and the lies we were told along the way about saving the Chain Reaction, the ridiculous soulless artiness of the giant metal breasts in Tongva Park and the water feature in front of City Hall not working, but still the same contractor being hired for other “art,” and most of all, the “arty, beachy” non-sheltering BBB bus shelters. We are sick of it. We insist on real public outreach, with real choices, early enough to make a difference in the outcome, and all along the way, with prototypes, not misleading renderings, tested and approved by the public before millions are spent, not the charades that resulted in all these “art” projects cluttering up our streets.

About Bergamot specifically, the public has been clear in petitions, turning your past charade meetings into near-riots, and emails and letters such as this one that we do not want Bergamot destroyed in the guise of modernizing or improving or enlarging or making it transit-oriented or any other excuse you can dream up.

Am I making myself clear? Please govern your behavior accordingly, or if you have any questions about what I mean, please contact me and I’ll see if I have time to meet with you about it while I talk to you for an hour and 45 minutes and then we will have your Q and A, some two hours on a Saturday I pick without consulting you.

Very truly yours,

Brenda Barnes

This communication may be unlawfully collected and stored by the National Security Agency (NSA) in secret. The parties to this email do not consent to the retrieving or storing of this communication and any related metadata, as well as printing, copying, re-transmitting, disseminating, or otherwise using it. If you believe you have received this communication in error, please delete it immediately.

RUSKIN GROUP THEATRE PRESENTS PREMIERE OF NEW COMEDY

RUSKIN GROUP THEATRE PRESENTS PREMIERE OF NEW COMEDY

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From the Producers who brought you the critically acclaimed,sold out production of SIDEWAYS THE PLAY by Rex Pickett, a comedy about finding our own identities.

THE FACE IN THE REEDS: All families are a little crazy, it’s just the details that are different. While Passover is a celebration of freedom, it is also a quarrel about the meaning of freedom, the value of life, guilt about the past, and the shadow of death, which symbolically “passes over” the house. This night is different from all other nights and of course, this being a Jewish family, it is also a comedy. We’re all going to die–but first, you should eat.

Show Dates: Performances from 22 Aug 2014. Closing 11 Oct 2014
Fridays-Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm

Cast: Julia Arian, Tom Berklund, Aidan Blain, Ari Blinder, Chip Bolcik, Stacey Moseley, Angela Stern, and Paul Zegler

Production Credits: Directed by Sarah Figoten, Written by Robin Uriel Russin

Tickets: Pricing: $25 (Students, Guild and Seniors $20)
Box Office reservations: (310) 397-3244,
or http://www.ruskingrouptheatre.com

Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Road, Santa Monica

O’CONNOR HAS POLS’ SUPPORT, IGNORES THE PEOPLE

O’CONNOR HAS POLS’ SUPPORT, IGNORES THE PEOPLE

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In previous years, Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor has been backed for re-election by Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) , but at its 2014 convention, none of the candidates received the requisite 55 percent of the membership vote, and O’Connor got only 90 votes out of an estimated 450 votes.

The question was bounced to the Steering Committee, which consists largely of veteran SMRRs, but the convention ended without SMRR nominating anyone – for the first time in its 32-year history.

Last Saturday, the steering committee, which was not at full strength owing to conflicts of interest, met and named Kevin McKeown, who’s seeking re-election, and Planning Commissioner and SMRR loyalist Jennifer Kennedy. It didn’t name a third candidate and may or may not name one later.

Some people believed the committee would ultimately slide O’Connor into the third slot, but others said as she had received only 90 votes in the general membership vote, she was out of the running – with SMRR anyway. In the meantime, McKeown issued a very strong statement endorsing Planning Commissioner Sue Himmelrich, and vowing that he, Kennedy and Himmelrich would work together to restore Santa Monica’s spirit and character.

Meanwhile, O’Connor was picking up endorsements from area politicians — County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, former Santa Monica mayor Richard Bloom, who’s now a State Assembly member, and L.A. City Councilman
Mike Bonin.

“Pam O’Connor is my number one choice for reelection to the City Council,” Bloom said, “Pam has been an outstanding champion for Santa Monica and the people who live here.

“She is a compassionate, thoughtful and intelligent leader who knows how to solve problems and bring people together.”

In fact, in his typical blooper style, Bloom got it all wrong.O’Connor is lots of things, but she has not been an “outstanding champion for Santa Monica and the people who live here,” as the residents who were evicted from 301 Ocean Avenue can testify.

O’Connor led the Council to uphold an appeal of 301’s landmark designation. And that was that. Tramell Crowe was the original developer, but after it expelled the residents, it did nothing, and, after a while, the firm sold it – about the time its L.A. Director of Operations, Rick Cox was named “man of the year” by the Chamber of Commerce.

O’Connor has regularly asked for and taken campaign contributions from developers, and voted for their projects.She not only voted to approve the Hines project, which residents had objected to from the beginning, but when Residocracy. org. collected over 1300 votes in 30 days,requiring
the Council to rescind its approval or call for a special election, four Council members voted to rescind, but O’Connor voted to abstain. Loyal to the end, but not to residents.

According to Bonin, O’Connor “is the first to embrace big ideas, and the first to get them done.” It’s those “big ideas” that are the bases for all the problems residents are struggling to overcome right now.
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According to Surf Santa Monica, O’Connor’s local supporters in her November bid for a sixth four-year term include former Mayors Judy Abdo and Nate Trives, and Santa Monica Council members Gleam Davis, Bob Holbrook and Terry O’Day.

Like O’Connor, Davis, Holbrook and O’Day have all consistently taken campaign contributions from developers and voted for projects that have insulted this beach town rather than enhancing it.

O’Connor told Surf Santa Monica, “I am grateful that so many leaders are supporting me and my goals for Santa Monica,” O’Connor said. “They share my passion to keep improving our city’s schools, streets, transit, environment, public safety and affordable housing opportunities.”

“’They recognize that Santa Monica has a unique opportunity to build on the ‘Silicon Beach’ phenomenon and know that I will both protect the City’s character while ensuring its future success,” she said.”

In fact, we don’t want to build on the “Silicon Beach phenomenon.” we want to preserve the Santa Monica beach town phenomenon. Indeed, she and her Council colleagues’ consistent support of developers has damaged
the City’s character, and will ensure its ultimate decline, if they are not stopped.

Santa Monica residents do not need leaders or people to speak for them, we need people who will listen to us.
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