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Big Blue Bus was given $5.9 million to upgrade the agency’s all-alternative fuel bus fleet. The funds will purchase nine replacement compressed natural gas buses. The new vehicles will replace buses that have been
on the road more than 12 years. The new buses will provide a more comfortable commute experience for customers
and reduce vehicle maintenance costs. In addition, the new vehicles will reduce emissions released into the environment.

Big Blue Bus also received $1 million for new bus stop improvements. The Santa Monica City Council recently adopted a new operating plan which will meet the demands of the Expo Light Rail Line coming to Santa Monica
next year. The new service plan includes extensive changes throughout BBB’s entire service area and will re-
quire new stops systemwide. The funds would provide for bus signage and provide ADA accessibility at the new stops. BBB Director Ed King adds, “Identifying funding for the bus stops is a key step to implementing BBB’s
Expo related service as six new routes and changes to nearly all 20 BBB routes require the construction of
204 new stops.”

For more details on the Big Blue Bus service changes coming to connect with Expo please go to: www.bigbluebus.


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In its latest “report card,” Heal the Bay ranks Santa Monica Beach the “sixth worst beach” in California’s
beaches. That’s way beyond bad it’s inexcusable.

Santa Monica is a legendary beach town, It’s been on a first name basis with the world for generations. Its residents are an extraordinary mix of people from all over the world –. from scholars to real estate tycoons
to lawyers to self-made would-be geniuses to city employees whose pay ranges from “as needed” to $350,000 a

To protect beachgoers from illness, Heal the Bay urges ocean lovers to check updated water quality grades for nearly 600 beaches each week at


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Santa Monica is a legendary beach town.

It was founded in 1875 as a simple real estate development, and five generations of bright, talented, dev-
oted, diverse residents have made it a gorgeous, complex, idiosyncratic, grandly volatile and deeply satisf-
ying place to live and work — perfectly located on the ocean, small in scale, low key, prosperous – and in
the midst of the myriad pleasures and excitements of Los Angeles.

It’s unique, unconventional, an original, not a copy.

The primary fact of Santa Monica, its shaping element, is the ocean, and, aside from its sublime location, its greatest asset has always been its residents. They are smart, savvy and independent, and they are fiercely dev-
-oted to Santa Monica.

But some time ago, without the advice or consent of residents, City Hall decided that its top priorities were increasing its own revenues, and, in the noxious vernacular, “growing” the town, and, to that end, it reversed
the order of things, making itself the star of the show, while consigning residents to non-speaking roles.

As the star, City Hall gave itself license to ignore residents’ wishes when they ran counter to its own plans, made unilateral decisions at the expense of residents, and exploited both the residents and their town.

City Hall enjoyed portraying Santa Monica as a “model city” and “national leader” on “sustainability,” and
fulsomely of its progressive social and environmental policies, though they were in direct conflict with its retrograde economic and land use policies, according to its own 2006 “Sustainable City Report Card.”

It’s as if we gave City Hall a Steinway and it played nothing but “Chopsticks” on it. Badly.

City Hall either didn’t understand or had chosen to ignore the laws of cause and effect, and, as a result, residents suffered a surfeit of unintended consequences,

*For nearly two decades, City Hall spent its principal energy on diminishing Santa Monica’s quality of life
while claiming to improve it. It spearheaded an unprecedented building boom. It attempted to change both the focus and character of the town.

Great beach towns are rare and extraordinary, and Santa Monica is one of the best, but City Hall oversaw its dumbing down and tarting up, approved a row of “luxury hotels” on the beach and a luxe office district, and cranked up the Santa Monica Pier, the Third Street Promenade and Main Street on its way to turning this extraordinary beach town into what it calls “a regional commercial hub” as well as a tourist mecca.

*These changes generated more money for City Hall. They also tripled the daily population of the City to 250,000, which led to chronic traffic congestion, and triggered a variety of other problems.

*In 1982, City Hall founded and funded the Convention & Visitors’ Bureau without the knowledge or approval of residents, and, several years ago, again without the knowledge or approval of residents, the Bureau, which now costs taxpayers $6 million a year, unveiled a new “brand” marketing campaign in order, in its words, to “create
a new identity” for this legendary beach town and sell it as a product.

The “Brand Promise”chosen by the group was ‘Santa Monica, the best way to discover L.A, an unforgettable beach city experience, filled with eye-catching people cutting edge culture and bold innovations. It is the essence of the California lifestyle.” It made residents wince or scream, but, despite its plethora of clichés, it never caught on.

*The City then decided to make both the Third Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier not better or more fun
or more interesting or more of a piece with our beach town, but, in the City’s word, more “competitive.”

*Aligning themselves with City staff and developers, a majority of four of our seven representatives regularly betrayed residents, took campaign contributions from developers and approved dubious projects, while turning a deaf ear to residents’ needs and ignoring their interests as well as their interests. .

* Though it made a great show of wanting “community input,” the City dramatically reduced the role of residents in the project review process, in spite of their continuing protests One memorable step down and back took place when the Council voted 5 to 2 (with Bob Holbrook and Bobby Shriver dissenting) to end public review of affordable housing projects of 50 units or less.

*In sum, this eight-square-mile beach town of 92,000 residents was run for some years by a handful of elected and appointed officials whose agenda was not only at profound odds with residents’ wishes, but eroded our way of life.

*City Hall presumed that it knew better than residents did, and, in the process, did serious damage to the town. When public servants fail to serve the people, the people must act decisively to restore their rights, protect their interests and ensure the community’s future well-being.

And, whatever ever else we residents are, we’re smart, we love this gloriously idiosyncratic beach town, and
it’s our town. Our revolution began in the neighborhood organizations, and spread out into the neighborhoods. There were major issues — the airport, over-development, endless, often embarrassing promotion, City Hall
and the majority of four continued to court developers over residents’ objections.

Santa Monica was at a crucial verge. If City Hall was not got under control, our town would become one more
blip on the marketeers’ map, the unique beach town character would be obliterated.

Activist residents’ ranks grew, as did their demands. Dozens of them turned up regularly at Council meetings.

City Hall’s long-running twin obsessions with money and growth were the bases for virtually all the problems residents suffered — traffic congestion and spreading gridlock, the loss of open space, the sullying of once-serene residential neighborhoods, the transformation of downtown Santa Monica into a frenzied playpen
for visitors and shoppers, the extraordinary inflation of commercial rents and the consequent loss of valued
and vital local independent businesses and services coupled with the proliferation of high end big box chain stores, and the grotesque effort to reduce Santa Monica to a product in order to “sell” it to the travel industry.

Last year, residents finally prevailed. Armed with Armen Melkonians’ Residocracy, a form of direct democracy
that restores voters’ veto power, residents shut down a mediocre major development. And the November election resulted in the end of the majority of four, which had done so much harm, and replaced them with a new majority
of four.

They are pluperfect residents. Like many residents, they believe in slow growth, diversity, preservation of the beach town character, and more affordable housing. None them takes campaign contributions from developers.

Happily, Rick Cole, the new City Manager, whom all seven Council members voted for, seems to have a lot in common with the majority of four, and he knows the myth of Sisyphus.


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Our hearts sink again… our souls are damaged…. The Church In Ocean Park will be open for prayer and ritual
on Sunday, June 21st at noon ~~All are welcome ~~


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Broadway and 26th Street, Colorado Center Park, NOON -5:30 p.m.

Dear Friends, Family and Residents:Make Music Day 2015 has arrived! We have an incredible line-up of musical talent, free lessons, and giveaways. This is a family-friendly, dog-friendly, neighborhood event. See you

Santa Monica Mid City Neighbors. RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHP:
Sent by Stacy Dalgleish, Vice President and Communications Officer

Dear Friends, Family and Residents: Make Music Day 2015 has arrived!12 noon to 5:30 p.m. we have an incredible line-up of musical talent, free lessons, and giveaways. This is a family-friendly, dog-friendly, neighborhood event.

*The Ooks of Hazard *Rob Lafond *Rising Phoenix Morris Dancers *Root Chakar *The Illegals
*Shane Blue *Santa Monica Sam *Amy Arrow *Mike Cushner


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A great American writer has died. He was 90, and he had just signed with Knopf to write a memoir, when he
died in a physical therapy class. It was quick and final. He would have liked that.

His name is James Salter. That was his pen name. His real name was James Horowitz, but he didn’t want to be
seen as ”another Jewish writer from New York.” It took him a while to get to the writer’s table. He grew up
in New York, went to Horace Mann, and on to West Point, at the behest of his father, a West Point graduate.

On graduating from West Point, he joined the Army Air Corps, and flew combat missions in the Korean War. He
wrote two novels about his experiences in the war. – One of the novels, “The Hunters,” was made into a
movie, but he ultimately disavowed both of the war novels. They simply didn’t meet his standards. I’m pretty
sure that nothing he wrote ever met his standards.

Jim and I met and became friends in Aspen. I’d fled there from America several years earlier. Jim, his wife
and four young children had just arrived from New York. We were both besot with literature and became fast friends. One of his novels. “A Sport and a Pastime,” sent shockwaves down Publisher’s Row.

His own publisher, Harper’s, refused to publish it, on the grounds that there was too much sex in it. George Plimpton, publisher of the Paris Review, intervened and it was published. Years later, “Sport and a Pastime,”
was republished, and novelist Reynolds Price wrote of it, “It’s as nearly perfect as any American fiction I know.”

“Light Years” won a generally warm reception, when it was released. His non-fiction was as extraordinary as
his fiction, and as original. He showed us things we had never noticed, or admitted before. Again and again.
To read “Burning the Days” is to be present there and then. And he wrote screenplays, the most esteemed of
which is “Downhill Racer,” which Robert Redford commissioned and produced. His last novel, “All There Is,”
got very good reviews. But the New York Times, which gave Jim a half-page obituary and had given most of his
books raves (except an utterly sour review of “Light Years” by a writer who wore his envy like cold cream)
ruined it all with a cheesy banner head: “James Salter, A ‘Writer’s Writer’ Short on Sales but Long on
Acclaim, Dies at 90.”



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By SMa.r.t. on June 20, 2015 in SMa.r.t. Thinking 2

In coming days, City Council will fill three positions on the Planning Commission. In political circles, the hubbub on who will ascend to these important seats can be heard over in the next county.

How do candidates get nominated? Interested candidates fill out a form and submit it to City Hall. Those forms remain archived until openings appear on the commission and announcements are published seeking candidates.
City Council then reviews the candidate statements, nominations are made by Council members, and the Council

It is not only individuals that are interested in a position at the Planning Commission, but political groups
as well. As soon as Commission openings are announced (and often before then) there is much feverish behind-the-scenes activity by organizations wanting a Commissioner representing their interests. Individuals are approached to see if they’d like to serve. Names of suitable candidates are circulated to gather a response
from the faithful.

Apart from those connected with political groups, there are often other candidates-unaffiliated folks with an interest in serving, and with background and experience that can truly contribute to the city’s welfare. Those freelancers must compete with politically-connected candidates that have behind-the-scenes backing of powerful circles, all jockeying for influence and leverage. This is part of a larger process, in which political groups attempt to control City policy by placing their members, or their sympathizers, in positions of authority and importance.

What makes this competition tougher is that a position on the Planning Commission can be a stepping-stone to
City Council. For such groups, the effort to place a Commissioner becomes the first step in developing the ca-
reer of a future City Council candidate representing their views.

Since the Planning Commission has an impact on development, getting a suitable candidate into the Planning Commission is seen as critical for the advancement of different organizations’ agendas. In many ways, the nam-
ing of a Planning Commission member eclipses in importance the actual working of the Commission itself, because
of the candidate’s potential to ascend the lofty heights of the City Council dais down the road.

Lost in all this is the actual purpose of the Planning Commission. The Commission’s mission statement is on its web page:

To promote the health, safety and general welfare by encouraging the most appropriate use of land; provide adequate open spaces for light and air; prevent undue concentrations of population; lessen congestion on streets; facilitate adequate provisions for community utilities and facilities such as transportation, water, sewage, schools, parks and other public requirements; and, designate, regulate and restrict the location and use of buildings, structures and land for residents, commerce, trade, industry and other purposes.”

It is clear to the most casual observer that these essential functions have often, though not always, become submerged in the intense divisive battling that is a feature of political life in Santa Monica. Because City Council appoints planning commissioners by majority vote, many Planning Commission appointees reflect the political and ideological positions of the City Council majority at the time of their appointment. Instead of acting as a source of objective advice to City Council and a ground-level arbiter of land-use policies for the community’s benefit, a politicized Commission majority will often either strongly support the City Council majority, or strongly oppose it. The result is a politically divided Commission that is often a stage for proxy battles between different City Council factions, carried out by their allies on the Planning Commission. It is
an absurd situation that does the residents of this community little good.

A politicized Planning Commission is nothing new, of course. Some of the most notable politicized commissions
date back at least to the SMRR victory in 1981, when the then-Planning Commission acted, for a short while, in conservative opposition to the new City Council majority (See Pierre Clavel’s “The Progressive City: Planning
and Participation, 1969-1984)”. Politicized Planning Commissions are almost a traditional feature of progressive city governments throughout the country. One school of thought suggests that a politicized Planning Commission
is an important place to hash out ground-level battles, because it provides City Council with a window into the priorities of important constituencies, and an effective venue for carrying out City Council policies.

But in today’s Santa Monica, divided as it is among political camps, a different approach is needed to help make the Planning Commission less of a City Council redux, and more a strong government body that is effective in looking out for the interests of everyday residents. One step could require members of the Planning Commission whose terms expire (or end voluntarily) to wait at least two years before running for City Council. This would help create a healthy separation between their function as Commissioners and the political campaigning needed for a City Council run.

It is also important to attract, and keep, candidates and commissioners who represent a broad swath of Santa Monica stakeholders, regardless of their individual political positions. Architects and others with knowledge of planning and real estate should be represented on the commission, as should residents of other professions (or
no professions). All of them, however, must have experience in the community, and preferably a record of service that demonstrates a commitment to the needs of ordinary residents, and the community as a whole.

The City should help alleviate the crushing amount of work faced by planning commissioners by providing knowledgeable researchers who are not members of the City’s planning staff, and do not report to the City Manager’s office. These people would be less affected by the dynamics that inevitably develop between the City Manager and City Council. The Planning Commission fulfills a critical role in the functioning of this city, and planning commissioners should have independent support for their work.

A change is needed in the way planning commissioners are selected and appointed. And it is important to separate their function as commissioners from the pressures of running for City Council.

Daniel Jansenson, Architect, for SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow)

Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow: Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, architect, Phil Brock, Parks Commissioner, Ron Goldman AIA, architect, Daniel Jansenson, Architect, Armen Melkonians, Civil Engineer, Thane Roberts AIA, architect, Robert H. Taylor AIA, architect, Samuel Tolkin AIA, Architect.


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Please take a minute to help your neighbors who are negatively impacted by the Santa Monica Airport, and fill
out an online form located here:

Congress members Ted Lieu and Karen Bass have set up a meeting with the FAA in Washington, DC. In addition to
our U.S. Representatives, the meeting will be attended by Mayor McKeown and Santa Monica, Venice, and West LA residents.

While only a minority of Santa Monica and Los Angeles residents are affected by the airport, a much smaller minority actually uses the airport. Please help resolve this health and safety issue that has been a source of controversy for over 50 years. Let’s work together.

A little action can go a long way. Please fill out the online form and email friends, family and neighbors help.

We fought for Measure LC for a reason — To insure the airport land is used to expand parks, cultural and art activities.

Let’s help our elected officials to do the job we elected them to do. Let your voice be heard. We are the people. Stand up. Speak out. It only takes a minute.

Again, the online form is here;

If you prefer pencil, paper and mail, then go here, print out a form, fill it and mail or fax it to the address on the bottom of the form.

Thank you.

“A drop of effort can cause an ocean of change.”


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Sunday, June 21, citywide, throughout the day in various venues Free and open to all.

On Sunday June 21st, the summer solstice, a variety of performances in parks will take place across the City
of Santa Monica. This will be Santa Monica’s fourth year appearance in “Make Music Los Angeles,” a countywide celebration of music.

The event is based on France’s Fête de la Musique, a national musical holiday inaugurated in 1982.

This year, Santa Monica Neighborhood Associations, in partnership with Santa Monica Recreation & Parks Commis-
sion Chair, Phil Brock, and the Historic San Vicente Coalition, have put together an all-day musical smorgas-
bord in City parks including Palisades, Hotchkiss, Virginia Avenue, Colorado Center, Reed and Douglas.

To encourage participation in the event, the Cultural Affairs Division offered grants to the City’s Neighborhood Associations. Six are collaborating with Brock to create special musical offerings for the day.

The Pico Neighborhood Association invites residents and visitors to Virginia Avenue Park from 2-7:30pm. Bands include PYFC All-Stars, Larissa Dubois, Mack Keane, Leah Hall, and FreeLA, plus an opportunity for visitors to make their own music with The 100 Hohner Harmonica Project with Tom Nolan.

One hundred harmonicas, courtesy of Hohner, a 156 year old musical instrument company, will be distributed to participants who can join a lesson and play along with a live music performance.

The North of Montana Association will host music in Palisades Park’s Rose Garden between 2-8pm featuring Ukelele Mass Appeal with Brit Rodriguez, Dianne Michelle, Charlize Diaz de Leon, Carolyn Crotty, TRIL, Marcey Yates, JPS and Breaking Up, a Monologue. Ocean Park Association presents seven bands of varying genres in Hotchkiss Park between 12-7pm. Groups include: Dogtown All Stars, The Steady Rock, The St. Clairs, Maggies Toybox, Kristen Center, Calvin Banks and the Tellers and Ramini Natarajan.

Santa Monica Mid-City Neighbors will have music from 12-5:45pm at Colorado Center Park including Santa Monica Sam, Root Chakar, The Illegals, Rising Phoenix Morris Dancers, Mike Cushner, Rob La Fond, Shayne Blue and Ooks of Hazard.

The Wilshire Montana Neighborhood Coalition presents three musical acts, The Wilmonts, Plastic Chateau and Under the Sky, in Reed Park from 1-4pm.

Santa Monica Northeast Neighbors will have music in Douglas Park from 2-7:45pm including Dan Patrick Fulton, Katharina, Andrea Muller, Charlize Diaz de Leon, Jaq Mackenzie, Diane Michelle, TRIL, and Tee-M.

The Historic San Vicente Coalition features music from 3-7pm at Palisades Park’s Inspiration Point. Groups include: Nick Kandler, Band Meets World, Tee-M, Ben Anderson and Kinsey Ry. With so many parks activated, everyone should be able to experience live music and even make some of their own during Santa Monica’s celebration of Make Music Los Angeles.

Make Music Los Angeles, the countywide celebration, hosts performances in a variety of locations throughout Los Angeles, including community gardens, plazas, schools, courtyards and parks. MMLA has become an international phenomenon celebrated on the same day, the summer solstice, in more than 460 cities in 110 countries. Admission to all events is free.

Info: For updated information on the line up at each park, times and locations, visit


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As usual, the “SMC Independence Day festivities” will not be held on Independence Day. but on June 27.

Once upon a time, on the Fourth of July, the City of Santa Monica presented a legendary fireworks display
on the beach after dark on July 4. It was great, gorgeous, thrilling, breath-taking. People came from every-
where — far and near — to see it. And all these years later, we still get calls from people asking when
and where the fireworks will be held, and are, by turns, angry. sad and outraged when we tell them about
the SMC event.

Some years ago, alleging the fireworks attracted “trouble-makers, drunks and triggered “incidents,” the City
moved the fireworks to “dawn’s early light” on the Fourth. It began with a concert in the dark, and, as the
sun came up, the music stopped and fireworks filled the sky.

A whole lot of people were angry, but no one was surprised when the City handed the fireworks off to the
college, which has yet to celebrate the Fourth on the Fourth.

The college bills it as a “popular star-spangled salute to our nation’s independence” — on Saturday, June
27, and boasts that it’s “the only one of its kind in Santa Monica.” Given the horrific slaughter this week
of nine people in a church in South Carolina by a young man with a gun, it seems beyond demented.