Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Articles written by Jon Berg

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  • Santa Monica's Utterly Useless Gas Stations

    Jon Berg, Special to the Observer|Feb 20, 2024

    The photos you see here were taken on the same day, Sunday January 21, a mere 40 minutes and about 25 miles apart. The $5.79 "high water mark" was the Chevron on Cloverfield; the low water mark, my favorite Sinclair station in North Long Beach. My absolute fave station, it even offers same price, cash or credit; and, no, I don't make a special trip down there to buy gas. But when I'm passing through on the way back from points south, I take a very short detour and fill up. A fill up of my...

  • Santa Monica City Council Explores Increased Parking Tax as Serious Parking Revenue Leak is Unaddressed

    Jon Berg, Special to the Observer|Jan 22, 2024

    These Observer pages have long chronicled decades of mismanagement by Santa Methica's governing bodies, the accumulated misdirection and incompetence having led the city to the death spiral in which it currently finds itself. However, there is likely agreement among not only Observer regulars, but, residents and tourists alike, that there is at least one thing in which Santa Methica has always excelled: terrorizing all who dare to drive a car here, by handing out very expensive tickets for expir...

  • A Convo About Santa Methica, 35,000 Feet Above Kentucky

    Jon Berg, Special to the Observer|Dec 21, 2023

    In Early November, I had an illuminating conversation about Santa Monica on American 2916 heading west from LaGuardia to Dallas/Ft. Worth. The middle seat on the Airbus was empty and the 60ish gentleman sitting in the aisle seat was well groomed and well dressed. Quiet at first, he began to chat somewhere over Kentucky. Introduced himself as Paul K., a lifetime New Yorker, proud of his humble southern Italian origins and subsequent success in the restaurant/food business. He three years ago...

  • Three Violent Incidents Against Tourists in One Evening in Santa Methica

    Jon Berg, Special to the Observer|Sep 28, 2023

    I'm always thinking about the next topics to address in my periodic submissions to the Observer. Upcoming candidates include the insanity of the road diet, the hulking, creepy "The People Concern" campus on Cloverfield, and the ridiculous and unacceptable amount of emergency vehicle siren/air horns noise in Mid City. Look for those submissions soon. Monday night, Sept. 18, I took a walk downtown for the first time in weeks. Those walks commonly provide me with ideas to be explored. Monday night...

  • Tear Up The Tracks: Santa Monica's Crime Train

    Jon Berg, Special to the Observer|Aug 20, 2023

    For quite some time---maybe, even, years---I've been working out in my head a piece dealing with a curse that arrived in Santa Monica at 9:49 AM on May 20, 2016. At that moment---cheered on by people who had had a hand in its gestation and birth, including (now convicted felon) Mark Ridley-Thomas, the now conveniently exiled hapless Eric Garcetti, and last but not least, the now blessedly-disappeared Pam O'Connor, Sheila Kuehl, and Kevin McKeown---the first train from downtown L.A. pulled into t...

  • Santa Monica in ICU on Life Support

    Jon Berg, Contributor-at-Large|Feb 8, 2023

    Back in September 2005 I was walking down the main drag of Auckland, New Zealand, when I spotted a travel agency's breathless window ad for a dream package trip to "glamorous" Los Angeles-Hollywood-Santa Monica (!!!). The ad featured a composite photo of both the Hollywood sign and SM Ferris wheel. I chuckled, feeling smug. This little window sign served to confirm my growing confidence that the 1996 timing of my departure from Marin County/San Francisco, in favor of sunny Santa Monica, was...

  • Santa Monica College Measure SMC bond issue: Too Much and Never Enough; and, JUST SAY NO on November 8

    Jon Berg|Oct 19, 2022

    "Too Much and Never Enough"---Mary Trump, July 14, 2020 "Just Say NO"---Nancy Reagan, Sept. 14, 1986 October 14, 2022 - The above statements by Mary Trump and Nancy Reagan summarize perfectly my feelings on Measure SMC. The statements should also summarize YOUR feelings. Measure SMC is Santa Monica College's LATEST attempt to pick your pocket, for a whopping $375 million---one of a seemingly endless stream of bond measures both passed and proposed by this fire-breathing dragon down on Pico. SMC...

  • Citizens, Taxpayers, Book-lovers, Children, Sanity, 1; Mike Bonin, 0 - Mar Vista Library Update

    Jon Berg|Oct 9, 2022

    A few weeks ago I submitted a story about the desperate situation in front of the Mar Vista Library at Venice Blvd. and Inglewood, complete with images of the depravity that no civilized society should tolerate. Last week I returned to the area. I am happy to report that things have changed dramatically. The filthy encampments and their entitled flipping-you-the-bird "residents" are gone, replaced by a clean, normal sidewalk and large galvanized metal planters weighing hundreds of pounds, which...

  • With Homeless Camping Allowed on Private Property, Santa Monica Has Become "Slum By the Sea"

    Jon Berg, Santa Monica Resident|Aug 26, 2022

    If you shudder, as you pass the infamous, filthy, dangerous, druggie-filled "Boninville" camp under the freeway at Venice and Sepulveda, or the countless homeless vagrant encampments in Hollywood, or, indeed, that horrible homeless mess under the Pico/Centinela bridge as close as Santa Monica's eastern border with West Los Angeles, well, don't take comfort by telling yourself that that can't happen here in Santa Monica. Actually, it can, and IS already happening. And it all seems to be...