Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

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  • Short Shrift for Veterans as U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Reports a 7.4% increase in Veteran Homelessness

    John Grimaldi, Association of Mature American Citizens|Mar 14, 2024
    1

    WASHINGTON DC, March 8 -- Not long ago many of us greeted veterans and active-duty soldiers, sailors and marines with a heartfelt "thanks for your service." It made us feel good. But perhaps it should make us feel sad now that HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is reporting that there's been a 7.4% increase in veteran homelessness. According to the Epoch Times, it means that "nearly 13 percent of the homeless adult population are veterans." Yet, the newspaper notes,...

  • Our Community Already Pays the Highest Taxes in the Nation. So Why is the School District Appealing for Funds?

    Houman David Hemmati M.D. Ph.D., and Ellen Goldstein|Mar 14, 2024
    1

    Editor's note: This is a response to the SMMUSD's recent appeal for private donations, at https://www.smobserved.com/story/2024/03/06/news/span-classbrnwsbreaking-news-spansmmusd-school-superintendent-shelton-appeals-to-community-for-donations/8150.html Dear Dr. Shelton and Esteemed Members of the SMMUSD Board of Education, We hope this letter finds you well. We are writing to you not just as concerned parents within the SMMUSD but as active community members deeply invested in the quality and...

  • Its Time to Make Good Trouble Over Outsized Gelson's Project, Says Neighborhood Group

    Karen Croner|Mar 6, 2024

    Dear Neighbors, TIME TO "MAKE GOOD TROUBLE! I am writing to ask you to show up and use your voices and simple presence to "make good trouble" tomorrow night, Monday, Feb. 4th, regarding the oversized Gelson's development at the Architectural Review Board meeting at City Hall at 7 pm. Alternatively you could WRITE A LETTER to the ARB to be received by 12 pm tomorrow, the 4th, pleading, yelling, singing out that residents’ concerns must be respected. What we want is good for future tenants at G...

  • Santa Monica is Broke. 28% of sales tax is generated downtown, an area with a now-45% vacancy rate

    John Alle|Mar 6, 2024

    Tuesday evening February 20th I attended the Santa Monica City Council's Audit Sub-Committee Meeting. The Audit Subcommittee is not a City commission or board. It is supposed to provide an alternative way for employees, taxpayers or other citizens to confidentially report suspected illegal, improper, wasteful or fraudulent activity and provide periodic review and selection of external auditors. It is supposed to act in an 'advisory' capacity and review all City audit reports, analyze their...

  • Reestablish a Lawful Community: Elect Jonathan Hatami for Los Angeles County District Attorney

    Alyssa Erdley, Observer Staff|Mar 6, 2024

    February 1, 2024 - Can you imagine Santa Monica without drug addicts exposing themselves while you're waiting for a bus? Where vagrants are not allowed to take up residence in your garage? Where those who commit retail theft actually get charged and go to jail? Jonathan Hatami can imagine that. A veteran of the United States Armed Forces and a Los Angeles County prosecutor for the past seventeen years, Hatami is running for District Attorney, the job George Gascon has abdicated since taking the...

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Trump's $355 million fine

    Susan Shelley, Special to the Observer|Mar 1, 2024

    Let me tell you about the time Ruth Bader Ginsburg saved Donald Trump $355 million plus interest. It was Feb. 20, 2019, and Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the court in the case of Timbs v. Indiana. In that case, police in Indiana had seized Tyson Timbs' Land Rover SUV, which he bought for $42,000 with money he received from a life insurance policy when his dad died. The state sought civil forfeiture of the vehicle because Timbs had pleaded guilty to drug dealing and conspiracy to...

  • Springtime in Vienna for Council Member Gleam Davis at Taxpayer Expense

    Sid Baker, Special to the Observer|Mar 1, 2024

    (Editor’s note: Gleam Davis is not termed out and could run for one more term). Gleam Davis will term out on the City Council this year. Why are Santa Monica taxpayers paying to send a lame duck Council Member to Vienna, Austria for a week in April for a housing conference? Find out (or not) when the City Council addresses the Budget at its Tuesday, February 27 meeting. ____ Nobody else could go? But the City is already sending Council Member Torosis. Is Caroline’s attendance not adequate? Why...

  • The Catastrophic Unintended Consequences of the Needle Exchange Program in Santa Monica Parks are Denied by Health Department Officials at Santa Monica Parks and Recreation Division Meeting

    Arthur Jeon, Special to the Observer|Feb 26, 2024
    1

    Editor's note: We received the following letter sent to Los Angeles County's top Department of Public Health officials from a Santa Monica resident: To Dr. Tsai and Dr. Ferrer, I've lived within two blocks of Reed Park for 25 years and lived firsthand the destruction of our commons under all sorts of "harm reduction," and decriminalization social experiments. I just caught Dr. Tsai's presentation to the Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission and your answers to their excellent questions, i...

  • 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 Unanimously Votes to Send Two (Wealthy) Members to Vienna, Austria at Taxpayer Expense

    Sid Baker, Letter to the Editor|Feb 20, 2024

    To the Residents of Santa Monica: Remember the names of our City Council members: Gleam Davis Lana Negrete Phil Brock Christine Parra Jesse Zwick Caroline Torosis Oscar de la Torre The City of Santa Monica has many problems. Ample and affordable housing. Public safety. Commerce. Education. Traffic. The homeless. Infrastructure. Taxes. A limited budget. There are many ways to learn about housing and other planning issues and solutions. We have many world class universities in this state a...

  • Eviction Protection: Santa Monica City Council to Consider a Solution in Search of a Problem

    Edith Karmes, Special to the Observer|Feb 20, 2024

    I am writing in opposition to Item 5G ("Discussion of Potential Resolution for Charter Amendments for Additional Tenant Protections") on the Agenda for the February 13 meeting of the Santa Monica City Council, l and any proposal to adopt by Initiative, Ordinance or otherwise any proposal to condition eviction for nonpayment of rent on the nonpayment of any more than the rent that is past due, which in the case of a month-to-month tenancy would ordinarily be one month's rent. This proposal is unc...

  • Gascon's Own Staff Disagrees with LA Times Recommendation to "Keep Gascon in Place"

    Ryan Erlich, Association of Deputy District Attorneys|Jan 29, 2024

    On Sunday morning, the Los Angeles Times endorsed George Gascón in the District Attorney's race. Their justification? Voters should "reject the nonsense and keep Gascón on the job and criminal justice reform in place." The editorial board returned to that theme in their closing sentences. "Voters were right to pick him in 2020," they wrote. "They ought to keep him in place for another term." Notice that language: "Keep him in place." Their editorial was not what one would call a "positive" or ev...

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

    Jon Berg, Special to the Observer|Jan 22, 2024
    1

    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...

  • Santa Monica City Council Should Respond Immediately to New California Densification Laws

    Arthur Jeon, Special to the Observer|Jan 22, 2024

    New state laws initiated January 1st are going to allow building up to 20 stories in Santa Monica and add 67,000 residents. Land use lawyers for developers have already begun pulling and resubmitting housing project plans to the City in order to take advantage of the huge increases in size allowed by the new law. What’s the vision for Santa Monica? Is it Miami Beach? Residents, read this excellent article that spells out what’s coming: (https://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/letter...

  • The Truth that is Hidden by Anti-Police Activists Regarding Pretext Stops

    Tina Grossman and Arthur Jeon|Jan 15, 2024

    Arthur Jeon writes: This is the truth being obfuscated by anti-police activists (a tiny but vocal minority): 2438 people were arrested in Santa Monica last year. 180 of those 2400 had Santa Monica addresses (many repeat offenders using SAMOSHEL as an address). This means that approximately 92% of arrestees were NOT FROM SANTA MONICA. So comparing racial identities with Santa Monica residents is intellectually dishonest at best, or a lying manipulation by defund activists at worst. Regardless of...

  • Gascon Abdicates Responsibility at the Parole Board, Allowing Hundreds of Convicts to Walk Free

    Kathy Cady, Association of Deputy District Attorneys|Jan 11, 2024

    Gascón Abandons All Murder Victims' Families In the criminal justice system, a prosecutor's role of seeking justice extends beyond the courtroom; it involves a profound responsibility to victims' families, ensuring their voices are heard and their concerns addressed. Under District Attorney George Gascón, this fundamental duty has been abandoned. Instead of championing the rights of victims and their families, the Gascón administration has opted for a disheartening approach of rolling over or...

  • Pretext Police Stops Are Not Racist, Say Multiple California Police Unions, and Here's Why Not

    Los Angles, San Francisco, and San Jose police protection unions|Jan 11, 2024

    Los Angeles (CA)--The California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (Board) released its Report on Police Stop Data for 2022 made by California law enforcement agencies. The Los Angeles Police Protective League and the San Francisco and San Jose Police Officers Associations issued this joint statement in response: "This latest RIPA report takes the easy way out by relying on a dizzying number of charts, figures and statistics instead of presenting a serious public policy analysis. The...

  • Commissioners Accuse Police Union of Suppressing Racial Traffic Stop Data, but This is a Fake issue

    Arthur Jeon, Special to the Observer|Jan 11, 2024

    Santa Monica DOES NOT have a police brutality or bias problem. After being attacked twice in a year within a block of my house, I don't care that the first attacker was white and the second one was black. It was their behavior that was the problem. But if we're clocking immutable and random differences in pigmentation, I did notice that the responding officers were female, Hispanic, and in the second attack, majority black. I didn't care what their skin color was either; I was just happy to see...

  • The Reality is Our Neighborhood Has Been Invaded by Drug Dealers and the Addicts They Service

    Arthur Jeon, Special to the Observer|Jan 1, 2024

    Thanks for sharing these videos, Santa Monica Coalition. This is my neighborhood. Council et al, Really watch these two videos and what these women are saying. Take whatever opinions you have about where the videos came from and simply absorb them. I did. Right behind my fury came a surprising and deep sadness. These women, with babies, just trying to live their lives at the local park. The addicts, allowed to disintegrate and die on the streets under the empty promises and failed policies of...

  • Association of Deputy District Attorneys Board Endorses Eric Siddall for District Attorney

    Association of Deputy District Attorneys|Dec 28, 2023

    The Board of Directors of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys ("ADDA") has adopted the recommendation of its Endorsement Committee to endorse Eric Siddall to be the next District Attorney of Los Angeles County. This endorsement is the product of an exhaustive, months-long, fact-based analysis of District Attorney candidates by the ADDA's Endorsement Committee, a process outlined in the Association's Endorsement Protocol. The Committee, which was composed of Deputy volunteers, received a...

  • Police Union Opposes BLM Lawsuit to End Traffic Stops on Suspected Stolen Vehicles

    Board of Directors, Los Angeles Police Protective League|Dec 28, 2023

    Los Angeles (CA) –Today, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and other activist groups filed a lawsuit against the LAPD attempting to prohibit car stops of suspected stolen vehicles. The Los Angeles Police Protective League issued this statement in response: "If successful, the latest legal stunt by the police abolitionist group BLM-LA will serve no other purpose than to allow car thieves to get away with stealing more cars and place police officers in further danger as they attempt to investigate c...

  • Repealing Costa-Hawkins Vacancy Decontrol Will Hurt Renters - and Almost Everyone

    Jay Johnson, Special to the Observer|Dec 28, 2023

    The repeal of existing law (Costa Hawkins Act) and rent freeze effort by the Aids Foundation has been defeated twice before. Polling shows it will be defeated again. This initiative to freeze rents on vacant units is on the November '24 ballot. It is bad for RENTERS, bad for our city, bad for homeowners, bad for condo owners, bad for prospective tenants, bad for new construction, and bad for our apartment supply . Since vacancy decontrol/recontrol was fully implemented in 1999, 24 years ago,...

  • Councilmember Gleam Davis Proposes Building Housing On the Santa Monica Airport After it Closes in 2028

    Tricia Crane, Chair, Northeast Neighbors|Dec 28, 2023
    1

    Dear Northeast Neighbors and friends: Last night sparks flew as the City Council discussed the proposal of internationally renowned public park design firm Sasaki Associates to design a Great Park at Santa Monica Airport. City Staff presented and recommended a six-point Action plan for the agreement with Sasaki. Councilmember de la Torre was absent, but a discussion and vote ensued. Sasaki made an impressive presentation of its past projects converting airports to parks. Then Gleam Davis made a...

  • Wiener Whines About an Antisemitism He Helped Create

    Corva Corvax, A Logical Opinion|Dec 25, 2023

    December 14, 2023 - California State Senator Scott Wiener tweeted on X today his horror at hearing bystanders shout "Free Palestine" at him in Union Square at a Hanukkah celebration there. "Harassing Jews celebrating a holiday has nothing to do with the war & everything to do with antisemitism," he wrote. One wonders what planet Wiener has been living on. Does he still think those who oppose the Jewish State of Israel separate their feelings about Israel from those about Jews? Jewish university...

  • Santa Monica Voters React to Proposed Salary Increase for City Manager David White

    Alyssa Erdley, Observer Staff|Dec 25, 2023

    December 19, 2023 - In an email, John Alle of the Santa Monica Coalition, supplied comments from Santa Monica residents regarding the proposed ten percent increase in the salary of City Manager David White, and they are not in favor. The Santa Monica Coalition is a group of residents, property owners, and businesses that advocate restoration of safety, cleanliness, and prosperity to the city. The proposal to be considered at tonight's city council meeting is to raise White's salary from $ $365,9...

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