Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

LETTERS

 

October 27, 2014



How to Lose Control of “Our Land”

The Yes on Measure LC Committee loudly complain that, if voters closed the airport under the terms of Measure D, nothing in that measure directly addresses the development process that would follow. This is true and it was done by intention - not by omission. Unlike Measure LC, Measure D does not attempt to skirt existing land use regulations in Santa Monica.

As City Attorney Marsha Moultrie has noted on numerous occasions, the City already has in place robust processes and regulations that govern the development of any large tract of land. These regulations require the formulation of a Specific Plan and, in the case of the 227 acres of land that comprise Santa Monica airport, would require that any Specific Plan be integrated with the existing City Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE).

Making a Specific Plan is a public process and directly involves the voters in formulating guidelines that only allow the kind of development that they want. Undoubtedly, after their experience with formulating the LUCE and seeing our City Council and their developer friends run circles around its stated intent, the voters will be more careful about specifying exactly what they wish for.

Measure LC short circuits this public development process by inserting language into the City Charter that overrides the LUCE and any Specific Plan and gives the City Council the power to make six types of land use changes “without voter approval”. This was done intentionally by Council members to prevent the voters from participating in decisions about how to use the airport land if it is closed.

What’s in the City Charter is law. It can’t be changed by a new regulation - only by amending the Charter. Measure LC’s Charter language empowers the seven members of City Council to skirt land use regulations and avoid public processes and allows seven politicians to control and develop an area the size of our downtown.

Measure D respects existing land use regulations and invites the full use of existing public processes to determine the future of all of the airport land. It’s that simple.

Voting for Measure LC is a sure way to Loose Control of future airport land to developers and their friends on the Council. Measure D keeps future airport decisions firmly in the hands of the voters of Santa Monica.

The choice is clear. Vote YES on D and NO on LC. Preserve your democratic right to control land use in Santa Monica. That’s what I plan to do on November 4th.

Dave Hopkins,

Ocean Park Resident

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Ben Allen v. Sandra Fluke

On page 3 of your last issue, Sandra Fluke was mistakenly listed as a consumer rights’ attorney. She’s actually a social justice attorney. Could that be updated?

Thanks for printing and posting Sandra’s piece. Sorry she wasn’t able to earn your endorsement. Maybe you could meet in person at some point in the future, and I’m sure she’ll get your backing next time.

Abigail Gardner

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Tuckered Out

As a teacher, and having been of the opinion that the SM Observer is fairly progressive politically, I was totally shocked at your endorsement of hedge fund banker Marshall Tuck to run California’s public schools.

Your arguments were totally deceptive and untrue, saying that Tuck would “look out for kids”, and be a “breath of fresh air”, and that Torlakson represents “institutionalized educational bureaucracy”. Total unmitigated nonsense!

May I ask where you got that stuff from? From a Tuck campaign ad? Is that journalism?

What do your editors know about K12 education, and how do they know it? Have any been in a school since they were kids?

Why didn’t you ask the people on the front lines of educating California’s children—the teachers? Any teacher would tell you that Torlakson, an experienced educator, is a far better choice. He has done a good job so far in the position, and deserves a second term.

Tuck on the other hand, is downright scary. He is an investment banker who has never been a teacher, knows nothing about education. He is heavily funded by billionaires who seek to privatize our public schools, and make private profit from our public tax money. He represents the 1% of the 1%, not the children of California.

Please issue a retraction of your endorsement of a Wall Street banker trying to privatize our public schools, before the November 4 election. Thank you,

Sincerely yours,

Michael Spector

Teacher, LAUSD

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Among the 14 candidates for Santa Monica City Council there is an independent candidate who genuinely and sincerely wants to serve the interests of the residents of Santa Monica. Your publication had the courage to endorse Phil Brock, the only other person who deserves the vote of the residents of this city.

Also among the 14 candidates for city council there is one candidate who is isolated from large segments of the Santa Monica public. A public that has been duped for decades by Santa Monica Renters Rights coalitions, City Employee Associations, SMC, SM/MUSD, Neighborhood groups and PACs, all spending large sums of money on candidates that serve their interests over the residents...

This happens in every city, county, state, and in the nation.

For the last 22 years and 12 election campaigns, I have consistently fought for the residents and ONLY the residents. I actually have a plan to implement real transparency and accountability in government. That is something all politicians, even Obama, promise but never deliver. My plan to accomplish that almost impossible challenge is to integrate a Virtual Town Hall, linked by FREE city wide, high speed, broadband WiFi, to moderated public forums on the Home Page of the city website, so the residents of this city will have a voice in the decision making process..

I am that candidate, and I am asking for your publication’s endorsement for Santa Monica city council. Having run for city council yourself, as publisher and editor, you know who I am and what I am trying to do against all odds, and without reservation or restraint against speaking the truth.

What this election is really about is WHY there is development? That is the elephant in the room, only I am talking about. That is the cronyism and conflict of interest, among the SMRR/city employee alliance to create more revenue for parasites feeding on a half billion dollar gravy train; the city budget, of which almost 3/4ths is absorbed in administrative mismanagement, obscene salaries, benefits, pensions, etc.

This then is the story of how how development and airport politics play out in this city, to create revenue for greedy feeders at the public trough.

Some candidates are running for vanity, for attention; some as a means to network, to get their name out there. Some are hoping to get a city job with all the benefits, and some are hoping to become insiders to get on the SMRR gravy train. Two are running to retain the endorsements that allow them to maintain their incumbency status, and the power to disburse a budge of over half a BILLION dollars...

Now, there are four basic positions on development in this city; smart, slow, responsible and no growth. Starting with smart growth and working down from high rise commercial, mixed highrise/commercial, so called affordable housing (SCAH) and mixed use, slow growth with SCAH only, responsible growth that serves the residents only. Finally, one candidate advocates a moratorium on all growth until all present construction, the California incline and Expo line are completed; followed by a period of at least one year to assess the impact of the last four years of explosive growth, after which the residents have veto power on future construction via the implementation of a Virtual Town Hall, with moderated public forums on the city website home page.

Here is the order of candidates’ positions on growth, starting at the top: Pam O’Conner, Jerry Rubin, Frank Gruber, Mike Feinstein, and Richard McKinnon, followed in order by the so called slow growth SMRR nominees; Kevin Mckeown, Sue Himmelrich. and Jennifer Kennedy...

The next group are newcomers Nick Boles, youngest candidate, and Zoe Muntaner, the compassionate candidate, who isn’t quite sure what she wants. Then there are the two pro-airport candidates; Whitney Scott Bain and Terence Later, who are absolutely convinced that the airport property is going to become a developers dream of high rise office buildings, or a giant Sports Stadium, or the council will turn Santa Monica Community College into an International University....

Finally, there are two candidates who are genuinely fed up with how the city is mismanaged; the incompetence, cronyism, nepotism, greed, conflict of interest and blatant corruption,myself and Phil Brock...

I’m Jon Mann; a man for the people, and I approve this message

 

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