Santa Monica's Ruling Elite Opposes Measure LV, Which Would Curb Their Power
Don't want to lose their most important power: Granting Construction Permits
October 2, 2016
If you follow what goes on in Santa Monica City Hall, it's really been pretty much the same since 1982. The City grants massive development permits to favored developers. The City Staff grant developers permits to build huge buildings that are not in the best interest of residents, because they generate traffic, noise, density, trash, without generating jobs or money for local residents.
Every 4 years, residents return the same City Council members to office, because they have SMRR following their name on the ballot. But now, that just may be coming to an end.
The Staff get paid astonishingly high salaries (105 of them earn more than $300,000 a year--in the City of Bell, that would be criminal. The salaries are supported through developer fees and taxes. No wonder the In Santa Monica, it's all called business as usual).
This has gone on for 30 plus years, which is why you can't drive out of Santa Monica on the Santa Monica Freeway, anytime after 3 pm on a weekday. They've built massive developments like all the NMS apartment buildings in downtown Santa Monica, the Water Gardens (which by the way have taken out the fountains), the MTV Plaza, all the large office buildings on the North side of the Airport, the towers on Wilshire Blvd, the MGM plaza, two giant hospitals (UCLA and St. Johns). They replaced the Village Trailer Park with yet another large mixed use building. It is the inexorable march to transform a beachtown, into Manhattan by the Sea.
Residents have had it. They've had enough.
Measure LV is a genuine green-shoots home grown movement against this. In a year when voters throughout the West are opposed to political elites and the Status quo, in Santa Monica residents want to take away the greatest, most important local power from the City Council and give it to the voters.
What is the response of the local elite? Pure terror, of course. They have hired a political consultants and phone banks who call local residents, supposedly in the guise of taking a local poll, but actually in order to "educate them" on the danger of people voting on developments. This is called a "Push Poll," in expensive election consultant parlance.
One Santa Monica reader, Liz, called me to say she was "Push Polled." A typical question "Did you know that if Measure LV passes, it would be much harder to remodel your kitchen?" She said she knew at once that there was big money against Measure LV. Santa Monica residents are smart like that.
The local political elite likes to tax and spend. They do not want the voters deciding, property by property, whether or not to replace the post office at 5th and Arizona, with yet another office tower. The voting would be a foregone conclusion.
Example: This from the Committee for Excellence in Public Schools:
CEPS believes that in order to serve all students well, schools need funding to hire great teachers, offer excellent curricula, and---just as importantly---provide appropriate facilities in which to learn and thrive. After extensive research, presentations by proponents and opponents, and lengthy deliberation, CEPS opposes Measure LV based on concerns about its potential impact. Measure LV does not provide an exemption for construction of public or non-public schools; it could severely restrict the construction of housing that would be affordable for families with children in our schools as well as the teachers and staff who wish to live and work in Santa Monica; and it diminishes trust and respect in the public policy process in our community.
In opposing Measure LV, CEPS is neither dismissing the serious concerns raised by its supporters nor questioning its proponents' motives. We simply believe that Measure LV will make things worse, not better, especially for our schools. It could delay and even prevent the badly needed modernization or post-disaster reconstruction of many educational facilities. We worry that its passage would diminish our community's commitment to inclusion and helping people of all socioeconomic levels have access to housing, good jobs and great schools in Santa Monica.
Of course CEPS oppose LV. That might reduce the number of huge developments paying money into the local tax system.
Local voters are about to tell the local political elite that they'll have to cap their salaries at maybe $250,000 a year. The roads are already full, and there's plenty of empty retail, office and commercial space available as it is. It has all the anger and righteous indignation of a revolution.