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

By Brenda Barnes
SM Resident 

Why Didn't Kevin McKeown Work with Residents BEFORE He Was Worried about LV passing?  

An open letter Addressing "A message from Kevin McKeown about the dangers of LV."


November 8, 2016

A paid "No on LV Protestor in front of St. Monica's Catholic Church waiting for the Sunday morning crowd to leave mass.

Dear Editor and Fellow Residents of Santa Monica:

This is an open letter I sent today along with the email reprinted in italics below I had received from Kevin McKeown, SM Councilmember.

I sent it to the SM Observer and Mirror, since the SMDP prints a constant stream of opposition and does not print anything except straw man arguments supporting LV. In fact, once LV was approved for the ballot, the SMDP-which gets much of its advertising revenue from the City--removed the SMart architects group as columnists because they had been writing for years against the Council's approving overdevelopment beyond what the zoning code allows:

 Dear Kevin:

Why didn't you work with residents to "address our very real challenges"  BEFORE you were worried about LV passing?  How about when we at Village Trailer Park ("VTP") gave you evidence of a gag order by the developers against people opposing the development that would destroy the homes we OWNED there, and you did NOTHING with that evidence?  It was a copy of the form the people at the Park had to sign in order to get whatever pathetic non-replacement housing the City had made the developers give them. No addressing challenges from you.

Or how about when we gave you evidence (the City Geological Hazards map) showing the VTP land slated by the City to have an 80 foot excavation and tons of buildings put on it--to replace lightweight homes there since 1950--was in the highest liquefaction danger zone the state maps, but the City's Environmental Impact Report had not mentioned any such danger at all?  What about the fact you knew and everyone knows there are two major earthquake faults within less than a mile--one to the west, one to the south--of that land?  Those faults if they generated even slight earthquakes--to say nothing of major ones they inevitably will eventually generate--would cause such heavy buildings to implode into themselves? What did you do with that evidence?  You asked Planning Director David Martin about it at the next meeting, he said the City "has an app" for that, and you dropped it.  

That is the kind of working with residents to "address very real challenges" you do. Just enough to be able to argue when you run for reelection that you "tried," you're "slow growth," and you are on residents' side unlike others on the Council. One of whom, by the way, one who never saw a development or developer she didn't like, including the Miramar 20 luxury condo highrise proposal, whose owner-developer her husband works for-Gleam Davis-you actually supported in the last election, and SMRR endorsed this time. That is the very most no-help we always get from you and all the others on the Council. That is when we don't get actual attacks like sending the SMPD and funding 40 lawyers to work against us trying to keep the homes we have owned for almost 30 years.

What about the fact VTP residents told you you should not support Ted Winterer for the Council because he had cast the deciding yes vote at the Planning Commission approving the developers' plan to steal our homes at VTP?  We told you, but as a member of the Council you already knew, since there were only six members present at the time, that without his voting yes, just abstaining, not even voting no, which he always claimed he would do, the project would not have been approved by the Planning Commission, but what did you do?  You not only supported him, and did not disclose to voters the fact of his yes vote on VTP, which you still have not disclosed five years later as you continue to support him.  You also attacked VTP residents who said you should not support him, saying they should not "question the vote of a sitting Planning Commissioner" when opposing him for the Council.

This is how Kevin McKeown "addresses residents' very real challenges."  He plays the 4-3 game the rest of the so-called slow-growthers on the Council also play--taking turns voting no on projects so each member will have a list to tell residents s/he opposed, always unsuccessfully, of course--the next time s/he runs for election. But because the four who have the majority so-called slow-growth on the Council NEVER vote no all at once, which would follow the zoning code and stop these developments, horrible highrise after horrible highrise goes up, blocking ocean air and sun, clogging already-terrible traffic, making the City a constant construction zone, and in general destroying the small scale beach town we loved. You, in the meantime, are just so sad this happens with "residents' very real challenges."

That is why LV must pass.  No one on the Council can be trusted actually to require what the residents want. We will get another 30 years of talk instead.

Brenda Barnes and Peter Naughton, 

Owners for 28 years of a home at VTP separately protected by rent control from the land the Council agreed in 2006 in a confidential agreement with developers to help them demolish our home and build highrises and nearly 800 subterranean parking places on.

 Rent Control Charter-the law above the Council, so they knew what they were doing was illegal--requires on-site replacement housing with the same rights and amenities.  State law protected us from Ellis, which the replacement building is not. We are homeless and have been for almost two years due to the City requiring payment of only $20,000 maximum, and no such on-site or even off-site replacement housing, when the closest comparable in the same school district cost $450,000.


Residents are advising me they're receiving a printed piece with the headline "A message from Kevin McKeown about the dangers of LV."

This piece features quotes from an email I recently sent constituents. I stand by those quotes, and my reasons for urging a "no" vote, because

Measure LV is poorly thought out, too extreme, and fatally flawed with unintended consequences.

However, the printed piece is not a "message from me."

Residents have been bombarded by anti-LV advertising flyers, including one quoting longtime City Council member Kevin McKeown.

I did not create it, I did not authorize it, and I did not pay for it. Santa Monica Forward did. I have told the paid campaigns against Measure LV that they do not have the right to speak for me, or to make it appear I speak for

them, and that I would call them on it if they violated that agreement.

This is that call.

I continue to endorse a no vote on Measure LV, for reasons I have also explained here in the Daily Press, but that printed piece misrepresents my

relationship with paid campaigns. I had no involvement other than to be quoted, accurately, on things I had already said independently.

Measure LV is just not good for our city. When this is over, a week from now, I will continue to work with residents to address our very real challenges.

City Councilmember Kevin McKeown


Reader Comments

astuteguy writes:

I agree. Kevin McKeown is a hypocrite. He claims he is a slow-development guy but votes for every large development project. Reminds me of Melania Trump saying we need less bullying!!!


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