Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Is it Covid Cost-Cutting or Simple Incompetence that Brings Rats and Vagrants to Live on the Third Street Promenade?

Dumpster fire set off no alarms in downtown parking structure; it was lucky someone was there to report it and no one was injured

We received the following letter by Third Street Promenade property owner John Alle to City Manager Lane Dilg regarding unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the once-popular outdoor shopping area in downtown Santa Monica.

Dear Lane,

I have been arriving at my property on the Promenade for the last several days during early morning hours to supervise interior cleaning and maintenance. This last Friday and Saturday I walked the Promenade and surrounding streets.

The pictures and videos below (please click on link below) are from this last Friday morning 12/11/20 and Saturday morning 12/12/2 along the Promenade. I personally walked around to see what was happening.


The fire on Saturday was started by people smoking and sleeping IN the dumpsters and behind them. Someone could have died. The frustrating part of this is that I've sent you, Kathleen Rawson, Steven Welliver and Rob Rader photos and warnings on a frequent basis that this could happen, and now it has.

Friday morning:

1) Rats and mice in the dinosaur topiaries in the center planter area of the middle 1300 block. As I approached to take these pictures, they became frightened and scurried out in various directions. The rats nest there only when it is dark and there is no night, not during the daylight.

2) Food, garbage (even with almost all the restaurants closed), human feces on the cement in the dumpster rooms on the floor walls and in the garage of Structures 3, 5, and 6. Structure 6 was the worst, with one person in his own bodily fluid hidden behind a blue dumpster, two others wrapped in blankets behind a green dumpster, and another person sleeping inside a green dumpster.

3) Lit candles and cigarettes on or next to the dumpsters, food packages, cardboard and garbage.

4) Gate for the dumpster room of Structure 4 was closed (not locked), but the room was taken over by lots of people asleep on cardboard and directly on cement slab next to broken liquor bottles, glass, mashed food and urine that could all be smelled 30 feet away.

5) The pedestrian alleyway adjacent to Structure 4 in the 1300 Block (between S. M. Blvd and Arizona) is 1-way only for vehicles. Toward the end of the alleyway a heavy dumpster was left in the center, blocking cars. This could have been a planned 'set-up' for a robbery or car-jacking.

6) In front of Structure 3 there were heavy, broken bags of garbage dragged into and left in the center of the alleyway. The gates were open. Take a look at the walls in the photos below that were used as a toilet.

Saturday morning:

1) All the dumpster rooms in every Parking Structure facing the pedestrian alleyways were full of people sleeping, having sex, urinating and defecating, all oblivious to my walking by and getting the photos I have shown in the link below. Some looked sick, were coughing, and during the day will be mixing with and walking by people who live and work in Santa Monica who are required to wear masks and stay at least six feet apart during this contagious pandemic.

2) The smoke and small blaze were from the dumpster that someone pushed OUTSIDE the dumpster room of Structure 5, near Broadway. The smoke rose to the top of the parking structure, and the wind blew it west 50 feet. Not one single smoke alarm went off in the City garage. I saw this at about 3:50 am and called 911 who connected me to the Fire Department. The Fire Department arrived in less than 5 minutes and extinguished the blaze.

All this threat to life and potential damage to property can be avoided if you and the City get more involved and find the right people to manage DTSM (Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.). The majority of Stakeholders we speak to who own or lease property on the Promenade, 2nd and 4th Streets, are very upset. They are not heard or represented at the monthly DTSM Board Meetings.

PLEASE have the dumpster rooms locked at night, and lock or block off entrances to the six parking structures adjacent to the Promenade, that also face 2nd and 4th Streets.

Some of the Ambassadors have told me that because of Covid or cost-cutting, they are leaving at 10 pm. But "management" is a

24-7 responsibility. The problems with safety and cleanliness (rats, filthy dumpster rooms, and now a fire,) usually occur during the late evening and early morning hours.

I have notified you many times, in your role of Interim City Manager and Member of the Executive Board of DTSM, about the threat of a fire, and sent you, Kathleen Rawson, Steven Welliver and Rob Rader photos of the dumpster rooms with people asleep right next to candles, garbage, and lit cigarettes. I presented obvious and easy solutions to Kathleen and Steven, then copied you, on behalf of all the Stakeholders I have met and spoken to.

A fire occurred. We are all fortunate nobody was injured or died as a result.

John Alle

EJA Associates, L.P.


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