Santa Monica's Two Main Problems Are Public Safety and Homelessness. Both of Them Have Solutions
A phone conversation with Albin Gielicz, candidate for Santa Monica City Council
October 3, 2022
Authors note: These are my notes from a phone conversation with Albin Gielicz, candidate for Santa Monica City Council
The political climate for the last few years has not been fully functional, which inhibits solving problems. Our two main problems are how to improve public safety, and how to bring the homeless home.
I'm a Recreation and Parks Commissioner running for City Council on issues like public safety and homelessness, as well as economic recovery. I meet many local residents who, like me, love living here, but have safety concerns.
In order to improve public safety in Santa Monica, we need to start by recruiting a complete police force of 221 officers. We're still about 30 officers below that authorized number. We need to reach that authorized number, then see if we need yet more officers.
I've been heavily involved for the last 15 years on boards and commissions, I spent 8 years on the Travel and Tourism board, 2 years as its chair person, and I see how we make the money. My service on the Recreation and Parks Board, helps me to understand how we spend the money.
I served on the Virginia Avenue Park Advisory Board, which helps me understand the problems of the Pico community.
I was on the Montana Merchants Board for ten years, and also the Santa Monica Sustainable Works Board. With all my service on these City boards, the common denominator is I get in there, I roll up my sleeve, I do the work and get it done. I have a civil relationship with city staff and other community leaders.
I'm 50 years old. For most of my career I've done international marketing and sales. At times I've lived abroad and brought American brands into other markets. At other times, I've lived here and imported international brands for Americans to experience.
About 18 months ago, I shifted. I started to work as a Small Business Advisor with the Long Beach City College Small Business Development center. Last February they hired me on as one of their advisors. Which is in line with what I've done for the merchants association.
I consider myself the LGBTQ candidate for City Council. I live with my partner of the last two years.
Homelessness is a complex and multilayered issue. To solve it or at least mitigate it, I would stick with the homeless board we have now but work the solutions more intensely. Everyone needs housing as well as addiction services. We probably need more of it, we're part of a region and our regional partners are not doing all that they can
So I would get in touch with council members from other cities, and work on broader solutions to the homelessness problem.
Another problem that should be discussed by candidates for public office, is sustainable and equitable economic recovery. I feel that there is a symbiotic relationship with the top three. Once we do achieve "safe and clean," I feel economic recovery can dovetail from that
We have a steady return of our international travelers, who spend the most nights here among hotel guests.
And obviously to make it equitable, the bigger our hospitality industry is, the more jobs they can create. They're almost at pre covid level occupancy. So we're getting there,
But there are more vacancies on the promenade and it's harder to rent them out because the spaces are too big, and there are other problems on the promenade
Solutions are with the property owners so they can create more of a plate form for businesses, but we also have to create and clean and safe environment for them. So we have to work on both simultaneously.
As a Montana Merchants board member I saw all the problems and red tape in opening a small business. Smaller businesses can't afford that type of ramp up time before they can open
So we have to make this a friendlier environment so smaller, non international businesses can come here and maintain the mix of retail and food service.
I've lived in Santa Monica for 18 years, and been involved on boards and commissions for the last 15 years. I'm a rent controlled renter.
I'm also very open to input. Anyone who has ideas to share, may contact me at [email protected]
Every Friday 9 to 11 am I'm at Margo's at 16th and Montana. Coffee talk with Albin Gielicz. Come by and tell me what's up and have a pastry on me.