Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Santa Monica Gave Funds to Distribute Needles in its Own Parks, According to Santa Monica Coalition

City Council recently voted to oppose open-air needle distribution

May 2, 2024 - The Santa Monica Coalition says they have discovered evidence that Santa Monica officials, including the City Manager, were aware that money given to the Venice Family Clinic was specifically designated for distributing clean needles to drug addicts in the city's parks. The Santa Monica Coalition is a group of business owners and residents who seek to restore safety to the city. They have filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County and the Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer to remove needle distribution programs from public open spaces.

SM Coalition

Still from a SM Coalition mini-documentary; needles can be found in gutters, on park lawns, and here, by a sign recommending hope.

The program that dispenses needles and some other health and sanitation items at public parks in Santa Monica operated for an unknown amount of time without public knowledge. When it came to light via accidently discovery in 2022, the city's manager and other staff claimed that the program was run solely by the County and only used funds from the County. The SM Coalition now states this is not true but that city staff have known about and supported the controversial program.

The SM Coalition is now asking the City Council to expand on their resolution last month to remove open-air needle distribution programs. They want to make sure no money given to the Venice Family Clinic or any other organization be used to distribute needles. According to the SM Coalition, and to the 22,000 people who signed letters opposing the program, distributing needles in public parks encourages drug addiction and the associated anti-social, possibly criminal behavior, as well as results in discarded dangerous hypodermic needles. (No sharps containers are handed out with the free needles). They want harm reduction services moved indoors and to include services such as drug counseling and housing assistance.

Below is the letter from John Alle, co-founder of the SM Coalition which outlines the current situation:

Dear Mayor Brock, Vice Mayor Negrete, Councilmember Parra and City Attorney Sloan:

Through lots of research we have discovered that portions of the money Santa Monica provides to the Venice Family Clinic from its General Fund and from the Human Services Grant Program have and may be used toward the Needle Distribution in Reed, Palisades, and Tongva Parks.

We have also just discovered that our City Manager and members of Staff have known for years these City Taxpayer funds have been designated and used in part for Needle Distribution.

Effective Tuesday, April 30, 2024, there is no longer any truth to the narrative put forth from anyone who works for the City, including our City Manager and Councilmembers, that "the Needle Distribution Program was or is funded and authorized solely by the County of Los Angeles".

Therefore, we ask you to submit a 16 Agenda Item for the next City Council Meeting on May 7, 2024.

SM Coalition

Found on the Third Street Promenade, not the best welcome mat

We ask that the 16 Agenda Item augment the most recent vote on the Resolution regarding "Harm Reduction" and Needle Distribution that passed on a 4 to 3 vote.

We ask that the 16 Agenda Item: prohibit the Venice Family Clinic and Clare Matrix, both self-acknowledged "Harm Reduction Providers", from using ANY funds provided from any agency or department of the City of Santa Monica, for distribution of any needles in Santa Monica parks.

Lastly, we provided City and Count documents to each of you clearly showing that the Needle Distribution could not commence without knowledge of the legislative body of the City, and a stated time period slated for discussion with the Police and residents. This never occurred.

Mayor Brock, two weeks ago you informed me you had delivered these documents to City Attorney Doug Sloan for his review and response. City Attorney Sloan has not publicly responded or returned any of our phone calls.

Time is of the essence. Lives and safety are at stake.


John Alle

Co-Founder, The Santa Monica Coalition


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