Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Santa Monica Mayor Phil Brock Opposes Open-Air Needle Distribution

City Manager David White has meanwhile signed a joint declaration of support with the LA County Health Department extolling the alleged harm reduction program

May 10, 2024 - Santa Monica Mayor Phil Brock released a statement today that he adamantly opposes the distribution of needles in public spaces and does not want any public money spent on activities that involve the distribution of needles outdoors anywhere in the city. "My position on the distribution of syringes in any of our city parks, around our schools, recreation areas, or business districts is simple. It must not occur under any circumstances. In addition, I am adamantly opposed to any Santa Monica city funding, directly or indirectly, being used to support any type of syringe distribution outdoors in our city."

Brock's statement is in reply to a request for a position from the Santa Monica Coalition so they could know if the city should be included in their lawsuit to stop open-air needle distribution. The SM Coalition is a group of business and property owners and residents who want to restore safety to the city. They are currently suing LA County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer personally, the LA County Department of Public Health, and the Venice Family Clinic over the so-called harm-reduction program.

The program that distributes free needles to drug addicts began some time before 2022, when it was accidentally discovered by John Alle, co-founder of the SM Coalition and also by SM City Councilmember Lana Negrete. The contention of the SM Coalition is that any such program would have required a checklist of items to be completed first, including discussion and approval by Santa Monica's legislative body (the City Council) and meetings, input from the Police, and discussions with the community. None of these actions occurred. The program appeared to have operated without the knowledge of most elected officials. The SM Coalition believes, however, that former City Manager Lane Dilg, current City Manager David White, and former Mayors Sue Himmelrich and Gleam Davis signed off on the funding for the program, and were or should have been aware of the monies and program from their positions on the City's Audit Subcommittee.

In a videotaped meeting in Van Nuys, where the Department of Public Health was holding a public meeting regarding proposed harm reduction services there, Dr. Ferrer laughed at the description of Santa Monica's public parks as having become scenes of depravity. She admitted she had not been to any of the city's public parks. Ferrer adamantly stated at the meeting that not only won't she stop the distribution of needles to enable drug use but that the program is going to be expanded. Her department has received a large expansion in their budget for harm reduction services.


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