Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

A Call on City Leaders to Clean Up this Mess: Crime, Homelessness, Overpriced "Affordable" Housing and More

A stark contrast between Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach proves these are muncipal problems, not caused by the state or county

SM Coalition

Paramedics assisting a man who'd overdosed at Palisades Park on Sunday

Dear Mayor Brock, City Manager White, City Attorney Sloan, and Esteemed Members of the City Council,

I write to you as a deeply concerned and thoroughly fed-up resident of Santa Monica. Our city, once a beacon of beauty and safety, has descended into a state of lawlessness, neglect, and mismanagement. This letter serves as a wake-up call and a declaration of intent to reclaim our community from the brink of disaster. It is inspired by a profound sense of duty and love for our home, much like the dedication we would show to a wayward child in desperate need of intervention.

Just today, we witnessed a stabbing near Downtown Parking Structure #7 (which I am sure you have your sites set on to become another multimillion dollar homeless resort complex) a grim reminder of the rampant violence plaguing our streets. This incident is not isolated but emblematic of a broader failure in leadership and policy. The anti-police measures that restrict our law enforcement, the city's inexplicable leniency towards criminals, and the refusal to prosecute offenders have created an environment where safety is no longer assured. Adding insult to injury, the city has not criminalized (yes, we must arrest and prosecute anyone committing this crime, not just defund it) the distribution of drug needles to addicts in our local parks, further endangering public health and safety.

Moreover, the city's decision to build $2 million+ condominiums (including taxpayer owned land value plus construction costs) for the homeless by the beach, while ignoring the broader implications of such actions, has turned our once-pristine community into a dangerous and unwelcoming place. These misguided efforts have only exacerbated the homelessness crisis rather than solving it. Instead of providing effective solutions, the city council has diverted attention to irrelevant issues, such as dedicating hours to debate an Israel-Gaza War ceasefire resolution-an international matter over which you have no jurisdiction.

The recent attack on a woman in broad daylight, where a deranged individual who appeared more like a violent animal than a human attempted to rape her on the beach after dragging her by the pony tail) is a stark illustration of the dangers we face daily. This incident, along with countless others (I don't need to list them), underscores the urgent need for decisive action to restore order and safety.

Google maps

The Santa Monica Airport would only become a mecca for the homeless if it were to close. The alternative is to slice it up for friends of city staff and elected leaders to make money off of in housing.

I am also deeply troubled by the city's plan to shut down Santa Monica Airport in 2028 and convert it into a "park". This proposal is not only financially irresponsible, with estimated cleanup costs ranging from $500 million to $1 billion (have you gotten quotes? I have and the person who built Playa Vista - also a former airport nearby - is happy to discuss with you) due to the toxic legacy of the airport's use, but it also raises concerns about the future of this space. Given the city's track record, it is highly likely that this area (even if built at a cost exceeding $2 billion using comps from Tongva Park) will become a haven for homeless individuals and drug addicts rather than a usable public space. Again, see Tongva Park which has been surrendered to a few dozen homeless and criminals. The city's decision to tear down a vital parking structure for homeless housing, despite having 4,000 vacant units, is a testament to this flawed approach. Many of us are rather certain, however, that instead of turning the airport into a park, many of you already have much bigger plans, namely, to commit the criminal act of giving away this priceless land, worth at least $20 billion in cash value at market rate, to your developer friends to convert into alleged housing, reportedly to solve a homelessness crisis that you have created and perpetuated. Just know that this will not be allowed to happen. It will be stopped by ANY MEANS NECESSARY legally permitted.

A recent visit to Manhattan Beach I had with my family highlighted the stark contrast between our cities. Unlike Santa Monica, where numerous businesses are boarded up and streets are littered with trash and homelessness, Manhattan Beach thrives with bustling businesses, clean streets, and visible police presence ensuring public safety. I saw not one shuttered storefront, not a single homeless individual, and a massive number of heavily armed police, including a large mobile command center located one block from their pier. In contrast, Santa Monica has over 50% vacancy rate in its core, between 1000 and 2000 homeless people at least, and ties the hands of our police, preventing them from doing their jobs, and degrading their morale considerably by treating them as if they are criminals. You also cannot argue that Manhattan Beach is a different city, because, like us, they are also by the coast, and are also bound by the same laws of Los Angeles County and the state of California. This comparison clearly demonstrates that our issues are not a result of geographical or state-level challenges but rather a profound failure of local leadership. So, respectfully, do not think of blaming the welcoming weather we have, or county or state laws and regulations, because Manhattan beaches also bound by them, but their city is a polar opposite of ours.

The city's focus on addressing a non-existent housing crisis, local climate crisis, and supposed issues of racism and equity, not to mention a war on the other side of the world, while ignoring the real and pressing problems of crime, drugs, and homelessness, is a dereliction of duty. Santa Monica has become a shadow of its former self, in a span of about just a half a decade, due to the misguided priorities of its leaders.

SM Coalition

This is too common a sight on Santa Monica streets for anyone to be surprised; but who is happy about it?

This letter is not just a complaint but a declaration of war against the current state of affairs. We, the residents of Santa Monica, are no longer willing to sit idly by as our city deteriorates. We are prepared to take legal action, mobilize media campaigns, and do whatever it takes within limits permitted by the law, to force a change in leadership and policy. This is an act of tough love for a city we cherish. Just as we would intervene to save a struggling child, one who is addicted, misguided, and at risk of dying by overdose, we must now intervene to save Santa Monica. Simply handing over more money would be no different than handing more drug money over to an addicted child. Having witnessed two extremely wealthy friends of mine, lose their adult children to drug overdoses in the last year, has highlighted to me exactly what we are at risk of experiencing here at a municipal level. We love our city and we will not allow it to die. Not as long as we are alive.

We demand immediate and concrete action to address the crime, drug, and homelessness crises. We call for the unequivocal support of our police (including the addition of up to 500 additional armed police who are not on desk duty), the full and unconditional enforcement of laws, and the prioritization of resident safety and well-being. It is time for the city council to refocus on the issues that truly matter and to demonstrate a commitment to effective governance.

We are watching, and we will hold you accountable. The future of Santa Monica depends on your actions today. Do not let us down.


Houman David Hemmati MD PhD


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