Former Santa Monica Mayor and current State Assembly Member Richard Bloom, has released a statement regarding the City Council’s decision to revoke approval of the controversial Hines development project.
The Hines project consists of five roughly 80-foot-tall building and 765,000 square feet of office, housing, retail, and restaurants. The project was initially approved by a 4-3 vote in February but residents mounted a protest that included the threat of a ballot initiative to decide the project’s fate. At the May 13 meeting, Councilmember Gleam Davis chose to revoke her support rather than send the measure to voters resulting in a 4-1 vote in favor or terminating the project. Mayor Pro Tempore Terry O’Day cast the lone vote opposing the action while Councilmember Bob Holbrook and Mayor Pam O’Connor abstained.
In a written statement, Bloom stated:
“I am disappointed by the decision made by the Santa Monica City Council last night. The referendum process exists to give not just some, but all voters an opportunity to debate and be heard. The City Council flatly denied voters that opportunity. In the process, the City Council killed a project, seven years in the making, that would have brought significant community benefits to Santa Monica, not the least of which are badly needed housing stock, including deed restricted affordable housing.
“Resident concerns about traffic are legitimate subject for debate. In fact, the Hines project embodied the most aggressive traffic reduction strategies the city — indeed, most cities — have ever seen and that would have been a model for other projects.
“I am proud of the three council members who refused to ‘take the bait’ and endeavored to protect every voter’s right to have a voice — as the petition gatherers had promised. Regrettably, fear-mongering, misinformation and even bullying around development issues in Santa Monica are reflected in the decision to kill this project and have left our city with a black eye.”