• Name: Jerry Rubin
• Age: 68
• Occupation: Peace activist
• Neighborhood in which you live: Ocean Park
• Own or rent: Own
• Marital status/kids: Married to my beautiful wife Marissa for nearly 30 years. Two cat children, Sunny and Polly
• Obama or Romney: Obama!
• Education: Where did you attend and what degrees do you have? H.S.D. Degree (High School Dropout). Also, two years at Santa Monica College.
• Why are you running for City Council, what makes you qualified to lead and what role do you see yourself playing on the dais if elected?
I’m running to draw attention to community issues and encourage community involvement and activism. My chances are slim, but I do think I would be a good council member. There are many other good candidates, so if once again not elected, I will still be attending City Council and other important civic meetings.
• What are Santa Monica’s three major strengths and weaknesses? What will you do to ensure the strengths remain and the weaknesses contained?
Major strengths: Great city, dedicated city staff, great people from around the corner and around the world. Major weaknesses: Not enough win-win solutions, not enough trees, too much airport pollution. The question is what will we all do together to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative?
• Homelessness continues to be a significant concern of many residents and business owners. How would you rate City Hall’s response over the last four years, what will you advocate for and does that mean more or less funding?
Santa Monica is working hard to deal with the difficult issue of homelessness, but more public and private funding would be helpful. The city is much less polarized regarding homelessness than it was just a few years ago. We need to support more help for homeless veterans. We also need to further accelerate the housing-first approach. Virtually no one really wants to be homeless, but there are still too many people who wrongly and sadly still hold that misconception. Here’s a sticker slogan to reflect on: “Feed the poor and homeless, not the Pentagon and bomb makers.”
• Where do you stand on the City Council’s decision to increase the campaign contribution limit from $250 to $325?
It was a very reasonable increase. Sadly, it is expensive to run a campaign. … I’m not soliciting any campaign contributions, but I am encouraging people to attend the candidate forums, call all the candidates or visit all their websites and seek out your own answers. Don’t simply rely on the sleekest looking or sounding campaign literature. Be wary of fear mongering and personal attack campaign brochures. Elections can often be more confusing than clarifying. But you can decide to not be confused. … People sometimes say I’m not a serious candidate because I’m not soliciting campaign contributions. By that standard election definition of “serious” they have a point, but I assure you that my involvement in our city and the election campaign process is being done with the most serious of intentions.
• Will you sponsor a local law banning smoking within multi-family residential units, i.e. condos and apartments? If not, what would you support?
Absolutely yes. I supported steps toward banning smoking in our parks, our beaches, the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Pier, our bars and clubs, our outdoor dining areas, and our apartment and condo patios and common areas. But when second-hand smoke from your neighbors is coming into your residence and affecting you and your family’s health, then something must be done.
• If elected, would you allow medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in Santa Monica?
I would, but in a limited manner.
• What policies will you support that will enable Santa Monica to deal with the increased competition for resources and the need to be sustainable, particularly when it comes to water and power consumption/generation?
We should eventually have all our own water. We should be promoting solar energy on more rooftops. We should be doing planting that requires less watering. We should be driving our cars a bit less and taking the bus and other modes of alternative transportation more. And we should be taking shorter showers, because how over-clean do we really need to get?
An activist should have hobbies, but I really don’t. I used to collect baseball cards, coins and postage stamps. Now I’m simply collecting fond memories. I know that going to meetings is really not a hobby. Maybe I’ll get a book on hobbies to see what I might be missing. But for the most part, life is good and I’m pretty happy. Except when I think of all the bad things in the world. Maybe I should take up the hobby of not worrying.
• What are you reading?
I’m still reading the morning papers. Yes, the Santa Monica Daily Press is one of them. Maybe I’ll also get a book on hobbies (see previous answer).
• The loss of redevelopment agency funds dealt a serious blow to the City Council’s ambitious plans for the Civic Center, Samohi, and the park in front of City Hall, among other projects. If elected, what projects would you prioritize and how would you finance them?
I’m still not giving up hope that California will soon come to its senses and re-establish the important funding to some degree. But until that time we should not abandon or neglect our important vision and our important landmarks like the Civic Auditorium, the “Chain Reaction” sculpture and Chez Jay restaurant. Forward! Slowly, perhaps, but surely.
• City Hall already provides the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District with millions in exchange for access to campuses, mainly athletic fields. Do you believe this deal is good for the city, or should it be revisited and modified? If so, in what ways?
We must always support and fund our schools. We must support and pass the upcoming local school bond measure. Things can always be modified if necessary, but I think the access deal is a good one.
• If you could ride the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier with three people in history, who would they be and what would you want to talk about?
The late Paul Conrad, who created the “Chain Reaction” sculpture. The late Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser, who voted to approve the iconic public art creation. And Marcia Genser, the late mother of Ken Genser, who always said “Chain Reaction” was her favorite sculpture. We would talk about how the community is going to save “Chain Reaction.”
• Where do you stand on the Santa Monica Airport?
I would stand far away. Seriously, I think the time has come to work together to close SMO after the agreement with the FAA expires in 2015. Ongoing toxic pollution. Noise and more noise. Safety threats and aircraft disasters. Why shouldn’t it be closed? Santa Monica could then use that land to benefit our community recreationally, artistically, educationally and economically, with more affordable housing, open space, community gardens, plus traffic-diminishing new connector streets and the community finally rid of the ongoing pollution, noise, and safety threats for good.
• Community benefits as part of development agreements: what is your definition of a benefit? When should the City Council demand benefits and to what degree? And should some be part of a checklist that developers can choose from, or should the council always have complete control in negotiations with developers?
Council and developer negotiations are important, but a broad check list can also be helpful. Flexibility and consistency can go hand in hand. Community benefits are extremely important. But the tax money the city gets, the jobs that are created, the services and retail offered, and the opportunity for individuals and families — rich and low income — to live in Santa Monica is good reason we should not simply make development the enemy. More benefits for art. More for trees. More for education, child care and affordable housing.
• What is your definition of overdevelopment and what is your plan to prevent it?
I don’t want to prevent development. I don’t want skyscrapers, but development that goes a few feet higher and is more workable can benefit the community. I did not support the failed RIFT ballot initiative that would have put a moratorium on development.
• The sputtering economy and the rise in pension contribution costs have forced some cities to file for bankruptcy. Santa Monica is doing better than most, but if nothing is done to trim costs, deficits will become reality. What’s your plan for controlling public employee pension costs?
There have been some pension cuts already, but we can’t sell our public employees short. I am not in favor of further cuts.
• How do you get across town during rush hour? Any tips or shortcuts?
I walk. I take the Big Blue Bus. It’s not really a problem for me since I’m not allowed out of Santa Monica (only kidding). But, I do feel sorry for those people stuck in traffic. We should have had a light rail and subway decades ago.
• What should City Hall’s role be when it comes to the creation of affordable housing?
More affordable housing! The city should always encourage and support development that is helping with the creation of more affordable housing.