• Name: Jonathan Mann
• Age: 67
• Occupation: Teacher
• Neighborhood in which you live: Ocean Park
• Own or rent: Rent
• Marital status/kids: Divorced/two children
• Obama or Romney: Jill Stein
• Education: Where did you attend and what degrees do you have? Cal State Northridge, B.A. in sociology; Completed peace officer, mediator and flight attendant training and teaching credential.
• 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 am running because I am fed up with how the city is being run by the council, who allow staff, developers, public agencies and other special interests determine policy.
I am qualified because I oppose all special interests and would only represent the residents. I have no endorsements from special interests. In fact, my only endorsement is the L.A. County Green Party.
If elected I would work toward electing other candidates who would only represent the interests of the residents and work with me to implement a virtual town hall with citywide free WiFi. The technology exists to create an electronic village and direct participatory democracy, so candidates who oppose special interests can campaign for public office from a level playing field. It would enable residents to enforce transparency in municipal government, hold our public officials accountable, expose conflict of interest and incompetence and provide residents with a powerful voice in policy decisions.
• What are Santa Monica’s three major strengths and weaknesses? What will you do to ensure the strengths remain and the weaknesses contained?
Santa Monica is a wealthy city, located on the Pacific Ocean with one of the best climates on the planet.
Its biggest weaknesses are the conflict of interest in governance, the greed, nepotism and cronyism of its council, staff and special interests.
• 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?
This city spends an enormous amount of its revenue on creating a bureaucracy that fosters dependency among the homeless. It creates well-paid positions in that bureaucracy for cronies from the Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights membership and steering committee, past and present members of the council, etc. It should be using those revenues to create jobs and housing for homeless in the city. It gives a man a fish instead of teaching how to fish. Such practices are discouraging residents from enjoying the use of our parks and public facilities.
• Where do you stand on the City Council’s decision to increase the campaign contribution limit from $250 to $325?
This is another blatant abuse of governance to increase the chance of incumbents’ re-election and deprive candidates who do not solicit contributions and endorsements from special interests. The council would like to charge candidates a $250 fee to run for office to further dominate elections. They also reject any kind of campaign reform, including ranked voting and clean money.
• Will you sponsor a local law banning smoking within multi-family residential units, i.e. condos and apartments? If not, what would you support?
I have never been a smoker, but these draconian laws are unrealistic, unenforceable and pit neighbor against neighbor. I favor a compromise solution that would allow smokers to kill themselves in smoking-only structures.
• If elected, would you allow medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in Santa Monica?
Not only would I allow medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop, I would encourage laboratory testing of medical marijuana. I would go even further and have the city industrial grow, dispense and tax it, so it could be monitored to prevent abuse, while dramatically increasing revenues and providing jobs.
• 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?
I support any and all policies that will enable Santa Monica to deal with the sharing of sustainable resources, particularly when it comes to water and power conservation.
Bicycling, travel, politics, reading, Scrabble, attending science fiction conventions, body surfing and surfing the Internet.
• What are you reading?
“The Unincorporated Future,” “Technologies Without Boundaries,” “Last Words” (George Carlin).
• 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?
It’s too late to stop plans for the Civic Center, and the park in front of City Hall, etc. I would reduce them as much as possible, and implement a moratorium on further projects, such as building another branch library, and divert the savings to invest in our schools.
• 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?
I approve putting educational facilities to public use and other ways of allocating assistance to the school district as long as the money is utilized to improve educational opportunities for students.
• If you could ride the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier with three people in history, whom would they be and what would you want to talk about?
Jefferson, Christ and Marx to discuss how governments, religious institutions and the news media have perverted their political, philosophical and religious teachings.
• Where do you stand on the Santa Monica Airport?
I was the first candidate to advocate closing SMO and I lost my AFA/CWA endorsement as a result. I was not taken seriously until the last election when pro-development forces realized there was big money to be made. That property should be used in ways that benefit the public, and not special interests. For example, to hold a giant garage sale, flea and Farmers’ Market, stages for performers and free speech corner that was open to the public with free spaces available only to residents of Santa Monica. Space should also be allocated for residents to exhibit and sell their art and I would use the hangars to industrial grow marijuana.
• 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?
It is quite obvious that developers cannot be trusted to choose or honor promises made to secure permission to exploit a property for their benefit. I strongly oppose any further development and advocate a moratorium unless it is authorized by and benefits Santa Monica residents.
• What is your definition of overdevelopment and what is your plan to prevent it?
So-called slow or smart growth are euphemisms for overdevelopment. Santa Monica has already surpassed the optimum level of development, creating a traffic and parking crisis that continually deteriorates, despite election year promises to the contrary. So-called traffic calming measures make the problem even worse and are an impediment to police and fire department response.
• 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?
Pension costs have exploded beyond the future ability of taxpayers to offset without diverting funds to make our city one of the ideal locations on the planet. The worst examples of this are among the greedy civil service and public agency supervisors and administrators, who conspire with the City Council to line the pockets of their cronies and friends. I would implement a whistle-blowing function on the city website and have the budget audited online to expose conflict of interest and waste. I would further forbid all past and present city officials from working for the city, receiving consultant fees, or awarding city contracts to relatives, colleagues or friends.
• How do you get across town during rush hour? Any tips or shortcuts?
I avoid driving when I can. I bicycle and use the bus as often as possible and allow plenty of time to get where I am going.
• What should City Hall’s role be when it comes to the creation of affordable housing?
The city should be creating affordable housing for low-income workers who have jobs in Santa Monica, and investigate people who are living in HUD and Section 8 housing for which they do not qualify. Santa Monica has become a haven for welfare cheats who are residing in low-income housing that should go to low-income workers who commute long distances to take jobs that most are too lazy or too proud to accept.