• Name: Ted Winterer
• Age: 55
• Occupation: Writer/marketing
• Neighborhood in which you live: Ocean Park
• Own or rent: Own
• Marital status/kids: Married 15 years, 2 kids age 11 and 6 attending one of our public schools
• Obama or Romney: Obama
• Education: Where did you attend and what degrees do you have? Dartmouth College, B.A.
• 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 protect Santa Monica’s future for my kids and for everyone else who’s fortunate to live in our beach town. I have an extensive background in local civic affairs: I’m currently vice chair of our Planning Commission, have been a Recreation and Parks Commissioner, am the former president of the Ocean Park Association and have advocated for our K-12 schools in a variety of ways including serving on the steering committee of Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS). If elected, I will use the skills and knowledge gleaned from this background to advocate for residents and their priorities and concerns.
• 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’s three major strengths are its geography, meaning the ocean breezes, light, and views we all enjoy; its diverse and resilient economy; and its involved and passionate citizens. Its weaknesses are traffic caused by too much commercial development; a focus on revenue generation without sufficient regard for quality of life issues; and an inability to tame the forces of gentrification which threaten our socioeconomic diversity. To protect our future we must recognize that as the national economy improves so too will our municipal revenues, so we must be skeptical of short-term fixes which threaten our beach town character, quality of life and the homes of our residents.
• 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?
The annual homeless count shows a decrease in those living on our streets even during the worst economy most of us have ever seen. Much of this decrease is due to a housing-first policy: studies have shown that supportive housing to help the less fortunate costs taxpayers much less than providing emergency services to those without a permanent home. We should continue funding services for the homeless but need to insist that neighboring communities do their fair share.
• 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 favor reducing and eventually eliminating smoking in multi-family housing but not in a manner that puts existing tenancies at risk.
• 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?
Conservation, better infiltration of runoff into our aquifers and increased usage of recycled water should allow Santa Monica to be 100 percent dependent on its own local water sources by 2020. Energy is another matter that requires greater creativity and focus: every city-owned building should have solar panels on its roof; we should require solar generation on all new multi-family and commercial projects; single family homeowners should be given the option to finance solar electric and thermal projects via their city water bills; any land we can reclaim from aviation use in 2015 should be used for solar energy generation; and our green building standards should be enhanced to require even greater energy efficiencies.
Alpine and telemark skiing, camping, Sunday soccer with Chui Tsang, Graham Wong and the community soccer gang, and hanging with my kids, especially at our beaches and parks.
• What are you reading?
“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon.
• 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?
The Palisades Garden Walk and Town Square in front of City Hall are under construction and should be completed. And a new fire station Downtown should be a priority. We should seek grants to finance others projects such as the Colorado Esplanade, Samohi joint use, and the Civic Center and, to the extent additional monies are required, seek voter approval for a general obligation bond to fund them.
• 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?
It’s a great deal for the city given that land and capital costs of providing these facilities in another manner would be significant. For instance, I am an AYSO coach and referee and we use district fields. There aren’t enough city fields to meet the demand for youth and adult sports so access to SMMUSD facilities is critical.
• 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?
Sen. John P. Jones, often considered the founder of Santa Monica, to hear what he thought about the changes of the last 100 years. Dorothy Parker, for her take on current society (what would she think about reality TV, for instance?) and because I always enjoy a good laugh. Albert Einstein, since he’d be intrigued by a wheel powered by the sun. And I could tell him the existence of the Higgs boson has likely been confirmed and then he could explain to me what that meant.
• Where do you stand on the Santa Monica Airport?
Taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize an operation with such adverse effects on our community. The four council members we elect in 2012 will be in office when the FAA agreement expires on July 1, 2015 and will have the choice either a) to preserve the status quo at SMO; or b) to severely restrict operations or close the airport. I support our Airport Commission’s recent recommendations to use our proprietary powers to reduce flight operations in the short-term. In 2015 we should eliminate the flight schools that generate 60 percent of flights and remove the 1949 quitclaim parcel from aviation use, thereby eliminating 2,000 feet of the current 5,000-foot runway. And thereafter seek to close SMO.
• 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?
Community benefits are cash, material or operational contributions from a development that exceed those required by code. The city should, per the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), require community benefits from any new Tier 2 or Tier 3 building (basically, anything over 32 feet high). We’re updating our Zoning Ordinance to reflect the LUCE and anticipate that Tier 2 projects will have a menu and points system for providing community benefits, with the potential to include benefits not anticipated by the LUCE. These will be approved by a discretionary permit at the Planning Commission. Tier 3 projects will continue to be authorized by the City Council via development agreements based on input from the Planning Commission. What’s critical in both these scenarios is that projects provide significant and enduring benefits based on the value added by allowing extra height and floor area.
• What is your definition of overdevelopment and what is your plan to prevent it?
Overdevelopment occurs when the character of our town and our quality of life are impacted. To prevent overdevelopment, I would first have the will to reject proposals for projects that don’t work for our community; I believe I’ve proven during my tenure on the Planning Commission that I’m not hesitant to do so. And new development that is approved should be appropriately scaled, provide good jobs and housing for all incomes, and enhance our quality of life. Most importantly, traffic should be used as a metric for gauging the impacts of development: the no-net-trips policy in our LUCE should be a hard and fast rule rather than a soft policy goal, so that we make sure circulation improvements more than offset the new car trips from projects.
• What should City Hall’s role be when it comes to the creation of affordable housing?
We are required by our own municipal law, approved by voters at the ballot box, to make sure 30 percent of all housing production is affordable. Therefore City Hall should take whatever steps are necessary to comply with this law.