Goodbye My Santa Monica Dream
HAVE YOU SEEN THE VIDEO?
It’s likely you have. It’s all over the place. Been shared a lot and is on most every Santa Monica-related Facebook page, so far racking up more than 4,000 views on Facebook (as “Goodbye Santa Monica”) and YouTube (as “Goodbye SaMo”) in just over two weeks. Not bad for something with a very local theme and audience, for a city of less than 100,000. It’s been shared more than 200 times on Facebook with hundreds of likes and comments, says the video creator.
I was so struck by it, the first time I saw it. What a message! And so well done. The juxtaposition of idyllic shots of our city, beginning and ending with our Pier, the waves rolling in, crowds enjoying the beach, sparkling water and clear, sunny skies, all things we so emotionally identify with our Bay City — intercut with TV news reports of recent shootings and stabbings, home invasions and murders, even a jewelry store heist by threat of explosives, with the perp escaping through people’s backyards, eluding the swarming but badly positioned police; seemingly mentally unstable street people going ballistic, pounding the ground violently, threatening death by hammer, pinned down by police, beating a McDonald’s security guard.
There are three cuts of our Mayor interspersed, delivering a very unimpassioned speech, the irony dripping off the words selected by the video editor. All set to the sweetest soundtrack, with ethereal guitar playing quietly the whole two minutes, behind peaceful and violent scenes alike (making its own statement), from “Santa Monica Dream” by folk duo Angus and Julia Stone
The film editor told me, “I was sick of feeling like we residents had no voice or power, and I was sick of feeling unsafe in our own city. I wanted to make something that wouldn’t divide the city ideologically or politically… just rely on bare bone FACTS!!!
No analysis, no spin, just facts. I wanted to press the City Council to respond, because the facts would be so powerful they would have to.
“Safety before anything else! You can address the Bird Scooter after you address how to lower this exploding crime rate,” he said.
YES, I’M BEING COY
About the identity of the professional film and television editor who made it. I found out a few days after I had first seen it, when my next door neighbor of several years, Paul Matthew Gordon, came up to me, grinning widely, as I was getting out of my car in our parking lot. (Not unusual, Paul mostly has a big grin on his face.)
“Hey, Charles!” he boomed (also not unusual). “By any chance have you seen that video about ‘Goodbye Santa Monica’?”
“The one with the beach scenes intercut with news reports of terrible crimes here?” I replied.
“Yeah!!” (Bigger grin.) “Do you know who made it?”
“No, but I’d like to know. Do you?”
“Yeah! I do!” (Grin now pushing his eyes and ears out of view.) “Me!”
“Get outta here! — Yeah! — No! No way! — Yeah!!”
Then I remembered that’s what Paul does for a living, and then remembered that he’d been turning more and more politicized over unhappiness with the direction this city he loves is headed. Sadly, we just lost him and wife Deanna as neighbors, because they found a home to buy, but it’s only a few blocks away. Like ships in the night, we didn’t see each other that often, but almost every time we did Paul would comment on my most recent columns.
“You definitely were a spark,” he told me. “I’ve been listening to you speak and write about our city for years, and I take a little here and there. Over time a greater picture was unfolding, and I wasn’t too happy about it. Once the City Council allowed their desire for development to trump their citizen’s safety and then told us to shut up about it, that’s when I had had enough!”
I found the video from a share somewhere, from Residocracy. “‘Good Bye Santa Monica’: Dedicated to our Mayor and all City Council members – Please wake up and do something – our city is on fire – courtesy a Residocracy Santa Monica member.”
How did that come about, I asked Gordon.
“I found Residocracy just reading about local issues online,” he said. “Saw that Armen [Melkonians] ran the thing, and it seemed he had a lot of influence within the community. I didn’t want to be linked to my political work directly and thought he would be the perfect person to release the video and get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Armen was great, and man did he get it out there. For a little political video like this, it’s had a lot of traction.”
Paul’s work can be seen at www.paulmatthewgordon.com, and a new movie he edited is playing at the Santa Monica Laemmle right now: “Josie.” He told me, “I definitely plan to keep making videos if our safety is at risk. When politicians just graze over a crime rate that’s hitting close to 30% over the last 30 months, that’s completely unacceptable! I also will continue to advocate for other issues on a case by case basis, depending on the time I have to make them.” (Term limits, perhaps? He expressed an interest.)
Gordon and Deanna have been in Santa Monica since ‘06 — “all over. Been in Ocean Park since 2011. OP is really the only place I want to live,” said Paul. “It’s friendly, has a funky vibe but not out of mind like Venice. It’s the chill, laid back, progressive beach neighborhood that captures everything good about CA and LA.”
You can see why we get along.
Poor Mayor Ted Winterer. Looking pretty lame in the video. But give him a break, it’s set up that way, to make a point. You could have taken clips from a speech by most any recent mayor. What Gordon was saying in his video does apply to all our local elected (and many appointed) officials over at least the past decade or more. You have placed other priorities — even important ones like climate change — over the safety and well-being of your constituents, and you must now bear the responsibility. (Get out the vote in November!)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “We’re living in a world where one good video can lead to a massive social following.” — Mike Henry
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org