Last Monday, (”Tidying up loose ends,” My Write) I wrote about the new development planned for the aging Village Trailer Park at 2930 Colorado Ave. and suggested that developer Marc Luzzatto redesign his development to make it more harmonious with the surrounding neighborhood.

Luzzatto’s “East Village” as proposed is a 378,460-square-foot, 438 unit, housing/retail complex slated for the site. Many Santa Monicans are up-in-arms about its height, size, density and the displacement of some 48 low-income, mostly elderly tenants living in a trailer park currently on the property.

Luzatto’s project was supposed to return to City Council on Aug. 28 for review, however, he has asked for a continuance to respond to public comments and “explore whether we can develop a creative solution that could make our project even greater for the community.” In particular, Luzzatto wants additional time to redesign the project and try to preserve trailer space so some of the remaining residents can stay on the 3.85 acre site.

This is a textbook example of how the process should work. It’s apparent Luzzatto is seriously attempting to develop a better, more neighborhood-friendly project. And, while some would quibble that the deeply flawed development that he proposed would never fly and that he had to change it, I’d like to think that he listened and is responding positively to the community by rethinking his project.

If some of the trailer park’s long-term residents can stay and live in their own trailers or mobile homes, great! It’s still too early to pop the cork and pass the champagne, but it looks like the bubbly can go on ice.

After six years, we all may be headed down the right road and that something far better for everyone may come out of this after all.

 

CERTainly 

I often write about how City Hall fails to do its best to serve its citizens. I’m pleased to report there’s one thing City Hall is getting right and that’s preparing us all for a disaster.

I finished Santa Monica’s first-ever, three-part, comprehensive Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and facilitated by City Hall’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Saturday.

In all, 30 Santa Monicans of varied ages and backgrounds applied and were chosen at random for the free training that would enable us to acquire the knowledge and skills to provide a basic level of emergency aid to our neighborhoods when a disaster such as a major earthquake strikes.

We all met for three consecutive Saturdays at the fire department’s training facilities on Michigan Avenue. We learned about government service providers, emergency planing, fire safety, how to suppress a small fire, how to shut off utilities after a disaster and how and when to safely gain access to a damaged building

We were taught the fundamentals of search and rescue operations, how to keep ourselves out of harm’s way after a disaster, triage and first aid, CERT organization, disaster psychology and about terrorism. Instructors included men and women from the Santa Monica Police Department, Santa Monica Fire Department — including some awesome SMFD paramedics — and OEM staff. It’s a terrific training.

We all know realistically in a major disaster police and fire resources may be spread very thin. Some services may be supplemented by the American Red Cross but with hundreds or thousands of potential victims in a disaster for every trained responder, there are never enough people with the skills and knowledge to adequately provide support. And that’s where CERT comes in.

Additional classes will be offered in the months and years ahead, because the goal is to train hundreds of citizens who can render aid and service in the community and supplement public safety professionals and save lives in the immediate hours and days following a cataclysm.

Thanks to OEM’s Emergency Services Coordinator Paul Weinberg and OEM Manager Lt. Ken Semko (SMPD) for putting it all together and City Manager Rod Gould who was instrumental in establishing OEM and instituting CERT training.

Want to be CERTified? Phone (310) 458-2263 during business hours, fax (310) 449-4414 or e-mail oem@smgov.net. Go online at www.smgov.net/OEM.

 

Prices going up

It looks like a number of taxes or revenue generating measures will be on the fall ballot. In addition to a number of state and county propositions, there’s also the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s construction bond to consider. But, don’t forget there’s another tax that’ll hit the public hard and it goes into effect in just 10 days.

Beginning Sept. 1, Amazon, Overstock.com and other large Internet retailers will start charging additional California sales/use taxes on purchases. This tax will apply to items sold to California residents even if the supplier is out of state. I look at it as a 9.25 percent price hike thanks to Gov. Moonbeam, I mean Jerry Brown.

So if you’re planning to buy anything expensive online like a flat-screen TV, computer, electronics, clothing, jewelry or other goods, keep in mind that a $300 item will cost nearly $28 more in a week and a half.

Buy now and save. And, when it comes to voting for other tax measures Nov. 6, count this as one tax increase, already.

 

Bill can be reached at mr.bilbau@gmail.com.

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