You’re sitting there, sipping your coffee. You know there was something you wanted to do this morning. But, it is the Fourth of July. Awww. Fourth of July!
Holy Stars and Stripes! You’re missing the parade! It’s going down Main Street right now. Save the coffee and Daily Press for later. My Write will still be here when you get back.
It’s good that the Ocean Park Association is sponsoring this event. In most communities across the land, Fourth of July events are sponsored by town government (City Hall), municipal fire departments, local veterans’ organizations, service clubs or community oriented nonprofits.
Many years ago, this City used to shoot fireworks off the Santa Monica Pier on the Fourth. However, the celebration got out of hand with crowds swelling into seven and eight hundreds of thousands. Add alcohol and drugs, and crime soared. The City said “no” to beach fireworks.
It took a couple of years, but someone at Santa Monica College came up with of “Celebrate America” the Saturday before the Fourth of July, a free civic get-together on the main SMC campus with live entertainment and local vendors selling goods. Local groups set up exhibits and service clubs sold tri-tip steaks and other comestibles. A minimally publicized, low-key event held off holiday eased crowd-control issues and simplified event management. City Hall lent its support to the endeavor.
“Celebrate America” ends with a low-key fireworks display. My complaint is that they’re not loud enough. Because it’s being held in the middle of a residential neighborhood, the college keeps the “booms” and “thumps” to a low level. It’s the “best sparkler show in town.”
I know that some of you agree with me, as I’ve seen your comments on some of the local Facebook political sites. “Am I the only one that finds it completely ridiculous that the city of Santa Monica throws its Fourth of July fireworks on anything but the Fourth, just makes it feel like a complete joke in my opinion … ” posted one person. “Pretty soon they will have the 4th of July fireworks during Christmas,” posted another.
Only in Santa Monica would we celebrate Fourth of July a week to 10 days before the actual holiday. I agree. It does make us look stupid. I’m not saying to do away with the event, but maybe change the theme to “Celebrate Summer” and promote it as a community gathering to celebrate just being together.
While the City of Santa Monica hosts, sponsors and supports — financially or otherwise — a number of community activities throughout the year, there are some pretty obvious opportunities for events that would do much to bring citizens together and celebrate the Santa Monica family just for the fun of it.
It seems like too many of the city-sponsored events are propaganda exercises designed to elicit certain behaviors such as conserving water, riding bicycles or walking to “save the environment” and reducing our carbon footprints. We throw a two-day party costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to get people to ride the new light rail, for example.
The social engineering never stops, and it’s behind almost everything the city does. It all reminds me of those high school assemblies I attended in school. Sure, some of them were fun and entertaining, but they all had a message or strived to brainwash students like me into a way of thinking.
A previous column received a swift reaction from readers. I connected the dots between the various developers and pro-growther entities who profit when there are minimal size restrictions and generous bonus allowances for including “community benefits” into new projects.
I wrote, “To those in power … any attempt to restrict size, mass and shape of local development is viewed as a major threat to their power, wealth and profitability … The real reason for backing the City’s aggressive pro-development policy: earning money and lots of it.”
More than one reader emailed and stated the reason for bringing in more money through developers’ fees and higher taxes is that “it’s only about what the money will buy.” Some will say it’s for childcare. Landmarks will say it’s to protect history. Housing advocates will say it’s for housing the huddled masses while the hotel union pitches jobs for deserving members.
The Chamber of Commerce will assure us that our quality of life depends on ever-increasing numbers of visitors, while certain councilmembers will say, “Affordable housing trumps all.”
A former mayor will insist that billions are needed to cap the Interstate 10 freeway. And another council candidate will say anything he thinks will fly with voters, even temporarily. Talk about “laugh-out-loud?” Guffaw.
Everyone has their fingers in the pie. Taxes and development have become Santa Monica’s World Bank for financing everyone’s pet cause, favorite project or hare-brained scheme.
Between the development revenues that will result from more expensive housing costs and the higher taxes (if approved) on the November ballot, Santa Monica is going to become more and more expensive for all of us to live in.
Sooner or later, “Celebrate America” won’t be free, either. Then we can all celebrate that everything has a price and here, it’s getting higher but not better.
Bill Bauer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.