Tomorrow is election day. Vote if you haven‚Äôt done so already.
This particular election is important, not only because we can select who will represent us in¬†Washington¬†and¬†Sacramento¬†but in¬†Santa Monica¬†as well. Plus, there are ballot measures that‚Äôll affect each of us socially and financially.
The key election here is the race for City Council with four of seven seats open. Depending on who prevails in the election, City Hall will become less or more friendly to¬†development ‚Äî this year‚Äôs big issue.
Richard McKinnon, Bob Seldon, John Cyrus Smith¬†and Ted Winterer are generally considered to be slow-growthers.
Incumbents Terry O‚ÄôDay and Gleam Davis are seen as favoring a less restrictive development approval process. They‚Äôve received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations and political action committee (PAC) support from developers, their attorneys, architects¬†and others who¬†profit¬†from development.
Add Frank Gruber and Shari Davis to the list of candidates who have also received substantial support from developers¬†and related interests.
More traditional issues such as crime, transit and homelessness aren‚Äôt much of a factor this election. And, the¬†Santa Monica¬†Airport¬†is an issue mostly with residents living south of¬†Ocean Park Boulevard.
Those working out with me at the YMCA crumble about how City Hall wastes money like spending $49 million to build a three-plus acre park in the¬†Civic¬†Center.¬†A beautiful park can be built for a quarter of what City Hall is spending on the project which, by the way, should be renamed “Moneybags¬†Park,” “Wretched Excess Green” or “Solid Gold¬†Trails.” But, I digress.
Speaking of spending ‚Äî Measure ES is on the ballot. Although you can‚Äôt tell from their campaign literature, it‚Äôs a $385 million bond measure to improve and build new local school facilities.¬†It‚Äôll cost every¬†Santa Monica¬†and¬†Malibu¬†property owner approximately $30 for every $100,000 of assessed evaluation, annually. And that expense will¬†be passed on to¬†Santa Monica¬†renters, too.
ES is one of many ballot measures that would increase taxes and generate revenue for everything from helping education (state propositions 30 and 38) to building more transit projects such as county Measure J that would extend¬†the most recent Metro half-cent sales tax increase another 30 years ‚Äî to 2069 ‚Äî to generate revenues to “speed up” transit improvements.
How you vote on these issues will depend on whether you want to keep¬†your money in your own pocket or hand it over to various¬†governing agencies to spend.
The race for Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District school board is also important. In addition to three incumbents ‚Äî two of them seeking fourth terms ‚Äî there are three¬†challengers¬†who want changes for what they call “improved educational achievement.” Once again, it comes down to whether you think the incumbents have done a good job or whether changes in the way our schools are governed are called for.
Learning about who is donating to a campaign will tell you more about a candidate or issue than the flossy and generally misleading messaging in political flyers and mailers. You can research this for yourself on the city of¬†Santa Monica¬†website:¬†www.smgov.net.
Go to election information, disclosure statements, then public portal.¬†The public portal contains financial information provided by candidates and committees and can answer questions about who is contributing money, who is receiving money, and how it is being spent.
In looking over local campaign disclosure statements, I was struck by the fact that almost all candidates and measure backers (spending more than a few hundred dollars on suppliers) are purchasing campaign materials from non-Santa Monica sources.
For example, Seaside Printing Company in Long Beach received orders for tens of thousands of dollars in printing from the campaigns of Gleam Davis, Sherry Davis and Terry O‚ÄôDay as well as¬†‚Äò‚ÄôYes on ES.”
Brentwood¬†political consultant, Barbara Grover is on the “ES”¬†payroll as well as working on Gleam Davis‚Äôs campaign. “ES”¬†has also ordered literature and services from Pfeiffer Design in¬†Altadena¬†and James Cumbie in¬†New York City.
Nancy Hasselbacher in¬†Culver City¬†is handling literature for Shari Davis, Gleam Davis and Terry O‚ÄôDay
Winterer‚Äôs campaign hired the Gilpin Group in¬†Bainbridge,¬†Wash.¬†to¬†produce literature.
The¬†Santa Monicans¬†for Renters‚Äô Rights (SMRR) PAC has sourced literature from companies in¬†Norwalk,¬†Monterey¬†Park¬†and Irwindale.
Steve Duron hired a¬†Boston, Mass., voice coach (Johanna Voss Coaching) and bought signs from Dirt Cheap Signs in¬†Lago Vista, Texas.
Frank Gruber‚Äôs campaign bought literature from the Printed Union in¬†San Jose.
The SMPOA (police union) PAC ordered printing from Printing, Mailing and Direct Solutions, Inc. in¬†Westlake¬†Village.
Developer-backed Santa Monicans United for a Responsible Future¬†(SMURF) PAC retained Los Angeles-based consultants Englander Knabe & Allen and bought¬†literature from Aaron Thomas and Associates in¬†Chatsworth.
School board candidates Jose Escarce, Ben Allen and council candidate Tony Vazquez all bought literature from AMAC in Redondo Beach,¬†Calif. The three challengers from¬†Malibu¬†bought literature from Sovereign Marketing in¬†Los Angeles.
The Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) PAC purchased¬†campaign materials from¬†KR Media and Design in South Riding, Va., according to the most recent disclosure statements (June 30, 2012) posted. The latest disclosure statements weren‚Äôt available.
You‚Äôd think that¬†Santa Monica¬†has no graphic designers, printers, political consultants or campaign managers.
When it comes to “buying local,” it‚Äôs not “do as I say,” it‚Äôs “do as I do.”
Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.