Will someone please explain to me why the Santa Monica City Council has funded an effort for “consultants to begin work with the community, and the Planning Department … to improve Lincoln Boulevard south of the freeway”? Messrs. Taylor, Swanson, Garvin and Josephs (Looking at Lincoln, SMDP, June 18, 2014) state that the idea is to make Lincoln Boulevard a “pedestrian activated streetscape, with small neighborhood serving, independent and creative storefronts and businesses.” These folks, the Lincoln Boulevard Task Force (LBTF) want to push out what they refer to as the auto-dominated businesses and replace them with more attractive storefronts that will present a “better face” to visitors who approach Santa Monica from the south. Gee whiz, I thought business owners were free to design and run their businesses however they see fit so long as they meet all relevant codes and regulations. Those businesses do smog inspections, window tinting, mechanic work, install tires, sell auto parts, plumbing supplies and do other valuable work for the citizens of Santa Monica and the entire region.
Those folks on Lincoln are hard working people who provide a valuable service to Santa Monica. Do their jobs and businesses mean so little to this group of elitists? The jobs and shops actually mean quite a lot to the people of Santa Monica. Recently I went to Lincoln for a smog inspection. I was treated in a professional manner and they quickly did the work. Their hands were dirty at the end of it. I suspect the LBTF would think that dirty hands are not creative enough. The LBTF want to turf them out and replace them with “creative storefronts.” Just where would they like to have those businesses go?
Perhaps the LBTF envision a sort of Montana Avenue ambience for Lincoln. Once upon a time there was a hardware store and a gas station on Montana. Now you can’t get anything done on Montana unless it is to buy a coffee, a bottle of wine, high-priced food or baby clothes. No one has dirty hands on Montana Ave anymore. In truth, we need people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty doing good (and creative) work for us. The people on Lincoln work hard and don’t need people like the LBTF folks trying to take away their jobs and businesses. I wonder if anyone has quantified the contribution those businesses make to the local economy and the number of jobs that represents. We don’t need more jobs taken away. (Speaking of jobs, one of the signatories to Looking at Lincoln, Zina Josephs, recently wrote a Letter to the Editor favoring closure of Santa Monica Airport which would result in the loss of 1,500 jobs. Her activism trends, disturbingly, toward massive job destruction.)
The free-market system can, and will, determine what works for Lincoln Boulevard.