We are Santa Monicans for Responsible Growth (SMRG).

We are a group of residents seeking to discuss growth and development issues with all the City Council candidates, and to help elect those candidates who will manage our city’s growth in a way that puts residents’ priorities, and the best interests of the city, ahead of developers’ interests.

Who we are:

I, Ivan Perkins, am an attorney, and I have enjoyed walking throughout Santa Monica for many years; my family and I were finally able to move here about 16 months ago. I believe that deliberate urban planning — and not a rush to development for its own sake — is necessary to preserve our serene beauty.

Luke Boulton is the father of two children, the oldest of whom attends a Santa Monica public elementary school. He works in post-production editing for film and television, and is very glad to be established in Santa Monica on a permanent basis.

Wendy Dembo is a strategic marketing and trend consultant. She describes herself as a “garden variety, stereotypical Santa Monica mom.”

Carla Finnerman is a local small-business owner who was born in Santa Monica and raised her daughter here. She supports reasonable development which will benefit everyone and which will maintain the charm and beauty of the city in which she has spent most of her life.

Susan Scarafia is a former marketing strategy consultant and homeless shelter director. She has advocated for smart-growth policies in Santa Monica since 2008.

Alin Wall is a certified public accountant and former board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She is a six-year resident of Santa Monica and is beginning her advocacy of smart growth policies after experiencing firsthand the dramatic change in Santa Monica in those six short years.

Amy Woodson-Boulton spent her childhood in Santa Monica and graduated from Santa Monica High School. She is an associate professor at Loyola Marymount University, has a background in environmental activism, and is committed to smart growth and sustainable development.

Our Fair Political Practices Commission ID number is 1350465. Our treasurer is Gary Crummitt, of Crummitt & Associates, who specializes in campaign finance reporting.

How we came together:

A group of residents got involved in development issues here in Santa Monica when we heard about the proposed construction of a massive hotel/condominium complex on the site of the Miramar hotel. We went to Planning Commission and City Council meetings. Our conversations with each other and our friends turned to development issues more generally. As our discussions proceeded, it became clear that there was broad-based concern amongst residents about the general pace and direction of development in our city, and their impacts on the unique character, aesthetics, livability and economic vibrancy of Santa Monica. Early on, we began discussing ways that we might be able to play some type of role in the upcoming City Council elections.

Over the summer, a group of us formed a committee to interview the City Council candidates on these complex but crucial issues of development. We were initially a fairly large group of people, all of whom had input via e-mail, telephone and in-person meetings regarding the questionnaire we were drafting. As our plans formed to interview the candidates in person, some people realized that the time commitment would be significant and decided to focus on other activities. This committee evolved into SMRG.

What role we seek to play in the City Council election:

First, we seek to learn from all the candidates how they understand the issues surrounding development, what their vision for the city is and what their priorities will be.

Second, we want to help residents understand the candidates’ positions, as demonstrated by what they say they will do in the future, as well as by what they have done in the past.

SMRG will be happy to accept funding or strategic help from any individuals or businesses who wish to help us get our message out. As we engage in fundraising activities, we will use our donor filing documents to allow everyone to see who our supporters are.

We look forward to respectful dialogue with the candidates on the future of Santa Monica, and to respectful engagement with the voters. We will do what we believe is legitimate and appropriate as politically-engaged residents. Others will have to decide for themselves whether we are, in Bill Bauer’s words, “fabulous” or “phony.”

 

To get involved with SMRG, e-mail them at smforresponsiblegrowth@gmail.com.

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