I am a 37-year resident of Santa Monica and for the last 23 years have lived two blocks from the Miramar. As a union member and a delegate to the L.A. County Federation of Labor, I was active in the successful campaign to turn back the Miramar‚Äôs efforts to decertify their hotel workers union and I continue to have a special interest in the welfare of their workers.
I found a number of the Miramar leaflets tossed in among the shrubbery in front of my building (“Downtown hotel cold war heats up,” June 12). I took one to keep and recycled the rest. The Miramar flier is so heavy-handed and so insulting to our community, the only conclusion I can take from it is the authors are shockingly ignorant of the community and the hornet‚Äôs nest they‚Äôve kicked over by attempting to jam an appallingly ugly hotel, a shopping center and condos into our neighborhood after demolishing arguably one of the two most historic and cherished landmarks in our city.
If the photo of Mr. Sassounian was not printed in hopes of stirring up racial antagonisms, then what was its real purpose? What did the photo add to their arguments? Did they want us to be able to spot him in a crowd? Why did they have the photo dominate the front page of their four-page flier? For what purpose did they repeat the same photo on an inside page as well? Why was Mr. Sassounian‚Äôs non-Anglo sounding name printed in large block letters every time it was used?
The flier takes the Huntley Hotel to task for paying only the actual amount of state tax they owe under Prop. 13. Isn‚Äôt that what all businesses and homeowners do? Does the Miramar throw in an extra few million as a bonus when they pay their taxes, or will they too pay only what they owe? I appreciate the Miramar‚Äôs breakdown of the wacky inequalities resulting when a tax break to protect elderly residents from being forced out of their homes by skyrocketing property taxes is applied to business, which in some cases will keep their property for generations. I hope that means the Miramar will join us in supporting the current effort by Democratic legislators in Sacramento to reform Prop. 13 so that businesses like the Huntley and Miramar pay their fair share of property taxes just like they do in almost all other states.
The developers of whatever replaces the Miramar couldn‚Äôt be more wrong if they think Santa Monicans are afraid of people with non-Anglo names or would prefer racial segregation or fear foreigners. In fact, diversity of age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality and sexual orientation is the source of our strength and of our staying power and it‚Äôs why the renters have continued to win election after election for over three decades. Attempts by developers to divide our forces will have no effect.
As for the Miramar‚Äôs warnings the Huntley is attempting to take control of the city of Santa Monica, it‚Äôs been tried many times before by outfits much bigger than the Huntley. Many millions of dollars have been wasted over the years by businesses who thought they were smarter than our voters and could take the city over simply by stuffing our mailboxes with exactly this sort of junk mailer. We‚Äôre here to stay and we‚Äôll fight this war to the bitter end.