The people in Santa Monica are living in a time warp and a parallel universe. I just read another letter to the editor wanting a recall election of the City Council members (“Calling for a recall,” Letters to the Editor, April 25).
For over 20 years I‚Äòve heard nearly everybody in Santa Monica complaining about the terrible traffic and all the overdevelopment. Apparently, the majority of voters never made the causal connection between the incumbents they keep voting for and the amount of development. Not even the Planning Commission has a say in developments being green lighted. It is the City Council that decides.
Every citizen has a responsibility to be an informed voter. I suspect the vast majority of voters don‚Äôt look at the ballot until five minutes before they vote, when they should have done some research. Then they just vote for the one with incumbent next to the name.
I was on a committee to investigate the campaign contributions of the council members. I spent a great many hours researching the actual identity of the listed contributors. Although, technically, the information is public, not everything is as it seems. There were many campaign contributors who listed themselves as “Business person,” “housewife,” “student,” etc. There were many attorneys listed. There were many contributors who listed one of their identities, but not the relevant identity. The “business people,” invariably turned out to be in the business of development, real estate, construction, etc. Nearly all of the attorneys were attorneys for development companies or something related. An out-of-town wine maker was actually a property owner in Santa Monica. A vitamin company executive was actually a real estate developer. And, don‚Äôt get me started on the groups that can make unlimited campaign contributions that are filled with developers and their coven. They always chose some misleading name for the group that sounds like they are concerned about Santa Monica, when they are really developers concerned about their own pockets while ruining the quality of life in Santa Monica. And, they don‚Äôt live in Santa Monica.
Where were all of you when Prop. T was on the ballot? Prop. T would have substantially limited the amount of square footage that could be built each year. Yet, people chose to believe all the slick and misleading advertising that developers spent nearly a million dollars distributing to defeat Prop. T. The information was readily available to reveal all the lies, but voters apparently just look at a picture of a cute child on some campaign flyer and vote the way they are told that will not “hurt children.”
The election process does work if voters are informed. If you keep voting for the same people that take large sums of money from developers, then green light outrageous development projects, you forfeit your right to complain. The time to take action was at the election, not a recall.
I‚Äôve seen some names attacked in these letters to the editor. Again, I‚Äôm seeing misdirection. It should be clearly noted that Bobby Shriver and Kevin McKeown never took a dime from any of the developers. It isn‚Äôt a coincidence that Bobby Shriver and Kevin McKeown were the ones arguing against the development agreements. Nor is it a coincidence that developers used underhanded tactics to try to defeat them, especially Kevin McKeown during the elections.
Look at the voting record. It was always five to two in favor of the developers. The two were Kevin McKeown and Bobby Shriver, who represented the people of Santa Monica. The other five represented the campaign contributors. Now with Ted Winterer and Tony Vazquez, it is four to three, but four is still more votes than three, and the people of Santa Monica lose. And, you have yourselves to blame.