In a recent editorial, the Daily Press warned readers about the attempt by the City Council to “change the narrative” about rampant development in our city (“Aren’t they listening at City Hall?” Daily Press Editorial, June 21). The impetus for the editorial was the report of yet another survey proposed by City Hall to gauge the feelings of Santa Monicans about development. The City Council just keeps spending money on surveys hoping that the survey answers received will finally be vague enough so that they can say that people here are getting less bothered about the council’s developer-centric focus. I guess if you ask the questions often enough in slightly different ways perhaps you can finally get the results you want.
I thought of that editorial when I read the article on last Friday’s front page (“Petition drafted supporting bigger buildings,” July 12). Frankly, it’s pretty blatant, isn’t it? The petition was started by a real estate agent purporting to show support for more development in our city. He couldn’t have a stake in that development, could he? Of course not. Finally, the council will privately say, “We have a way of saying that there is a lot of support for high-density, low-parking, traffic-causing development. We’re listening to the people and it’s clear they want development!”
The council is doing a variation of this approach in their efforts to get rid of Santa Monica Airport. They hired two high-quality consultants (Rand Corp. was one of them) to analyze the airport and its contribution to the city in terms of business and jobs. Both consultants delivered reports to the council that were highly positive about the effects of the airport on the local economy ($275 million per year going into the local economy) and how the airport could be the source of even more economic benefit to the city if City Hall would get behind the airport.
But now you cannot find anyone in the local government who will acknowledge the reports. If pushed they will dismiss them. They also have packed the Airport Commission with people who have no knowledge of the aircraft or aerospace world. In a city of over 90,000 inhabitants, the airport-closers number only a few hundred but the council ignores all the local and national support for the airport. Again, it’s a way of trying to “change the narrative” to finally get to hear what they want to hear. The council is so eager to deliver the airport acreage to their masters, the developers, that if the airport-closers had not come up with complaints about noise and pollution the council would have found something else — maybe it would have been light pollution or something.
In a city that delights in its liberal roots, these blatant attempts to control and limit different points of view are shocking. The City Council and the Planning Commission are determined to ignore the inhabitants of this city and do what they want — sell us to the developers. They keep trying to control the message. I say let us change the narrative and recall the bunch of them!