Editor:

I am one of the City Council candidates who declined to sign the so-called “transparency agreement” (“Council candidates steer clear of unknown groups,” Aug. 21). In my view, it had nothing to do with transparency, but was instead an attempt to intimidate and demean a group of residents who simply want to limit development.

Councilmember and current candidate Terry O’Day, quoted in the article as wanting “to do as much as we can to protect against the formation of groups that claim to be community-based groups but don’t have community credentials,” did not seem to have a concern for transparency when leading the deceptive, developer-backed campaign against Proposition T in 2008 that the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City placed on the ballot in an attempt to control the massive overdevelopment that is crushing the city’s residents. The public did not know at the time who was behind the campaign, or that developers had poured almost $1 million into defeating the initiative. Mr. O’Day was subsequently appointed to fill a vacant council seat by presumably grateful incumbents.

Councilmember O’Day (along with Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis) was supported in 2010 by a secretive developer-backed organization cynically named “Santa Monicans for Quality Government.” SMQG targeted Councilmember Kevin McKeown and council candidate Ted Winterer, going so far as to use phony depictions of Santa Monica’s police and fire departments’ insignias in its advertisements to provide an illusion of credibility. Mr. O’Day did not seem concerned about transparency at that time either.

Councilmember O’Day (along with Davis) was among the incumbents who recently voted to not provide any information about their donors, and to not make a booklet of their state filings available in the Council Chambers for the public to consult.

Councilmembers O’Day and Davis, having benefited from a lack of transparency over the years, are now jumping all over residents for doing nothing more than trying to become active in community affairs.

The residents behind Santa Monicans for Responsible Growth are to be commended, not attacked.

 

Bob Seldon

Santa Monica

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