This is being typed late on Sunday, April 7, as I and undoubtedly a number of my neighbors, the remaining trailer homeowners at the Village Trailer Park, are left wondering about just how well justice may be served in this week ahead.
Recall of course that our City Council, this Tuesday, April 9, will almost certainly finalize, perhaps even perfunctorily, its March 19 decision that it is simply OK to get rid of this historic affordable-housing resource. Then, this Thursday, April 11, the Rent Control Board, “independently,” though in the same building, one might bet will also sanction the demise of the VTP with its probable granting of a removal permit, sans even a legal trial about clear cause and right. Once that may be done, rental protection for those owned homes will then be lost, and subsequently removal of them will probably be just a letter and a handful of months away.
But for a sizable number of Santa Monica residents gathering in, or even outside, City Hall at the time of these critical meetings, our small town seems all-but guaranteed to be losing yet another of its now rare iconic community neighborhoods. After next week, but for such a hoped-for concerted bearing of witness, it presently looks that only legal action(s), with all the vagaries in risk, loss, and delay such usually promise, will then remain if preservation of this corner of Santa Monica is to be realized.
Actually, if as many as 30,000 Santa Monica residents, about a third of us living here and regularly trying to get around, so filled the area to give our leaders a message about saner acting still being needed, some question remains if even that extensive an input would sway the way things are being handled.
Why so? A hindsight quick review of the recent history of Santa Monica seems to suggest that there is some troubling discordant break between what residents desire and what city leadership doggedly keeps feeling worth pursuing. Apparently, thoughtful, far-thinking planning and its practice are in the eye of the beholder.
Nevertheless, if democratic acting is needed to keep democratic societies alive, one must try.