Chain Reaction (File photo)

Chain Reaction (File photo)

Editor:

Re: Dear Mayor O’Connor, Mayor Pro Tempore O’Day and City Council members:

The Santa Monica Conservancy Board of Directors is concerned about the status of the deteriorating Chain Reaction sculpture and requests that the city take further action to fulfill its responsibility, as owner of the landmark sculpture, to ensure its restoration and preservation.

We request that the council agendize discussion of the status of the sculpture and direct staff to prepare a scope of work detailing requirements to repair and preserve the sculpture. While staff has engaged well-respected experts for reports on the structure’s condition and recommendations for repair and preservation, their proposed scope of work and cost estimates have been widely divergent and no proposal has been submitted to the Landmarks Commission for its consideration. As the Landmarks Commission has suggested, a “float up” presentation of this scope of work at an early conceptual stage would facilitate the process of moving toward the certificate of appropriateness, thereby enabling the commission to exercise its responsibility to ensure that the work proposed will be in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for treatment of historic structures and will not pose risks to the integrity of the landmark.

We also ask that you once again extend the deadline for fundraising. A clear understanding of the scope of work to restore the landmark and a well-documented estimate of the cost to complete the restoration is critical to a successful fundraising campaign of the magnitude suggested by initial estimates. Based on our experience, it is unrealistic to set a deadline for fundraising before this has been accomplished.

As indicated in the Statement of Official Action, Chain Reaction was designated as a Santa Monica landmark on July 9, 2012 based on the commission’s unanimous findings that it met five of the six criteria specified in our landmarks ordinance. Whether one personally likes the sculpture or not, it is representative of an era in Santa Monica politics, national politics and world politics. Like other designated structures, it tells a story which is an important aspect of our city’s heritage.

We urge you to take the steps described in this letter to ensure that Chain Reaction is properly restored and preserved.

 

 

Carol Lemlein

President, Santa Monica Conservancy