In the furor over the hit piece developed, paid for, and delivered to Santa Monica doorsteps by the Miramar Hotel development team the narrative became a lot of things, but not the real issue. Therefore, as repugnant and divergent from the issue as the flyer was, it might have been successful in accomplishing an objective, if that objective was to take attention away from the proposed project itself.
However, a sense of who the residents of Santa Monica are appears to have eluded the consultants. Since the team’s main goal should, rationally, be persuading the community — not merely City Hall or enough City Council members to vote for its project — that the expansion of the Miramar Hotel is in the public interest and that the community should want to have a tower of expensive condominiums added to the hotel site, learning what moves residents and what doesn’t is pretty important.
Residents around the city know that:
• The issue is a development on the site of the Miramar Hotel.
• Proposing really tall buildings has severe impacts.
• Impacts need to be successfully dispersed, nullified or counteracted before the project moves forward and the “mitigation measures” so often relied upon leave all the impacts in place to be experienced by residents and visitors alike.
• The project is an MSD (Michael Dell) development, not a Huntley Hotel development and the Huntley was at its present height long before the current zoning (from the 1980s) was in effect.
• Other hotels, including the Huntley, not being the developer, may support or oppose projects, but are not required to reply to questions or public scrutiny. The developer should.
• The questions about the development, facts and information on it, and concern about it are coming in huge part from actual residents of Santa Monica, both nearby and further afield.
What we might have inferred from the Miramar flyer is maybe MSD/Michael Dell will want to help California overturn 1978’s Prop. 13 so that they are not, as implied in the flyer, “unfairly” assessed property taxes based on the assessment of their property when it was bought in comparison with other hotels who are under long-term ownership.