The law suit and referendum against the Hines project is a big step in the right direction, but the issue at hand is far more than just the Hines project in particular and over development in general.
Residents need to be aware of just who benefits from development revenues. Developers are not the only special interest that determines who gets elected to the Santa Monica City Council.
I’m talking about the elephant in the room feeding at the public trough; the powerful city employee associations and Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights. The 200-member SMRR is running scared and even the 13 member steering committee is changing sides, trying to point the finger solely at developer interests, even though every one on the council has received their endorsements as well. In fact, four current members of the council have received support from SMRR, city employees and developers!
A number of people will be using this issue to run for council this year but most of those candidates will be toadying up to SMMR and the various city employee associations in the hope of receiving their endorsements and contributions, so they will not be supporting the following:
(1) An immediate moratorium on all development not approved by the residents who are directly impacted.
(2) Repealing the Land Use and Circulation Element.
Nor will they be:
(3) Speaking out against cronyism and conflict of interest.
(4) Repudiating any past or present council or SMRR members employed by the city at six-figure salaries, or received excessive consultant fees, or city contracts. None of this is against the law, but it is highly unethical!
SMRR will not release the names of any of their members, or any present and past members of the City Council who work for the city, school district, receive city contracts or consultant fees, etc. Nor will they release the names of any SMRR members living in low-income public housing.
As long as transparency and accountability is lacking in this city it will remain almost impossible to investigate conflict of interest and cronyism, and such egregious corruption will persist, and the coalition between SMRR, city employees and developers will continue to influence elections.
I will support any referendum that calls for a recall of any elected or appointed official that is part of the current ruling coalition. Unfortunately, Bill Bauer made sure that won’t happen when he ambushed Armen Melkonians into going on record that he would not use Residocracy to recall members of the council.