District-wide voting/elections have proven to be more representative than any other form of government. (District voting is having candidates representing certain geographical areas within the city i.e.; Ocean Park, North of Montana, Pico Neighborhood and other established districts). Candidates associated with these areas have a vested personal interest in how they represent their constituents. They live there!
Recently, the City Council has authorized use of public space (parks) especially Palisades Park, for use by for-profit physical fitness trainers. I don’t need to duplicate here all the reasons and observations given by residents during several public meetings and face-to-face council meetings. Not to mention the letters and comments in local media in opposition to this new permitting process which turns public space (maintenance and upkeep paid for by residents) into a personal profit center. Are the council members and staff oblivious to these concerns?
Needless to say, the council decided to go ahead and approve this system, all the while ignoring and rejecting all concerns and requests from the citizens to save our public spaces. To emphasize my point further, all neighborhood associations representing their voters opposed this plan. These associations are taxed with the responsibility and duty of representing us as a unified front to the council.
Who is the council working for?
Most people I talk to who live in SM are very confused and upset with the current representation on the City Council. Rampant oversized and ugly development, granted through dog-and-pony development agreements and all the problems caused by them is an issue. Bloated and unrealistic salaries and benefits for top officials. Wasted and unaccounted for funds, expenditures and results with city projects. Allowing staff and outside consultants to dictate process and outcome of planning and administrative issues. Worst of all, no accountability. Am I acknowledging what is obvious to most informed residents?
Until we, the electorate, decide to change the way we elect our representatives this will always be why SM residents are left in the lurch and holding the bag for decisions being made that don’t represent or reflect what we want and deserve.
It’s all over the news recently on how local citizens are joining together to change the electoral process within their own communities. Whether because of cultural and race issues (Pico Neighborhood), SMO safety and air quality issues (Friends of Sunset Park) density, traffic congestion, open space and quality of life (all other areas of the city) it’s time for Santa Monica residents to take charge of our future and create a system that truly represents us all.
James W Schumacher