SMRR Council Endorsement
As a long-time affordable housing advocate, a former member of both the Santa Monica Rent Control Board and the Planning Commission, and a current member of the City Landmarks Commission, I read with interest your article about the SMRR Steering Committee‚Äôs endorsement of Sue Himmelrich for City Council.
The SMRR spokesperson made it clear several months ago that SMRR‚Äôs endorsement of the first two candidates (Kennedy and McKeown) was based on their many years of involvement with SMRR and furthering the organization‚Äôs goals of protecting rent control and supporting affordable housing. That is understandable. (This despite the fact that one of these two candidates was the lowest vote getter at the recent SMRR nominating convention where I was one of several hundred members who left after four hours and no agreed upon endorsements.)
But I am perplexed by SMRR‚Äôs choice for a third endorsement since I thought that using long term SMRR and community involvement was their criterion. If that were truly the case, the Steering Committee would have endorsed Frank Gruber, who, by the way, received 188 votes to Himmelrich‚Äôs 138 at the SMRR convention and has decades more involvement in Santa Monica.
I vividly remember Frank‚Äôs advocacy for renters‚Äô rights and affordable housing in the 1990‚Äôs. In his column for the Lookout, he was a strong voice for economic and social justice, including the rights of low-wage workers. He was also an activist with his neighborhood association, a member of both the City Housing Commission and the Planning Commission, and a founding member of Community for Excellent Public Schools as well as being actively involved in campaigns to increase funding for our public schools. During all this time, Frank continued to be an advocate for regulating development to protect our quality of life in Santa Monica. Frank has been a member of SMRR for 30 years and is one of the leaders of the Airport2Park Movement, which advocates for re-use of a portion of the airport as a public park.
In your article, you quote Patricia Hoffman, SMRR Co-Chair, as saying that Himmelrich is “super committed to the issues that are critically important to us like affordable housing and rent control.” Yes, Sue is committed to these issues, but so is Frank Gruber and he has a much longer track record in advocating for them and other quality of life issues in Santa Monica.
Leslie Lambert, Sunset Park Resident
I believe I spent this past weekend in La Jolla. But I‚Äôm not certain as I couldn‚Äôt find the village amidst traffic winding slowly through high-rise office buildings and hotels. Is this Santa Monica‚Äôs future? Is this what happens when we ignore our beachfront environment? How did this happen so quickly? What economic, social, and political choices can we still make not to meet this same end?
And then upon returning, I awoke to see in your paper the Chamber‚Äôs push to register Millennials for the election. I hope these tech savvy Millennials realize within five years their nightlife will give way to their “start up” families searching for parks, classrooms, sunlight, and maybe even water.
Driving home on the 5 and 405 the night before, I thought how sad it will be when I can no longer find Santa Monica, with only glimpses of the sun and the sea hard to find and tree canopies leafless without sunlight and air. Instead, I too will be lost wandering in an ocean of development.
PS ‚Äì Can we use the $1m Happiness Grant to remodel the bus stops which would make me happy