This past week, Q-line asked:

City Hall has installed an elaborate lighting system on Second and Fourth streets that is designed to both illuminate and beautify the shopping areas. The project has its backers and its critics. What do you think about the colorful lights, and why?

Here are your responses:

“Yes, I think the lighting that they gouged the trees with on Second and on Fourth streets is an abomination to nature, to anything beautiful and it’s horrible. It’s just really horrible. I call them the cyborg trees, and it was a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money.”

“We have the bright lights of Broadway, Las Vegas and now Santa Monica. Thomas Edison would be proud. I personally find bright lights to be invigorating, especially when homeowners get to decorate their houses during the holiday season.”

“There are many things right about Santa Monica, but the light show in the trees is not one of them. The edginess of this display is more in character with a different type of entertainment city and is another example of money wasted on consultants dreaming of schemes to justify their positions. Non-resident developers, real estate interests and consultants don’t care about the long-term. They’ve got their money. Santa Monica has become a parody of itself with its vacant businesses, avocado paint and unfinished construction sites. Turn off the lights, do something else with the money.”

“The lights, as so many things this city does, are a little over the top. God knows we need a lot of illumination in this city and our surrounding neighborhoods with all the vagrants, criminals and assorted low lifes, but this might be more than a tad too much. How about spreading them around on our darkened, badly lit neighborhood and park areas?”

“The mall, Montana, Main Street and [Santa Monica] Pier are our retail cash cows and should be constantly made more beautiful to continue to attract customers. However, our city taxes shouldn’t be used for these purposes. Instead these areas should have a tiny extra sales tax or district fee that goes into a fund. This money should be spent on whatever the shops up in that area want. For example: it could be to have cool, old fashioned ornate street lights on Main Street to go with their turn of the century architecture. The Main Street district could level a small fee or tax on those businesses that is put in a Main Street fund and those businesses could vote to collect enough money in five years to install cool, old street lights.”

“I recoiled in disbelief when I first saw those silly colored lights and the thick ugly cables running up the trees. What a waste and what a desecration. The city has thrown out good money on a hideous tasteless, chintzy, tacky, tawdry and totally inappropriate installation. Has no one in our city leadership have any judgment or common sense?”

“Unbelievable. It was only a few years ago that our so-called arborist was telling us that it is harmful to put nails in trees but now it is acceptable for the city to put large ugly screws and cables to put these ugly lights on the trees. At a time when cities across the county are struggling to balance their budgets, our spendthrift governments waste over a million dollars on these ridiculous lights which do nothing to beautify the area. Santa Monica is not immune to the economic recession, and the money could surely be put to better use helping our schools or other vital services. The government is being run by lunatics with no sense of value.”

“I can’t think of a more cheesy, tasteless way to waste money than in the lights on Second and Fourth streets. Bring on the clowns and the hookers, the lights are on. Why do I believe this? Because I know the difference between elegant and tacky. And we got the latter.”

“Ha! Elaborate lightning. If you look at those, the lighting is not elaborate. First of all, it looks like someone just put up a bunch of lights like Christmas lights up on that tree. An now you know with the prices of water and trash and parking tickets, now Santa Monica residents know exactly where their taxpaying money is going to. These lights on Fourth Street, what a joke. You know what? Do something better for the city, plant some more trees.”

“As a long-time resident and former landlord in the city of Santa Monica, I really don’t understand what the fuss is about the lightning on Second and Fourth streets. I think it’s beautiful, and I think it’s lovely. Let’s get a grip, and let’s start realizing the serious things about life like the murder of these innocent children and that sort of stuff. And what about the homeless people floating around? That’s what’s important, not the trees that bring lots of beautiful light to the city of San Malicious.”

“Instead of the trees, they ought to put the lights up on the bums because they never move anyway.”

“I find the imposition of the lighting equipment in and on the ficus trees offensive. Why do we have to injure the trees for the sake of our amusement? Will the city injure the ficus trees to the extent that they then become ‘structurally unsound’ and then suddenly announce that they have to be cut down?”

“Last year City Hall wasted $8 million with the cutting down of the ficus tress and supposedly changing the look of Second and Fourth streets. The last item was the colored lights, which they hoped to bring a carnival atmosphere to Downtown. This was a sham or scam that has done nothing to attract shoppers. Half of the area that the lights are in are parking structures, and the trees have been abused, no matter what the city forester says. The best trait of City Hall is money wasting.”

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