WALKING UP OCEAN PARK BLVD
On a Monday morning, just after 8 a.m. From Lincoln, up the hill, toward home, toward the ocean.
Just dropped my car off to Ruben at Lincoln Auto Electric for a routine maintenance. Like I’ve done for almost 30 years. Ruben, from Peru, can handle any car, Prius to Bentley. A gorgeous powder blue ‘58 Corvette rolled out as I was leaving.
Ruben has run the business with his wife Anna, from Argentina, in the office for all that time and longer, but now son Alex runs the office and son Nick continues to sharpen his mechanic skills under his father’s watchful eye.
I don’t know what I’d do if I had to find a new mechanic as good and honest as Ruben y familia. But it appears now the business will continue, with Nick and Alex already running things smoothly. But I don’t want Ruben to leave. He’s quite a character, with strong opinions and a lot of unusual life stories to tell. Prime for a column. But get him to sit still long enough, and not answer a phone.
As I crossed Lincoln, I glanced up Ocean Park and what did I see? An endless
procession of cars, coming from God-knows-where. Emerging from the sea? They stretched as far as I could see, to the top of the hill. And then when I got to Highland and just crested the hill, I could see that they were backed up past the schools (SMASH/John Muir). It’s a common sight, that has made me alter my route when leaving home by car,
in the last year especially.
MORNING RUSH HOUR?
Everyone headed to work, leaving Santa Monica, oh dear oh dear, if only we could find them all jobs here they could use our world-class public transportation system, and with affordable housing for all those who drive here from L.A. to work, we could avoid all this. (Bwaah hahahaha, ha ha ha.)
Except, when I picked up my car at 2:00, it was just as bad on OP Blvd.
I know those of us who voice such concerns are accused of wanting to build that NIMBY wall around our borders (let Garcetti pay for it! or Pam O’Connor!), and keep everyone else out (now that we have ours, of course). But when I go to a restaurant or club and it’s full to capacity, fire marshall capacity, dangerous to exceed that capacity, I understand, and if I really want in I will wait in line and when five people exit, they will let five more in. Or, I will go find another really good restaurant or club that isn’t already full. We all must make choices. I searched six years before I found a place in Santa Monica, then became part of a four-year TORCA adventure to make it happen.
So I ask you: is it possible a small city, like Santa Monica, surrounded by megalopolis L.A. and the Pacific Ocean, has a capacity? 100,000? 500,000? Surely not 1,000,000. We’ve been around 93,000 residents for a while. But what other city that size has perhaps a quarter of a million visitors per day? Maybe we’ve reached that fire marshall capacity, which explains the parade on Ocean Park (and 23rd, and Olympic, and Lincoln) and perhaps the incredible, sad toll of pedestrian accidents and deaths we’ve been experiencing just this year, not to mention (but I will) gridlock Downtown and at a growing number of other locations?
Of course no one wants The Wall of Santa Monica. No one would say, Okay, we’re full,
go away. (We can’t even deal with the homeless.)
But — if we are straining our borders, if traffic has increased horribly and it has gotten dangerous to walk or bike in Santa Monica, why do we have a City Council who still approves massive office space and mixed use projects? Not to mention (oops, I did, again) their absolute addiction to “affordable housing” (at any cost, to the 93,000).
It’s pretty simple, Councilors. If we have dire near-future problems with water, emergency services, traffic, truly affordable housing and so many more — stop building! Stop treating developers like gold and your own citizens like ghosts. No more office space. No more overblown housing projects at points already choking. Find a way to stop bleeding the affordable housing we have. Seriously. Come on. We’ve had it, you know. Your legacy at this point is shameful.
I WASN’T GOING TO
Really I wasn’t. Really really really. Didn’t want to. Write about Donald Trump again, now.
But then I got scared again. I watched his speech to his rally in Pennsylvania, the day he chickened out from attending the traditional, century-old correspondents dinner in DC.
I try to stay pretty well informed on issues. So without needing fact checking, I’m pretty
sure it was his worst string of lies, mostly lies, exaggerations, distortions and brazen BS yet. He’s getting worse, not better. He’s getting drunk with power. (Check out his mind-blowing recent “interview” with CBS’ John Dickerson.) Because although he obviously has very limited intelligence and even less education or understanding of what his “job” entails, or respect for the precious position of President, he is fed by the adulation he receives from his willfully ignorant followers. (“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”)
So many of us thought he would be on his way out by now. Impeached for the many
crimes he has already committed, resigning because it was more work than he thought, a new election called because this one was fraudulent. Ain’t gonna happen, folks.
What can we do? Don’t become distraught, as I am on the verge of. Keep marching. Keep pushing the spineless Dems to DO something, to resist everything bad this carnival barker tries. America is not this. But we could lose her, and then what do we tell our children?
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Union contracts all up for negotiation here, this year, including long term pensions. Will you make things fiscally manageable for us in the future, Council members, or will you give the groups who made your elections possible everything they ask for? We’re watching.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” — Mark Twain
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 31 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else
in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at