Former state Sen. Sheila Kuehl was hired a few weeks ago by the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees to create a public policy institute at the college. The institute would provide residents with “nonpartisan” reports on key economic, social and political issues.

This has more to do with cronyism than academics. Kuehl’s $132,000 (annual) position on the California Integrated Waste Management Board was eliminated in January. Now, she’s “a consultant.”

SMC Trustee Nancy Greenstein, a former Santa Monica for Renters’ Rights Co-Chair and veteran SMRR leader put the SMC deal together. Kuehl’s contract calls for a $5,000 monthly stipend plus expenses.

Greenstein said, “We are really looking at it as a local program that will help Santa Monica College maintain its reputation for being on the cutting edge.”

“Cutting edge?” “Nonpartisan?” With this?

This is a propaganda tool, pure and simple, for SMC and SMRR. Proof? A key purpose of the venture “is to provide guidance to newly-elected officials and helping City Council members and others develop solutions to the many pressing problems facing Westsiders.”

SMC’s press handouts also tout student benefits such as leadership training but this is really designed to propagandize voters and lobby politicians. It provides the SMRR-dominated Board of Trustees another venue (with higher education trappings) to promote SMRR’s agenda.

If Kuehl’s roll in our 2008 election is any indicator of the caliber of intellectual thought here, we’re in trouble. She actively opposed 2008’s ballot Measure T, also known as RIFT (Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic), that would have temporarily rolled back future commercial development in Santa Monica.

There’s nothing wrong with opposing ballot measures, however Kuehl repeatedly shilled, “I oppose Measure T because it further encourages landlords to demolish affordable apartments and displace renters.” The measure had absolutely nothing to do with renters or residential development. Her pronouncement was complete nonsense.

Since T’s failure at the polls, millions of square feet of new, mostly commercial development are scheduled for the Colorado Avenue/Olympic Boulevard corridor — a direct result of Kuehl’s misguided “public policy?”

Kuehl was a willing participant in the “big lies” advanced by those opposing “T” including Save Our City co-chair Judy Abdo (another former city politician, former SMRR co-chair and SMRR influence peddler) who is a close personal friend of the former senator. If Kuehl is either that ignorant or that willing to be manipulated, I predict this ill-conceived venture will be an unmitigated disaster for SMC’s credibility.

There’s a long history of SMRR cronyism at SMC. SMRR activist Linda Sullivan was hired to manage its new Broad Theater a few years ago. Her husband, attorney Robert Myers, is campus counsel. Its Board of Trustees is loaded with ex-SMRR politicians and SMRR leaders.

Denny Zane, another former mayor and councilman, former SMRR chair and SMRR power player is also on SMC’s payroll as a political/marketing consultant. One of Zane’s most recent projects was to take a bus load of SMC students to a hearing in Downtown Los Angeles to support Expo Light Rail Phase 2’s environmental report.

Students admitted they were given extra credit to attend and support Expo including at grade crossings and a route down Colorado Avenue hundreds of yards further away from SMC’s campus than Metro’s originally proposed alignment on Olympic Boulevard.

L.A. Councilman hates SM traffic<p>

Last week, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl endorsed the humongous Bundy Village and Medical Park — a proposed medical plaza and housing development near the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles.

The “Bundy Village and Medical Park” will have 389,755 square feet of medical space 129,838 square feet of retail/restaurant/commercial space and 385 residential units says developer Stonebridge Holdings, Inc. Proposed for behind Martin Cadillac, the project will be a total of 1.3-million square feet, park 3,276 vehicles and have a maximum height of 116 feet. Stonebridge estimates it will generate 21,000 additional area car trips, daily.

Rosendahl proclaimed, “I strongly believe in housing and medical facilities for seniors … Having housing and health care in the same building is a win-win.”

Would someone tell Rosendahl BVMP isn’t some small senior center?

The L.A. Planning Commission delayed ruling on the development last Thursday and since meeting with BVMP neighbors, Rosendahl has softened his strong “pro-project” advocacy.

The owner of the Martin Cadillac property may also develop his own 650,000 square foot, 2,000 parking space, mixed used project. Will “Wild Bill” sell out and endorse that project, too?

Many of you may remember Rosendahl stumping around Santa Monica during the 2008 election campaigning for Measure T. He blames the Westside’s horrendous traffic problems on excessive commercial development in Santa Monica and backed the temporary cap T would have placed on commercial projects.

I’m personally disappointed, having strongly supported him in his two runs for L.A. City Council. His endorsement of the gridlock-generating BVMP paints him as a hypocrite.

I’d hoped he’d do better. Silly me.

Bill Bauer can be reached at

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