• Name: Bob Holbrook
• Age: 68
• Occupation: Community pharmacist
• Marital status/children: Married to Jean Ann; children: Bob, Cindy and Craig
• Your neighborhood? How long have you lived there?: I have resided in the North of Montana neighborhood for the past 41 years. I was born in Ocean Park and lived there until I was married
• Your mode of transportation/model, make and year of your ride?: Ford Thunderbird 2005
• Own or rent?: Own.
• Due you support Measure Y, the half-cent sales tax increase? If so, do you think half of the money generated by the increase should go to the local public schools?
Yes. If City Hall doesn’t receive more revenue, then we will have to reduce services to our residents. Our public schools are suffering severe financial problems due to the state budget woes and a lack of foresight to recognize the tell-tale signs. If we don’t share the money received from the half-cent sales tax then we will watch the deterioration of our schools and our city services. I am pleased that the City Council voted to give the public the authority to decide this measure on Nov. 2.
• What are you reading?
Mostly City Council agenda reports and hundreds of e-mails every month from residents. I read local papers every day and love to follow college sports on the sports pages and on the Internet. The last book I read was “On the Trail of Whales,” by Dumont and Marion.
• Do you believe there is enough parking Downtown? If not, what do you plan to do about it?
Barely enough today, but not enough during the holidays and certainly not enough once the economy recovers. Ironically, although it would seem that we need to build more, mostly we need to price the parking differently to achieve a dispersal of the demand to locations across Downtown. In addition, on Friday nights and weekends we need to keep our traffic directors on duty at our busiest intersections to keep traffic flowing and directing people to available parking. We have had good results directing people to parking at the Fourth Street structure across from the Doubletree Hotel, the parking lot directly across from City Hall adjacent to the RAND Corp. and the parking lot beneath the Main Library at Sixth Street and Santa Monica Boulevard. I believe that if we must build another parking structure it should be between Fourth and Fifth Streets between Arizona and Santa Monica Boulevard.
• Now that the Broad museum is out of play, what should City Hall do with the Civic Center parking lot?
Bring another museum into play. I would like to see a world class museum built that will attract people to the heart of our city.
• When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A pilot. Now that I am grown up, I want to be a cruise ship captain!
• Local businesses provide the majority of the city’s General Fund revenues, yet Santa Monica has the reputation for being a difficult place to do business. How would you entice more businesses, different businesses, to open up shop? How can City Hall help those businesses that are struggling in the current economy?
City Hall, through its ownership of some retail properties in Downtown, should keep the rents as low as possible to attract a variety of businesses. We have also reduced the license fees on the lowest grossing businesses to help them survive. We will continue to keep our business districts well maintained and creating destinations like the pier, promenade and Santa Monica Place to attract new businesses that can benefit from local residents and visitor shopping, dining and being entertained.
• L.A. recently greatly reduced patient’s access to medical marijuana. Do you support medical marijuana dispensaries in Santa Monica?
No. Medical marijuana is only beginning to be regulated and since dispensaries in nearby Los Angeles can deliver to Santa Monica, our residents who require such medical treatment can receive their supplies promptly.
• Should smoking be banned within apartments?
If smoking in an apartment circulates smoke into other non-smoking apartments, then smoking should be banned in that building.
• What would you do to make Santa Monica more bike friendly?
A dedicated bike path is planned to run beside the new light rail right-a-way. I would offer a plan to develop connecting bike paths to and from the neighborhoods it passes through across Santa Monica.
• What’s the biggest threat facing the quality of life in Santa Monica?
The lack of adequate funding for our Santa Monica schools may lead to a deterioration of the quality of education our residents expect and our students deserve. The ability of each child to attend and receive an excellent public school education is a key factor in preserving and enhancing the quality of life in Santa Monica.
• Downtown properties owned by City Hall. Should parking become the top priority or should housing become first?
Presently there is a greater need for parking than housing in Downtown.
• Do you support the closure of Santa Monica Airport in 2015? If so what would you like to replace it with and how would you make up for the loss in revenue generated by airport operations, lease agreements?
I would support closure only if a careful and deliberate public process leads us to that conclusion. Personally, I see the airport property as an opportunity to provide some new recreational activities, while generating revenue through the inclusion of limited commercial and/or retail development including possibly, a family-oriented moderate hotel on part of the airport site.
• Do you believe in pension reform and should Santa Monica employees contribute more toward their healthcare and retirement benefits?
Yes, I believe in pension reform. Both City Hall and the employees will have to pay part of the employees’ costs because those costs are escalating rapidly.
• When it comes to getting public benefits from developers, what should be the top priority: affordable housing, public art, cash money, bike lanes or carpooling?
• Would you support placing a limit on the amount of time council members can speak on a particular item during meetings?
Yes. Anything worth saying could be said in 15 minutes or less.
• When is the last time you rode a bike or took a big blue bus?
Took the Big Blue Bus about a month ago.
• Does the housing-first model work for addressing the homeless issue or should we focus on building more emergency shelters to get people off the streets immediately?
Housing first is working and is my first priority.
• Free Form: What’s putting a burr under your saddle?
The state taking millions of dollars of Santa Monica city funds to balance their massive deficit budget!