Tomorrow is election day. Vote if you haven’t done so already.
This particular election is important, not only because we can select who will represent us inWashingtonandSacramentobut inSanta Monicaas well. Plus, there are ballot measures that’ll affect each of us socially and financially.
The key election here is the race for City Council with four of seven seats open. Depending on who prevails in the election, City Hall will become less or more friendly todevelopment — this year’s big issue.
Richard McKinnon, Bob Seldon, John Cyrus Smithand Ted Winterer are generally considered to be slow-growthers.
Incumbents Terry O’Day and Gleam Davis are seen as favoring a less restrictive development approval process. They’ve received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations and political action committee (PAC) support from developers, their attorneys, architectsand others whoprofitfrom development.
Add Frank Gruber and Shari Davis to the list of candidates who have also received substantial support from developersand related interests.
More traditional issues such as crime, transit and homelessness aren’t much of a factor this election. And, theSanta MonicaAirportis an issue mostly with residents living south ofOcean Park Boulevard.
Those working out with me at the YMCA crumble about how City Hall wastes money like spending $49 million to build a three-plus acre park in theCivicCenter.A beautiful park can be built for a quarter of what City Hall is spending on the project which, by the way, should be renamed “MoneybagsPark,” “Wretched Excess Green” or “Solid GoldTrails.” But, I digress.
Speaking of spending — Measure ES is on the ballot. Although you can’t tell from their campaign literature, it’s a $385 million bond measure to improve and build new local school facilities.It’ll cost everySanta MonicaandMalibuproperty owner approximately $30 for every $100,000 of assessed evaluation, annually. And that expense willbe passed on toSanta Monicarenters, too.
ES is one of many ballot measures that would increase taxes and generate revenue for everything from helping education (state propositions 30 and 38) to building more transit projects such as county Measure J that would extendthe most recent Metro half-cent sales tax increase another 30 years — to 2069 — to generate revenues to “speed up” transit improvements.
How you vote on these issues will depend on whether you want to keepyour money in your own pocket or hand it over to variousgoverning agencies to spend.
The race for Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District school board is also important. In addition to three incumbents — two of them seeking fourth terms — there are threechallengerswho want changes for what they call “improved educational achievement.” Once again, it comes down to whether you think the incumbents have done a good job or whether changes in the way our schools are governed are called for.
Learning about who is donating to a campaign will tell you more about a candidate or issue than the flossy and generally misleading messaging in political flyers and mailers. You can research this for yourself on the city ofSanta Monicawebsite:www.smgov.net.
Go to election information, disclosure statements, then public portal.The public portal contains financial information provided by candidates and committees and can answer questions about who is contributing money, who is receiving money, and how it is being spent.
In looking over local campaign disclosure statements, I was struck by the fact that almost all candidates and measure backers (spending more than a few hundred dollars on suppliers) are purchasing campaign materials from non-Santa Monica sources.
For example, Seaside Printing Company in Long Beach received orders for tens of thousands of dollars in printing from the campaigns of Gleam Davis, Sherry Davis and Terry O’Day as well as‘’Yes on ES.”
Brentwoodpolitical consultant, Barbara Grover is on the “ES”payroll as well as working on Gleam Davis’s campaign. “ES”has also ordered literature and services from Pfeiffer Design inAltadenaand James Cumbie inNew York City.
Nancy Hasselbacher inCulver Cityis handling literature for Shari Davis, Gleam Davis and Terry O’Day
Winterer’s campaign hired the Gilpin Group inBainbridge,Wash.toproduce literature.
TheSanta Monicansfor Renters’ Rights (SMRR) PAC has sourced literature from companies inNorwalk,MontereyParkand Irwindale.
Steve Duron hired aBoston, Mass., voice coach (Johanna Voss Coaching) and bought signs from Dirt Cheap Signs inLago Vista, Texas.
Frank Gruber’s campaign bought literature from the Printed Union inSan Jose.
The SMPOA (police union) PAC ordered printing from Printing, Mailing and Direct Solutions, Inc. inWestlakeVillage.
Developer-backed Santa Monicans United for a Responsible Future(SMURF) PAC retained Los Angeles-based consultants Englander Knabe & Allen and boughtliterature from Aaron Thomas and Associates inChatsworth.
School board candidates Jose Escarce, Ben Allen and council candidate Tony Vazquez all bought literature from AMAC in Redondo Beach,Calif. The three challengers fromMalibubought literature from Sovereign Marketing inLos Angeles.
The Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) PAC purchasedcampaign materials fromKR Media and Design in South Riding, Va., according to the most recent disclosure statements (June 30, 2012) posted. The latest disclosure statements weren’t available.
You’d think thatSanta Monicahas no graphic designers, printers, political consultants or campaign managers.
When it comes to “buying local,” it’s not “do as I say,” it’s “do as I do.”
Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.