I was shocked, shocked to read that Community Corp of Santa Monica (CCSM) was opening yet another multi-family low-income housing project in the Pico Neighborhood (“Opening day,” March 29).

The City Council gave CCSM millions of dollars of our taxpayer money to build 47 units at High Place and Virginia Avenue backing right up to the Santa Monica Freeway. A few years ago UCLA published the results of a study. In summary the report concluded traffic density studies have observed development and increased aggravation of asthma, and decreased lung function in children, and low birth weight and premature births for mothers living near major roadways.

Why would anyone intentionally build multi-family low-income rental housing next to a freeway knowing it puts the health of children at risk?. Well obviously the city housing director and the director of CCSM and their families won’t live next to their own buildings. And if some children suffer adverse health effects, their parents will sue the city and the taxpayers will pay, not the Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights leadership that pushes these regional social service projects.

This is another example of Santa Monicans for Renters’ RIghts-City Council policy of environmental racism. And incredibly, the council gave CCSM millions of taxpayer dollars to build another 48 units right next door to the new projects. Of course, the overwhelming majority of the tenants moving into the project are from all over Southern California. These units are not for low-income Santa Monicans. Then a few days after the grand opening there is another shooting in the Pico Neighborhoodat 20th and Delaware, near a concentration of CCSM projects. When the project under construction at High Place and Virginia Avenue is finished CCSM will own two solid city blocks of low-income housing, everything from Cloverfield Boulevard to Frank Street.

We refer to Kevin McKeown as the chairman of the board of the Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY)group. So long as McKeown is on the council we won’t see two blocks of low-income housing in his North of Wilshire neighborhood. We know we will never see a council meeting where he makes a motion directing staff to duplicate in his neighborhood, what is happening in the Pico Neighborhood.

Developing low-income rental housing and bringing in tenants and new voters from outside the city increases SMRR’s voter base. Consequently the homeowners’ tax money is being spent to prevent them fromelecting non-SMRR’s to the City Council.


Steve Keats

Santa Monica

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