In his letter to the Daily Press, Santa Monica resident Lindsay Gardner (“Ruling by referendum,” Feb. 27) announces proudly that he “will not be signing the Hines referendum.”

In response, I announce that I just did.

The reason I support the referendum is simply that I believe the damage wrought by the Bergamot-Hines development — an enormous increase in traffic congestion negatively impacting residential neighborhoods, surface streets and the freeway — more than offsets the project’s benefits. The development, along with others now underway and in the pipeline, is simply too much for the city to bear.

Mr. Gardner argues that he knows and has voted for our City Council members, that he trusts them and appreciates the care they have brought to this issue, “working late into the night with little pay.” He goes on to observe — as have other proponents — that the approved development was years in the making. Other project supporters note the graciousness, hard work and dedication that both city officials and the developers have put into the process.

I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough. Hard work, low pay, long hours, etc. , these things are expected of politicians, and go with the territory. Furthermore, people don’t run for public office and serve just because they are dedicated to a cause. They also have an ego to satisfy. Even the most committed, likable council member — someone you might personally “know,” as Mr. Gardner says he does — can make a mistake, or worse, fail to listen to his/her electorate, in this case the residents of Santa Monica.

We referendum petitioners believe the four council members who support the Hines-Bergamot project as proposed, have let us down. Yes, the referendum process can be sloppy, divisive, confusing, even costly, sometimes. I wish we didn’t have to go this route, but sometimes it’s necessary. Referendums happen when people take into their own hands what their elected officials have failed to do.

Finally, we pro-referendum petitioners and signers are old, young, renters, homeowners from all over the city, plus even some small business people who live here. We are informed, united, committed and we will win!


Donald Murchie

Santa Monica

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