CITY HALL — In what was Councilmember Bob Holbrook’s last vote after 24 years on the dais, City Council agreed unanimously to have city officials explore a requirement that labels be added to all petroleum fuel pumps with a message explaining the connection between fossil fuel consumption and climate change.

The idea was brought forth by Councilmember Kevin McKeown, who noted that Berkeley and San Francisco have taken similar approaches.

Berkeley added labels, he said “just acknowledging, making people aware, that the continued burning of petroleum fuels is a part of the problem with climate change. We have a personal choice to make.”

He asked that city officials explore potential legal risks because, he said, after Berkeley passed its ordinance, Western States Petroleum Association threatened to sue.

“I don’t think they have cause to sue,” McKeown said. “Frankly, we label all sorts of things that we know are damaging, or could be.”

Council wants larger Bergamot Station Advisory Group

Five members is not enough to guide the future of the Bergamot Station Art Center, City Council said last week.

City officials had recommended that a five-member advisory group weigh in on the development of the nationally renowned art center – development that would include the addition of 44,000 square feet of creative office space and a new, seven-story, 120-room hotel.

City officials suggested that one member from each of the following groups be included in the advisory committee: The Arts Commission, Planning Commission, Neighborhood Council, Bergamot Station Gallery and Cultural Association, and Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Many members of the public expressed concern that the group was not inclusive enough.

“I agree with the people who spoke who feel that there should be a larger, more representative membership,” said Councilmember Kevin McKeown. “There should be more residents involved; different interest groups within Bergamot, not just a couple. I know of the retail groups, which were ignored in this. I know that larger groups are harder to manage and to get an outcome from but this is very important work with a lot of different viewpoints.”

Councilmember Gleam Davis agreed, noting that a five-member committee is too small but that a 15-member committee would be unwieldy.

She suggested a committee of about nine people that would include residents, members of the Bergamot Station Art Center, members of the nonprofit community, and some surrounding businesses.

Mayor Pam O’Connor echoed the need to include businesses and also suggested that the group also involve some younger people.

Council voted unanimously have city officials come back with a larger advisory committee.

Landmarks law amended to ease creation of historical districts

Council voted 6 to 0, with Holbrook abstaining, to reverse changes made to the landmarks law in 2003.

The 2003 changes made it easier for property owners to halt the creation of a historic district.

Historic districts are made up of numerous buildings that may not be historically significant on their own but considered together are deemed worthy of preservation.

Council’s change will remove the privileges previously afforded to the owners of those properties.

In 1990, council adopted an ordinance approving the Third Street Neighborhood Historic District. In 2000, they approved designation of the Bay Street Cluster.

Since then, council hasn’t approves a single historic district. This, councilmembers said, may be a result of the 2003 change.

And recently, there have been rumblings about changes coming to courtyard apartments on San Vicente Boulevard.

With that in mind, many of the members of council asked earlier this year that the 2003 changes be reversed.

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