MY WRITE — You asked for it. You got it. “Ye Olde Holiday Wish List for 2014.” What were you expecting? A whole bunch of new seven and eight floor apartment buildings on Wilshire and Lincoln Boulevards?

A new City Manager in 2015 who isn’t worshipping on the altar of the almighty dollar is on my holiday list. Yes, fiscal solvency is important, but do we have to constantly sock it to residents by extending parking meter hours, increasing parking rates, raising water rates and garbage fees, increasing sales/use taxes and nickel and diming citizens to death?

Street food vendors are on my wish list. Officials in Los Angeles are setting up guidelines for the operation of sidewalk food stalls. I wish we would do the same here.

The streets in cities where sidewalk food vendors operate (like at the farmers markets) are alive, exciting and vibrant. Food stalls provide a wide choice of world cuisines. The meals are generally pretty tasty and inexpensive. They’re a big draw and the spillover benefits brick and mortar restaurants. Food stalls selling a variety of foods would create a whole new vibe and excitement on many of our major streets. Humm, tasty!

And, once again, I wish that City Hall shills would stop blowing smoke up our collective derrieres with phony promises that more development will result in less traffic, less need for parking and “zero demand” for resources. City planners need to knock off the crap and seriously address traffic congestion.

All year long, I’ve been writing about zoning and development issues. Developers want to be able to build tall and massive. They and their land use attorneys and real estate types are working hard to maximize zoning opportunities for big profits.

Residents want attractive, shorter, less dense projects that won’t negatively impact residential neighborhoods with buildings that loom over adjacent home, generate traffic and add to parking problems. One holiday wish is for planning staff, members of the planning commission and city councilpersons to stop lying, treating us like precocious children and start making decisions in our interests instead of saying, “we gave you an opportunity to be heard, now run to bed. The adults have things to do.”

Hotels, restaurants, day-care centers, kids dance studios and other commercial operations in residential neighborhoods bring noise, traffic congestion, disruption, pollution and parking issues. They’re a threat to the peace and enjoyment of our homes and have no place in residential neighborhoods. I wish City Hall decision makers — including some city attorneys — would pretend like they’re trying to get off drugs and “Just say, ‘No!'”

I also wish the same folks who claim to care about our community, would stop screwing around and mandate nothing over 84-feet or seven floors for the proposed Plaza at Santa Monica development on city-owned property at Fourth and Fifth Streets and Arizona Avenue. The longer we let the developer plan a twelve-floor structure, the harder it’s going to be to stop it. What? It’s a done deal? Never mind.

Here’s wishing that Armen Melkonian’s and hisResidocracy.orgorganization will continue to be a strong voice for a human-scale community. The threat of ballot measures with the public voting down mega-developments has been their most effective tool at stopping projects completely out of scale with the community such as “the Hines Project” proposed for the PaperMate site at Olympic Boulevard and 26th Street.

I wish that everyone who uses our streets would start showing a modicum of respect for each other and I’d still like to see more traffic enforcement to curb the brainless, inattentive, rude and self-absorbed motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Illegal and dangerous driving is out of control all over our fair city. Anywhere you walk, you take your life in your hands. Speeding and recklessness is epidemic. I suspect most of this goes on because drivers — and bicyclists — know they can get away with it. Pedestrians equally share some blame when they, noses buried in their smartphones, walk in front of cars assuming they’ll stop.

Another wish is for the current members of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education to appoint Jake Wachtel to replace Ben Allen on the school board. The dead wood on the board have ignored or refused to address too many problems for too long. Jake will change that by bringing fresh new energy to a moribund body that desperately needs invigoration.

I wish for the days when Montana Avenue wasn’t so Chi-Chi. I remember when it was a real neighborhood-serving street with gasoline stations where you could fill up, get your oil changed and have your car serviced. It also had shoe repair shops and loads of markets, dry-cleaners, laundromats and a lunch counter or two. Typical of the street’s hipster revolution is “Sleepy Jones” next to the Aero Theater at 1318 B Montana.

It’s a high-end designer pajama boutique that stocks a full range of “quirky and colorful men’s and women’s underwear, robes, T-shirts and socks.” It‘s signature offering of “not-quite-ready-to-wear,” pajama-style tops ranges from $145 to $275 and bottoms from $128 to $265. Now, I’m feeling very uncool going to bed in my $6.99 Walmart basketball shorts.

One last holiday wish: the best to you in wealth, health and happiness this holiday season and in the New Year.

Next week: The 2014 Sammies for things good, bad and hideous in Santa Monica last year.

 

Bill can be reached atmr.bilbau@gmail.com

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