The bikeshare naming process was a breeze.

In less than five minutes, City Council decided on “Breeze” for the name of its $5.6 million, 500-bike system.

Bikeshares allow riders to check-out bikes from one station and drop them off at any other station in the city.

Names have not always come easy in Santa Monica. During the naming of Tongva Park, which honors the indigenous people of the Los Angeles area, members of the Kihz Nation claimed the name does not accurately describe all the different tribes living in the area. After much heated debate, that name was approved by a vote of 4 to 1 in 2013.

On Tuesday, council was “awash in consensus” as Mayor Kevin McKeown said, voting unanimously to approve the name after no one from the public requested to speak on the issue.

In the weeks leading up to the council vote, people were asked to take a survey, weighing in on five potential names.

Of the 460 responses, 42 percent responded positively and 23 percent responded negatively, with the rest saying it was “just OK.”

“Given the level of contention in this city, I’m very impressed by the fact that the name ‘Breeze’ only had a 23 percent negative response,” Councilmember Ted Winterer said.

Council did not discuss selecting any of the more than 150 names put forward by the public, such as “Wheeling Groovy,” “Roadkill,” “Kudzoom!” “The Big Blue Bike,” “Waste Of My Taxes,” “Smeevy,” “WIZZper,” “Idiot Ride,” and “nOObs new bikeshare.”

Buffer Park naming pushed back

Council was going to take a stab at naming a new park that is designed to block neighbors from the noises created by the maintenance facility for the incoming Expo Light Rail but city officials asked that the naming be delayed to a later date.

Leading options put forth by the Recreation and Parks Commission and survey responders include: “Gandara Park,” “Heroes Park,” “Toypurina Park,” and “George Ishihara Memorial Park.”

Planning Commission shorthanded through March

Since former Planning Commissioner Sue Himmelrich’s election to City Council in November, the seven-member Planning Commission has been down a player.

Council, which is tasked with appointing someone to fill out Himmelrich’s term, has an unofficial policy of making important appointments when all of its members are present.

Councilmember Gleam Davis missed a meeting two weeks ago and Councilmember Pam O’Connor missed Tuesday’s meeting. Mayor Kevin McKeown noted that at least one member is expected to be absent at the next council meeting and that the March 10 meeting has been rescheduled to March 17 due to a conflicting regional meeting.

Council debated making the appointment on Tuesday but decided to hold off, drawing ire from one neighborhood leader, Mid-City Neighbors President Andrew Hoyer, who noted that the commission is in the midst of building the new Zoning Code, which will dictate land-use throughout the city for years to come.

Local peace activist Jerry Rubin asked that, when it does occur, “it not be so much a political appointment.”
During the last City Council election, three members of the seven members of the Planning Commission ran for office. A majority of the current council previously served on the commission.

Hoyer disagreed with Rubin, saying he doesn’t want a “cream puff” commissioner.

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