Residocracy is dedicated to ensuring that resident voices are heard and addressed by City Hall. The interests of residents must be at the forefront of all decisions being made by our City Council. Over the objections of residents, City Hall has promoted policies for developments that are too big, too much and too tall.

Right now, residents are voicing concern about the Zoning Ordinance Update. Once approved, it will codify the land use and growth policies of the LUCE (the 2010 Land Use and Circulation Element of the city’s General Plan).

The LUCE set the policy for land use and growth for our beach town through the year 2030. It was sold to residents as a policy document that would “preserve the City’s unique character,” “carefully limit and control growth,” and result in “no net new peak p.m. car trips.” After the adoption of the 2010 LUCE, developers flooded City Hall with development agreement applications allowed by LUCE policies.

In 2014, our City Council approved the Hines Bergamot Transit Village, with its 7,000 additional car trips per day. They claimed the project met “controlled growth” policies. Residents disagreed. Residocracy launched a referendum petition. Our Community Network of Residents mobilized and gathered more than 13,000 signatures in fewer than 30 days. Residents vetoed the approval and were victorious.

Growth in Santa Monica is exploding past the goals for the year 2030. The LUCE projections of growth through 2030 were set at 4,955 residential dwelling units. However, a total of 4,618 new residential dwelling units were already being processed or under construction by December 2012, just two and a half years after the passage of the LUCE. Additionally, the LUCE projected a total increase in office space of 448,980 square feet and yet the defeated Hines project by itself included 374,434 square feet of office space. The real “vision” of the LUCE and the massive developments that it incentivized was exposed. The planners and architects of the LUCE were nothing more than snake oil salesmen. And now these same salesmen are trying to sell us the Zoning Ordinance Update.

Residocracy’s official position on any issue is ultimately determined through our online E-petition process. Residocracy listens to the concerns of residents on key issues that are in front of City Council and that will impact the quality of life for Santa Monica residents. The Residocracy Advisory Board determines if an E-Petition is needed on any key issue by listening to resident input at public meetings, engaging in the community, and receiving feedback from our Residocracy Santa Monica Facebook Group. When it becomes clear that resident concerns are not being addressed, Residocracy launches an E-petition through our website.

Through the E-petition process, our Community Network of Residents asks our City Council to address our concerns as residents. If our elected officials ignore our Community Network of Residents’ concerns and the E-Petition process shows that there is a high likelihood of success for a formal referendum petition, then Residocracy automatically launches a referendum petition in order to veto the decision made by our elected officials. Residocracy is the checks and balances that residents have in our system of representative government. Residocracy employs direct democracy when our government fails. It is the hammer of strength that we residents hold.

Armen Melkonians is the founder of Residocracy.

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