Santa Monica’s one-party, one-issue leaders have sold the soul of the city in their manic drive to build low-income housing. I agree a city should help provide housing for some. But we have to recognize that the city’s massive “affordable” housing boom is quite expensive.
Like the cost of being stuck in traffic — both real and psychological. Like the cost to the environment — for God’s sake, if residents are under water restrictions, why allow more apartments, low-income or otherwise? Like a screwed up zoning code that is merely the starting line for legal bribery called “development agreements,” that again, always involve more “affordable” apartments. Like the crowded classrooms and low salaries suffered by the teachers and specialists that help our children, while we all pay some of the highest taxes around to city workers earning over-sized salaries compared to similar-sized cities.
Like the lack of parks for everyone to enjoy. Consider Tongva Park, one of our newest. It’s okay, but rather small and hard to get to, because of parking. Right next to it, the city built a traffic-clogging, market-rate condo tower — in order to pay for the traffic-clogging “affordable” apartment tower next to it. Relatively few people benefit from the new towers. The land they’re built upon could’ve been used to make Tongva Park a great space for all of us, for generations to come.
There has to be more to a city than one narrow, expensive social program that only benefits a chosen few.
Support the activity centers
When I moved to Santa Monica over 15 years ago, I chose to live near Wilshire Boulevard, a few blocks away from Vons market. This choice provided access to transit and a grocery store to walk to.
During the LUCE process, many people expressed the fear that the Activity Center at 14th and Wilshire could result in replacement of our walkable grocery store with a hotel. I was instrumental in convincing the City Council to add a requirement for a full-service grocery store to the description of Activity Centers. This means that our neighborhood grocery stores are protected in areas designated as Activity Centers. If the Activity Center designation is removed from the parcel at 14th and Wilshire, the Von’s could be replaced by a development without a grocery store, perhaps even by a hotel.
Some people express the thought that Activity Centers would increase traffic. According to the LUCE EIR, exactly the opposite is true. By creating “complete communities” and concentrations of businesses that many people visit while out running errands, fewer discrete automobile trips are required.
If the Activity Center designation is removed from the locations on Wilshire, any resulting development could be far more damaging to our neighborhood than a development that includes 5 stories of affordable housing.