City Council will meet for the third time in three weeks Tuesday to discuss a mix of old business and some new items covering Santa Monica’s perennial conversation points such as transit, development, historic preservation and government practices.
The consent calendar includes multiple items previously debated by the council including an impending increase to bus fares.
Council is expected to adopt the new fare structure for the Big Blue Bus. The new structure increases the base cash fare by $0.25 to $1.25, increases the express cash fare by $0.50 to $2.50, increases the 13-ride pass by $2 to $14, decreases the regular 30-day pass by $10 to $50, decreases the 30-day youth pass by $2 to $38, increases the express 30-day pass by $9 to $89, and creates a new rolling 7-day local pass priced at $14. The fare increases are designed to pay for BBB’s enhanced services related to the construction of the Expo line.
“The underpinning of the proposed fare restructure is: increase revenue to offset Expo service integration operating expenditures, reduce fare handling and vehicle dwell time operating costs by encouraging use of prepaid period passes through appropriate pricing, and minimize ridership loss by providing a range of attractively priced options,” reads the staff report.
Also on the consent calendar is a Historic Property Preservation Agreement (Mills Act Contract) between the City of Santa Monica and the property owner of a designated Structure of Merit at 828 7th Street.
According to the staff report “The Mills Act is a state law that enables local governments to enter into contracts with owners of qualified historic properties to authorize a property tax reduction. The Mills Act is one of the few financial incentives available to owners of historic properties, and is an important tool for implementing the City’s Historic Preservation Element goals: to promote the designation and long-term preservation of historic resources through the provision of incentives and technical assistance.”
A second historic preservation issue on the Oct. 27 calendar focuses on the former Post Office site downtown. City rules prevent significant changes to the interior or exterior of the building. The new property owner is asking for permission to “investigate the as-built construction of typical interior features and assemblages, including those protected by the historic covenant.”
The process for investigation includes “the temporary removal of surfaces such as tiles for in-depth laboratory study and analysis and the careful reinstallation of any material removed. In order to analyze the concealed conditions of the building, small holes, up to one-half inch in diameter, will be drilled in unobtrusive locations to allow fiberoptic borescope access. In certain other situations, panels of the wood finishes, will be removed, analyzed and reinstalled.”
Following the consent calendar, Council will hear several items of substance.
Staff are asking for a study session regarding the City-owned property at 4th Street and Colorado Avenue. The property has specific problems related to the construction of the Expo station, proximity to the freeway and pedestrian traffic.
“Because of the complex circulation infrastructure at this junction (an interstate freeway, a bridge, light rail, city streets, and sidewalks), careful consideration and planning is now in progress to optimize integration of future transit-oriented uses on the site, such as office, retail, and commercial businesses; parking; affordable housing; and/or other public uses,” said the staff report. “Community outreach identified a desire for creating a place of arrival and departure that honors the Santa Monica identity while also providing longterm improvements to the City’s transportation infrastructure.”
A pair of issues before council relate to civic engagement.
Council will hear a revised version of a lobbying ordinance.
“The revised ordinance is basic and simple,” said the staff report. “It would merely require lobbyists to register with the City, disclose minimal information about their lobbying activities, and pay a fee to cover costs of the registration program. Disclosure requirements relating to lobbyists’ compensation, prohibitions on certain activities by lobbyists, exemptions, and remedies available to members of the public have all been removed from the proposal as per Council’s direction. The definition of “lobbyists” is worded to include contract lobbyists but exclude persons working for the City as employees or consultants.”
The final group of civic issues relate to local council practices.
Staff is recommending that council adopt new rules requiring ethics training for board members, commissioners, and advisory board members.
“Staff also recommends setting service terms for task forces and limiting members of a
Council-appointed advisory group to serve in one group at a time to allow other citizens to participate in local government,” said the recommendation.
Staff’s second recommendation revises Public Testimony rules to deny late requests to donate speaking time and requests to donate time for Public Input. The item also calls for requiring and disclosing off-record contacts regarding quasi-judicial items.
Staff’s final recommendation is to introduce an ordinance that will require faster and more comprehensive financial disclosures for public referendum campaigns.
City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall (1685 Main St.) on Oct. 27.