I’M HARDLY HEROIC.
I tried to make it seem that way last week when I wrote of my “agonizing choice” to skip watching a crucial basketball game and instead attend a meeting of my neighborhood association, OPA.
With the exception of a handful of folks for whom their abiding anger is their raison d’etre, I don’t know anyone who loves to attend civic meetings. We do it because we feel we must, to make our town better. It often requires quite a bit of planning, arranging and sacrifice.
It seems to me that at some City Council sessions there are a group of people, whose faces are often unfamiliar, who love the stuff I hate – overdevelopment – and take the dais one after another extolling the exciting virtues of a 21st century Santa Monica that is vibrant and inclusive. (Those are code words for packed with population, even more than we already are, and lots of tall and wide buildings to house them.) Oh, and no cars and therefore no traffic, because everyone takes the train.
I saw that again at the Council meeting Tuesday before last. It seemed mysterious, especially on the heels of the LUVE initiative turning in more than 10,000 signatures of Santa Monica voters who are very much opposed to the kind of huge development on 5th and Broadway (former Fred Segal one-story) being considered for approval that night, that nearly all of the 50-60 people who testified were oh so enthusiastic for this big fat sustainable project. (Sustainable, and all the other cool features of this project, are good. But it’s like loving a puppy for its soft fur and cute eyes and eager disposition, without noticing that it will grow to weigh 200 lbs., and by the way, it’s got rabies.)
Then there were those who had only to sit in front of a video cam for a few moments to make their faces seen and their voices heard, because Jason Islas (Next, Forward) and Jeremy Stutz (Real LA) showed up with video recordings projected during their allotted times. It’s been happening more for a while now and it seems to me unfair to those who show up in person. One person/two minutes becomes many persons in two minutes, persons who do not have to leave the house to weigh in, and offer nothing but their word that they are who they say, and live or work in Santa Monica.
How is it even allowed? Why has no Council member questioned it? It would seem to be against the City’s own rules.
From the City’s website: “Rule 15, Public Testimony, (b) Registration: any member of the public wishing to address the City Council regarding any item on the Agenda for public discussion shall register with the City Clerk prior to the start of the meeting… (c) Manner of Addressing the City Council: …each member of the public addressing the City Council shall go to the podium, state his or her name and whom he or she is representing, if he or she represents an organization or other person. Each member of the public is encouraged, but not required, to also state his or her address, neighborhood, or city of residence.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “It’s easier to force feed people than it is to give ’em what they want. It makes more money.” — Merle Haggard
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at email@example.com.