It lasted about five minutes.

It was an emotional five minutes. An angry, exhilarating, then ultimately very sad five minutes.

I’ve been sick of this for years. The politics that leaves the real people of Santa Monica up on a shelf, watching helplessly as the power players reshape their precious, historic, world-beloved little beach town into something very tall and dense and very, very profitable for developers, choked with traffic, depleted of resources, never to recover.

Because that’s what it’s really all about, dollars, and power, and the two are intertwined like snakes.

I keep struggling to be a peacemaker – can’t we all just talk, reach some understanding and compromise? Not demonize the other side? We’re all just people, who love our city but have very different visions for it. But often my heart’s not in it, because I see so many whose attitudes and outright hatred seem to be set in concrete. Hardened hearts. Deaf ears.

We don’t have a democracy here. For decades I’ve said it, until you get the money out of politics, nothing will change. Money manipulates monstrously.

Too many residents, confused (who can blame them?) by local politics, poorly informed about the issues and the players, will vote by flyer. They don’t understand that the waves of flyers at their door, touting the police and fire, teachers and union endorsements, usually represent only their small governing boards, making political decisions. The rank and file may feel very differently, if they had a vote to endorse.

Falsifying Flyers

There are so many other deceptive flyers from, say, some so-called committee of the Democratic Party, that have little or no connection to the real organization. Those and many others are a straight out buy: pay your money and you get an endorsement. And sadly, voters here will march to the polls on election day clutching those expensive postcards and thinking they’re doing the right thing.

Everyone says it takes six figures to win a seat on City Council, but if you come up with that much the competition will have more, because that’s peanuts compared to what developers have at stake by slicing and dicing our town. Endorsements of many local politicized groups (would that be, all of them?) go to favorites, not the most qualified candidates.

This coming election is looking like it could be our worst nightmare yet. The power brokers have gotten in lockstep to make sure no one they don’t endorse has a chance. They have stomped good independent candidates into submission or certain defeat. Four incumbents from our build-anything-you-want Council are running for the four open slots. If you think the last few years have been bad, you ain’t seen diddly.

So I reached the point where that primal scream welled up uncontrollably; the only thing left was to run for Council myself. No money, no backing, lots of enemies, but if I worked hard enough weren’t there enough like me to take at least one Council seat and stem the tide? Social media versus big bucks? It worked pretty well for Bernie.

But after those five minutes I knew, it ain’t me, babe.

Then – who? (Papers are due Friday, 100 signatures.)


Santa Monica has seen better days for live music, that’s for sure.

The first concert I took my 11-year-old son Chris to after we moved here from New Mexico was at the Santa Monica Civic, to see the Boomtown Rats, led by Bob Geldof, later knighted by QE2 for his philanthropic achievements. (And not rescinded for the controversies that followed. I always figured, what do you expect, when you knight a snot-nosed Irish punk? Geldof is hardly as civilized as Sir Paul or even Sir Mick, even today.)

The Civic has hosted an incredible list of concerts, from the Stones and James Brown to Pink Floyd and Captain Beefheart, but that book seems to be closed. The experts agree that several factors make it impossible to stage concerts there again, even if the building is saved.

Of course we’ve had some amazing shows over the years on the Pier during the summers but other than that, slim pickin’s here. A few clubs over the years have had the occasional good live show, but let’s not overlook, as many Santa Monicans do, the treasure that’s been sitting there on 4th Street not much changed since 1931: Harvelle’s. Oldest live music club on the Westside, oldest blues club in LA. OK, so they had a half century head start, but Harvelle’s has probably had as many remarkable shows as the Pier.


This Friday they host another legendary bluesman, Joe Louis Walker, and I get to give away a meet-and-greet with the artist that day, before the show, including tickets to the show, to some lucky reader (plus one) of this here groovy column. I’ll tell you how you can be that lucky person, after I tell you a little about Joe Louis Walker.

Throughout his lengthy career, Walker has performed and recorded with artists ranging from B.B. King to Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker to Muddy Waters and many other legendary names. He is a four-time Blues Music Award winner and 2013 Blues Hall of Fame inductee who has appeared on multiple Grammy-winning albums. He is known worldwide as a mesmerizing guitarist and soul-testifying vocalist.

The New York Times raved, “Walker is a singer with a Cadillac of a voice. He delivers no-nonsense, gutsy blues. His guitar solos are fast, wiry and incisive, moaning with bluesy despair.” Rolling Stone called him, simply, “ferocious.”


‘Nuff said? To meet the man, and hear him at Harvelle’s that evening, send me an email, to the address at the bottom of the column. Please only enter if you really want to see this landmark show.

You don’t have to go to Memphis or Chicago for this experience. Downtown Santa Monica, Fourth Street, just north of the parking structure, this Friday night. Aren’t we a fortunate people?

ANOTHER MUSIC NOTE: If you miss Mavis Staples at the Pier a week from tomorrow, please kick yourself.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” —Howard Beale (“Network”)

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 therealmrmusic@gmail.com.