YES if you live here; NO if you don’t
By Jill Chapin
Those who oppose Santa Monica’s LV measure sure exert a lot of effort listing all kinds of bad things that would happen if it passed, and pointing out the supposedly city-wide benefits to be had if only they could stop our citizens from putting the brakes on claustrophobic overdevelopment and traffic.
To those of us who live here, it must be a head scratcher as to why we need to keep building more and higher and denser buildings. Who is working so hard to cram more brick and concrete into our small beach side community? Do you know many (or any) local residents who feel that more construction would improve our quality of life by reducing traffic, providing cleaner air and better views out our windows? Would parking get better with more cars circling the blocks looking for that elusive space?
Who lives and drives in Santa Monica believes that life would be less stressful if LV were defeated? The only people I know who fervently do not support LV are those with a financial stake in defeating it. They range from developers who will profit financially while not having to live in the chaos they will create, to our City’s leaders who are handsomely rewarded by these developers for supporting their projects.
According to the city, there are 46 pending development projects and dozens more that are already approved and awaiting construction. This almost seems beyond comprehension in such a small town and should make us all stop a minute and think about who is approving them and why. Please write this down for your voting guide by noting that all of the city council incumbents running for re-election have no problem accepting developers’ campaign contributions. This is a textbook example of a conflict of interest which is a powerful enough reason for voting YES on LV.
How did those who live in towns like Yorba Linda and Sierra Madre and Encinitas pass an LV-like measure and the sky has not yet fallen for having done so? I spoke with a city planner in Yorba Linda. They passed an initiative that requires voter approval before making changes to the current zoning that would add density or number of units to a parcel. He assured me that the sky is not falling although he does point out that developers are not happy with them.
Would their city council allow the Miramar to build a 320 foot tall building on a parcel zoned for 50 feet? When I asked the planner, he burst out laughing.
I’m imagining how good it must feel to be a citizen in a town where city leaders value our welfare over that of the developers who are sucking the soul out of our neighborhoods.
Also, why did these towns not buy into the fearmongering that is trying to infect our voting decision about LV preventing rebuilding after a disaster? Could it be that they dismissed this claim and didn’t fall for it because state and local law provide for the rebuilding of structures after a natural disaster? They knew it, and now you know it. What applies to these towns applies to Santa Monica too.
Incomprehensibly, the police and firefighters cited public safety as a reason to reject LV. Really? So they have absolutely no concerns that, with 46 pending projects totaling 4 million square feet, they would add the equivalent of 8 more Santa Monica Place malls in our beloved town? Do they honestly believe that this massive amount of construction adding 50,000 more cars to our streets would make it easier for emergency vehicles to maneuver our already jam-packed streets?
What this vote on LV comes down to is this: If you live here and work here and drive here, you don’t need anyone telling you what would make your life more miserable or easier – continued building with higher and denser properties or a halt to green-lighting anything developers put forth to our City Council. I think anyone could figure out that more people filling more buildings driving more cars would negatively impact our city. Period.
Supporters working to pass LV have about $20,000 in their coffers. To give you an idea of how serious developers are in taking over our city, they have amassed a war chest of nearly $1 million to defeat this measure. As in all things, if you want to uncover an elusive truth, follow the money.
When we go to the polls to decide which way to go on Measure LV, it would behoove all of us to do just one thing: Use common sense to do what is best for you and your family. Then vote YES on LV.
Jill Chapin is a Santa Monica resident.