Santa Monica Pier (File photo)


Elections are a great time for honesty and truth about issues. You won’t get much of either from the full-color brochures filling your mail box, so here are ten bits of both to guide you…

1) If you love parks and hate traffic, vote YES on Measures A and M in support of parks and mass-transit. Two no-brainers.

2) Two words: Hillary Clinton.

3) One of the easiest ways to know how to vote on Propositions is to know who is for and against them. For example, tobacco companies are spending millions to defeat Prop 56, so vote FOR it. YES on 56. Big pharmaceutical companies are against Prop 61. So vote FOR it. YES on 61.

4) Use the above examples to guide you on Measure LV, Santa Monica’s LUVE Initiative. You know big developers don’t want it and are spending big money to defeat it, so vote FOR it. YES on LV.

Some well-established politicians and groups claim it is too restrictive, but there is NOTHING in LV that prevents any developer or even the city from proposing projects above 32 feet. If the Miramar wants to bring back that 320-foot Godzilla, they can try. But under LV, even if the current Council or a future Council approves it, residents can vote to reject it. Measure LV simply gives residents the final say. That’s it. Don’t believe the BS in the brochures mentioned above. Just remember who is paying for them…

5) Now a few other issues. It’s a shame that in the same year the U.S. will likely elect its first female President, (Please, God) the Santa Monica YWCA, which has helped thousands of women and families for nearly a century, has closed. However…

6) Currently, the city is planning to build an Early Childhood Education Center at the Civic Center for $25-30 million. This ECEC would care for about 110 kids, most of them the children of City, SMC and Rand employees. Most of those employees don’t live here, are well-paid and should probably pay for daycare like many residents with children do. So here’s a better idea: The city should buy the YWCA, which already has a gym, dance studio, auditorium, three playgrounds, office space, housing and parking, all for only $5-10 million. There’s your ECEC, right next to SMC and away from the congestion Downtown, at less than half the cost. Or… Buy the YWCA site and turn it into a “City Hall East” instead of spending $75 million on a new extension planned behind City Hall.

7) Since I’m on a roll, let’s discuss parking. Most everyone agrees there’s not enough of it at the Civic Center or Downtown. So why does the Council want to tear down a parking structure on 4th Avenue to make room for a new theater complex without parking? Instead, let’s spend the $1-2 million needed to fix the current parking structure and locate the theater complex at the Civic Center, which would give visitors and residents a reason to go there. Add the expansive amount of multi-use greenspace which is already on the table and we have the first two components of a more vibrant and engaging Civic Center of the future. The true solution to the site lies in keeping the big picture in mind but adding solid components, piece-by-piece, when we have the chance. A theater built as a public-private partnership there deserves consideration.

8) The Expo Line is a great addition to our city. Embrace it.

9) Our “slow growth” Council members should come up with a better idea for PUBLIC land at the 4th & 5th & Arizona site, (where the holiday ice rink is) than a 148-foot hotel-office complex, which is exactly what any developer would put there. No wonder there’s a LUVE Initiative.

10) Finally, who should you support for City Council? Well, with more than 45 new projects in the pipeline and a City Manager who recently said traffic has reached “a tipping point”, (His words, not mine) and four incumbents seeking re-election to four City Council seats, if you want more of the same you know exactly what to do.


John C. Smith is a Member of the Sierra Club, SMRR, the Wilmont Board of Directors and the Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission.