Armen Melkonians

Santa Monica Daily Press Survey

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Name: Armen Melkonians

Age: 45

Occupation: Civil / Environmental Engineer

Neighborhood of residence: Wilshire-Montana

Own or rent: Rent

Marital status/kids: Married

Party affiliation: Democrat

SURVEY

  1. Should Santa Monica provide more city sponsored services to homeless individuals including establishing a sober living facility in city limits?

Santa Monica is a wealthy city and should be proud to provide services to the neediest. We should not be so proud of bending over backwards to the development community as our current elected officials have been doing for far too long. It’s time to get our priorities straight.

  1. Does the solution to traffic require life be made easier or more difficult for drivers?

When your city is already built-out, as is Santa Monica, the solution to traffic should not include building more as our current City Council claims. We should not be trying to force people out of their cars. We should instead focus on incentivizing existing commuters to use alternate transportation. Density always increases traffic.

  1. Does the city have too many alcohol outlets and should there be stronger limits on acquiring alcohol licenses?

Just one year ago, Santa Monica was given the prize as the “Drunkest City in California” according to a survey by RoadSnacks.org. Across the state, Santa Monica ranks near the top in the number of combined bars and pubs and liquor stores per capita. Stronger limits for acquiring alcohol licenses are in order.

  1. What percentage of your daily travel needs are met using something other than a private car?

I typically use the Metro Bus Line 720 Route to commute to work once (and sometimes twice) per week. I tend to walk more on weekends in relation to travel needs as they relate to local dining and entertainment venues.

  1. What, if any, apps are on your phone/computer/tablet right now were developed by a Santa Monica company?

Not sure. I wish I had more time to play with apps on my phone, but I have spent all of my spare time with the Residocracy Movement to protect Santa Monica from over-development and increased traffic congestion. The YES on Measure LV campaign is my focus.

  1. The city’s zoning rules now allow for marijuana dispensaries but the city has delayed implementing the clause. Has the city been too cautious, too reckless or just right in its approach to marijuana?

This is new to Santa Monica and the City is acting cautiously. I believe that this is the correct approach.

  1. What is your definition of overdevelopment and what is your plan to prevent it?

A YES vote on Measure LV on November 8 will stop over-development and increased traffic congestion. I am a co-author of Measure LV and the founder of Residocracy.org. The policies pushed by the incumbent council candidates incentivize growth and a Yes on Measure LV will remove developer incentives.

  1. Hobbies?

The IRS calls a hobby something you don’t make any money on. So, with this definition, my Hobby is representing residents and making sure that their views are heard at City Hall through Residocracy.org. Other hobbies include long walks in the evenings throughout Santa Monica.

  1. Do you spend more time streaming video or watching cable TV?

I don’t spend much time doing either, but TV is still my preference. Nothing better than curling up on the couch after a hectic day and getting a dose of un-reality TV.

  1. All cities have struggled to find money for affordable housing in the past few years. Is the current ballot measure raising the local sales tax the appropriate way to fund affordable housing?

The current ballot measure will replace approximately one-half of the loss of the redevelopment funds previously used for affordable housing through a new transaction tax. Although I support these ballot measures, I believe that as a City who places affordable housing as a top priority, funds should be provided through our General Fund instead.

  1. How have you been involved in the Santa Monica Community in non-election years?

I am the founder of Residocracy.org, the co-author of Measure LV, the author and lead organizer of the Hines Referendum which vetoed the City Council’s approval of the 765,000 square foot development project which would have added 7,000 new daily car trips to Santa Monica.

  1. Have you ridden any of the attractions at Pacific Park? If so which ones and how often?

The Ferris wheel is my favorite. Peaceful and great views. Unfortunately, the last time I had an opportunity to ride it was four years ago. This question makes me think that I should make more time for myself than I do. After November 8, when YES on Measure LV is approved by the voters, I will.

  1. How aggressive should the city be in its pursuit of closing the airport?

The City should follow the will of the voters as decided in Measure LC in the last election. Close down the airport yesterday is a clear and concise message sent by voters which I support.

  1. To what degree should Santa Monica integrate with the surrounding municipalities?

Santa Monica must remain unique with open skies and ocean breezes for all to enjoy. We should not consider ourselves as an extension of West Los Angeles or Century City, period. Santa Monica should remain the lungs of the region and not be swallowed by it.

 

  1. Businesses often talk about the difficulty of working in Santa Monica. Why is the current level of regulation appropriate and should the city do more to encourage and support the business community?

City Hall has focused too much on the business community and not enough on its current residents. I believe this trend needs to be reversed today. I am running for City Council to “put residents first – for a change”

  1. What is the correct approach to operating the Santa Monica Airport?

The City should follow the will of the voters as decided in Measure LC in the last election. Close down the airport yesterday is a clear and concise message sent by voters which I support.

  1. Where do you stand on the local ballot measures (GS, GSH, LV, SM and V)?

YES on Measure LV to protect Santa Monica from over-development and increased traffic congestion. As a co-author of Measure LV I will admit a slight bias, but it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Yes on SM, GS, GSH and No on V. That’s how I’m voting on November 8.

QUESTIONS

Why are you running for council, what makes you qualified to lead, and what role do you see yourself playing on the dais if elected?

I am running to put residents first – for a change.

Every election year, our current City Council members make empty campaign promises. They say that they want to protect Santa Monica from over-development but once elected they approve virtually every proposed development project. It’s time for a change.

Overdevelopment is not only destroying Santa Monica’s unique character and adding traffic, it is resulting in the demolition of existing rent-controlled apartments, displacing long-term residents, and destroying our neighborhoods.

It’s time to elect a leader who doesn’t just make promises, but delivers. I am that person.

I am a co-author of Measure LV. I am the founder of Residocracy.org. I was the proponent who led the community to a successful referendum that eliminated the massive 765,000 square foot Hines development project and kept 7,000 daily car trips from coming to Santa Monica.

I don’t just make promises. I deliver.

What were the council’s best decisions in the past two years? What were the worst?

Worst decision:

City Council unanimously approved the new Zoning Ordinance on June 23, 2015, accelerating the destruction of Santa Monica’s low-rise character by incentivizing growth in an already built-out city. The City Council failed to address the fact that the Environmental Impact Report written for the General Plan Update in 2010 was deficient in assessing the real impacts of the planned growth in Santa Monica.

The solution to this bad decision is for residents to Vote Yes on Measure LV on November 8th.   Measure LV will stop the aggressive growth and traffic impacts incentivized in the adopted Zoning Ordinance.

Good Decision:

Appointing Mario Fonda-Bonardi to the Planning Commission was a smart move by Council.

How has the city’s pursuit of sustainability been appropriately balanced with economic, development and financial concerns?

Our city has focused too much on development as a “false” solution to sustainability. Local impacts of development have been ignored completely. Quality of life for residents has been thrown aside and developers seem to have the ear of our City Council albeit residents are shouting “enough is enough.”

Policies set and advanced by our current elected City Council members are benefitting a select few at the expense of the existing residents of Santa Monica. It’s time for a change on November 8.

Our current council members claim that we need more housing, and have created an incentivized system which provides bonuses to developers to tear down smaller buildings and replace them with larger ones. So much so, that there are now more than 40 large development projects waiting for approvals at City Hall.

These projects will add more than 4 million square feet of development to Santa Monica. That’s eight times the size of Santa Monica Place Mall. Additionally, these projects will add more than 50,000 new daily car trips to Santa Monica. That’s like adding 15 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic on the 10 freeway from Downtown Los Angeles to Downtown Santa Monica.

Although our existing council members claim that housing is the solution, they fail to tell us that nearly 3 million of this 4 million square feet of new planned development is actually commercial square footage. It’s time for a change on November 8.

A Yes on Measure LV will allow residents to decide how much development is right for Santa Monica. A Yes on Measure LV will stop the over-development and increased traffic congestion in Santa Monica. After YES on Measure LV is approved on November 8 by the voters of Santa Monica, we can look at real sustainability solutions to our built environment which are real and not “false.”