Mende Smith


Name: Mende Smith

Age: 43

Occupation: Writer / Author

Neighborhood of residence: Northeast

Own or rent: Rent

Marital status/kids: Single / 3

Party affiliation:

Green Party of California


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


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

That depends who is driving the cars and the circumstances for travel in Santa Monica.

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

I believe that is a population-based law, in which case there may be blurred lines based on the day-only population increase of 200 k vs. the actual 91 k that reside here? Have you seen how expensive it is the get a liquor license in the State of Montana?

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

I would say 90%. I do not own a car. I have been using public transportation and biking my whole life. My partner has a vehicle he drives for trips out of the city.

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

I use snapchat and I think Clutter is as well…does google maps count?

  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?

I think there is still a disconnect with the city and the laws of access, yes. Many of the benefits of medical marijuana are still being realized. I think that the city should approach the sellers like any pharmacy in the neighborhood. Regulating the location and making it competitive for the industry to match the urban business community here.

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

When I think of ‘overdevelopment’ I think of places like North Hollywood and Redondo. I am not an advocate for urban sprawl. Infill is always the most Green option, certainly. In a beachfront community we have to stick to that as best we can. I truly believe we can strike a balance between where the multi-layer plans for the old ice rink and the dated parking lot at Vons will build out our city. I think we should focus more on social program funding and less on the tourist-centric expenses for a few years and see where we are with the budget.

  1. Hobbies?

Writing and reading poetry, community activism, cultural studies and women’s empowerment.

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

We are a stream-only house.

  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?

It is not perfect, but it is a good place to start.

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

I moved here to house sit for a friend and wrote two books here. Now that my kids are grown up, I have decided to stay here by the beach. Homelessness is a top priority for me as I transition into public office. I have just completed a series of short prose pieces about real people I have encountered here in SAMO.

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

Merry-Go-Round and Ferris Wheel. Our campaign is planning a social media event at the Solar-powered Ferris Wheel with Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein in October.

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

I think the city has spent enough money for a decade on this already. Let’s plan the park!

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

As a part of infill planning, I think we can all use the input, sharing resources, maximizing land area, and regional benefit of buddy programs.

  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?

That depends on your view from the businesses large or small. As a small business owner of many years and a former corporate employee, I view the community differently. I believe that the 3rd street promenade represents the tourist’s view of our city and there could be a similar district – like Montana perhaps – that could fill in the empty storefronts with more small businesses like  they did in downtown Ventura with quality second hand outlets and bargain hunter shops.

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

The city treats the airport like a bad marriage with a couple of older children still living at home. There is an old saying: there is no worse decision than indecision? I say they should settle the suit and either get the divorce or work on the marriage in some very new and innovative approaches – Maybe environmentally-positive ones!

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

Ha! A trick question. Let’s talk more about this when we are all in the room together!


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?

My philosophy is simple – listen to the community and enact policies that meet our basic needs. I stand for more parks and open space, affordable housing and environmental sustainability.

I believe we can promote living wages and economic opportunity for all, without overdeveloping the city AND without ruining our neighborhoods.

I also believe in an ethical government that helps those who don’t have the basics, enabling them to provide for themselves, their families, and to contribute positively to their communities.

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

According to the voters I meet on the canvassing trail every week, there have been few best decisions. I am beginning to  agree with our residents, I think we need an overhaul of the vision and the ideals we share with our voters and our city government. Maybe if we begin to make decisions that affect neighborhoods and commerce districts at a table discussion with the actual plans in front of the representatives of each and not just rely on the few installed persons who can implement them behind closed doors we will not be facing legislation like LV in the future?  TWO WORDS: TERM LIMITS

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

Having met with Dean Kubani to discuss the future plans and past pitfalls, I believe there is hope for this city. We have a helluva great team working on maintaining the water and future development, but our infrastructure is lax as any beachfront town in California – Heal the Bay recently called us out for 5th DIRTIEST beachfront in all of California and that is shameful.

Money is allocated for growth in a few sectors that we can expand upon and regroup some of the spending gaps, I know we can. The more attention we begin to pay on the wants of the most residents in any given project zone, and the more details we cover on the blueprints of real democratic planning, the better our city budget will look in 2020.