Name: Terry O’Day
Occupation: Environmental Executive
Neighborhood of residence: Pico
Own or rent: Own
Marital status/kids: M, 2 girls in grade school
Party affiliation: Democratic
- Should Santa Monica provide more city sponsored services to homeless individuals including establishing a sober living facility in city limits?
We need to increase our supported housing services, where sobriety and mental health are not prerequisites to housing There are already several facilities for people who are committed to their sobriety.
- Does the solution to traffic require life be made easier or more difficult for drivers?
It’s not just about being easier or harder to drive. We need better alternatives so that people can get out of their cars and get around efficiently. The system in place now isn’t perfect, but each of us needs to use the train, bus, bike, and the pedestrian infrastructure. I believe we can create more investment and stronger incentives through pricing strategies that make the economic choice more obvious, like lowering bus fares.
- Does the city have too many alcohol outlets and should there be stronger limits on acquiring alcohol licenses?
No. Limiting the use of permits does not guarantee good behavior among permittees.
We certainly need to enforce against bad behavior, but there are always going to be good actors and bad actors who have alcohol permits.
- What percentage of your daily travel needs are met using something other than a private car?
Approximately 20% of my trips. I would use the train and my bike more, but a lot of my travel involves transporting my young children to school and other activities.
- What, if any, apps are on your phone/computer/tablet right now were developed by a Santa Monica company?
Not sure – 2 or 3.
- 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?
Just the right approach. I’m expecting the passage of Prop 64 next month to provide us with better regulated dispensaries.
- What is your definition of overdevelopment and what is your plan to prevent it?
I spent 7 years developing the LUCE, which reduced heights and created neighborhood appropriate general planning standards throughout the city, while reducing projected greenhouse gas emissions by over 30%. Then I voted to further reduce heights and density throughout the city in our zoning ordinance. While the YES on LV would are trying to instill fear in the public that there are 40 massive projects pending, this is simply untrue and as a result, of my actions, we are not at risk of overdevelopment.
Physics, college football, riding bikes, strategy games and puzzles, and anything with my kids.
- Do you spend more time streaming video or watching cable TV?
Streaming – we cut the cord.
- 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?
As a long time champion of affordable housing, renters’ rights and our schools, Measures GS&GSH are a step in the right direction to get the city and schools the necessary funding to address our housing crisis, maintain diversity, and increase opportunity for all kids.
But because we no longer receive redevelopment funds for housing and state funding for education is less than it should be, we will need to find additional creative means to solve the affordable housing crisis and maintain excellent public schools.
- How have you been involved in the Santa Monica Community in non-election years?
Yes. Serving on the Council is in many ways a 24/7 job so that, in addition to my involvement with my daughters’ activities in the community, it allows me to be involved in the community year-round and in non-election years.
- Have you ridden any of the attractions at Pacific Park? If so which ones and how often?
I think I have ridden almost all the rides, but it’s been about a year since the last one.
- How aggressive should the city be in its pursuit of closing the airport?
We should be aggressive enough to plan for our future, but not so aggressive to set us back in our relationship with the FAA so as to affect our ability to act on our plans.
- To what degree should Santa Monica integrate with the surrounding municipalities?
I have helped lead efforts to integrate with other municipalities on reducing our regional traffic problem – most importantly creating seamless experiences in biking and bus ridership – and on planning issues – especially on the drought and sustainability.
- 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?
The City should appoint a small business ombudsperson to help businesses navigate our regulations, coordinate permitting, and access resources.
- What is the correct approach to operating the Santa Monica Airport?
I’m beginning to lose faith that there is a correct approach. We must reduce the health and safety concerns of residents but we take one step forward and the FAA pushes us two steps back. As a Councilmember I am well aware that I must act responsibly and not merely say what people want to hear.
- Where do you stand on the local ballot measures (GS, GSH, LV, SM and V)?
Yes to GS, GSH, SM, and V.
No to LV, which restricts our ability to protect residents and plan a better quality of life in our city and is simply way too extreme.
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?
Community service is part of my DNA. I was raised in a working class, union household where my parents taught me at a young age the importance of giving back to the community. Serving on the Council is a natural extension. I am excited to complete some initiatives I began: a model sustainability plan for Downtown Santa Monica; a Zero Carbon plan for Big Blue Bus; innovative traffic mitigation measures I studied on a recent trip to Europe; water self-sufficiency by 2020, and reducing airport pollution toward a vision of parkland.
What were the council’s best decisions in the past two years? What were the worst?
Much heat has been generated in this election about the city’s decision to walk away from the negotiated agreement for the Papermate property. I would like to address this honestly, since so much of what the public hears is merely rhetoric. We are about to witness the effect of that decision when the factory building reopens as commercial offices. We all share responsibility as a community for this outcome. Your paper published a more complete summary my views in February 2014 http://www.smdp.com/defending-the-hines-vote/132613.
Council and community negotiated with the property owner for six years to create something that would serve our community better than reoccupying the factory space with creative offices. At the time of our final decision on the proposed project, it would have included almost 500 units of housing in addition to commercial offices, 20 percent of those affordable. I fought very hard for that housing. The giant 7-acre block would have been split by three streets and a pedestrian cut-through — restoring the street grid to reduce traffic impacts, and would have been complemented by almost $4.7M in traffic improvements and 2 acres of onsite open space. Pedestrian improvements, bike infrastructure, linkages to light rail also were included, as was the most aggressive trip cap ever imposed on a development – with financial penalties for exceedances. The City Council also negotiated $11 million for child care programs, $3 million in public art, $1.4 million for a bike sharing program, and $2 million for parks.
Don’t get me wrong – this was not a perfect project. I believe that the alternative we are getting is far worse. When the new Pen Factory offices open in the coming months, the traffic impacts and lost opportunity to provide Expo-adjacent housing, restore the street grid and create open space will be painfully apparent.
How has the city’s pursuit of sustainability been appropriately balanced with economic, development and financial concerns?
As the leading environmental voice on the Council, I believe that good environmental policy is the same as good economic policy. California has proven that time and again. One of my endorsers, Bobby Kennedy Jr., has said that pavement is the number one enemy of the environment. Our challenge is to manage development to reduce our environmental footprint and global warming pollution, and demonstrate what a city that leads can do to balance quality of life, environmental stewardship, and economic justice.
Santa Monica is an infill city and our region continues to grow. Thus, if you oppose all development in Santa Monica, then by definition you favor it elsewhere in the region, pushing sprawl further and jeopardizing those places we MUST protect, like the Santa Monica Mountains and even Joshua Tree. Our city graduates about 900 students from high school each year, yet produces less than 200 housing units annually. We are forcing the decision to keep our children at home in adulthood or have them move to places like Antelope Valley, where housing is more affordable, only to commute here.
Being a sustainable city requires facilitating housing development that meets the highest standards for sustainable design and affordability, integrates into the fabric of our community, includes transit- and pedestrian-oriented features, and offsets our jobs/housing imbalance. The city that accepts its full responsibility to protect our natural environment recognizes its role to add appropriate infill density.