Disgust with the council


Editor’s note: The following commentary was submitted before City Hall announced a settlement to close the airport.

I read with interest the Ssutu family’s letter regarding the Santa Monica Airport and the City Council.

While I am a long-time supporter of the airport and its contribution to the city, I support and share completely the Ssutu family’s disgust with the Santa Monica City Council.

Not only have the Council frittered away millions and millions of dollars (one estimate I read listed it at $7M) in their vain efforts to close the airport (while losing every time), they continually approve excessively high wage rates for their employees and for their client groups, of which I number the police and fire departments. It is unconscionable that Police Chief Seabrooks, for instance, makes as much as she does.

While wasting taxpayer dollars is one crime; another one is the Council’s handing over the city to the developers. The Council approves variances on height, density, parking and other criteria with glee as they accept checks from the developers for their re-election bills (details on the Council members’ receipt of checks from developers were exposed by the sadly-missed Bill Bauer in some of his columns). Some of the Council pretend to be slow-growth (they’ll say anything for votes) but the decisions are usually 6-1 or 7-0 when the vote is on a development proposal.

In their letter, the Ssutu family have already convicted the Council for its efforts regarding the airport closure. Naturally I disagree with closing the airport.

But…let me make a surprising proposal: the Ssutu family should join with Residocracy in their efforts for slow-growth. They should also work with SMAA, the Santa Monica Airport Association. Why? Because both Residocracy and SMAA would be delighted with a massive change in the composition of the Council (as would very many citizens of Santa Monica).

In this time of division in politics, here’s a chance for us to put aside partisanship and just concentrate on what seems to be the central issue, that is, coming up with a whole new slate of Council candidates. The current Council pleases no one—not the airport closers, not the airport supporters, not the slow-growth movement, not the people who see the Council as wasteful overspenders. The only people who really like the Council are the developers!

Let’s make sure that the Council’s “usual suspects” (Himmelrich, Davis, McKeown, O’Connor, O’Day, Vasquez and Winterer) all lose badly next time. Let’s start from scratch and see what happens.

Reynold Dacon is a Santa Monica resident