Work swiftly. Quietly. Under cover of darkness. Succeeding before anyone has even gotten wind of it, before it can be stopped.
There are those here who have always suspected there might be nefarious intent behind what we consider the wholesale selling out of our city, not just a difference of urban planning philosophies.
Some corruption. Maybe even actual criminal activity. Salaries are sky high for coveted City staff positions, and it takes six figures to get elected even dogcatcher. If we had a dogcatcher. (Do we have a dogcatcher?)
Maybe there’s bribery, profiteering, double dealing, wife swapping, human trafficking, gun running, drug smuggling, quid pro quos like crazy, extortion, maybe death threats? Those of us who suspect… something, have been labelled paranoid, conspiracy theorists, out of touch with reality, living in the past, and really mean NIMBYs.
Santa Monica isn’t Bell, they say derisively. Maybe not, but it’s beginning to look like it’s not Mayberry, either.
Now we have a school board member being investigated for voting for contracts from companies from whom her mayor-Council member husband was receiving payments as a consultant.
Payments neither of them ever declared, as it seems they should have years ago.
CORRUPTION? A PROFIT MOTIVE?
Somebody’s making big money off development of our very pricey beach town real estate, at least the developers. Enough to spread around?
That could explain why every City Council for the last decade, at least since the defeat of Prop T, has approved development after development to cram as many people into as many too-tall too-large buildings as they can in our 8.4 square miles.
Remember the godawful towers they wanted to put on top of Santa Monica Place? Remember the Hines Project?
Remember the last time City Council said no to an oversized development? (Nope, me neither.)
Traffic choking to a standstill? No problem. We just need to get people out of their cars.
The train will do that, they said.
Seven million visitors in 2014? Then eight? Now almost nine million? No problem.
Y’all come, we’ll make room for you. Somehow.
We love you. We love your money (that you spend at the chain stores).
The folks who live here don’t mind, do ya? Sharing our beautiful beach town with folks from all over the world.
And paying for your emergency services and traffic mitigation and water and power and garbage etc.
To the point where it is now becoming unlivable for us.
Especially not minding are the New Santa Monicans flocking in to all those new small
units being built for them, the well-heeled Millennials, surfing at the new Silicon Beach,
who will stay until the next higher-paying job in the next city comes along.
Santa Monica has a history? Traditions? A special place in the landscape of Los Angeles? Sorry, don’t have time for that, just give me a Downtown that suits my desires and is crime-free and I will pay that exorbitant lease or purchase.
Till I split. And leave y’all with the overdevelopment detritus.
Oh, NIMBY, NIMBY, NIMBY
No. Realistic. Realistic about borders and that 8.4 square miles.
That’s all we control, all we can vote on. Beyond our borders it’s LA and King Neptune and they’re pretty big guys and neither of them lets us vote on their huge portion of our symbiotic futures.
Many of us are desperate for some transparency and some governing to the will of the people not the benefit of corporate interests, and for the truth to come out, to clean house, and to proceed with reasonable, appropriate, realistic smart development for Santa Monica’s future, not its destruction.
I love Millennials. Really, I do. My daughter is one.
And I love old folks, for their rich lifetime achievements and wisdom and stories.
But from 1 to 101, I ask only one thing if you live here, for however long: respect the place. It’s earned it. Santa Monica is truly unique, and valuable and precious in so many ways.
I’ll never tell anyone they should leave. But if you don’t have that respect, shut the hell up about our future.
SO YOU KNOW…
We’ve got this lawsuit in progress, to initiate district voting for City Council and school board, to presumably give more voice to minorities than happens under our current at-large system.
Our City government has decided to fight it. If we (the City) lose, it could wind up costing us $7-8,000,000, and it is almost certain we will lose, according to Kevin Shenkman, the attorney guiding the suit against the City.
Every single one of the previous similar two dozen lawsuits in recent years has been decided against the cities
and their at-large voting. Every one.
In the course of that suit all members of the City Council are being deposed, and it is continuing. Think Mueller and Russia.
All sorts of things can come out in the process. Like the revelations about the Vazquezes. Council member Pam O’Connor will be brought back because she walked out of her first deposition when questions turned to areas she didn’t want to go on record about. You can’t do that. The judge she appealed to told her very sternly, you can’t do that.
Really looking forward to that rematch.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Was this an almost-year-end broadside of what troubles so many of us about the way our City is being run? Guess so.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln
“The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” – Kurt Cobain
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.
” – Albert Einstein
“The worst disease in the world today is corruption. And there is a cure: transparency.” – Bono
“What people fail to appreciate is that the currency of corruption in elective office is, not
money, but votes.” – James L. Buckley
“Those who fight corruption should be clean themselves.” – Vladimir Putin
“Corruption is Authority plus Monopoly minus Transparency.
“Your ignorance on corruption is their power.” (unknown)
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 31 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else
in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org