NOW IT’S PERSONAL
Old dogs CAN learn new tricks. Maybe that’s why they made it to old doggage.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting you were wrong. If new information presents itself, whatcha gonna do? Hold on to your old position or go with the facts?
Last week, in a column trying to drive it home how very badly our City Council has handled the scooter invasion, I wrote this about the scooters:
“This might surprise you: I approve of scooters. I think they are a good idea for cutting back on auto trips and increasing use of the transit we have. What I don’t like is the way they were rolled out here, and the way our City Council rolled over.”
But — not a reversal of position. I’ve felt that way all along but didn’t say it up front because I didn’t want to present a mixed message.
A message that in any way downplayed the real lesson we should all be taking away from this ongoing fiasco, which is, that our City Council and staff have put our interests second, to outside big money and their own personal and political agendas. Again.
WHAT ARE OUR INTERESTS?
Beyond the financial and political costs we are paying, much more important is our personal safety. That should be the number one concern of our City leaders, but it clearly isn’t. How many injuries have there been? There’s no way to measure. Only the most serious injuries produce a hospital record. If you’re like me and talk with people, you have heard way too many horror stories.
It became personal for me over the weekend when it was noticed that one of our neighbors (I’ll call her Mary) had not been seen for a while. Mary is a sweet, kind and thoughtful lady who has lived in our small complex since way before me even, 40-some years. Even at her advanced age, she has made it a point of pride to haul the recycling bins out to the street every Friday, and haul them back empty. We’ve never been able to talk her out of it and haven’t tried too hard, because it seems to give her a sense of belonging and usefulness.
SMPD TO SMDP WRITER’S DOOR
When the second Friday went by and the bins hadn’t been moved, we started to worry. When was the last time anyone saw Mary? A week ago? Her cousin in Colorado called the police and they knocked on our door, and somehow we later managed to find Mary’s son’s phone number, in another state. He told us that Mary had tripped over a scooter on the sidewalk, probably on her way back from church (she walks everywhere), injured her head but most seriously, her shoulder. She had been in a local facility for surgery, care and rehab for a couple weeks and would probably remain another 4-6 weeks. She was in a great deal of pain and discomfort but is better now, her son told us.
Tell me, City Council members, City staff, why should Mary and too many others here like her have to go through this, because your priorities allowed Bird and Lime to dump their scooters all over our city with no regulation, no enforcement, no safety?
If any of you would like to visit her in the hospital and make your best attempt at an apology, I will give you the information.
TOOL OR TOY?
I also have serious skepticism over how useful they are as a tool for our transportation needs. Here’s my unscientific observation over these past 12 months, but I’ve heard the same from many: most people ride electric scooters for fun. They are fun. But is it a first mile/last mile solution? Hardly, though the companies want you to think so. I challenge them to prove they are being used in that way more than, say, 5-10 percent of the time. They could do that. They have the data. I’m waiting.
I have now joined the ranks of the scooter haters. Too many serious problems, too much needless pain for our residents, for too little benefit.
THERE GO THE NEIGHBORHOODS
There go the boulevards, and Bergamot. We knew this was coming.
On the agenda for the Planning Commission tonight: “Council has since directed staff to explore incentives for housing production on the commercial boulevards and Bergamot area, which may be modeled after the approach taken to incentivize housing in Downtown.” JUST STOP INCENTIVIZING HOUSING!! The boulevards could handle three stories, if done right, but if the model is Downtown, look out. Better go to this meeting tonight and voice your concerns. If you can get a word in edgewise in between the paid development people who have been dominating recent meetings.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Was there even such a thing as the rumored McDonald Report, paid for by our City to determine if there really was racially polarized in voting in Santa Monica? No! thundered the City’s law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. OK, said the plaintiffs’ attorney, we’ll subpoena or depose Ms. McDonald and find out, including the content. Oh, well, OK, there IS a report, admitted GD&C, but you can’t see it! Plaintiffs attorney Kevin Shenkman told me, “it’s not standard practice [for a law firm] to lie to the court.” He also said his firm probably won’t be able to get the report entered in as evidence.
But if the conclusion was no discrimination, why wouldn’t the City want it known? If it’s yes, which seems pretty obvious, why did the City proceed with this lawsuit that an expert advised them they might well lose? It could cost us many millions.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” — Bob Dylan
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at email@example.com