Artists must take risks. It’s the only way to grow and to reach for something you might think is beyond you, but isn’t.

I’m not talking about Moore, I’m talking about me. Putting his name at the top of my column may well convince some to stop right there. He’s a polarizing figure, even among those politically aligned with him.

Don’t worry, I’m going to get back to local politics, some pretty good stuff. That was my lead before I saw his newest film, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” at the Monica on Sunday, (it’s also at the Arclight). I emerged blinking in the bright sunlight, profoundly saddened and wiping away tears. One reviewer called it “remarkably bleak but affecting.” Very affecting.

Well, there’s a good come-on for getting you to see this film, eh? The truth is pretty ugly these days and most of us just want to forget about it. Moore may embellish and twist the truth but when he shows you the moving images, from our recent history, from real life, real people behind the headlines, it’s something you’re not getting on CNN, FOX or social media and you cannot deny it without huge doses of make-believe.


Jumping from the Parkland kids to poisoned kids in Flint to Trump committing his crimes in the open to the media moguls loving what he did for their ratings, is — if this bothers you, do something. Don’t just sit there. Because if you don’t do something…

Comparisons to Nazi Germany are dismissed by many, often angrily. Ridiculous, way overblown, impossible here. But most of those people weren’t around then, and they darn sure weren’t experiencing it in Germany. The Germans scoffed too. They were perhaps the most sophisticated, best-educated nation on earth. In a brief but powerful segment, wrapped around commentary from a university professor, Moore makes his chilling point. He looks at a copy of the Constitution and says, we all figured this would protect us…


A USA where our government would rip innocent children from their families, imprison them in cages, drug them, and then tell us they “can’t account for” 1500 of them. Who could imagine that our government would allow the governor of a state to take over cities, removing their mayors and city councils and installing his own cronies, and knowingly poison the water supply of a major city, damning every child there to a lifetime of the consequences of lead poisoning (it never leaves your body, ever), and he is never held responsible.

Who could imagine a City Council member would break laws to get someone fired, cost us a million dollars in a lawsuit, and never even be censured by her fellow Council members? (See — making it local.)

I know you know all this. But please go see “11/9.” It will affect you, and we need that. Then do something. Get informed, inform your neighbors, get them to the polls and vote. Make calls to other states. Go to Orange County or anywhere to work to replace Republicans with progressive (not establishment) Democrats. We desperately need a blue wave to stop the slow lockstep march to demagoguery.

We have the numbers. Do we have the will? Hello, Parkland? The kids are alright. What about the rest of us?


I’ve been listening to some candidates for Council lately. Very discouraged until recently. A sliver of hope. His name is Scott Bellomo.

He does not have the backing of any powerful organizations like SMRR or the unions, and doesn’t want it, he says.

“I am not running to become a city councilman. I am running to become a Resident Advocate who will be on the City Council. I have no agenda other than being at least one voice for the residents of Santa Monica. Not the developers. Not the tourists. Not the businesses who come to our city and litter our sidewalks and public spaces with their products.”

He has virtually no money to spend — $2000 of his own, he says — so no mailers, no lawn signs, almost no nuthin’. He’s also a single father with a demanding job so, no time. He won’t take donations except from individual Santa Monica residents, because that’s who he pledges to represent. And only them. So he doesn’t have the chance of a snowball in hell, right?


Isn’t this just what many of us have been praying for? Someone who’s lived here 30 years, his mother and his sister live here, he loves this town and he’s just gotten so angry that he has stood up and said, I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

I heard him speak recently before a group of architects, and it could have been me sitting there. If you know where I stand on issues, he’s right there. I mean, right there. He said he feels the rampant crime and violence we are experiencing is the first order of business and here’s the best part: he says that until we get that under control —


All development, all transit schemes, all plans of any kind, because he thinks this forward rush regardless of the consequences is making it all that much harder, if not impossible. I say amen to that.

I’ll be more specific next week. But here are the other two elements of my Hail Mary pass: I will vote for Sue Himmelrich, because despite my constant litany against the entire City Council, despite her very close ties to SMRR and establishment politics, she is not beholden to outside money and has more often than not stood up for residents and voted the right way. Seven Sues would probably make a City Council I would be very happy with.

Part two: I will not vote for any other incumbent. They are the ones who got us here and continue to act irresponsibly. Nor for Greg Morena, the establishment’s golden boy some call Pam Lite. He is being backed by all the wrong people to be the next generation of what we’ve got now, and who needs that?

Scott and Sue. That should be easy to remember.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “We don’t go into journalism to be popular. It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers.” — Helen Thomas (do we ever need her kind now)

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 therealmrmusic@gmail.com

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