THE TROUBLE WITH POLITICS
— is people.
And the trouble with government is that politics determines which people run our governments. National, state, county, city.
Politics is corrupt because many people are. Or would be, given the opportunity. Too many of the people who desire the power, prestige and monetary rewards that politics can provide do so for less than noble reasons. Pretty bleak.
Hey, I don’t mean to bring you down! I’m sure it’s a beautiful sunshiny Wednesday as you read this. You still have sky to see the sun and feel its warmth as you go about your business because count your blessings, you are living in the era just prior to when all the 4- to 40-story concrete canyons were approved by our City Council and constructed, and we’re not yet limited to our own small corner of our little city, traveling only by foot, bike, walker, wheelchair, scooter, skates or skateboard (look out, grandpa, you’re not ready for a skateboard!) because we long ago achieved our goal of —
We also will have achieved our housing goals, with our Santa Monica population now approaching 700,000 (up from 2018’s 94,000).
Affordable housing? Well, somehow, that didn’t work out. As we built more units the prices only went up, as well as for existing housing. Seems there was an almost unlimited market out there for folks who would love to have a place at LA’s beach and had the means to pay any price. Who knew? Why didn’t someone figure that out earlier and say so?
Plenty of ocean views because of all the skyscrapers. And the luxury airBnB market went nuts. Purchased entire skyscrapers, in Palisades Park, on Ocean Avenue and Main Street, and right on the sand.
Diversity? Well, it’s differently defined now. We will have Santa Monica homeowners from more than 100 nations, speaking 78 languages! Income diversity? Not so much. The average household income here will rise to seven figures, and will climb considerably as the ones who lived here all their lives and refused to be forced out, die off. NIMBYs. Shame!
We did solve the problem of dealing with the 200,000 who used to pour in every day: tourists, business people and students. All gone. Priced out.
Of course, we will have gridlock by bike, foot, scooter and so on (look out, grandma, don’t trip over those scooters on the sidewalk!) because our city government rarely thinks ahead and proceeds with caution and planning, it mostly just reacts.
We did have that hip, progressive, transportation trendsetting image our leaders lusted after for a short time, though, before the alt-auto gridlock set in. Then it got even more crowded as all the world’s media and their crews and trucks descended on Santa Monica to record their Can You Believe This? segments.
Like global warming, we kept delaying what needed to be done 50 years ago. The faint voices called out, it may already too late. It doesn’t seem too late today. Santa Monica is still a desirable place to live (we should take a vote on that, I guess) and the Annenberg isn’t under water yet. But both nationally and locally, the prospects for change of direction do not seem good.
I do believe every one of our City Council members would say the right things about those issues. But they are not doing the right things, and that’s the only thing that counts. That’s why I have called, for years, to turn them out, every one, because despite all the good things they may have done, all that counts is results. Look around you. Look at what’s already approved and coming at you in the very near future. You OK with that?
SUE & SCOTT
I have certainly gotten some grief for supporting those two for City Council.
Sue Himmelrich is of course completely tied in to SMRR and the Democratic Party. Business and politics as usual. But — she is not beholden to developer or other outside money (having a fat enough bank account to finance her own campaigns, which raises other issues but is ultimately a plus for her loyalties and independence). And, despite often falling in line with the political wisdom that says you have to get along with your fellow legislators to get your own good stuff done, she is by far the only one on our current Council who usually takes the side of residents. That’s worth a lot. And indicates that if she got a little help on the Council, some like-minded allies, she could do more of the good she would like to do.
That help could have been Phil Brock, or Mary Marlow, or even Armen Melkonians or Kate Bransfield (all flawed candidates, but who isn’t?), but all dropped out just before the filing deadline. Leaving us with…?
Some unknowns. I talked at length with three of them and came away very impressed only with Scott Bellomo.
Bellomo is catching criticism for his stand on dealing with the homeless problem, but I suggest you find out exactly what he’s saying. I think it makes a lot of sense, and is not insensitive.
I spent more than an hour each with Greg Morena and Ashley Powell. Morena is widely regarded as more of the same, being backed by all the organizations that back overdevelopment in Santa Monica. His financial perspective on local issues, to my mind, ignores the human consequences for residents. I doubt he would rise up against his backers once elected.
Powell has all the right stances on social issues, but stunning ignorance of Santa Monica politics and history. She also seems to regard running for Council as just a step in her career. But if she won — and she is quite a networker and fundraiser — she would probably vote “the right way” much of the time, after a bit of schooling (a lot of schooling). Still, not the right person for the job.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What possible reason would you have for not voting for term limits (Measure TL)? 12 MORE years isn’t enough for any designated royalty now on the Council? It is so entertaining to hear them try to justify being against TL. Not a single good reason except maintaining the status quo, their own power and electability. That’s why SMRR is against it — don’t be fooled.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.” —Matt Taibbi
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 firstname.lastname@example.org