Name: Scott Bellomo
Neighborhood of residence: Wilmont
Own or rent: Rent
Marital status/kids: Single/one son
Party affiliation: Independent
Who has the best cheeseburger in Santa Monica? Old school – Hillstone. Newer – HiHo Cheeseburger.
What is the city doing to anchor promising startup companies to Santa Monica and secure local jobs? I don’t think Santa Monica needs more startups. It will create even more traffic. The cost of housing is too expensive in Santa Monica to be accessible to most employees that work at startups, thereby forcing them to commute into the city.
Have you been the victim of a crime in Santa Monica in the past two years and what happened? Yes. My son and I were threatened with violence by a deranged or drugged, violent transient inside the Vons on Lincoln Blvd/Broadway at 7am on a Sunday morning. I had to put myself between my son and this person out of fear for my son’s safety.
What Santa Monica service or professional organizations do you belong to? How many hours per week do you volunteer inside Santa Monica? No “service or professional organizations.” However, I was a volunteer assistant coach for my son’s Santa Monica club volleyball team for the 2017/2018 year. When my son was in middle school, I did a lot of volunteer work at Lincoln Middle School. Hours per week varied for both.
Do you have an account with Bird, Lime, Jump, Lyft, Uber and/or Breeze for scooters and bikes? Which one do you use most frequently? Have Uber and use it. No Lime. No Lyft. No Breeze. No apps for shared vehicles. Downloaded Bird app for about one month to research it while the chaotic, unregulated launch was being forced down our throats.
What, if any, is the connection between crime and homelessness? Criminals are found in all segments of society. All criminals are not homeless. And all homeless are not criminals. Prop 47 and 57 dumped thousands of ex-cons onto the streets. Shame on Californians for doing that without the necessary plan in place to handle their return to society.
Which three local businesses know you by name? Probably my dentist, my doctor, and my masseuse. Sadly, there are very few mom/pop stores left in Santa Monica.
What does it mean for the City’s traffic mitigation efforts if BBB is considering replacing buses with cars on some routes? I would need more information to be able to answer this question. I’d like to see what computer models (if any) they used to come up with this concept. I support any educated effort to mitigate traffic in our city. It’s been two years since the train opened in Santa Monica, and the 10 freeway is still a parking lot.
How will the City’s economy survive the continued decline in retail sales? We have healthy tourism (for now). We should also be attracting people by providing unique retailtainment experiences. We wasted $400K on facelifts to our 30-year-old dinosaurs instead of replacing them with something fresh. Google “Santa Monica dinosaurs” and look at the images provided – no Instagram, no selfies.
Several downtown projects (the Fairmont, the Gehry project and 4th/5th and Arizona) are still working through the city process. What does the final buildout of downtown look like? We need to stop ALL development until the city gets crime and traffic under control. We opened Pandora’s Box by allowing our city to be sold to the developers under the false flag of “affordable housing.”
Were the changes to the pier concerts a positive for the shows, the pier and the community? The changes were positive, but necessary only because of the ineptitude of our city leaders. It’s common sense that we need a bigger police force to control large crowds and the volume of people that come to our city. I used to enjoy the local vibe that the pier concerts provided.
How do you define progress for a community like Santa Monica? Staying small and local. Being the beach city we used to be.
Santa Monica residents feel besieged homelessness and many are tired of being told solutions are coming or need to be at the regional level. What will you do from the Council dais to directly improve the quality of life for citizens concerned about this issue?
(1) Empower the Police Chief to arrest and refer for prosecution all the criminals hiding within the homeless population in Santa Monica, regardless of the possible length of any sentence. We must let it be known that our city will not be a safe haven for criminals any longer.
(2) Hire an independent third party to reevaluate Santa Monica’s response to homelessness by reviewing OPCC and other organizations that operate within Santa Monica to ensure they are providing a valuable service, not only to the homeless, but to the city and the residents of Santa Monica. This should include an analysis of their financial statements and tax returns (when allowed by law).
(3) Offer our city’s homelessness experts, including our new Senior Advisor for Homelessness, to all surrounding cities, like Pacific Palisades and Malibu, in order to help them to set up OPCC-like centers in their communities so that they can meet their stated goal of contributing to the solution. (Note: There are approximately 160 incorporated and unincorporated cities within LA County. If every city took on a fair share of the homeless, cities like Santa Monica would not be overwhelmed.)
The concept of low-income housing as a solution in a city like Santa Monica (and in most of coastal California for that matter) is noble but illogical. The cost of land here is prohibitive to even the most well-financed people. What small amount of low-income housing that could be built in Santa Monica will do very little to resolve the homeless crisis.
What the state, county, and cities need to do is work together to find cheap land to build on, and start building. After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, we were able to repair the 14, the 118, the 5, and the 10 freeways within 18 months by removing all the bureaucratic red tape, and starting to rebuild immediately.
The homeless crisis is at least as big an emergency as the earthquake was. Our city along with other impacted cities need to join together and pressure the Governor to declare a state of emergency (not only for Hep C outbreaks which is only a symptom of the real problem). Prop HHH funds should be used now.
Pretending that we can build our way out of this crisis on expensive land hurts the very people we intend to help. Putting people in parking lots or allowing them to “camp” on streets and beaches is not a solution. We need to use our heads as well as our hearts.
We know the police department needs to hire more people and state laws have put more criminals back on the streets but what will you do to at the local level mitigate the increase in crime?
(1) Empower the Police Chief to arrest and refer for prosecution anyone engaging in criminal activity in our city, regardless of the possible length of any sentence. We must let it be known that our city will not be a safe haven for criminals any longer.
(2) Work with the Police Chief on a plan to place police at the parks, pier, and other public spaces throughout the community as a bulwark against the tide of criminals that use public spaces to conduct criminal activities.
(3) Increase the number of police to fit the specific needs of a city like Santa Monica.
I don’t need to tell the residents of Santa Monica that crime has increased over the past few years. It is obvious to all of us who live here. It is pure negligence on the part of the City Council and the City Manager that they have allowed crime to reach this level. We have a police department. We have laws on the books. We need a City Council and a City Manager that will direct and encourage the police to make arrests. I am confident that once the word gets out to the transient community that Santa Monica will no longer allow criminal behavior of any kind that we will start to see a turnaround in the number of these incidents.