By CHARLES ANDREWS
DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT SURPRISED
That so few showed up at City Hall last week, to protest our City government’s enthusiasm to throw tons more good money after bad in their appeal of the lawsuit they lost to maintain at-large voting instead of districts, which the court found to be discriminatory.
Only one city of 24 in California chose to fight that challenge in court. Palmdale lost, like us, new elections were ordered. And their mayor of 26 years, Jim Ledford, and two consultants, have been charged with multiple counts of criminal corruption as a result of what came out in depositions regarding the case. Ledford is likely headed to prison — oh, lucky plucky Palmdale, if only that could happen here in no-accountability-SM, to all our sitting ex-mayors on Council. And please Santa, can we throw in Richard Bloom, Judy Abdo and Denny Zane too? (That’s a joke. Mostly. Kevin McKeown has done nothing to deserve incarceration. That I know of. I just want him gone, Santa, off Council. But don’t hurt him. He’s a music guy.)
HERE’S A TELLING POINT
About voter ignorance/apathy everywhere: with all the evidence against Ledford, who has been dragging out his criminal proceedings longer than “Benghazi!”, he ran for mayor again last election, and got 8,502 votes from the good citizens of Palmdale, losing by not that much to Council member Steve Hofbauer with 10,631.
And so it goes, everywhere, from thousands of Trump-lies believed by millions of bozos (sorry — did not intend to insult clowns) to corruption on our own City Council that goes unprosecuted, even unacknowledged. That’s the political world we’re living in, where spin has turned into shameless lying, and discrediting media who dig up and reveal the facts is a given.
But that’s all the more reason for those who do know, and care, to show up and make their voices heard. When that doesn’t happen, and very little seems to change, people like me and the late great SMDP columnist Bill Bauer, and many other activist lovers of Santa Monica, want to throw in the towel. Beating your head against a brick wall can cause brain damage, you know. (Obviously, my detractors are nodding.)
Bill told me more than once the last few years that he was seriously thinking of not continuing his well-known My Write column, in this newspaper for more than 14 years. “Nothing has changed, it never will, people don’t care, I’m wasting my time,” he lamented. But he did continue it, up until the very end. You don’t know that it’s had no effect, I reminded him, and the fight against political corruption is a long and incremental one. You can only keep chipping away until something cracks.
MY NEW TAKE
Pondering the next day after that anemic turnout at City Hall, I thought, maybe I am fighting a lost cause. Maybe my vision of what we can preserve that has always made Santa Monica great, is simply not important at all to very many. Maybe I’m just plain wrong. Santa Monica should become just another corner of high-rise, densely-packed, faceless LA. Let it go.
And then I thought some more. And I remembered that the duty of an elected official is to not only represent their constituents, but to first and foremost keep them safe and uphold the Constitution and the law. In other words, do the right thing, not the right thing for yourself and your career and for misinformed voters.
So I’m going to relieve myself of a great burden, trying to motivate the masses. From now on, I shall take on an even more Herculean task: trying to motivate elected and appointed officials to do what’s right. And I would start by saying, if you don’t see a special history and value to Santa Monica worth maintaining, maybe you should run for some position in LA, Culver City or MdR.
To exotic locales! There’s not much in life I love more. By the time you read this I’ll probably be sitting on a plane headed for Tangier, Morocco, for a 12-day stay. As a typically underpaid writer, I will be doing it on a budget, but not sacrificing much. With some help, thank you Joel McDonald, I found a RT ticket for under $800, and I’ll be staying at an amazing sumptuous hotel (James Bond stayed there recently), thank you Aziz Begdouri, for less per night than you might pay for breakfast.
I did not, for this trip, use McDonald’s game-changing JGOOT (Just Get Out Of Town) service, but will in the future. Wouldn’t you like to go to Bogota for $413 RT plus 8 nights hotel for $413, or if you can’t manage that far south, Puerto Vallarta plus 9 nights for $373? Not fake, not a scam, free, but you should join, for very modest fees, to really take advantage of these. I did.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: The City’s decision to appeal their loss to maintain at-large voting was announced about an hour after the judge’s decision was made known. Isn’t there supposed to be some public discussion before these people so loose with our money decide to spend millions more of it, on a lost cause and especially since that cause is their transparent, desperate attempt to maintain their own power? If there isn’t a legal requirement, there is certainly an ethical, moral one.
IRONIC GUFFAW OF THE WEEK: per SMDP reporting Monday, the attorneys for the city said the district map should be drawn via a public process, not by the plaintiff’s attorneys. “The Court should not just adopt the district map presented by plaintiffs at trial without public input, but instead should order the City to undertake a democratic process — open to the public….”
Oh, stop, yer killin’ me! You’re actually arguing that we the public should have input on a decision-making process? You said that with a straight face? And you’re going to extend that public input to everything you decide from now on, right, City Council?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” — unknown
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