Having attended the special council meeting on Thursday night (Feb.21) as a listening member of the audience. I was appalled by the arrogance of council members to allow this pre-determined charade to take place at all. Their decision to appeal the courts ruling favoring district elections was decided days if not weeks before this needless meeting took place. It was obvious by the lack of interest, eating and texting by council during public comments that none were relevant to their pre-determined decision to appeal.

It was quite clear by the lack of even an abstention at vote time, that they had all made this choice ages ago. Yet they continue to beat the drum and sing the “mantra of democracy” of how at-large elections are the only way to manage this incredibly diverse city !  If that were the case, then I suppose we should select all our state Assembly members, board of supervisors and EVEN house members in congress by at-large elections. After all one size fits all, right ? Wrong!

The reason we need districts here in SM is the same reason millions of other Americans are represented by geo-political districts across the state. We all have different needs and the Pico neighborhood has been a dumping ground by the city for decades without a voice.

I feel I should know a little about this as my home was removed for the 10 freeway in the ’60’s. Who was our district representative then?

I am livid at the contempt this and past councils have shown toward it’s citizens and the arrogance of them to put us through this most recent charade. We are fed-up with the pandering to developers and neglect to the neighborhoods. I support districts. The choice to appeal is an insult to the caring citizens of this great city especially the Pico Neighborhood.

Stephen Lancaster

Santa Monica

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  1. LUCE states Pico Neighborhood will have no more public use projects, but the Metro maintenance HQ was put there through finagling and pretending Metro–which Pam O’Connor was on the Board of at the time–was a separate entity so putting that there did not violate LUCE. That is part of the same property the City traded to the SMC school district for the Bundy campus. Things like this are decided on YEARS–in the case of our home almost a decade–before the City displaces people, hurts the poor, and in the process hurts everyone by misplanning the City.

    Lately the Planning Commission approved upgrading City yards that are in Pico Neighborhood, when land at the Airport site is now available to get the noisy, polluting projects out of Pico Neighborhood and replace them with centralized housing. The head of the PC had the nerve to say people “probably” would not want to live 500 feet from the freeway (two blocks from a train station). In fact, since the 4th and Arizona project, Miramar, and Gehry projects all exceed the height limit, people could be given ocean views and live in that convenient place. At least there could be a feasibility study rather than saying what people “probably” want.

    In the case of Village Trailer Park, people were displaced farther into Pico Neighborhood from a site developers wanted because it is north of the train and in the Lincoln Middle School district, a much more desirable place than the one people had to move to if they wanted to continue to own homes in SM as they had at VTP. The site they were moved to is 50 feet from the freeway, not 500. No one asked them whether they would like to live somewhere else 500 feet from the freeway. They “probably” would have much preferred 500 feet to 50 feet, which SCAG had already determined in a then-recent study to be harmful to people’s mental and physical health.

    Decisions like these might still be made with district elections, but the truth is Pico Neighborhood has been ignored and dumped on since before 1950, and the evidence in the case stated general elections were instituted explicitly to dilute minority voting power. It is clear we cannot do worse than the City has done consistently to hurt women, elderly, children, poor, families, and minority people, while pretending to be liberal.

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