I HATE TO BE WRONG
But sometimes that’s a good thing.
I have never had a problem admitting it when I’m wrong. (I can hear some of you saying, of course — so much practice.)
Yes, sometimes I’m quick to mea culpa, sometimes I have to think about it.
We all make mistakes. Big deal. I figure why compound it by making the mistake of not owning up to it. Plus, it’s amazing how it can change the mood and the direction of discourse when you do.
Let me begin by saying I wasn’t all in at first on a playing field on the grounds of the Civic Auditorium. Seemed only partially appropriate for that civic area. Playing fields should be scattered all over the community, and that particular property, I felt, should make maximum use of the auditorium and related activities that could serve everyone, not just athletes and their families.
But I saw the light. You have across-the-street proximity to Samohi, and as I began to understand how critically those students needed another field, and how desperately the city needed another one, I got on board. In fact when I got up to put in my two cents at one of the three Civic Working Group meetings a couple years ago, I asked someone to pull back the blinds of the meeting room and I pointed to Samohi, right across the street. Common sense. Not to mention that it was in the earlier City plan and had been promised by City Council since 2002, or at least ‘04.
WHAT DIDN’T MAKE SENSE — AT ALL
Was building that boondoggle giveaway Early Childhood Lab School (ECLS) there. I hope every time you drive past it you see it as a monument to how corrupt your City leaders were/are, to give (and I emphasize “give”) SMC, RAND and City employees, few of whom live in SM and pay taxes here, an expensive perk like that for their kids, and give it away on our tax dollars with “terms” that would make The Donald cackle with glee.
(“Corrupt” is a serious term. I believe it fits here, and in a many other areas in our City government and elections. “A willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain,” and I might add, at the expense of others and the greater good.)
It began to look like that ECLS might become the excuse for conveniently denying the playing field, just adjacent to it. Oh dear, the building expanded somehow and now there’s not enough room left for a playing field. We knew city movers and snakers would fight to the last breath for that inappropriately-located high end kindergarten (RAND Corp. had already donated a quarter million dollars to build it right there, decades ago), and when the entire process the last few years always seemed to give first favor to ELCS and last to the playing field, I couldn’t help myself from thinking that every time City Manager Rick Cole promised, passionately, that the playing field would be built, he knew there was a scheme in place to allow him to throw up his hands at the last minute in mock despair and cry oh my gosh, who could have seen that coming, out of our control, we sure tried.
BUT — NO
It would appear that Cole was being straight with us, that he was fighting for it, and effectively. It is now assured, with Coastal Commission approval last week, that it will be built. Hooray!! I was told by those at that meeting that he spoke brilliantly in defense of it, and making it very clear he we did not need to maintain parking there, as had been argued.
So, my apologies to City Manager Cole for having impure thoughts. Thank you, and to long-time advocates like Maryanne LaGuardia (who credited architect and now Planning Commissioner Mario Fonda-Bernardi with coming up with a schematic around 2002 that proved a field there was possible), Ann Bowman, Jaleh Mirhashemi, Phil Brock and so many others way too numerous to list. It takes a village, but you have to have some who will step to the front and not step back, no matter what.
Boy, would I love to write more about this kind of drama and backroom intrigue — with happy results, instead of what our City Fathers and Mothers usually “gift’ us with. See, you can do it, and I and others will write about it, and you will be recognized and adored and re-elected without having to spend six figures and sell your souls. You could have a legacy your grandchildren could point to with pride… instead of what you’ve got now.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: H.R. 1, the For the People Act, the strongest, most comprehensive pro-democracy reform legislation since Watergate, with laws protecting voters’ rights, disclosure of secret money, redistricting reform and enabling small-donor matching fund elections, just passed Monday afternoon in House of Representatives. Will the GOP-controlled Senate also pass it? Doubt it. Republicans have for some decades been dedicated to suppressing voting rights. But don’t we need something like that here in Santa Monica?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “If it can’t be reduced, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.” – Pete Seeger
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 33 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at email@example.com