You never get to ask questions about the direction your beloved city is going, or offer suggestions or speak your mind to open minds?

Oh — silly you, you must be going to City Council meetings. Yes, you do get two minutes, unless it’s one minute, or less if they can manage it, “because you have asked for shorter meetings” and we’re just trying to help.

But take a look at the Council faces staring at their phones, eating their food, yawning openly, leaving early, trying to not show how bored or resentful they are during public input, and if they do look at a speaker it’s often with disdain and sometimes you get outright verbal rudeness. And besides, you find out when it comes time for their discussion, or lack of it, and their vote, that it was all decided before they came in but they generously (and bootlessly) let you talk.

Is it that way always? Over the last few years, a lot. For every Councilperson? Well, Morena and Jara are the new kids and the Kool-Aid is still just getting into their systems, give them time, considering their paths to Council, and Gleam is a fairly new Mayor and not rude like her predecessors (yet), and Sue Himmelrich seems mostly to be paying attention, processing, and asking pertinent questions (for information, not just to reiterate staff propaganda), and she actually holds office hours.


That’s where you’ll be heard and have real input. (Unless you live in Ocean Park, like I do.) Then you can speak collectively, as a neighborhood, to City Council.

Who then will still not listen to you, collectively.

After all, you Mid-City malcontents, you NOMA nasties, you Fiends of Sunset Park, you didn’t put us on Council, we represent the entire city! Including all those precious souls who haven’t moved here yet, but we’re developing as fast as we can, for them. More importantly we are representing those who really put us here: SMRR, SMC, SMMUSD, UNITE HERE, CLUE, RAND, LOWV, NOW, NMS, PACs and $$$ and let’s not forget Forward.

But if you go to these neighborhood association meetings you will be with your for-real neighbors, who share your localized concerns. Just imagine… if each neighborhood could elect its own City Council representative! Who would then be directly responsible and probably responsive to the neighborhood people who put them on the Council!

Nah. Impossible. You’d have to sue to make that happen. And then win! And then… wait. And wait…


Was I? Yup. It never ends. Here we go again, City Staff proposing a very expensive solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. By the time you read this Wednesday the Council will have dealt with this Staff proposal Tuesday night, on the consent calendar. (That means, no discussion of an $8M expenditure, just one yea or nay vote on all the items listed together, large and small.) But this is another example of an ongoing attitude by your City government that they can do whatever they want and never worry about the right side of the menu, and also of how neighborhood associations can speak out with a collective voice about something you probably otherwise would never have understood or even heard about. In this case, Northeast Neighbors did.  (Thanks to NEN Chair Tricia Crane for posting this.)

To: City Council

Re: 3/26/2019 – Agenda item 3-D (Award of Communications and Outreach Contracts)

Members of the Board of Northeast Neighbors object to and ask City Council not to grant the request from City staff for “various” PR firms to promote the City on an “as needed” basis (Agenda Item 3-D). The Staff Report describes these 15 contracts as needed to “provide on-call resources available to all departments.” We consider this proposed expenditure to be excessive and frivolous.

We question the purpose of hiring, for instance, the firm Marketing for Change Co. ( The website for this firm reads: “Our work is about ally acquisition — building the majority you need to win.” We ask, what is it that the City Staff hopes “to win” by hiring Marketing for Change?

How can the City even consider approving outside PR services from 15 different outside companies when the public is being told we “can’t afford” a pilot project to place police in unsafe parks?

We wonder why – for the sake of transparency – the item doesn’t call out the fact that $2.610,000 “for 2 years with 3 additional one-year renewal options(s)” adds up to more than $8 million. Spending on this scale for promotion and propaganda purposes seems to us to be totally out of line with the budget issues the City faces given pension liabilities.

We ask that Council not approve the funding proposed in Agenda item 3-D or any portion of what is proposed.

Sincerely, The Board of Northeast Neighbors


Yes it is happening in LA and all around us, but Santa Monica is small and fragile and boxed in, and why can’t we have a City government that protects us instead of sells us to the highest bidder? (Don’t peek! The answer is….. $$$.)

“LA City Council signed off Friday on a 725-unit apartment project in Chinatown with no affordable units, that will displace low-income residents.”


“Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.” — Richard M. Nixon

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

Join the Conversation


  1. It’s not just Richard Nixon, he is just one of Many who got caught! The LA city council is the highest paid council in the country and thus hold a whole lot of power. Some of the largest cities hold part time councils and meet when needed during the quarters. I wonder if we ever mattered or thru social media we have learned that we really don’t matter at all.
    The Deals are made before the meetings but our representatives must at least appear as if they care. Charles Andrews brought so many items and concerns that we the people need to address………but How? Getting more involved, running for office, holding our civil servants accountable…….ALL of the above? And Yes “they” do act bored and talk down to us and show their distaste and they dismiss us with a wave of the hand. How Much Money are the SMCC members paid?????

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