WISHY WASHY
That’s what Lucy used to call that other Charles, Charlie Brown.

Growing up reading Peanuts, I never identified with CB. Didn’t even care for Peanuts that much. I Go Pogo, thank you. (As an adult, more to choose from: Calvin and Hobbes, Doonesbury, Frazz, Pearls Before Swine, Non Sequitur, The Far Side. Politics aside, I do love Mutts, and Dilbert despite it’s far-right creator.)

Inconsistent, is a more polite term for it, Lucy. Irresolute, perhaps. Vacillating.

Ambivalent is probably the most accurate. One week I’m castigating our City Council, the next I point to their humanity and my belief in the inherent goodness of all. One month I call for their mass expulsion, the next I’m calling for sitting down with each of them, human to human, to see where that goes. I made that offer and request in two different columns.

WHERE THAT WENT
Was an immediate response from Gleam Davis, thank you Mayor, and a pleasant two-hour chat over coffee that, for my part studiously avoiding pointed questions about local politics. This was a get-to-know-you session.

She did not, in that two hours, mention that she had her bags packed for Dubai, to represent Santa Monica at the annual World Government Summit held there Feb. 10. You wouldn’t have known, if I hadn’t just told you, right? Suffice it to say the accommodations were luxurious, and Gleam was acknowledged just by her presence there as being a world leader, along with participants from 140 countries, including heads of state, ministers, and Tony Robbins. Pretty heady stuff. One could get used to that.

It’s a tasty perk of being a SM Mayor or even Councilperson that most residents never give a thought to. If I were on the Council, or Mayor, and had a chance to represent us and learn something at such a conference, I probably would go. As long as it didn’t drain anything from SM city coffers.

But there are those who covet local political office who do think of such things. It can be part of the package of questionable conduct. I’ve heard many locals remark, only half jokingly, that the only reason former Mayor Pam O’Connor kept running for Council and got herself appointed to so many boards and commissions, was for the junkets, the trips.

AM I JEALOUS?
Not in the least. Really. Even though I’m a travel junkie. I say Hurrah! — take all the junkets you want but bring back some good junk for SM and most importantly, make it part of your consistent valuable service, not disservice, to the community.

I do not know how much, if any, of that excursion was paid for by our tax dollars, or then-Mayor Kevin McKeown’s jaunt to Paris in 2015 (just before his term as Mayor was to expire) for the UN Conference on Climate Change, or his trip to Fujinomiya, Japan to celebrate 40 years as sister cities. I would like to know, but a request for that info would probably take a week or two, at least, I’ve got a deadline, and that’s only half the question. The big question is, of course, are our City servants serving us, themselves, or other masters?

(I got no other response to meet from five Council members — you think maybe they don’t read my column? — but Sue Himmelrich responded, “Charles, you know I’ll sit down with you any time, we have before.” True, and thank you Sue.)

I’M HUMAN
That’s the answer. Not wishy washy. I really do want to think and write the best of our selected civic leaders, but that resolve can vanish when they do that one more bad thing, on top of the years of bad things. They say good things, SMRR (Santa Monicans for Renters Rights) promises good things, but when it comes time for a vote, things go bad. ALWAYS.

Their latest crazy bad thing tipped me over the edge and now I say again, looking over the record of the last 7-8 years at least — too much monkey business, they’ve got to go, all of them, even the two new kids because they were hand-picked and elected by SMRR and have so far shown no inclination to vote anything but the party line.

Our City Council voted unanimously last session, to tear down a parking structure on 4th Street Downtown, one very convenient to so many places locals want to get to, and replace it with housing for the homeless. Smack dab in the middle of Downtown. Losing more of the already shrinking parking, flooding the economically distressed area with the economically distressed homeless. Make sense to you?

A SIMPLIFICATION?
Slightly. Do we need to solve our homeless problem? Of course. But those who are familiar with all the edges of this proposed tear-down are almost unanimously aghast at the blind, irresponsible audacity and foolishness of it. It’s like when you lecture your kid, you CAN”T do that, understand? And they argue they’ve done nothing wrong and then for the third time do it again. At some point you lose patience and say, go to your room. Or, leave this office.

I’ve lost patience.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.” — Mark Twain

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 therealmrmusic@gmail.com

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