TOOLIN’ AROUND SANTA MONICA

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I thought I‘d check out a few things firsthand. But taking it slow. No wheelies, no burnt rubber patches today from my teenaged Prius, no sir. Easy does it. Want to take it s-l-o-w, real slow. Like our City government.

 First stop, Reed Park, for the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the beef brisket and Brazilian chicken stroganoff. Man, with that kind of menu I should have gotten in line, but there were more than 100 souls, most of them probably truly hungry.

 Santa Monican Steve Petramale says that back in May of last year he was at Reed Park with his then-11-year-old son, who noticed a dozen homeless people in the park who looked hungry. His son wanted to feed the hungry homeless, so every Sunday for over a year, that’s what the Petramales have done. Much of it out of his own pocket, Steve says. His son and wife also cook. Kudos to Steve for being a compassionate man of action, and for raising a kid of compassion. Heroes all three.

 If, his story is complete and true. But it makes me wonder at the coincidence of him coming in to feed people at Reed Park within a week or so of the good folks at Westside Vineyard Church of Mar Vista finally having been persuaded to give up their feedings there — after 20 years.

 THE VINEYARD PASTOR

 Finally issued a statement of mea culpa for the unintended harm their charitable act caused the community of Santa Monica. So, are we to believe that Petramale never heard about this, in more than a year? No one from the City who is trying to resolve it outside of court brought this up to him?

 A cease and desist letter was finally sent to Petramale by the City, stating he would be cited if he showed up again. He did, last Sunday, defiantly — “who’s going to feed these people if I don’t?” — but the promised citation was not issued. The County, whose laws he is also violating, has not issued a citation, in nearly a year since being asked to do so by the City of SM. Take it slow. Next stop:

 THE ZUNI HOUSE

 Now, the Zuni Youth Hostel. Growing up in NM, not that far from the Zuni Pueblo, I have a particular affection for this gorgeous 1924 Pueblo Revival-style historic home. It looks from outside like it has been well-cared for, for many decades. Will that continue now that it is owned by a corporation in Houston, and managed by a Japanese man who came here as a student, who advertises that he can accommodate 36 guests in this five-bedroom home?

 The neighbors, understandably, are not happy. They live on what used to be a quiet cul-de-sac on the northwestern edge of the city, previously considered a great residential area. Not zoned for businesses. When I recently attended a meeting of the neighbors, I observed lots of trash, cans, plastic and a sea of cigarette butts, in front of this home only, on an otherwise pristine block. In stopping by this last Sunday, I counted four scooters and a bright red rental bike near the home-hostel.

 I knocked on the door of 40–year next door neighbor George Preonas, to ask if there had been any developments, but he wasn’t home. He later wrote me, “They say they are still investigating.” Aug. 12 he received a response from Council member Ted Winterer, a link to an SMDP news story about a woman successfully prosecuted and fined for taking 13 units off the SM rental market, turned into short-term Airbnb vacation rentals.

 That took two years. (I suggested to Preonas that he should not hold his breath.) So I headed home — slowly — to check out the iconic

 MUIR WOODS MURAL

 — at the corner of Lincoln and Ocean Park. Not looking so iconic these days. School district officials decided they had to scrape and sandblast areas that were peeling because the lead paint could seep into the soil below, and did so about a week ago.

 I stopped to look, and take photos, and who should be driving by at just that moment but SMMUSD Chief Operations Officer Carey Upton. His instincts were correct: I had just sat down on the retaining wall to call Superintendent Drati to ask a few questions. Upton approached me there on the sidewalk and answered the ones I asked.

 About the lead paint issue. That they covered the rest of it with a clear coating to protect it. Did you first take a complete set of good photographs, I asked? Yes. OK, good, thanks.

 It’s been five years since I alerted Jerry and Marissa Rubin about the evil plans to destroy that mural, and they were outraged. We formed Save the Muir Woods Mural and have been working all this time, gathering tree-mendous support.

The artist, Jane Golden, who went on from SM to gain worldwide fame as curator of more than 4,000 murals for the City of Philadelphia, issued a statement that she was excited about the possibility of coming here to oversee restoration.

 That. Will. Happen. Or you don’t know the steel will and political savvy of Jerry Rubin, and the refusal of Charles Andrews to give up.

 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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