Wouldn’t be caught dead writing about more than one topic in his “Laughing Matters” column, which has appeared in the Santa Monica Daily Press for more than 13 years.

I’ve always done it. Why not? There are a thousand things to write about and only one shot per week. Plenty of highly respected columnists do it.

But some of my readers get confused when I do. Even though I signal what’s to come by the boldface lead-in paragraph marker. I love my confused readers, because without them who do I have? — but it’s cruel to further confuse the already-confused.

So from now on, until I can think of something better, I will signal a new topic with the words, “New Topic.”


People asked me last week if I was going. All the talk, the promotion, the excitement! With no desire to emit negative vibes in positivity-drenched Santa Monica, I responded, at the risk of seeming like a doom merchant with his cynical mind made up — no.

We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf. So let’s just say that I have been to one too many forums put on by our City leaders for some grand purpose of gathering public opinion, to not believe that all such get togethers are suspect and a waste of time.

Determine public opinion and priorities? No, the agenda is to shape it. Very expensive consultants are hired to “moderate” but in fact what they do is steer the conversation and conclusions, ignoring or even shutting down any spoken notions that don’t fit the back room agreed-upon narrative.


For Santa Monicans? Worry less about the smaller steps and programs until your master plan addresses the root causes. Stop overdeveloping this already dense beach town into Century City West because that just makes all those problems much worse.

Stop trying to manage traffic until you stop building more offices, retail and housing that add to it. Drop the ridiculous notion that building next to transit will magically get everyone out of their cars. When LA and Santa Monica have something even approaching a real mass transit system, then we can talk. You don’t buy a doghouse because you hope to someday maybe have a dog.

Perplexed by our unconscionable new crime rates? Plenty of studies show that urban densification is a big factor.

Concerned about making our precious water supply last? Have a realistic assessment of what all the new developments will use, combined, instead of telling us that installing low flush toilets at that new 350-unit building will mean no more water use than the one-story business it’s replacing. Right. STOP BUILDING, ALREADY.


Support for the Muir Woods mural has flowed in steadily since my column revealing its planned destruction appeared in March of 2014. Of all the messages received from literally all over the world, an email I got a few days ago from a student really touched me, and showed how much this wall art at a busy intersection means to so many people even beyond our borders. It was from a 17-year-old student at a Santa Monica high school, who lives in Venice.

“On my way to and from school I always see the painted forest mural on Ocean Park and Lincoln. I believe that the mural should stay and should not be painted over because it is a reminder of my community and many others.

“I am a firm believer that every community has a unique trait and ours in Venice is that beautiful mural. I am a nature enthusiast and I absolutely love the outdoors. The mural is a constant reminder every morning to appreciate the trees, air and life I have in Venice. Without this mural, I would be devastated and would lose that outdoor vibe I am so privileged to see and I am sure many of my community members would feel the same.

“Thank you for all your support and love in saving the mural.”

It reminded me that I made a silent promise to my then-college age daughter that I would save this historic mural. It’s for the ages.


You do know that the lawsuit against Lyft and the City of Santa Monica filed by an 88-year-old SM woman who was severely injured after tripping over scooters where they should not have been parked (wouldn’t that be everywhere, some of us would ask?) was challenged by our City and Lyft, but allowed to proceed by an LA Superior Court?

My former neighbor, of a similar age, suffered a similar fate about a year ago and was forced to move from her rent controlled apartment of 40-some years into a full-care facility. Forced to leave her friends, church and neighborhood that she loved. Another friend of mine in Ocean Park tripped and broke his leg and very nearly lost it.

How many other cases like that are there? Maybe if this one is successful, we will start to find out. Find out the human cost of the way our City leaders allowed the scooter companies to come in and dump on us with no oversight or regulation.

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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  1. Thank you! UCLA did a study of scooter related injuries and found a high percentage were brain injuries. I have worked in a brain injury unit and it is a life sentence! Yet, the city seems to be willfully ignoring scooter safety issues, especially as pertains seniors and disabled people.

  2. Jack Neworth…you NAILED it in today’s column. A double whammy to the city movers and shakers (politicians) who have allowed the city to become an overbuilt abomination, and allowed the dumping of thousands of scooters, bikes, you name it indiscriminately challenging many people to dodge the moving ones, and try to navigate through the non used ones trying to avoid being seriously hurt in both instances. No wonder we are all cynical…our so called “leaders” have failed us.

  3. Scooters are an inherent danger to their riders as well as every other vehicle and pedestrian on the roadway. The other morning, a yooung couple zoomed past every stop sign on 11th heading east and between Colorado and Olympic they stopped and then crossed traffic in the middle of the block – this kind of egregious sofflaw behavior is rampant on those scooters!

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