Tired of writing the same headline for my columns. Tired of why I must. Because it just doesn’t stop these days, does it?
The dams have broken, the unrelenting flood of political evil in SM and DC sweeps our breath away daily, hourly.
Wait — “evil”? That’s a pretty extreme word, isn’t it? Aren’t we talking about a disagreement over political philosophy, or policy?
No. This isn’t that. That train left the station a few years ago. Obama was born in Kenya. We can build our way to affordability of housing in SM. No, you can’t have any Constitutionally-mandated judicial appointments, not even your Supreme Court nominee. Defend at large elections that keep you in power even though you lost in court, spend tens of millions of our dollars appealing but refuse to tell us how much. Children in cages. $140M of our money for an office building so “green” it will be world-famous. 15,000+ lies and counting. (hmm — DC or SM?) Give our city-owned land in the center of town over to a developer for their huge profit, forget the plaza open space for residents that it should be.
In Santa Monica it’s a little harder to get away with evil, so we just go for corrupt.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THAT “OPEN PROCESS”
For what will happen to the Muir Woods mural? Truth be told, it never was open. The Save the Muir Woods Mural (SMWM) group — Jerry and Marissa Rubin and me — have fought, mostly without success, for nearly six years to get information. From our first meeting with then-Olympic High principal Janie Gates to last week’s stealth School Board meeting consent calendar torpedo, it’s been too much obfuscation and deception.
I still trust the School Board to do the right thing. They are elected officials subject to the will of the people, and most of the effort to continue to destroy the mural rather than restore it seems to come from a small cadre within SMMUSD with their own agenda for that wall and property at Lincoln and Ocean Park. Visible, valuable.
A consent item put on the calendar, only four days before a Board meeting in Malibu last October, would have sealed its fate, without any community input. They removed that item and at the subsequent Board meeting declared they would get that community input and abide by it.
Now there seems to be some fudging. We see that last week’s Board meeting contained another consent calendar item — meaning, no discussion, items supposedly so obviously needed and without opposition that a whole slew of them is voted on as a group, just a yes or no. It was so buried at the bottom it took me about five minutes of scrolling down to find it. You really have to keep your eyes on these folks, to make sure they do the right thing that I’m sure they want to do, which is to leave it up to the community to decide.
SOUNDS GOOD, BUT…
“The Board directed FIP staff to engage Jane Golden [the original artist] and [her] Mural Arts Institute to lead an inclusive community process in creating a new mural that will pay homage to the Muir Woods mural and also reflect the vision of the MBO[bama] campus. Board Member Kean graciously agreed to act as a liaison with Mural Arts Institute to request a proposal to provide these services.”
But what does inclusive mean? There is no mention of the SMWM group as a longtime representative of community stakeholders. No one has told us of any plans for us to be included in the process. No one has told us anything, despite repeated promises to do so.
A few months ago SMMUSD COO Carey Upton stood with me on the sidewalk in front of the mural and looked me in the eye and promised that, despite past silence, he would keep the SMWM group informed and in the loop. A week later banners went up over the mural declaring it the site of the Obama Center. Haven’t heard a peep from anybody since.
“Homage”? No, from the very beginning we have made it crystal clear that the value of this 41-year-old representation of conservation is the way it so realistically wraps around that building at that very busy intersection. That’s what everyone loves. It pulls you in.
No cutting the baby in half. No one is interested in an “homage.” The language of this leaves no possibility for the repainting restoration.
“Graciously”? What kind of obviously prejudicial language is that in an official governing document? In fact, Board member Keane violated the agreement both sides made during our mediation process, to not contact Golden, because she stated clearly she did not want to be involved in a fight.
But I’m sure everyone wants to do the right thing and that it will all work out. Trust, and verify.
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