For The Year in Review. For Best Of/Worst Of lists. For 2020 Predictions.

Nope. Not here.

Several reasons. Those lists are obligatory exercises in subjective history revision and likewise-biased projection. Mostly done for purposes of selling a media product. OK, they also fall under the description of what a newspaper, magazine or broadcast company does — report the news and put it in context.

But they take time and effort to research, and I’m lazy. They leave you open to ridicule if you leave something out, get something wrong or badly blow a prediction. Who needs it?

The Year in Review is the least subjective and the most useful. But wiser, more ambitious minds with better work ethics than mine at this newspaper, have already covered the Year in Review thingy, last week and this week, pretty thoroughly, I thought. You’re welcome.

I will throw in a couple of


More transparency in our city government. Much more, because it’s hovering close to zero now.

A new sense of fiscal responsibility. Make that, some sense, something, just a little, because for years they’ve been spending our tax dollars like it’s play money, an infinite pile of play money, much of it for vanity projects that enhance their undeserved reputation for making Santa Monica such a progressive, compassionate, transportation innovative, forward-thinking green jewel  of a city.


Coming to its senses to provide realistic not idealistic transportation planning, not based on eliminating evil cars in a city and region that is a long way from having decent mass transit, and realizing that scooters and bikes may be fine and fun for all our young tourists and residents but not necessarily the best solution for grandma trying to get her groceries home. And this town has a lot of grandmas. And have you noticed? More and more evil cars are going electric, making them… less evil.

Voters who see this precious, historic, unique city is being destroyed by wrong-thinking politicos and their bosses, and care enough to take the time to inform themselves on the issues and the candidates, instead of marching to the polls to vote by postcard, for a slate of candidates and issues who bought those endorsements. Yes, you can literally do that. So if you see your friend or neighbor going to vote with a postcard or flyer in their hand, snatch it away and start informing them.

District elections that result in neighborhood, resident representative government in Santa Monica, not the unbeatable slate of SMRR-bred, PAC-dependent overdevelopment crazies foisted on us for the better part of 40 years.


Yeah, crazies. It’s crazy to try to build your way to affordability for housing. Crazy to provide a handful of “affordable” housing units by trading them for thousands of market-rate condos and apartments, that result in higher rates for everyone. And more density and all the problems that brings, for one of the already most dense coastal cities in CA. Crazy to chant “Supply and Demand” when you know dang well that doesn’t apply to a seaside, gentrified housing market like SM.

It’s crazy to spend $140M on an office building, just to make it the greenest building in the world that everyone will ooh and aah over and say please come to our conference in Rome, in Abu Dabi, in Rio, and tell us allll about it. (I’m oohing and aahing over what we could have done with the $60M+ wasted. At a time when so many voices are warning of an impending budget crisis here.)

Crazy to pursue for years the appeals of a lost lawsuit, on an issue that no city has ever won, that merely makes a modest change in the way we vote for our City Council, because it makes it less likely that SMRR and other power interests can easily control those elections. It’s crazy to refuse to tell us how many tens of millions of our taxpayer dollars you have spent on this shameless power play.


It’s crazy to spend $9M to change all our bus benches to something pretty but impractical, then change some of them back again.

It’s crazy for our Council to not even have the integrity to censure former Mayor Pam O’Connor when her petulant refusal to work with newly hired Communications and Public Affairs Officer Elizabeth Riel (who once donated to the campaign of one of O’Connor’s opponents) was not only clearly wrong but resulted in a lost lawsuit costing the city nearly a million dollars.

Crazy for former City Manager Rod Gould — who went along with O’Connor’s foot-stomping and fired Riel — to take a high-paying position immediately after he left his post here, with a firm he fed several big contracts to, in corrupt defiance of the Oaks Initiative law, and think he could get away with it. But of course! Because it was crazy but not unexpected for our then City Attorney Marcia Moutrie to refuse to take any action. A citizen group, the Transparency Project, sued and won.

So I guess maybe that is my year-end review of the State of Our City. I feel an obligation to point all these things out because so many people are not informed. I get that from readers all the time: “I had no idea!”

Still — I think it’s going to be a great 2020, here, across the nation, across the world. But it’s up to each one of us, isn’t it?

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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