When I compare our City Council to the Trump fiasco.

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.

Both administrations are guided by unstated (hidden) philosophies, to the disregard, detriment and damage of their constituency, then they tell us it’s… something else.

In DC, the Donald has only two rules: undo everything Obama did, and get reelected. (It’s either Four More, or prison stripes.) He “explains” his palette of cruelty and destruction by saying anything that comes to mind, no matter how ignorant, outrageous, untrue and easily proven untrue, knowing his core supporters will buy it because they’ve already waded comfortably through 16,000 lies (and counting), trained to disbelieve legitimate, credible media, science, and history, and to look to him as the only source of truth. The Chosen One.


Not much, but the bullpucky we get coming out of City Hall has a veneer of plausibility, and shallow thinkers and those with a compatible agenda hop right on board.

I remember that when I first started paying any attention to local politics, maybe a dozen years ago, the justification given for approving oversized developments was, if we don’t take that development money it will go somewhere else! Culver City, forgoshsakes! My naive reaction was… So?

I didn’t know anything about city budgets or tax consequences but I was beginning to see that the Santa Monica I loved was overbuilding its way towards ugliness, density and unlivability. I also understood, this is Santa Monica, it’s still a very desirable place to live and work, and if Microsoft or Dreamworks or Words With Friends 2 will go elsewhere if we don’t give them a sweetheart construction deal with a Swiss cheese EIR for their megacomplex, fine. Ten other companies will come in to fill that space, just as it is.

I’d need both hands and a couple of toes to count the times since then that the raison d’être for overdevelopment has shifted. And each time many heads, especially behind the dais, nod solemnly and declare urgency (we must change our zoning!), while the thinking majority, residents, lacking a voice, say, Huh? Are you kidding?


About hidden agendas and secret agreements, of course. But if you watch a web-footed yellow-beaked bird long enough and see him waddle and hear him quack, well, you can be sure he ducked out of a SMRR meeting.

If that duck could talk, you could grill him for insight, finding that he believes cars are evil and must be eliminated in SM ASAP, that big tall wide development is inevitable here (and even good) and it is the duty of the all-wise selected parental figures to make sure that overdevelopment proceeds with plenty of low-flush toilets. Because when you vote to allow an 11-story building, 300,000+ sq’, 249 units (plus the 64 “affordable” units they built, oh, but not there silly, not neighbors to the million-dollar condos folks, but over on Lincoln right next to the fumey freeway) to replace a one-story business, you blithely ignore the fact that you are now using 10 times the water, electricity, emergency services, etc, and you pat yourself on the back for authorizing a forward-looking sustainable building. (That’s probably ugly as sin, to boot.)

Yes the logic is unfailingly faulty, but transparently so. It’s not that anyone miscalculated. Decisions were made, then a justification was concocted and put forth, and if anyone takes a knee instead of saluting, well, we’ll just come up with another explanation, of why all this makes any sense for anyone except the moneyed outside interests who profit greatly and have plenty left over to finance PACs for local candidates who made it all possible.


San Francisco. It would appear there is an element there who also think more people walking and fewer in cars would be good for everyone. Hold on to your airbags but I agree. As long as you do it the way SF has.

Their famous Market Street is now closed for 2.2 miles to auto traffic. But they’ve been studying and preparing for this for more than a century.

There’s a subway under Market Street. There are more than 200 buses per hour there during rush hours. You can drive across Market Street, just not up and down it. No Uber/Lyft. Safe lanes for bikes and pedestrians.

We do it bass ackwards here. First build the train, put it on the ground, that creates a transit corridor where no one will use or even own cars (right), so go ahead and build that Wall of Lincoln with hundreds of high-rise apartments… before you see what the actual effect of the train will be. Could it be, that the train was just an excuse, for all that profitable development?

Scooters!! Alternative transportation, we love to be known for that in SM. But don’t go slowly and regulate like every other city, just let the companies dump thousands of them all over our streets and see what happens. Good for the companies (we were the first city for scooters!!), bad for the residents, especially the many injured or even killed.

DC or SM, there’s snickering behind those closed doors but I’m not laughing.

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at

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