I urge you all to please call, text & email City Council today, and make very clear all the City services and programs you want The City of Santa Monica to keep. You very likely will lose these places and services if you do not make your voices heard. This includes services for you and your children and senior citizens.
The Santa Monica Library, for example, has already completely eliminated a large number of its staff which makes up the majority of its employees. Referred to as, “as-needed”, or “part time”, these are the majority of workers hired by the City because they are paid the least and are not paid benefits and they do not receive pensions. This vital part of the City’s work force are no longer employed and are not coming back. The City of Santa Monica is pushing to cut full time employees at the Library and other much needed facilities. The result will be closures of places our community uses and depends on.
Again, the City is making these decisions WITHOUT your input and often before you are aware these changes are permanent. So you immediately calling and emailing both the City Council and City Mayor today is critical. Much of what we cherish and love about Santa Monica may be permanently erased.
City Council has already met twice last week (Saturday to announce the replacement of Rick Cole as City Manager, and earlier in the week, Tuesday, to push through draconian cuts to City employees, programs and services).
City Council is conducting closed door meetings and are discussing eliminating such programs as the City programs to at-risk youth, closing most of the City’s library branches, eliminating the Annenberg Community Beach House, parks and recreation programs and staff, and other programs and City services deemed “unnecessary” by members of City Council, but without ANY input or support from the residents of Santa Monica.
To be very clear: Members of City Council and the Mayor have no intention of rehiring “furloughed” City employees and are, in fact, building a budget (and making “cuts”) for next year, based on “worst case” scenario closures of City departments. Further the City is making these cuts as if these changes and eliminations have the support and approval of the majority of Santa Monica residents, which they do NOT have. Once gone, these City services will likely never return.
Again, most City residents and the Public in general are completely unaware of these drastic cuts, layoffs, and eliminated programs and services, and are completely unaware that these choices are even taking place. So, again, NOW is the time for you to speak up or lose what you have paid for with tax dollars for the past many decades here in the City of Santa Monica.
The negative economic impact of Covid-19 is very real, and means Santa Monica residents will have to “do more, with less”, but many City services and programs are literally a matter of life and death (not merely “quality of life” issues) for a significant number of City residents. Do not lose what you rely on and have already paid for, speak up today because once you lose them, it will be significantly more expensive and wasteful to try to get them back or rebuild from scratch.
Below are who you should contact. Please be polite but firm when clearly stating which programs and services you want to keep. The few City departments “exempt” from budget and staff cuts or elimination are: Fire, police and the City Attorney. Everything else (except City Council itself) are on the chopping block and are being considered “non essential” and up for staff layoffs and hours permanently reduced or completely eliminated.
Call & email all SM City Council – (goes to all of them as a group):
(310) 458-8201, firstname.lastname@example.org
Call & email individual City Council Members:
Mayor Kevin McKeown, (310) 458-8201, email@example.com
Mayor Pro Tempore Terry O’Day, (310) 458-8201, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gleam Davis, (310) 458-8201, email@example.com
Ana Maria Jara, (310) 458-8201, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Himmelrich, (310) 458-8201, email@example.com
Greg Morena, (310) 458-8201, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted Winterer, (310) 458-8201, email@example.com
Call & email individual City Departments:
City Manager’s Office, (310) 458-8301, firstname.lastname@example.org
Community and Cultural Services, 310-458-8310, email@example.com
Finance, (310) 458-8281, firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing and Economic Development, (310) 458-2251
Human Resources, (310) 458-8246, Human.Resources@smgov.net
City Attorney, 310-458-8336, email@example.com
Mr. Kelly Wine
I totally agree with your description of this hasty decisionmaking by our Council members. They are frightened, as we all are, by the horrible situation our city is in, caused by consequences of the convirus, but that is no reason to set up draconian measures for Santa Monica without thoughtful input and discussion of how this affect out city not only now, but in the future. Our Council members have not been trained nor have the experience to deal with these measures thoughfully and calmly. They NEED input from all of us, openly, to learn about and discuss the options open to us as a city!
Agreed, awful to see so many job cuts. But fiscal insanity not to “rightsize” our city workforce. We’re in debt a lot already. And Covid has eliminated much of the tourism/hospitality revenue the city depends on to pay for its workforce. So we’re about to go much deeper into debt. So I hope you’d agree that it is a good exercise to prioritize our spending, as we have limited revenues to cover any of it for the foreseeable future. If you or I ran our businesses or households the way the city has been running our city, we wouldn’t have a business or a household.
The Moss Adams report the city prepared had some useful data on how many employees we residents / taxpayers carry, and at what burden, relative to other coastal cities. The workforce per capita was much higher here, at higher cost per person than in comparable cities, in return for an average number and quality of services.
Mind you, it feels like not enough to properly police our city and to get all the homeless off the streets and the housing and medical care they often need. So maybe we need to add police and first responders so as to, hopefully, manage to cut down on the overtime our first responders are currently being forced to log to keep up with all the call-outs in our city. Not sure. Hopefully the council and interim city manager are deep into these weeds to figure out the right balance. Not easy.
It has been a long time since the City Council has acted in the best interests of the citizens. Their loyalty has been to developers for a long time. Note how the citizens have again and again voted for restrictions on the size and density of new development.
And time and tima again the council rubber stamps the variances requested by developers. Concerned citizens have to spend their personal time and resources to have any voice in the process.
The Covid-19 panic has merely given the Council another tool for expanding their domination of the citizens.
The author is 100% correct in the prediction that things are not going back to where they were. The Council will use the revenue shortfall to justify their violations of city charter restrictions on their power and authority.
It is time to end the election of council members at-large and begin electing councils from the various sections of our city. It is the only way that all the citizens can be represented.
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