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Editor:

The Revised City Budget NOW includes $1 Million for a new Task Force to speed economic recovery in Santa Monica.  $1 million to a committee that has had no public process or public vetting.

The Santa Monica Transparency Project was formed in 2010 to assure openness and accountability in city government.  We are concerned about the pro-developer bias on this committee as announced.  It’s important for the public to understand who the city has invited to serve as task force members and whether reasonable growth members will also be included.

Following the meeting, we wrote to the city and asked for the details of this task force, and how members were selected and specifically whether community groups like the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights,  and other longstanding groups would also be invited to participate.

Unfortunately, to date the city’s response has been disappointing. The city has not answered these questions we posed about the process:

How many members are currently on the task force including their names and affiliations;

What was the criteria for inclusion; who selected the participants and by what process;

Were any resident focused community groups approached and invited to join;

How did Santa Monica Forward, a political group, get a seat; and

Will the task force welcome new resident-focused members?

Regardless of whether the city actually will impanel a task force that is truly representative of our community and reasonable growth groups, the city has an obligation to be transparent and explain who the members are, how it chose them and by what process before authorizing $1 million for their future activities.

We are all in this together.  It looks like we may have to keep reminding the city of that.

Stay tuned.

Stay Safe,

Mary Marlow, Chair. Santa Monica Transparency Project

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