Fixing the budget holes... Courtesy Image.

HOW GOES THE DISMANTLING

Of our bloated budget?

I know, I know, it is an impossible task. And our elected and appointed City leaders are working very hard on it, and you sure can’t please everyone in a situation like this, or even very many.

But remember this. As my friend Dan is often wont to say, you shouldn’t have the people who dug you into a hole, be the ones to try to dig you out. (After all, they’re already at the bottom.)

Of course our City Council and staff did not create the economic tsunami from the global pandemic. But we were already sinking fast in those good times way back in 2019, when this wealthy little town had already dug a deep deficit from astronomical salaries and unrestrained, extravagant, gratuitous spending, with an unfunded pension obligation alone of very near half a billion dollars. Yes, B, billion. That’s about $30,000 owed by each SM family of four. From bathrooms to buildings to billings from elite law firms, it was Monopoly money madness, but those were our tax dollars.

Now we’re being told there may be more taxes to make up for the crater deficits. More taxes for the city with one of the highest tax rates in the nation.

Now we need more development than ever, we’re being told, in a city with a population density of nearly 11,000/sq mi, but you have to triple that when you count our extra daytime visitors of 150,000-200,000 a day. Just because we’ve lost some of that tourist and other visitor numbers, doesn’t put us out of the woods. In fact, our dependence on the wrong revenue streams has been our downfall. I think one thing we’ve learned for certain is that a pandemic loves density. Manhattan suffered greatly. Why would we ever now aim for more density as even part of a fiscal solution?

WE NEED TO PROCEED

Reimagining and reconstructing our city with an entirely new vision, not the same old schemes that benefit the few over the welfare of the residents. Done with that.

But so far, it doesn’t appear so. Right now is too early to talk specifics, because the City needs to negotiate with the unions before we really know where we stand.

But our entire culture is experiencing a moment of reevaluation. What do we really need? What do we want most? What can we do without? What makes life a joyous experience? We need to proceed with criteria like those before us. We need to have a great realization. Tough times are certainly ahead but it will be bearable if we are headed down the right path.

I WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC

Not for me, but for you. Snicker if you will but it is an act of love. And a whole lot of people are doing the same thing, because they love you and don’t want you infected by this dread disease.

I know that I could be asymptomatic and still give you the virus. No, I don’t live in fear of the virus, I just want to be a part of the solution, not the problem. I don’t feel like the government is controlling me, I feel like I’m being a contributing adult to society.

The world doesn’t revolve around me. It’s not all about me and my comfort. If we all could live with other people’s welfare and safety in mind, this whole world would be a much better place, don’t you think?

Wearing a mask doesn’t make me weak, scared or stupid, it makes me considerate. But this is not mere consideration, this is literally a matter of life or death.

When you think about how you look, or how uncomfortable it is or what others think of you, just imagine someone close to you — your father, mother, grandparent, son or daughter, wife or husband, siblings, aunt or uncle — choking on a respirator until they finally can’t take another breath. It’s a terrible death, from COVID19, and nearly 100,000 Americans have died that way, in just a few months. Mostly alone, with no family there to even hold a hand at the end.

Then ask yourself if you couldn’t have maybe sucked it up a little for them. Because it definitely — could happen to you.

MASKS? NO WAY, NOT FOR ME!

And the arguments that wouldn’t even be spoken in an informed, humane society continue to rage on social media, too often taking up space and oxygen on FB sites where we could formerly go to discuss local issues rationally with our fellow residents.

So social distancing and wearing masks is being “controlled”? What is your perspective on traffic signals, wearing clothing, and a proper place to defecate? Are these “controls” that are acceptable in your ideology, or would you like to do away with those as well?

Yeah, like, what’s up with red lights? I never agreed to that type of oppression, and they definitely infringe on my rights. If you want to stop for red lights, you can do it, but why should your fear dictate my actions? Maybe if you’re old and feeble red lights are a good thing for you, but with my quick reactions, I don’t need them. I ran three red lights last night and didn’t get hurt, so obviously any “statistics” about “accidents” are a hoax intended to enslave me. Did you know that Red lights were invented in Communist China? Look it up! Did our Founding Fathers stop for red lights? I don’t think so. Today I saw a long line of cars stopped for one, looked like a herd of sheep to me. Don’t be a sheep, run the red!

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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2 Comments

  1. Finally. I’m surprised that smdp allows a writer with sone common sense. Too bad you won’t be listened to, given the herd mentality that grips this city, as well as elsewhere. I get told off for wearing a mask, and guess by whom? That’s right. Those not wearing them. And now the talk is of re-opening retail businesses. What do ya’ think the chances of coronavirus cases going up? Duh.

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