VOTE for the SM you want. Courtesy photo.

I’M SUCH A POSITIVE GUY THESE DAYS

That after four years of noxious obnoxious orange oligarchy oozing out of FL and DC, and a relentless decades-long campaign to turn our lovely, unique, precious Santa Monica into Miami Beach by our own local power cabal, driven by development dollars that finance political campaigns and feed all sorts of other craven cravings — I’m POSITIVE that pointing out these travesties and failings and corruption, in an attempt to make people informed and angry enough to take action, doesn’t seem to work very well. Y’all keep voting against your own interests, too many of you. Let’s face it, many people are lazy, prejudiced and willfully ignorant. And big dollars can sway a lot of weak minds.

But you never know.

I‘m going to take another stab at being kind, loving and POSITIVE, nevermind the negativity, and see how that works. How’m I doing so far?

BUT SERIOUSLY

We have seen, sadly, over and over that negative campaigning works. The catch is, as John once asked Paul, how do you sleep at night? Just fine, says Karl Rove, Alex Jones, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Rush, Hannity and others, because all those truckloads of hundred dollar bills and million dollar checks make for a mighty soft mattress. But then, they are entertainers, specializing in hate, with no concern for the huge damage they do.

For our upcoming local elections, let’s accentuate the POSITIVE (sing along with me, now!), become informed, and find the candidates that fit your vision of Santa Monica. No politician is perfect for you, but some are sure better than others.

So, instead of pointing fingers and assigning blame, why don’t we play a POSITIVE, fun game I’ll call,

“SANTA MONICA, AS YOU WISH.”

(Thank you, Dread Pirate Roberts.)

Instead of focusing on all that’s wrong here, let’s frame it as all that could be right. Let’s be inspired to work toward a much better world to leave to our children, rather than the dismal task of slaying too many dragons. The Santa Monica we want, and deserve!

Pandemic health crises, the resultant economic and jobs disasters, accelerating climate change catastrophe and the urgency to end systemic racism now, can seem overwhelming, coming at us all at once. So few resources. Except the miraculous human spirit! Sounds like a hyuuuuge opportunity to me! We’ve been doing it wrong, a lot of it, and wouldn’t this be a perfect time to change all that?

We can’t now argue that universal health care isn’t absolutely vital for the good of the entire body politic, unless you think it’s OK for hundreds of thousands of Americans to die a terrible death when 90 percent of that was preventable. Maybe it also demonstrates that government, properly managed, does have an important place and can be a lifeline in many circumstances, not an adversary. (Reagan was wrong. On purpose. Less government, less lifesaving regulation, more profits.) That we all really are in this tossing ship on roiling seas, together, and we’d better hold on to each other. Every: each other. That every one of us deserves equal justice, opportunity, freedoms, food and shelter, work and a vote.

SANTA MONICA, AS I WISH

Here’s (some of) my list.

Recognizes that a denser city is not a healthier city, especially, obviously, in a time of pandemic. Therefore we will call a moratorium on all new construction until a master plan can be agreed upon that recognizes long term needs like water, electricity, infrastructure, police and fire protection, schools, open space/parks, traffic management, etc. — safety and quality of life.

That in this trying period with many resources drying up, we need to reassess all our expenses fairly, for the good of the residents (the ones already living here, not the ones some anticipate in the next decade). We need to look at the way we have been spending money, including nearly the biggest staff and highest staff salaries in CA.

We need to make some quick, obvious changes in our police procedures and practices, then carefully examine the other details to come up with a reallocation of funds that serves everyone better and results in much greater safety for all.

We need to make our children and their schools a top priority.

High speed Internet access for all in SM would benefit all tremendously, from school children to entrepreneurs to shut-in seniors and others to our many resident artists creating at home. We have a lot already in place and it wouldn’t be that hard nor cost that much to fiber optic everyone in Santa Monica.

Want the tourists to come back for the right reasons? Estimates are that 40 percent of Santa Monicans work in the creative arts. Shouldn’t that be our identity? Shouldn’t we be preserving art instead of tossing it aside, shouldn’t we be allowing our artists to recreate Santa Monica with a world-wide reputation for the arts, art everywhere, music on the street corners, great murals on our buildings?

WHERE WILL WE GET $$$ IN THIS BRAVE NEW WORLD?

Maybe, just maybe, we don’t want, or need, 9,000,000 tourists a year. And when you’re hell bent on paving paradise, maybe our future with a dirty, crime-ridden, overcrowded beach surrounded by near-skyscrapers is not enough to make them want to come, or come back. Maybe 4M would be more manageable, and cost effective.

First of all, we need to spend much more wisely and frugally. We need to support Mom and Pop businesses because that’s what makes for the character of a city, not the high ends and the chain stores you can find anywhere. We need to preserve and restore our valued old buildings, and repurpose them instead of tearing down to build the new ugly.

We need to vote for City Council candidates who will think way outside the boxes. No more business as usual.

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