We are aware that our advertisement in the Daily Press this weekend contained an image that was seen, by some, as Anti-Semitic. The caricature of a wealthy, out-of-touch developer never signaled red flags of Anti-Semitism for any involved, which includes active members of the Jewish community with a history of combating Anti-Semitism. To anyone who was upset by the caricature, we apologize. Our message has always been and remains about corruption and pay-to-play politics related to this project. We will learn from this as we continue to fight a project that is bad for Santa Monicans. We want to address a few points specifically:
First, we treat Anti-Semitism very seriously. The head of SMAME, Steve Linett, is an individual of Jewish faith. We are well aware of the history and resurgence of anti-Semitism is a scourge on our society.
Second, it is also an incredibly important issue for the consultants working on our campaign. One of the principal consultants worked to fight anti-Semitism for more than a decade at one of the oldest Jewish defense organizations.
Third, the accusation of anti-Semitism is, with all due respect, unfounded. This is, unfortunately, a distraction from the pitfalls of the project which is the real focus of the advertisement, including the traffic, degradation of the air quality, and changes to downtown Santa Monica if this project is approved. As we all found out as the ad was going to print, the serious accusations of financial contributions being made to Councilmember Gleam Davis by the developer, his companies, and his lawyers in what looks to be a pay-to-play political scheme came to light.
While the insert was drawn as a caricature by a contracted cartoonist – under an extremely rushed timeline due how quickly everything to the development has moved – it now seems more representative today than it did when it was approved by myself, our consultants, and the SMDP for distribution. To be crystal clear, there is no discussion of Mr. Dell’s heritage, no iconography of Judaism, and no reference to broader political or societal issues. The cartoon and ad make no mention of Dell’s faith or contain hallmark iconography of anti-semitic cartoons.
Additionally, all his features are exaggerated including his chin and ears, a common practice of cartoonists. There was no intended or actual comparison.
Please understand that our only focus is to point out the downsides of this project and the false promises made by its owner and developer.