CHEAP SHOT, TO KNOCK THE INCUMBENTS?
It’s easy to just call out everything that’s wrong and blame them, and never mention all the good things they’ve done. Awww — not fair.
But it is fair. If you’re at sea swabbing the deck and painting the masts bright colors while you’re also sinking the ship, that last item is all I’m concerned about.
If the incumbents have performed horribly — on crime and safety, fiscal irresponsibility, overdevelopment, transparency and honesty, listening to residents, quality of life, responding to crises, favoring outside interests over residents, padding their resumes no matter the cost to the city and residents, keeping their lock on power for themselves and their cabal, their “club,” as their number one priority, and out-and-out corruption — for years or decades, eschewing common sense, defiling our once-great city irreparably, then yeah, it’s time to throw the bums out. It’s our sacred duty, for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, the visitors from Los Angeles and around the world who want to find the beachside respite that is/was Santa Monica, not another Miami Beach, and for future generations of proud Santa Monicans who value our unique culture and history.
Almost any new candidate lacking a felony rap sheet will be a better bet.
SANTA MONICANS FOR RENTERS’ RIGHTS
SMRR — has been the only political party in SM that mattered, for decades since its founding in 1979. It was a fantastic, much needed, bold, very Santa Monica idea and its creators, some of whom still serve there, should be praised. But that was then, and now they seem more interested in retaining power than anything else. You’ll find the same thing if you look at the platforms for incumbents for Council — that sounds great! — that’s what I’m in favor of — I’ll vote for them! But now look at the record. Doesn’t match up.
But now they are losing influence, to a group founded by some disgruntled former SMRR movers and shakers, calling themselves, ominously, Forward. Forward is now, and certainly for the future, probably more of a power broker than SMRR, because they seem to have very large bankrolls from developers, and have molded their various philosophies (“good” density, more biking, fewer cars if any, build away along transportation lines, no matter the lack of infrastructure to support it) into a formidable group. They are endorsing all the City Council incumbents. Terry O’Day, who failed to get the SMRR endorsement on a procedural rule, is probably not upset to again throw his lot in with Forward. Last time he ran without SMRR but with Forward and was the top vote getter. Your day may have passed, SMRR.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE OTHER RACES?
Mostly, I haven’t written about them because City Council seats are so important. The buck stops there. Though the current members don’t seem to think so. Otherwise they would have taken more action to prepare for the looters they knew were coming, and instead let it turn into one of the worst days in Santa Monica history, 5/31/20.
I’m of the school that what we saw happen 5/31 was inexcusable and preventable, and police chiefs and even mayors around the nation have paid the political price for such dereliction.
Those other races? If I’m not steeped enough in history, facts, personalities, connections and scuttlebutt that I’m rock solid about my opinions, I don’t want to voice them, in print. But here’s what I will say.
Rent Control — I think some there have done an exceptional job of defending renters, but I’m not so certain about the overall record. So, no opinion on candidates.
College Board — I am no longer a fan of SMC (politically) and I’m sure the board has a lot to do with that. They have become a huge landholder in SM and yet built their early childhood center completely inappropriately on our Civic Center land, nearly squeezing out the playing field promised for more than 20 years, and with such a sweetheart deal they should be arrested for also looting our city. And that glorified kindergarten mostly serves the children of RAND and City employees, most of whom do not live in Santa Monica. So we need some changes there but I’m not sure what they should be.
In opining that this is another race where without doubt the incumbents need to go, I will go into more detail next week. But chew on this. Maria Leon-Vasquez is running again, after it was shown that she voted for years on big SMMUSD contracts for firms which were paying consulting fees to her husband Tony (unknown to all but them), then a City Council member and Mayor. Her excuse was that the packets are so big she couldn’t get through them and voted without knowing the names of the firms. So, take your pick: corruption, or incompetence.
And I can tell you plenty of personal stories of my dealings with Jon Kean over the Muir Woods mural that might leave you asking questions about, shall we say, forthrightness, but you don’t have to plumb history, he is still acting like the king rather than the president of the School Board, even today. And you can chew on this: on his campaign poster, and his official City of SM candidate statement, he is listing his “endorsements for re-election.”
Thing is, Jon Kean has never been elected to the School Board. He was appointed. But we all know what being the incumbent is worth, don’t we? And who’s going to check.
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org