"AMERICA SHOWED UP"-a film by ED MUNTER. Courtesy image


That was a hit song for the Irish rockers Boomtown Rats in 1979. It could also be the leadoff for every one of my nearly 400 CURIOUS CITY columns, that I finish, start, or tear up and start all over, on Mondays.

Mondays are also my nemesis because in a town which holds its City Council meetings on Tuesday nights, I’m often flying blind. If there is an important issue on the agenda, do I ignore it? Chances are they’ll kick it down the road, study it some more. Whether it passes, goes down or disappears, if I write about that issue, chances are I’ll wind up looking goofy when the paper comes out Wednesday.


I remember how my shoulders sank a little when longtime ex-Council member Bob Holbrook told me, at the memorial service on the Pier a few years ago for our late great SMDP political columnist Bill Bauer, that he “would never think of going into a Council meeting without first reading Bauer’s column on Monday. If he didn’t mention me by name, I breathed a sigh of relief,” he chuckled. I realized I did not have that advantage, and was a little jealous of Bauer’s ability to inflict discomfort on local politicos. Only those deserving of it, of course.

This column used to run in the weekend edition, then former editor Kevin Herrera finally informed me, that’s the one we print the fewest copies of. He let me pick another day but other columns and the deadlines for Mondays and Tuesdays limited me to Wednesdays. I’ve just had to live with it. Life is so hard.

But this one… Hoo boy, this one is the granddaddy of all the Tuesday-matters! stumbling blocks. Help!


And the jackass in the room but that would be just silly. I could speculate on where our thoughts and actions will go in the event of either outcome, but that’s times two for the local election results, also so important and impactful this time around. And what if Trump goes down but Moscow Mitch and the Senate doesn’t? What if two slate challengers get elected to our City Council, or only one but not all four? Not to mention, that even by Wednesday the results may not be certain, not all votes resolved.

Or I could go a more subjective route, pondering people’s mental states juggling these balls of confusion. Many mental health professionals have observed a big uptick in stress and anxiety.

Me? Yeah, sure, I fell prey sometimes. But I try to fall back on the handful of things I know for certain, and one is that there is no point, or good result, in feeling bad or anxious over something that you cannot change. All the tons of worrying you have been doing over these last months has not changed a single vote, I guarantee you.

Now, if you talked with others about your concerns, went public about your beliefs, that’s different. That could change votes. Conceivably. But just worrying in your own little head? That’s only causing unnecessary wear and tear on your head.

I understand how tough it has been. As one fellow coffee fanatic friend of mine observed, “Are we really doing full moon blue moon Halloween into daylight savings darkness into election of a lifetime into martial law into civil war in five days? I think I’d better make more coffee.”


Folks who view this election as the best chance ever to break the hold of the Forward-SMRR outside-moneyed establishment’s four decades long vice grip on City Council, because of so much upset among residents with the deteriorating state of our fair city, will be crushed if once again, nothing can overcome mountains of money. On the other side, those who see our Council as visionary leaders into the future will despair of not another affordable unit being built here ever, and too much money spent to build that wall around Santa Monica to keep the YIMBYs out.

Nationally, well, there are many who are checking emigration possibilities if we face another four years of Orange Oligarchy, now unleashed. Having survived impeachment and cheated his way to another Electoral College victory, the prospect of a bull in a china (Chy-nuh) shop with not a matador in sight is daunting. On the other side, the notion of a completely socialist state under Biden just scares the bejesus out of Fox freaks. Free health care?! — oh, no you don’t! I’d sooner die!


Both elections go, it’s not the end of the world. (Although the case can be made that Trump’s flat earth approach to science and climate change could doom the planet sooner than the 8-12 years most scientists give us to reverse course.)

Plan. Unite. Mobilize. Resist. Even a Biden administration will take some pushing. No fracking. No nuclear energy. Real social change never comes from the top, only the top reacting to the demonstrated will of the people.

Locally — how about we get 1,000 people to zoom in at every Council meeting where there is an important issue. Can we do that? Sit in front of our computer screens once every two weeks, at most? 1000 angry citizens stopped the destruction of our Pier and the building of a resort island in our bay, back in the ‘70s, by showing up. It’s definitely time for new activism. But time is running out.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: former SM jack-of-all-musical- trades and master of all, soul man Ed Munter just posted this, and it moved me.


“This is a poetic allegory that explores the erosion of democracy. Lady Liberty is on a search to find the soul of America.

Ragged and destitute, she arrives at the door of a man who is reluctant to offer her a place of refuge.

This encounter draws the two of them into a stark recognition of the estranged nature of their relationship, revealing a tangled web of failed expectations, broken promises, and dying dreams.”

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 therealmrmusic@gmail.com