City Council is set to meet Tuesday, and while locals are focused on the expected reading of OIR Group’s Independent After-Action Report, there are a number of other important topics set to be discussed Tuesday as well.
At the end of April, City Council introduced an ordinance that amended Santa Monica Municipal Code to allow for the citywide operation of remote-controlled delivery devices by operators participating in the Zero Emissions Delivery Zone Pilot Program.
The program was first conceived in 2020, and in light of the success, Council asked staff during its last meeting to return with a revision to the rules that would allow companies to offer the remote vehicle service to any business in town. The discussion came at the request of Councilmembers Gleam Davis and Kristin McCowan.
“I have not heard any complaints,” Davis said. “It’s not been raised at the Ocean Park association meetings. I did check in with a couple of the businesses that use them. They say they have not gotten any complaints. And in fact, they’ve only received praise because their delivery fee is so much less than some of the gig providers like DoorDash, the apps, you know, Postmates, that sort of thing. So I’ve always heard positive responses.”
Councilmembers Oscar de la Torre and Christine Parra both reasoned that expanding the use of the robotic delivery services before the pilot’s conclusion was premature, but Council eventually voted to expand the program despite their pair of no votes. The ordinance is now presented to City Council for adoption.
Council’s previous meeting also featured a discussion on the possible consolidation of City commissions, boards and task forces.
City Clerk Denise Anderson-Warren and Council noted how boards and commissions provide valuable opportunities for residents and subject matter experts to examine important issues facing the community and work with staff to bring policy and program recommendations to Council.
However, they also require dedicated staff time, which was a resource that was significantly depleted by the restructuring conducted in 2020 to address budget impacts from COVID-19.
After discussing the matter in detail in late April, Mayor Sue Himmelrich and Councilmember Phil Brock have requested that Council form an ad hoc committee of 3 councilmembers who will be tasked with studying and making recommendations concerning the future structure of boards and commissions.
If approved, the committee would consider commission consolidation and reclassification, methods of appointment, council liaisons, and staffing of commissions, according to Tuesday’s agenda.
One of the final matters pertains to a mural in City Hall, which some believe depicts indigenous people kneeling before Spanish Conquistadors.
At the request of Councilmembers de la Torre, Parra and Brock, City Council could direct staff to address community concerns related to the display of the 1930s Stanton McDonald Wright mural in City Hall.
“Specifically, the request is that Council direct staff as follows: In the short term, the City will install a temporary artistic scrim (light woven or screen material) cover over the mural to begin recontextualizing the mural prior to July 13th, when the public is expected to return for Council meetings in City Hall,” the agenda states. “In the long-term, the City will, taking into account prior plans set forth by the Arts Commission and Cultural Affairs, initiate a community engagement and education process around the representations depicted in the mural.”
To view the full agenda, visit http://santamonicacityca.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=1266.