Only last week The Santa Monica Daily Press in an article stated that small businesses in our town were amongst the hardest hit by Covid in the nation and yet just a week prior I was alerted to the fact that the City of Santa Monica’s staff has requested a Coastal Permit to demolish parking structure No. 3 and replace it with affordable and transitional housing. This will be brought to a vote this next Thursday at a virtual Coastal Commission Hearing. This structure in better times was one of the most widely used for access to the downtown commercial and especially the Third Street Promenade.

I say as I have said before what the hell are they thinking. First of all, we are hardly out of the pandemic. Businesses in the whole of downtown are not as yet recovered from the economic downturn it caused or for that matter the significant destruction from an out of control looting mob. This structure provided the most convenient access.

Its as if the City’s administrators have decided that the business and property owner’s interests are expendable. Meanwhile, the Council either is unaware of what is happening or has acquiesced to the staff. Who is at the helm? Is this a rudderless ship?

Now, affordable housing is a laudable use for a property but as I have said before perhaps there are more suitable sites that the City owns outside of downtown. Most certainly it is not the location for transitional housing for the homeless or a homeless shelter built at the expense of downtown merchants and property owners.

Samuel M. Tolkin, Santa Monica