The LA Times has a story today lauding our city for allowing those displaced by the construction of the 10 Freeway to put their names on long lists for scant public housing. I was embarrassed to live here when I read that story.

If Santa Monica were truly committed to righting the wrong done to the Black residents of Santa Monica, they would have given the Civic Center land over for restitution — either in the form of monetary payments by selling it or to building housing earmarked for descendants of those displaced. Either of those options would have done little to counter the enormous amount of generational wealth lost to those descendants — but at least wouldn’t have been as lame as what the city did instead.

Instead, parents who wanted more athletic opportunities for their children at public expense were given precedence — because they were the loudest, most aggressive group in the public process around the Civic Center. So we have a huge plastic turf field across the street from another plastic turf field, in the most traffic-bound part of the city.

Sometimes Santa Monica’s Council is so lacking a backbone that it is truly remarkable. Next time, how about standing up to well-organized special interest hot heads? In fact, how about tearing out the field and doing the right thing now? How many middle-income homes earmarked for those whose homes were taken from them could be constructed on a lot of that size?

Grace Phillips, Santa Monica