It’s unclear whose myopia is worse — the city’s or the state’s. 

The original number of proposed new housing units was already unrealistic, given the lack of both water and power to support those units and the low number of affordable options among them. Increasing the total from just under 8,900 to over 13,000 makes it clear that elected officials are either blind or deaf… in addition to being environmentally dumb.

Lake Mead is approaching “dead pool” status when it will no longer provide either hydropower or water for human and agricultural consumption. There are no new wells to tap for water, and there isn’t sufficient green power to augment current generation capabilities. The city has already restricted water use for the existing residents, and the state has asked for voluntary cutbacks in the use of electricity. Apart from some extreme conservatives who claim there is no climate crisis, there is general agreement that it’s here and is likely to get worse.

How, then, will the city and state accommodate 13,000 new households… just in Santa Monica? Who believes that, because there’s a strong desire to live in California, it’s mandatory to accommodate those people? If a concert hall has 9,000 seats that are all taken, the best that the 9,001st person can hope for is that the venue sets up a video feed in the parking lot. They don’t have a “because I want to” right to get in and take a seat that isn’t there.

This is not exclusionary. It’s the reality of the situation. It’s not that there’s no room in California, it’s that there aren’t sufficient resources for the tens of thousands of people who the new housing is supposed to accommodate. If the units are built and if they are filled and if the residents who were already here are told that they have to make further cutbacks in water and electricity use, there won’t be a politician left standing who supported the expansion.

Peter Altschuler, Santa Monica, CA