Samantha Mota: Mota is a barista and community volunteer. Courtesy photo

All candidates were given an opportunity to provide written answers to a set of questions provided by SMDP and two sets of answers will be printed each day. Answers are also available online alongside additional information from each candidate. 

What is your justification for using government authority to require private property owners to subsidize inflation, fees, utilities and other costs for rent controlled tenants?

The justification for using government authority to require property owners to subsidize costs for rent controlled tenants is to provide security from rent increases, potentially limiting displacement. This is a benefit for tenants who have created social networks in their neighborhoods but it isn’t the solution to housing affordability & accessibility, inequality, poverty, or racially-charged practices that continue to this day. As a tenant of a rent-controlled unit, I can guarantee that it has given my family the affordability & accessibility to thrive and strive, and without it, we probably wouldn’t be here.

Do government subsidies of homeless services do more to get people off the streets or attract more individuals to the city? Depending on your answer, why should that money continue to flow to service providers or be reassigned to other needs?

Government subsidies of homeless services does both because they provide those at risk of going homeless or becoming homeless with the security of assistance and safety-net programs. However, it does attract other vulnerable individuals who are homeless and have a wide-array of issues (drugs, mental health, etc.) to Santa Monica. Therefore, that money should be thoroughly and properly reassessed to see whether it should continue flowing to the service or reassigned to other needs.

Why has Santa Monica become a hub of transit innovation including scooters, self driving cars, delivery drones and zero-emission vehicles and is this industry one that should be encouraged to grow here? 

Santa Monica has become a hub of transit innovation to meet Vision Zero and meet the Paris Agreement by 2030. The City is finding opportunities to reduce emissions and community carbon impact, as a means to combat climate change and greenhouse gas mitigation. The industry should be encouraged as we move to an unprecedented future for generations to come because who knows if there will be clean air, food, or water.

What specific technological, policy or regulatory ideas do you have to address resident concerns about a declining quality of life in Santa Monica?

I would like to amend AB 551 (The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Program) into our Zoning and Land-Use Related Provisions to address resident concerns about the declining quality of life in Santa Monica to combat food insecurity, ensure community access to safe and equitable spaces, and beautify our neighborhoods. Not only that, it would generate revenue for the City by selling food to local restaurants and providing affordable, fresh, and locally grown produce to our community. And, excess produce that isn’t sold or utilized could be donated to food pantries or shelters. 

Furthermore, I would also amend SB 9 & 10 to address Santa Monica’s racially-charged practices that continue to day. It would end single-family zoning to fight the housing crisis and upzone neighborhoods that would often be left untouched. 

Everyone has great ideas to bring to the table that we can learn from, for example, I learned about Measure H. It would allocate funds for the City for homeless prevention programs, Outreach & Overdose sites, Interim, Permanent, and Affordable Housing, and a wide variety of supportive services. 

What role does tourism play in Santa Monica’s culture, economy and government? 

Tourism plays a huge role in Santa Monica’s culture, economy and government because of its economic values. It is a key component towards funding for jobs, schools, parks, libraries, and other valuable public services, which are supported with revenue from tourism.

Does Santa Monica’s approach to law enforcement need to change and if so, what would you do to alter the department to meet the needs of the city?

After SMPD’s failed response to the looting that happened a couple years ago, I would integrate working with the Public Safety Reform & Oversight Committee (PSROC) to ensure all OIR recommendations are met to prevent future response failures. And, bring new police polices and practices to transform our police department, their role and relationship in the community, accountability, and training. But most of all, police departments should not be investigating themselves, so empowering the PSROC to build community trust, transparency, accountability, and credibility is important. 

How do street vendors impact the experience of using Santa Monica’s public spaces?

Street vendors impact the experience of using Santa Monica’s public spaces by expanding economic opportunity and bringing great food. But, also bring environmental impacts and public safety issues that could potentiality be solved with proactive advocacy and education and a streamline for access to permitted food vending.

Do you think residents fundamentally trust local government and what can be done to address the feelings many residents have regarding local politics?

I do not believe residents fundamentally trust local government. But as an active community member and activist, I can guarantee that having a council that is engaged and involved in community spaces, schools, programs, etc is a way to address the lack of accountability, credibility, transparency, and trust between residents and local governments, as well as the feelings many residents have towards local politics. To add, ensuring the voice of the community is at the table is another way to address the comments and concerns of the community we are meant to serve.