In Monday’s Daily Press, Emily Sawicki reports (“Four more 12-story projects en route due to Housing Element snafu”) that Santa Monicans can now expect sixteen large developments impervious to local control, because the current Council majority delayed approval of a valid Housing Element. This building bonanza benefits discredited developer/landlord NMS/WS/WSC (“Defendants in criminal tenant harassment case could end prosecution for $102,000,” Daily Press, 9/1/2022).

Early in this election season I urged the Daily Press and local voters to follow the (big) money to understand the real issue alliances in Santa Monica election year politics. “Change slate” candidates are claiming they didn’t see massive “builder’s remedy” projects coming. But wait! Their legally required campaign finance statements, available online, show clearly that big developer checks have been funding “Santa Monicans for Change,” not small contributions from local residents.

For instance, note in particular a $10,000 check six weeks ago from “New Commune DTLA” out of Beverly Hills. That’s infamous mega-developer Leo Pustilnikov, whom the “change slate” Councilmembers recently appointed to what should have been a “resident” seat on the Board of our own Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.

Pustilnikov is the developer behind a highly controversial “builder’s remedy” project just down the coast in Redondo Beach. Lana Negrete accepted a personal $100 donation from Pustilnikov just days before she became the deciding vote in that surprising appointment. 

Kevin McKeown