Mayor Davis certainly is disconnected when it comes to revitalizing the Promenade.

Corporate franchises, like fast food, have deep pockets and are able to afford the overpriced rents. Independent businesses can’t compete with that.

Factors such as insurance, security, employees, food and beverage costs all add up for the small business owner. Once upon a time there were Mom and Pop stores where a retiree could invest in a small business and make a profit.

Those days are gone. Examples are Pressed Pizza, the Ocean Park Cafe and the best home made soup and hand-pressed coffee-in-town at Zabis.

The rents doubled, perhaps even tripled on those establishments, so how can a Mom and Pop business survive in this city when it all boils down to how much money the property owner can get with another tenant who is willing to spend the extra cash. The question of running a successful business is no concern of theirs. Bad month, kid’s sick? Too bad, pay me.

As for the homeless invasion on the Promenade, once again either hire armed security guards to orbit the area, beef up SMPD’s presence with tandem foot patrols or have the L.A. Sheriff’s Department step in and clean this mess up.

Mayor Davis claims that the Promenade is “special.” Special in the sense that there is a 40% storefront vacancy? That Santa Monica locals rarely go downtown and many are afraid to do so especially at night?

I welcome an In N’ Out Burger, a Popeye’s Chicken or any of the other major franchises that will revitalize the area.

Whitney Bain, Santa Monica


If you really want to gain some insight into the powerful forces behind how our city really runs, read on and try to answer this question…

Why would two former Santa Monica City Department Directors who used to complain often about never having enough staff… and rarely worried about saving money while they worked here… and worked with much bigger staffs under their direction… now be crying crocodile concerns about the possible addition of a new person to help reorganize city government?

Maybe I’ve worked in news too long, (35 years and counting) but it seems to be more than coincidence that their two smiling faces ended up side-by-side as part of a front-page story in the SM Daily Press, two days before the City Council met on a Saturday retreat to decide and debate budget priorities.

Here’s the point: Our city government was poorly-structured even before the pandemic. Now it is even more so and needs fixing. The layoffs, hasty “reorganization” and shifting around of so many remaining employees three years ago weakened productivity, organization and efficiency.

Bottom line: Those who oppose sensible reorganization do so simply because it erodes the power and influence of certain vested interests inside and outside City Hall.

The City Council hired a City Manager more than a year ago to manage the city and its workforce.

It’s about time you let him.

Please share with your neighbors and friends. Thank you.

John C. Smith, Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commissioner