THE HISTORY OF SANTA MONICA
But first –
TODAY ONLY!! Jersey Mike’s, my favorite sub sandwich and that rare beast, a corporate good community citizen, is donating all of its sales today to a loal charity. (I don’t know which one, you’ll have to ask them.) NOT its profits, but 100% of every penny they take in today. They do it every year, along with other donations at other times. As in my call for boycotting Walgreen’s and Home Depot and of course Chick-Fil-A, it is important that we vote with our pocketbook. In the case of Jersey Mike’s, your taste buds will also benefit. And you get all your veggies. Order two, they are still great the next day. I should also mention California Pizza Kitchen, who always offer veterans a free meal on Veterans Day.
That history will be written, in the not too distant future. There are, of course, already several accounts, but the update will be an irresistable tale, full of political intrigue (neighborhood, city, state, national and international), political correctness, culture wars, jockeying for power, secret coalitions and agendas, big money, big buildings, greed, sin, crime and corruption. Not your uual small city fare. An irresistible history to recount, especially for those who have lived through the big changes. And for British journalists, who seem to love Santa Monica. (Attracted to an assignment on foreign soil where they know they can get a decent fish and chips, a room temp beer and a proper cuppa tea.) A history updated to the moment of publishing. This stuff moves pretty fast. If it’s based in fact, it won’t be pretty.
Who will write it? Our current mayor Gleam Davis or her predecessor Sue Himmelrich? Probable title: “How I Tried to Save Santa Monica from Its Dearth of Density.” Former mayor Kevin McKeown? “I Would Have Sold My Grandmother for ‘Affordable’ Housing.” Former mayor Mike Feinstein? “Santa Monica Sunsets I Have Dug (but Not as Good as Mexico’s).” Former mayor Pam O’Connor? “Santa Monica: A Great Place to Get Away From (on Some Comission’s Travel Budget).” Former mayor Ted Winterer: “Santa Monica: Great Place for a Mayor to Sell Real Estate.” Former mayor Richard Bloom: “Selling Off Santa Monica is a Step Up.” Former mayor Bobby Shriver: “This Town is Bush League.” Former mayor Tony Vazquez: “No One Can read Those Thick Agendas.” Former mayor Judy Abdo: “Santa Monica: Where Becoming Mayor Gives You a Lifetime of Other Stuff.”
They say that history is written by the victors. Is that a list of victors, in the struggle to maintain an historic and desirable, or even livable, Santa Monica? Not in my book. But it is also a reminder that Santa Monica needs a real mayor, like Long Beach, Redondo Beach and other California beach cities, rather than the constant popularity game among Council members as to who will wear the honorary crown next. The last Council vote on that was a circus.
But as the well connected try to spin history, there is always that dissenting account, scrawled perhaps on papyrus and stashed in a cave. Richard Orton is our local historian of note, but he preserves the snapshots and is probably not predisposed to putting all the pieces together and making a judgement. That snapshot would be too negative for him, I think. But then there is
A Santa Monica – Venice historian most do not know of, unless they read the Free Venice Beachhead newspaper (55 years of publishing, without an editor, all volunteer), where Liboff has a poem or two nearly every issue, and sometimes a political cartoon. I used to think his style was simplistic and even a tad sophomoric, but I came to appreciate the art within the simplicity, and the healthy cynicism, clearly and well expressed.. Liboff, instantly recognizable for his waist-length dreadlocks (“I stopped cutting my hair the day Bob Marley died”) knows his history first hand. Born here, his family was uprooted when the mostly Jewish home and business community south of Ocean Park Boulevard was bulldozed to make way for development: a golf course, then the sprawling Sea Colony condos. “It looked like Dresden when they got through,” he said. Liboff might be the guy. He’s not afrid of meticulous research, and there is no question he would whitewash anything.
Isn’t my view a bit cynical? If you are not happy with where our city is now,
and the direction it is being taken, might things not get better in the future? If the path you are riding down leads straight off a cliff, with no turns or exits in sight, you need to change drivers or exit the vehicle and find a different path. And take everyone with you. I keep insisting that
Is the solution, after finding candidates who operate from common sense and humanity. I know, not an easy task. But there is another, more direct and effective way to vote, without waiting for an election. (Besides the pocket book method advocated above.)
Vote with your bodies. Take to the streets, in numbers so vast no sane politician, no matter how corrupt and self-serving, can ignore. Because they ALL want to be re-elected. Sadly, that is the only priority for too many.
I know. It’s a bother. But so is having a loved one shot and killed, climate change taking your home, contaminated water threatening your children’s health and fires destroying our beautiful forests. And oh yeah, there is also that threat of worldwide nuclear destruction. We need good elected officials to accomplish these things, but we can also keep the weak or corrupted ones in line by taking to the streets.
Monday 300,000 Israelis took to the streets to protest autocratic prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to dismantle the judiciary (just in time for his upcoming trial for corruption – sound familiar?). If that many people demonstrated in the US, the equivalent number would be 10,000,000. Demonstrators have filled the streets of Paris for several days because – the government wants to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Now THAT is voting between elections. Here, you have Republicans pushing for years to completely eliminate Social Security, and Medicare, and where are the wheelchair brigades storming the capitol?
ANOTHER, ANOTHER, ANOTHER SCHOOL SHOOTING
More thoughts and prayers, of course. What else can we do? I flipped to Fox and the “expert” there was talking about making sure the school doors are locked. (The Nashville killer blew apart the doors with her AK-47, the rifle used in every mass shooting this year.) Another had done extensive studies at pre-K through 6th schools and determined that an armed guard was needed at every school. Mental health – everyone is agonizing over WHY this sick person slaughtered children. WHY doesn’t matter, only HOW.
Here’s the damnable truth. Every nation on earth has mentally ill people. No other nation has 400,000,000 guns and allows automatic weapons, meant only for the horrors of war.
It’s the guns. It’s the guns. It’s the guns.
Once upon a more sane time we did outlaw these horrible weapons that can destroy a little kid’s body so much she could only be identified by her green sneakers. For 10 years we outlawed them, and we did not have this carnage. George W. and the Republicans in charge refused to renew that ban, and here we are. Direct cause and effect. Remember that before you want to chuckle at ol’ Lonesome George the folksy painter president. He should be spending his retirement reading up on Middle Eastern history.
Not that the Dems are blameless, but the Republicans, the most dangerous terrorist group in this nation’s history (with the posible exception of The Confederacy, but they didn’t advocate destroying democracy, or installing an emperor), have always beat the drum for the NRA the loudest and longest. Despite polls showing that a majority of Americans, a majority of Republicans, a majority of gun owners and NRA members, favor some form of better gun safety laws.
Yes, we must be the solution. We must demand different, and we really haven’t yet. Isn’t this a more important issue than retiring at 62?
We are the solution, but the photo up top, the family Christmas card sent out by Andy Ogles, the Republican congressman who represents Nashville, may help remind you who the enemy is.
But wait! “My family and I are devastated by the tragedy that took place at The Covenant School in Nashville this morning. We are sending our thoughts and prayers …”
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 37 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org