A FRIEND TOOK ME TO TASK
Over my previous CURIOUS CITY column.. In response to my admonition to “not vote for any Republican anywhere, not even for Dog Catcher.” (Is that still an elective office? Maybe in some rural communities.)
My friend protested that had little or no relevance in Santa Monica, where there are very few (if any) elected Republicans, and that all the damage to our once-fair city has been wrought by progressives, liberals and hard-line Democrats.
I agree with most of what you say, I told him. (Though history shows that liberal Democrats in Washington have stood for, fought for, and passed laws that we all cherish: civil rights, women’s rights, workers’, education, gay, children’s, marriage, reproductive, disabled rights, care for veterans, child labor laws, Social Security, Medicare, banking, drug, food, transportation protections, air and water quality, and other safety regulations. Basically, equality of opportunity for every American, and a government that protects us all. The GOP has always and continues to rail against regulations – because it limits local legislative discrimination, and the billions more that unregulated industries could generate, if only they didn’t have to worry about a few folks being poisoned or injured or even killed. States rights! Freedom! Liberty! The Second Amendment! – except for the first part of it.)
HERE IN SANTA MONICA?
I have always contended that the letters R and D are meaningless to our local politics. Sides are drawn around more complicated issues of growth, power and transparency. Yes, I agreed with my friend that local, and state, Democratic organizations are the ones pushing us to build to the sky and leave little that’s recognizable of Santa Monica, in the name of disproven or locally inappropriate growth philosophies. In the process we have many power mongers who are building a big city for those who don’t live here yet, and wreaking devastation on those who do, often our cherished residents of many decades, who are being forced out. They preach diversity, inclusion and compassion and progressive values, but their actions scream otherwise, leaving many of us trying and without hope.
Oops, there I go again, sneaking away from a positive message. But this is a positive message. You can’t solve a problem until you identify it, and plan solutions, which includes discerning and naming the obstacles, be they things, policies or people.
HERE’S THE TRICKY PART
History, and our hearts, tell us you can’t find a lasting, equitable solution by hating. No matter how big and bad the dragon you need to slay. Jesus had love in his heart as he angrily cleared the money changers out of the temple. Gandhi remained a pacifist aesthete as he kicked the British butts out of India. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. always preached and practiced non-violence, even as dogs and police batons attacked his body, even a bullet fired by a hidden coward.
I don’t hate Republicans. I do hate their actions and what it does to good, honest people. I don’t hate Gleam Davis, Jesse Zwick or Caroline Torosis, Denny Zane or Sue Himmelrich (we recently exchanged pleasantries at a memorial service), or any of the current crop of advocates for unrestrained overbuilding in Santa Monica. I don’t hate Kevin McKeown, Terry O’Day, Richard Bloom, Judy Abdo or their contemporaries, controlling members of SMRR and the Democratic Club, or all those wieners in Sacramento whose flood of legislation is stealing local control of zoning from the residents of California cities. “We know better – you need lots more apartment buildings because that will solve the affordable housing and homelessness crises.” Except. Supply and demand does not apply in places like Santa Monica, and shelter without services does not get people off the street. And have you noticed, Gov. Newsom, that CA is actually losing population?
WHEN THINGS DON’T MAKE SENSE
You have to figure someone is trying to bamboozle you, because they have their own agenda. And of course, it usually involves that $$$ you need to follow. At this point we’re not sure why the despicable Tucker Carlson is out at Fox, but it does show that no one there is bigger than their ethos, which is making money by telling their defined audience what they want to hear. “News,” as in journalism, has nothing to do with it. It’s entertainment, for those who naively think they are getting news.
There is always a rationale. All the “overbuilding” politicians I listed above would protest and have a rationalization to give you. But you have to look at results not rhetoric, and those results are now sadly all around us, and growing larger. Once a tall, wide building goes up, it won’t easily, or soon, come down.
SO WE NEED TO ATTACK
Those rationalizations, those bogus philosophies, not the people who spout them. Because mostly they don’t believe them, and will switch to something more useful if necessary. A freshman U.S. Representative from Florida recently stated, on the air, that “I’ve only been here 100 days but I can tell you from my past experiences in business and the military that most of these people here making the most noise do not believe what they are yelling, but they know it gets them coverage and the ability to be re-elected, and to raise a whole lot of money from the easily fooled.”
THAT’S the enemy. Hard to pin down. But this is a battle for the soul of America (which is certainly felt here, by all of us), and the soul of Santa Monica, and it’s not the most guns that will win the war.
Ukraine sure doesn’t have the most guns, but my money is on them. And I’m betting on us, to save what’s left of Santa Monica.
Now – who has the passion, dedication, heart and thick skin to step up and declare, I will run for City Council, to help get things right and make this a great little city again? That… is what we need, right now.
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 email@example.com