A couple of jaw-dropping statements by former mayor Sue Himmelrich and her protege, current council member Jesse Zwick, are worth a moment to dissect. They are important because the illuminate an Orwellian thinking that undermines center-left resident’s attempts to create a clean, safe, and appealing city. They reveal a far-left worldview based on an up-is-down, virtue-signaling belief system from people who are so out of touch with reality, I truly don’t understand how they get through the day.
In response to the assault on Phil Brock by a 250 pound transient from Missouri who was vandalizing property and acting erratically, Sue Himmelrich declared, when Phil actually had the guts to ask him what he was doing, that:
“Phil provoked him!”
Interesting choice of words, blaming the victim. So residents, who have seen our commons overtaken by violence, drugs, and disorder, enabled by the anti-enforcement policy wing of the city council, aren’t supposed utter a peep when there isn’t a cop or security guard around? And if they do, it’s characterized as a provocation? Wow… Okay. Then the logical answer would seem to be more police and more real security on the promenade, but not if you’re Jesse Zwick, who came by his luxury beliefs by way of an extremely privileged upbringing in the Palisades, (with armed private patrols everywhere):
“I’m not comfortable with any private security forces being armed,” said Councilmember Jesse Zwick… And personally, I would be more likely to keep my family away from this area if this was the direction which we decided to go in.”
Ha! So, on the one hand we’re supposed to do nothing, but on the other, we have Zwick, who actually thinks having highly trained professionals, (ex-police officers, with only the supervisor carrying a gun) is more dangerous than the aggressive mentally ill and addictive people overrunning downtown, with yet another fatal stabbing this week. Zwick said this even after he heard that Covered Six has a perfect record of zero excessive force complaints in 10 years as a company, with no gun ever being fired.
All this would be an Onion headline if it didn’t have such dire consequences for our city. There is a far left, anti-police, anti-enforcement sentiment that runs so deep here it’s almost full-circle Libertarian (the far Left meets the far Right in crazy town). If you’re an addict, grifter, or mentally ill, you should suffer zero control or consequences. But if you’re a law-abiding police officer or security guard, actual oversight commissions will be created to monitor you. Because that’s what our problem is here: police brutality. This is the grandiose application of a national narrative to our city, solving problems we don’t have, while ignoring the ones begging for action. And it’s a tremendous insult to Mike Grant, the 30-year police veteran, former police chief, and COO of Covered Six, who patiently answered Zwick’s questions as if he made a lick of sense. And keep in mind, Zwick made his statement in the presence of an aging (sorry Phil) council member who was just attacked, and another council member who is going to have to shut her generational family business due to our city being looted, and constant robberies/shoplifting that have made the beloved institution untenable. Where’s your compassion for them and other residents experiencing the same hardships? But there isn’t room for real compassion in this ideology, not for residents nor the people dying of overdoses in our city under a bankrupt “harm reduction” philosophy.
I don’t know where Jesse set up his carpet-bagging residence in Santa Monica, but I do know Sue Himmelrich lives north of Montana, far from the daily gruel of residents who live near Reed Park and downtown. She doesn’t put up with every debasement and danger possible, from defecation in our carports, to drug use on our sidewalks, lawns, and parks, to flat-out assault. (Last year I was attacked by a man with a pipe undergoing drug psychosis, after I asked him why he was breaking windows with the pipe. I guess I “provoked” him too, right Sue?!) Thankfully, the decision to bring in private security reflects the changing mood of residents in SM, who say, overwhelmingly, that the crime and the transient mental illness/drug crisis playing out on our streets is their number one issue. I’m glad the council is starting to listen and unanimously approved it (even Zwick, after he was done grandstanding), so that we can reclaim our city from the influx of people who aren’t from here, but come for the sun, the drugs, and our softness, as exemplified by Mr. Zwick.
Ultimately, Zwick and Himmelrich are lost causes—they think the maniacs roaming our streets deserve more consideration, and are less dangerous than the professionals we’ve hired to protect us. Our mayor thinks this never-ending influx are all “future Santa Monicans.” These statements are only important in that they reveal an inverted ideology that is delusional and dangerous.
Finally, may I remind those of you that need it, that you are all Santa Monica city council members. So stop trying to solve the problems of the region, state, and country, and start solving the problems residents face every day. Every day you should ask yourself one question only: Is this good for the residents of Santa Monica. Thankfully, in a good first step, the rest of the city is (finally) catching on and we will have more eyes and ears, plus a Covered Six homeless outreach person, as another line of defense in our public spaces while we ramp up our police force. Common sense gains a toehold.
Arthur Jeon, Santa Monica
Correction/Clarification: This letter published in the August 1 edition of The Daily Press misattributed a quote to Councilman Jesse Zwick. Mayor Gleam Davis asked about the educational qualifications of security guards, not Councilman Zwick. That quote has been removed from the text. Zwick contacted SMDP to say the letter omitted parts of correctly attributed quotes that would have changed their meaning and drew unjustified conclusions regarding his position on public safety. Zwick said he believes security guards can help address some of the specific issues facing businesses downtown but maintains his belief that the work does not require any armed individuals.