Con: "Santa Monica has long-established height limits for our downtown area which the proposals for all three hotels on Ocean Avenue violate. Together they showed everyone in the city how hotel developers believe that long-standing standards can be politically dismissed. I strongly object. Yes coastal act provisions to protect coastal views is one very good reason on its own to object. But preserving the character of Santa Monica’s historic Ocean Avenue is compelling enough.
The city will lose significant revenue for 4-5 years if the current Miramar hotel closes down and the land is scraped and excavated. It will be a decade or more before city revenue from the new project breaks even with what would have occurred with the project left as is. Adaptive reuse is the only appropriate course.
I also am opposed to the extra height not for hotel rooms that generate decent jobs and significant revenue for the city, but rather for ultra-luxury condominiums for the super-rich. My vision of Santa Monica is not as the exclusive coastal Rodeo Drive and I believe that most residents agree with my vision. We shall see on November 4."
Pro: "We have an extreme jobs/housing imbalance in our city, with 90,000 residents but a population of 250,000 or more during the day. This is exacerbated by our location on the ocean, which means that we have only 2 directions of egress, east and south, (north being very limited). Because of this imbalance and the fact that Santa Monica has some of the highest housing costs in the region, we desperately need to put affordable housing for low-income families near our Expo stations.
We know that families at income levels less than 30% of Area Median Income (now $65,200 for a family of four) drive 25-30% fewer miles when living within 1/2 mile of transit than those living in non-TOD areas. When living within 1/4 mile of frequent transit they drive nearly 50% less, whereas higher income households drive more than twice as many miles and own more than twice as many vehicles as Extremely Low-Income households living within 1/4 mile of frequent transit. See: http://chpc.net/dnld/AffordableTODResearch051514.pdf. Building truly affordable housing near the Expo has a double effect of alleviating traffic and maintaining the economic diversity of our city."
Con: "It is the job of the developers, their lawyers, and their lobbyists to extract as much profit from their deal as the City will allow. It is the job of the City, especially the City Council, to say 'no' to any project that does not meet the needs and best interests of the City and its residents. The City has not done its job in several projects in the last two years, such as Hines and Village Trailer Park (VTP). 'Opportunity sites' may provide a financial opportunity to developers but, as with VTP and Hines, Santa Monicans often receive significant traffic burdens and invariably receive too little in return.
I believe that buildings in excess of 84 feet in our downtown amount to 'Tier 4' which our LUCE does not allow and I will vote against. The scale and density of our downtown does not call for towering, dense buildings with little open space at ground level. We have achieved a magical mix of uses (with a few glaring mistakes) in our downtown through adaptive reuse and cautious planning. I will vote to continue on this course."
Con: "I am concerned that if the City allows this sort of development on its own land, it will open the floodgates to private developers who claim they are entitled to the same privilege on their own sites. I also believe that this site is a great opportunity for a public open space different in atmosphere and ambience than the Third Street Promenade’s kinetic tenor.
I believe that we have not adequately explored all of the alternatives for this site and am particularly disturbed by a process of requisitioning that includes no resident input. Residents must be involved in the beginning, middle, and end of any process to develop City-owned property, including the request for proposal. That did not happen here. I also would eliminate all of the office space from this project as we need no more."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "There are places where more parking is needed, such as our downtown, but few if any others. We should work instead to create systems and incentives that encourage residents, our work force and our visitors to use non-automobile forms of mobility. We are such a nice city in which to walk.
We also could explore the creation of satellite parking lots near freeway exits. These satellite parking lots could relieve the traffic pressure on our downtown but would require express Big Blue Bus shuttles to transport visitors and workers to their destinations expeditiously.
Until we provide other methods of travelling around our city, we should not reduce parking. I continue to find it ironic that a car parked at the top of one of our downtown parking structures has better daylong views than most of our residents."
Con: "Santa Monica has a well-documented jobs/housing imbalance. I witness the results every day when I drive to and from my job in Koreatown in 25 minutes, while traffic is at a standstill heading into Santa Monica. It is simple: office space generates very significant traffic and provides little local benefit, little revenue, and few opportunities for the local workforce. We need housing in Santa Monica, especially affordable housing: we need it near our light rail stops, and we need to encourage marketing new units to those who work in Santa Monica. Our new transfer tax and cap-and-trade dollars from AB 32 should help us to build this housing.
As a member of the Planning Commission, I have advocated for a defined set of community benefits in Tier 2 projects. I believe that at least two times the affordable housing requirements of Tier 1 (i.e., at least 10% extremely low, 20% very low, etc.) should be required for Tier 2 projects. Tier 3 projects should require at least three times the affordable housing requirements of Tier 1 projects. We should no longer relax the requirements of the AHPP and continue to prohibit staff abuses of their discretion."
Con: "Previous city councils have simply approved too much commercial office development that generates major traffic, very little city revenue and few local jobs. Now we need to limit commercial development significantly and facilitate moderate density affordable residential development in mixed-use configuration near transit services. We also must require that new residential development aggressively market its units to the existing Santa Monica workforce and put real financial penalties into our transportation demand management program for employers in the city.
Then we need to provide enhanced transit service as well as model bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as alternatives to driving. The Exposition light rail line is crucial to this effort. So is the enhancing the level of service and maintaining the affordability of the Big Blue Bus.
We must have strong first mile last mile access, strong bicycle and pedestrian access to transit, and a commitment to operate a shuttle system linking these transit systems to our neighborhoods, and integrate bike sharing and car sharing at key transit station areas. These objectives will all probably be good candidates for use of California cap and trade funds."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The question here is: what does 'relieve traffic' mean. Does it mean that less cars are driving on our street? Does it mean that the cars on our streets can move more quickly?
If the question is: can you safely move from point A to point B in your car more rapidly with or without bike lanes and bike programs, the answer is likely no. But there is no doubt that well-designed multi-modal transportation plans that contemplate the comfort, safety, and ease of transit of those who walk, cycle, ride, and drive are desirable in an urban environment.
I believe that we should be building more protected bike lanes similar to those in Europe. A recent study in Long Beach after installation of protected bike lanes showed:
33% increase in the number of bike riders using 3rd and Broadway 15% increase in pedestrian traffic 50% decrease in the number of bike related accidents 10% decrease in the volume of traffic on the two streets 10% decrease in traffic speed (from just over 30 mph to under 30 mph) 50% decrease in the number of vehicle related accidents
Though traffic was somewhat slowed, the overall effect was positive."
Con: "The city should close the airport and set a course to transform the site into a major public park with significant passive open space as well as recreational space. The policy of maintaining development around the airport to no greater than currently exists is a sound policy. I support the policy that would require voter approval of any significant changes.
I pray we never see the day when a plane leaving from or arriving at SMO misses the runway and crashes into one of the surrounding residential neighborhood. We will not forget the September 2013 crash at the airport which killed 4 jet passengers. As if the noise pollution from the jets were not enough, the airport is a documented producer of ultra fine particle pollution up to 660 meters into the residential neighborhoods. See, e.g., the letter of our Congressman Henry Waxman calling for explanation and investigation from the SCAQMD. http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=news/rep-waxman-calls-for-investigation-into-pollution-at-santa-monica-airport
This is yet another example of government resistance to the legitimate complaints of Santa Monica residents."
Pro: "The battle over Santa Monica airport has been long and bitter. We all are aware that the problem of noise and ultra-fine particle pollution has only increased in the last few years with airport jet traffic at SMO is increasing at the rate of 30% year over year. The adverse health effects of jet fumes is well documented. See, e.g., http://www.friendsofsunsetpark.org/fosp/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/07/SM_Airport_Health_Impact_Assessment.pdf.
Restricted aviation services, and particularly restricted sales of jet fuel and reduction of jet services, will reduce the health risks to those living and working in close proximity. The human cost of continued aviation activity simply outweighs the inconvenience to a few wealthy non-Santa Monicans who find our little airport a more convenient place to park their jets."
Pro: "Absolutely. That is exactly why our city's business community and our local economy are both so prosperous. Yes, the development community occasionally complains that the city can be tough. But, we should be tough. We are in high demand and can afford to be tough. Perhaps the real question should be: is Santa Monica friendly enough to small businesses and is it too friendly to national chains? We need to encourage mom-and-pop businesses that are being replaced at an alarming rate by large corporate interests with higher price points.
More to the point, the City cannot afford not to be tough and it can afford to be picky. The level of development pressure is extraordinary and businesses are paying a premium to locate here. When pressure is high, we can afford to be choosy. But we must be cautious not to sell our soul to the highest bidder. We need to establish sound policies – smaller footprints, local incentives, buy local programs, and the like – to prevent our tilt to homogenous mediocrity."
Pro: "As a cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 2004 and had a stem cell transplant in 2006, I embrace the necessity of medical marijuana dispensaries. I was a lucky cancer patient, if there is such a thing. I was in the hospital for three weeks on a floor with other 'stem cell transplant' patients and was fortunate to experience little nausea or acute pain.
Every day as I walked the halls, watching and listening and talking to other patients and their families, I wished my fellow patients had a compassionate alternative that would allow them marijuana to ease their pain. This is just one medicinal use of marijuana. There are many more.
This is why I believe in marijuana dispensaries and why we, a supportive community, should allow them in Santa Monica. Regulation of location and operation has been implemented in many other cities and we can do the same."
Pro: "We are fortunate to employ the highest caliber police and firefighters and to provide them the latest training and excellent compensation packages. In the last 20 years, however, our calls for assistance have increased tenfold while our basic staffing has remained the same. While the number of calls may not be an issue now, before the light rail, it may prove to be an issue when the train begins to run. The Expo also may cause delays in response time for public safety and may require additional resources.
The issue of delays in response time is a factor in my alarm over another public safety issue: the potential change in our emergency dispatch system from a single tiered system (which helped to earn us a Class 1 rating from ISO in 2012) to a two-tier system that could cost lives. With a $550 million budget, public safety is the last service we should compromise or economize."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Over the years, the City's policies towards the homeless have ebbed and waned, resulting in a 2009 ACLU lawsuit against the City alleging criminalization of homelessness. The result of the lawsuit was, among other things, a 'Joint Statement of Mutual Principles' stating:
A. All communities need to provide a reasonable amount of shelter beds and services;
B. No one should be forced out of any community because he or she is homeless;
C. Merely sleeping and homeless status should not be crimes anywhere;
D. Communities need to engage in outreach to their most vulnerable; and,
E. Public safety personnel must be adequately trained.
I will insure that Santa Monica adheres to these principles. The needs of this population include housing, shelter, food and wrap around services. The City must address these needs by providing more housing at 30% of the area median income and below (including project based Section 8), providing more shelter space for those who wish to be sheltered (currently we have shelter space for less than 30% of the homeless population), expanding services, including feeding programs and services connecting this population to government programs and non-profit centers that can help them find housing."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Many Santa Monicans complain that we employ too many employees per resident. And indeed, we have a high employee to resident ratio – higher even than Beverly Hills. There is one problem with this analysis. While we may have 90,000 residents at night, we have 250,000 occupants during the day. And those occupants require services, particularly public safety services, just as much as residents.
We need to carefully monitor who we are employing and their pay scales. This is simply sound fiscal policy. I am troubled by the high dollar amounts of 'other pay' to our employees, as well as the excessive payments to consultants and contractors who somehow are necessary to augment our already fulsome staff. We need to audit these expenditures, as well as our pension payments, with the aid of an independent auditor reporting to an independent audit committee. I also am opposed to outsourcing jobs to contractors and believe that the cost savings attributable to outsourcing are illusory. We should not become the Wal-Mart of cities."
I have lived in Santa Monica for 22 years. I am a public interest attorney with Western Center on Law and Poverty. As a member of the Santa Monica Planning Commission I voted No! on the Bergamot Area Plan and the massive Hines project because that project would significantly worsen our severe traffic burden. We need a City Council we can trust to say No! to excessive developments, yes to renters' rights and more parks, yes to public safety and schools.
I stand firm for:
preserving the small town character and social diversity of Santa Monica.
treating Ocean Ave as a treasure to preserve, not a "pot of gold" to be exploited by high-rise luxury hotels.
opposing massive commercial office projects like the Hines project.
providing renter residents with the most effective renters rights possible.
providing new affordable housing but not as a pretext for oversized commercial developments.
guaranteeing robust funding for our children’s schools.
supporting our hotel workers rights.
fostering innovative environmental programs that serve as models to other cities.
sustaining the student transit partnership between SMC and Big Blue Bus.
requiring all government decisions are made in public.