1. The Miramar is allowed to remodel their hotel, and I would approve a 10-story replacement tower for their existing 10-story tower. I would vote 'NO' on a tower that reduces the total amount of hotel rooms in the Miramar, and would never vote 'yes' on adding condos or a taller tower than currently exists on the property. In addition, let's have Michael Dell and his cronies stop lying to our residents about the amazing benefits he's going to bring to our city. It’s a hotel… just a hotel.
2. The proposed 'Gehry' tower at Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Blvd would be over 20 stories tall. It violates our zoning codes. Frank Gehry designed a nice, six story symphony hall in Los Angeles. He designed a nice chair. He doesn't need a skyscraper in order to make his mark in Santa Monica, and we don't need a building that would destroy Ocean Avenue forever. Ocean Avenue begins our connection with Palisades Park, the beach and nature. The developer has long known what the height and density limits are at that corner. It is essential that Ocean Avenue not be cluttered with more skyscrapers. It will ruin the beach feel of our community. I would vote 'NO' on the Worthe plan!
3. The Felcor (Wyndham/Holiday Inn) Proposal is the most appealing of the three towers. If the five stories of Condos were removed and the developer agreed to lay the Piers needed to eventually cap the freeway between Ocean and Main Street then that’s the one tower that would not destroy the look, feel or authenticity of the corner at 2nd and Colorado. I would consider a 'yes' vote for that replacement tower - at a lower height with no condos."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "We have to absorb what we have added so far. We need to protect our existing stock of rent control housing, first and foremost. We must add more conservation overlay districts, double the rate that an Ellis Act landlord must pay to go out of business, and we must stop the consolidation of apartment house parcels so that a developer can build massive structures. Then, as we go forward, we must not sacrifice the character of our city just to add more non-descript apartments that crowd our sidewalks, block out the sunlight and look like they are 2nd rate Lego sets. We must concentrate on work force housing that will relieve traffic coming into our city."
Con: "No. A massive 12-story high-rise at 4th/Arizona? No! 21-story high-rises lining Ocean Avenue? Absolutely not! We are a beach community. We are not a high-rise city. We never have been. We never should be. Mimicking downtown Los Angeles, Miami Beach or New York City is not our vision, nor is it our goal.
Santa Monica's tradition is charm and character, and it is rooted in our low-rise skyline of garden apartment housing and our bungalow-style single-family houses. More importantly, our tradition is cultural diversity with a unified respect for our low-rise beach community. National Geographic called Santa Monica the 7th best beach community in the world. 'Beach' not 'High Rise.' We are an authentic beach community. We can be modern without destroying who we are.
Overdevelopment causes increased traffic gridlock. I'm on record, publicly, supporting height limits: 4 stories downtown, 3 stories on major boulevards, 2 stories in residential areas. People come here daily to work and play. Do they come to see skyscrapers, and sit in gridlock? No. They come here to escape those urban ills.
Common sense favors sunlight, blue sky, trees and the clean flow of ocean breezes through our neighborhoods. Preserve it. Don't destroy it!"
Con: "No. This is city owned property. The proposed development will violate our height limit. If our Planning Department and our City Council won't abide by our rules on the property our residents own, then what hope is there for our zoning codes? The Plaza At Santa Monica will be the same mass as Santa Monica Place. We (all of us) own this land. It's in our downtown. Having a hotel bar twelve stories in the sky is not what our residents want or need downtown. We can't afford more office space downtown. Our traffic is already gridlocked. Our downtown is already too dense. All the bells and whistles that the developer is offering as 'community benefits' won't solve the problems that this project will cause.
If our residents want a development at that corner we can build it: four stories, not twelve - a boutique hotel, some apartments, a restaurant, and a movie theatre. And we can keep the ice rink, add underground parking, use one acre for the building and have 1.72 acres for a town square at that corner. It's simple. Let’s do what our Residents want, not a City Council wants that seems to only have two words at their disposal - 'Let's develop.' Those are not words that will inspire our neighborhoods, our residents, or our tourists to love Santa Monica more."
Pro: "We must provide adequate parking for the Expo line. It was a mistake not to build park-and-ride lots. We must correct that mistake. While building future structures we must be mindful that they may have different uses decades from now. It is important that they can be converted into different adaptations. While we hope the Expo line will decrease the future need for parking and will mitigate traffic, we are not certain of the future effects of the Expo.
One way to secure more parking is to make sure both residential and commercial developments provide the amount of parking in our zoning ordinances. We cannot allow Traffic Demand Management plans that aren't effective. Let's make sure we don't duplicate the mistakes of St John's Hospital, Agensys or the ill-fated Hines development."
Con: "We cannot afford to increase traffic. We're already in gridlock. Over 125,000 people drive to Santa Monica each day to work. We can't pack more in. Let's be smart. There are over three million square feet of office space in our downtown core. Much of that can be adaptively renovated into existing buildings to become current interior office space.
We cannot, must not, add to our traffic and infrastructure nightmares. We need more housing in Santa Monica not more office space. Let's create a limited amount of middle class affordable housing for some of our younger office employees to live in. After we analyze the effects of the Expo light rail system on our infrastructure then we can look at the future. As a community we do not need to rush into a frenzy of new construction. Let's create character in our town. Santa Monica is a treasure and a coveted destination…let's keep it that way."
Con: "No. We have chosen to add more traffic instead of relieving it. Adding more people to our mix adds to traffic. Traffic calming has led to traffic snarling instead, adding more pollution and anger. Our traffic engineers experiment on us. Our traffic police desert us every afternoon to work near areas with tourists, and residents are stuck-trapped in our own city with no recourse.
Let's use common sense in designing our traffic patterns. Let's use our traffic officers to 'go with the flow' on Olympic, Pico and Ocean Park Blvd every afternoon. Let's not build more office space and let's not hear of more 'Hines-type' developments that would add 7,000 more car trips to our streets each day. Let's work on traffic solutions that don’t force people to drive in endless loops seeking parking. Let's make our streets friendly for autos, bikes and pedestrians. Let's create a superior public transportation system with bus benches instead of stupid bus stools. It can be done. It must be done."
Pro: "Bike Lanes, done properly, will relieve our traffic over the coming decades. However, ill-placed bike lanes are taking away needed parking and turn lanes. We can't legislate people out of their cars but we can incentivize their switch to other forms of transportation by providing great bike lanes that feature great connectivity and safety. We can do better.
That also means bicyclists must observe the rules of the road!"
Con: "The Santa Monica Airport is a drain on our economy. Airport businesses have received subsidized rents in the past and the positive impacts from SMO are zero. The Airport remains a health hazard with high levels of contaminants and particulates in the air and ground areas surrounding the flight paths. The Airport is a noise generator daily, affecting thousands of our residents. Let's stop the noise pollution. The Airport is a safety hazard. When a Guardian, G-4 or G-5 takes off from SMO it contains thousands of gallons of aviation fuel. Our Fire Department's Airport Crash Unit is seldom manned. A neighborhood disaster is a possibility.
The Airport benefits very few residents at the expense of many. At one time, SMO served our community and the nation well. That time is past. The Airport was purchased with park bonds in the 1920’s. Let's fulfill the purpose of the bonds to our community. It's past time for our Airport to go. It will be remembered through our Airport Museum, Douglas Park, statues and plaques."
Pro: "Let's just talk about what we should do over the next 24 months. We must remove the western 35 acres of runway from the takeoff path. This can be accomplished by the end of 2015. The shortening of the runway will remove the large jets (Guardians, G-4, G-5) from our Airport. We should not renew any airport leases until they all expire together in July 2015. At that time they should only be renewed at market rates, and only on a month-to-month basis, until our Airport is returned to city control. Market rate pricing will help eliminate the flight schools that operate at SMO. Combined with the elimination of large jet traffic, we will have a quieter airport in the near future. Santa Monica should begin to sell unleaded aviation fuel as soon as authorized by the FAA, to reduce particulates in our air.
In the long term picture I believe the majority of our residents want the airport to close, provided we have a guarantee that the land will not become Century City West or Playa Vista North. I urge you to vote No on Measure D and YES on Measure LC."
Con: "We suffer from over-regulation, confusing ordinances, too much taxation and a business climate that is charitably described in California as one of the worst in our state.
We must condense our regulations and make them clear and concise. We need to have clear-cut standards for new development in our city. A developer must know at the outset what they can build on a parcel of land. The height, the density and the setbacks have to be a given, not something to be negotiated. From permit inspectors to the Planning Department, a common sense approach needs to be implemented. We’re not fair to residents or to developers.
When something as simple as a plumbing inspection can go awry, when a restaurant has to hire an expediter to get through our red tape, then something is dramatically wrong with our process. Expediters and lawyers have established a thriving business addressing problems that should have been solved by city staff quickly and efficiently.
We need to be mindful of helping individual small businesses flourish in Santa Monica. Let's not think of residents or business owners as targets to be continually milked. I believe we need to use common sense in City Hall!"
Pro: "While the addition of medical marijuana dispensaries has added to the crime levels in some areas of Los Angeles, I believe we can position two dispensaries in Santa Monica in order to avoid the issues that have arisen in LA.
There are dispensaries located in both West LA and in Venice and neither has added to the crime levels in its neighborhoods. By requiring the dispensaries to accept major credit cards, and by emphasizing the selling of edible goods rather than the smoking of marijuana, the prospect of crime will be reduced. In addition, the placement of the two dispensaries is quite important. Making sure that they are not located within 1000 feet of parks, schools or churches and are on main boulevards will also ease enforcement concerns.
The bottom line: Marijuana has proved to be an effective pain suppressant and has verifiable medical properties. It is widely used in our state and is no longer seen as a 'gateway' drug. We should not make people leave our city to get a medicine they need. Let's add the dispensaries but make sure we are vigilantly enforcing the rules that we will set regarding the hours, locations, storefronts and sales of marijuana in Santa Monica."
Pro: "We need to be realistic. We have a train on the way. We have 7.4 million tourists and 125,000 office workers in our city each day. We have a Police Department and a Fire Department that are acceptable sizes for our nighttime population, but inadequate for the daytime influx of workers and tourists our city experiences. Let's give Fire and Police some help. We've eliminated our Park Rangers and we have combined patrol areas. Our Fire Department is at the same daytime staffing level as it was 20 years ago. We value our safety and security too much in this city to cut corners when it comes to these departments.
Let’s add the staff the Police Department and the Fire Department need to protect us."
Pro: "Santa Monica is a compassionate city with concerned, giving residents but... there's a limit. With all of our social programs we still have a substantial homeless population on our streets each night. The Veterans Administration needs to step up and do their share to help our efforts. Our City Attorney must also devise ordinances that do not encourage the chronic homeless to stay on our streets nightly."
Pro: "Santa Monica has a bloated, overpaid employee count that has staff scrambling for higher and denser development projects in order to pay for their salaries and pensions. Santa Monica averages the highest paid and largest city staff per capita in California. Yes, we provide great services to our residents and visitors but so do many other comparable cities.
In 2012 we averaged 24.29 staff members per 1000 residents. We can compare that to Santa Barbara at 11.32, Berkeley at 13.02, Huntington Beach at 5.10, Ventura at 5.61 and Newport Beach at 10.33 staff members per 1000 residents. Our City Manager's gross pay including benefits for 2012 was $472,882.00 while the City Manager of Pasadena (a city with 50,000 more residents than Santa Monica) earned $355,927.56 and the Santa Barbara City Administrator earned $312,053.63. Add to that the fifty (yes, 50) employees who took home over $300,000 in 2012 and you will find that we're a city that’s clearly out of control.
Our staff are supposed to be serving our residents, yet it often seems that they are serving themselves at our expense. Let's get this under control. We can begin by adjusting the salary of the next City Manager and hiring an outside auditor to thoroughly evaluate waste in our local government. We can also make sure that the city employees that are hired and retained to work on our behalf are at reasonable, comparable salaries. There is no excuse for introducing large developments that do not fit the character and scale of our city in order to pay staff salaries. Further, it appears that our staff and City Council seemingly feel that our pockets are ones that they can continually pick. There is no excuse for increasing taxes while our city budget seems to have no boundaries."
Santa Monica Native!
Santa Monica Public Schools: Madison, Lincoln, Samohi
Played in our parks, body-surfed our waves, taught in our schools, Boys Club member
SMC, UCLA, LMU
Renter, Homeowner, Teacher, Business Owner
Santa Monica Commissioner since 2003
Past President, California Parks Board
2013 Commissioner of the Year, California Parks & Recreation
Working For Residents
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Working Group
Santa Monicans for Renters Rights
"Smart" Architects Group
Residocracy, Mid-City Neighbors, NOMA
Samohi Alumni VP
Past President, Boys & Girls Club Council
I will fight for you!
STOP TRAFFIC congestion and gridlock
Impose strict building height and density limits.
Infrastructure comes first!
Smart, intelligent change that preserves our city’s character
Adapt and reuse existing buildings. Sustainable and Green!
Bolster public schools. Increase youth services
Champion rent control/affordable housing
Reduce executive city staff. Stop wasting our tax dollars!
Reduce homelessness at all ages
Support our seniors!
Transparent, honest government that respects residents
Expand Police & Fire to reflect daytime population!
Livable wages for union labor
Buses that transport us quickly, efficiently and with real bus benches