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LETTERS - Shooting the Messenger on Crime

October 26, 2020

Dear Editor,

The Lookout recently asked sitting City Councilmembers to respond to a poll released by Eyes on Local 11 ("Is Crime Really Down? Incumbents Weigh In," October 21, 2020).

The poll found that half of Santa Monica voters feel less safe in the city now than they did two years ago.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Councilmembers tried to explain away the polling results rather than take responsibility for mounting concerns over crime and homelessness.

One Councilmember wrote off residents’ responses on safety as "misperceptions." Another said the poll findings were designed to "stoke fear in the community."

Councilmember Ted Winterer specifically argued that Eyes on 11’s poll was "not released publicly" and implied that the questions were somehow crafted to "lead to desired answers."

Winterer is misinformed. The survey questions and responses have been publicly available on our website ( from the moment they were released. The question wording was straightforward, and I encourage readers to review it themselves.

I suspect Councilmember Winterer's real problem isn't the poll questions themselves, but the results. In his response, Winterer cherry-picked data that served his interests, pointing to a year-over-year drop in crime.

What he didn’t mention was that serious crime in Santa Monica is still up 38 percent since 2014.

Choosing to take seriously only the polling data that best fits your narrative is a popular strategy in the current presidential election.

If the people of Santa Monica can’t escape such a ploy at the national level, they should at least be spared this tactic by their local elected officials.

Charlyce Bozzello
Communications Director
Center for Union Facts

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