By Lookout Staff
Editor’s Note: The Lookout News sent several questions to the 10 candidates running for Santa Monica City Council. Eight responded. Each answer was limited to 150 words. The Lookout is publishing the candidates’ answers over several days.
October 17, 2016 -- Today’s question: Do you support Measure LV, which would require voter approval for most projects taller than 32 feet and changes to planning and land use policies? If you do not, is there a modified version of the initiative that you would support?
Mende Smith, challenger
As a public servant, it is my job to support the voters in my city -- the merchants, residents, and daytrippers alike. The LUVE initiative came about from citizens mistrust for their government, and the defeat of Prop T. I believe that until such a time as the CC can reestablish the broken system of trust, vision, and support, there will be groups like Residocracy seeking to fight back in costly legislation that is designed to slow the growth they are most afraid of. As a Green candidate, I will support any people-powered interests in local government, but also do my best to bring the concerns of all Santa Monicans before zoning changes are made and well before 'bad blood' starts flowing.
Tony Vazquez, incumbent
I do not support the current version of the LUVE Initiative. As it is currently written the height limit is too restrictive and it will have several legal challenges. However, I have no problem sitting down with LUVE supporters to help craft an initiative that would put a limit on new development height.
Ted Winterer, incumbent
No, I do not support LV. Building height is a poor metric for gauging traffic impacts since a two story medical office building, which LV would allow without a vote, would generate more car trips than a four story housing project or a seven story storage facility, which would require approval at the polls. As for an alternative measure, we might contemplate one which requires a vote on projects which exceed our General Plan depending on the outcome of the Downtown Community Plan process. It’s important to bear in mind that in the rest of the city we have already reduced the buildable envelope in our residential neighborhoods below the historic zoning; removed the large activity centers proposed in the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), and eliminated Tier 3 heights on most commercial boulevards.
Terry O’Day, incumbent
I do not. I agree with the League of Women Voters that planning by ballot box is almost always bad policy. At best it abdicates the responsibility that voters give to elected officials and professional planners. At worst, it freezes our dynamic community and undermines participation.
Jon Mann, challenger
The LUVE Initiative doesn't go far enough. Residocracy jumped the shark in 2014 when they endorsed two SMRR candidates who do NOT support LUVE. A modified version of LUVE is just a way to dupe voters. I am the ONLY candidate who who has called for a moratorium on ALL development not supported by residents, or for REAL low income housing.
Armen Melkonians, challenger
Big YES on Measure LV – the LUVE Initiative. I am a co-author of Measure LV and the founder of Residocracy.org, the all-volunteer grassroots effort behind Yes on LV. Measure LV will take control away from big developers and give it to residents, where it belongs. Santa Monica is experiencing an overdevelopment and leadership crisis. Too much development has already been approved and there are forty more large development projects waiting for approvals at City Hall. These projects alone will add an additional 4 million square feet of new construction. That’s equal to eight Santa Monica Place malls. These forty projects alone will add an additional 50,000+ new daily car trips to our already traffic jammed streets. Measure LV will stop our city from drowning in traffic. City Hall never says no to new development. Measure LV gives residents the ability to protect Santa Monica from destruction.
Terence Later, challenger
I do support the LUVE initiative because it aims to shift the power back to the citizens of Santa Monica. Currently, we are experiencing an explosion of development and the people of Santa Monica should have a vote in how our city expands and at what cost.
Gleam Davis, incumbent
I do not support Measure LV. While I have many objections to it, my primary concerns are that it will reduce the City's ability to maintain and build affordable and market rate housing, that it will be a gentrification accelerator that reduces our community's diversity by driving people out of their homes, and that substantial parts of it are legally infirm. I understand that there is a movement to draft an alternative measure for a future ballot. If someone can craft a measure that meets my concerns, I certainly would consider it.