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Chamber of Horrors, Speculations and Ask the Voters

December 20, 2002

Dear Editor,

Excuse me??? SMRR controlled Councils are unfriendly to business? ("Chamber Votes to Enter Political Arena," December 19, 2002)

Who brought the Promenade to Santa Monica? A SMRR controlled Council. Who brought the Colorado business corridor to Santa Monica? A SMRR controlled Council. Who created a busy, family-oriented pier and a complete redevelopment of Palisades Park and the Santa Monica portion of the beach boardwalk? A SMRR controlled council.

Who made it possible for all of those "poor" hotels to be built that charge 10 bucks or better for drinks and $300 plus for rooms, but "can't" afford to pay living wages to their employees? Again, it was a SMRR controlled council.

Who's redeveloping the chronically shabby Civic Center? You guessed it. Oh, and who renewed Pico, and who created the downtown transit mall and who gave Santa Monica years of excellent bond rating? Same councils.

All of this "unfriendly to business" activity has made Santa Monica a top 5 recreation destination for L A County residents. It has brought the Democratic National Convention headquarters to Santa Monica. It has also brought dozens of film festivals and other movie industry events. Three or four times more people come to Santa Monica each day to shop and work than live here. The roads are constantly gridlocked, it's so busy.

Geez, if anything, this SMRR controlled series of City Councils has been TOO friendly to business. The Chamber of "Horrors!" needs to wake up and smell all of the coffee (at least seven Starbucks alone, not to mention Petes, Seattle's Best, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Deitrich's, etc.) being served to millions of Santa Monica's workers, shoppers and visitors.

Alan Toy
(Ed. Note: Alan Toy is a member of the Santa Monica Rent Control Board and Project Director of the UCLA Advanced Policy Institute)

December 20, 2002
Dear Editor:

Clearly the state of California is faced with an unprecedented budget deficit which will impact our local public schools. ("School Supt. Proposes Shut Down to Avert More Cuts," December 20, 2002)

However, it is premature to speculate as to how the shortfall may impact our district this year. Moreover, there are a myriad of solutions which will need to be considered should the proposed mid year cuts become reality.

Within the next few weeks, the leadership team of the Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association will make public our recommendations for reducing expenditures and enhancing the revenues of the district.

Unfortunately, Oliver Lukas's recent article failed to emphasize that any proposal for reducing the work year or a change in our working conditions, MUST be negotiated with SMMCTA. In addition, his article fails to mention that the state may lift the 3 percent reserve requirement. In doing so, the state would essentially "free up" more than $2.5 million in SMMUSD.

Speculations such as the "closing of schools for ten days" serves no-one well, especially workers who are preparing for their well deserved winter holidays!


Harry M. Keiley
President, Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association

December 20, 2002
Dear Editor,
Mr. Deasy has proposed shutting down the schools for 10 days. Before that happens, wouldn't it be more prudent to ask the City Council to stop funding social programs for non residents, stop building low rent housing for Santa Monican's for Renters Rights campaign workers, and instead use those funds Santa Monica schools and for children who reside in Santa Monica?

Why not ask the voters? Submit a non-binding ballot question to the voters at the same time the Historical Districts vote is taken by mail. Give the voters two choices -- spend money for non-resident social programs and development of low rent housing, or spend the money for the City schools. Let's see what the voters think

Matt Millen
Santa Monica

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