The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Hotel Support, Lobbying Labor and Tempted to Move

July 3, 2002

Dear Editor,

A recent demonstration against the Doubletree Hotel involving students, among others, leads us to believe that many of our neighbors are not aware of the general support Santa Monica hotels bring to our schools and city.

Over the past 12 months, our hotels have donated well over $200,000 to Santa Monica schools in various forms. From books and school supplies, to food and beverages, function rooms, overnight accommodations and cash, the hotels have always been stalwart supporters of education for the children in our community. We have also donated products to local residents and schools, and have always contributed heavily during the holidays for Santa Monica families
who are less fortunate.

In addition to those donations, we have organized reading nights for elementary schools, in which the books, food and time of hotel employees were donated for the evening. We have financially backed educational programs which, without the support of our Santa Monica hotels, could not have been introduced to the students in our community.

Several of the larger hotels have even adopted schools, which allows the employees of the hotel properties to become intimately involved in helping with fund raising and tutoring, and providing for all kinds of needs which may arise. The goal of these partnerships between schools and hotels has been to assist and make a positive difference in the schools and the lives of the students and parents.

In addition to bringing approximately 2,000 jobs to Santa Monica, our hotels provide many summertime jobs to students, providing them with professional mentoring, interesting and worthwhile work, and better wages than they could find in many other workplaces. Some of the larger hotels participate in the job fair at Santa Monica College, hiring graduates for promising positions and careers.

Our efforts to be involved in our schools and community are met with gratitude and enthusiasm by the many who have benefited from them, and we plan to continue to set a strong example of integrity and community service for our neighbors.

The hotels in Santa Monica bring to our community a significant tax base, jobs that pay excellent wages and benefit packages, beautification of surrounding areas, generous donations to community-related causes and many visitors who spend money in Santa Monica shops, restaurants and businesses. We have been, and will continue to be excellent neighbors, steadfast
supporters of education, and active contributors in our community.

Sincerely,
Klaus Mennekes - Casa del Mar
Armella Stepan - Shutters on the Beach
Bob Buescher - Holiday Inn
Sig Ortloff - Le Merigot
Lisa Nagahori - Sheraton Four Points
Francois Khoury - Doubletree
John Thacker - Loews Hotel
Paul Hortobagyi - Georgian Hotel
Sherry Kellogg - Hotel Carmel
Hany Sabongy - Best Western


July 1, 2002

Dear Editor,

In your editor's note after Abby Arnold's Letter to the Editor ("Welcoming Labor," July 1), you forgot to mention that Ms Arnold is also hoping to get some of that generous labor union support -- such as the out-of-town precinct walkers, campaign workers and financial largess -- for her City Council campaign.

Bill Bauer
Santa Monica


June 29, 2002

Dear Editor,

Regarding merchants' protests about the overwhelming presence of transients in the Promenade area ("Angry Merchants Call for Relief from Homeless," June 24), I was encouraged by their efforts to deal with the problem, but disheartened by the City's stance on solutions.

Having lived nearby for six years, I have noted a distinct rise in the number of transients. Also, I notice lately that the degree of overt panhandling has greatly increased. Isn't there at least a law against panhandling? And, if there is, how would one go about implementing it? I am now constantly being approached verbally.

I fear that if something isn't done, all the efforts and money focused on improving the Downtown area will be in vain. In addition, real estate values will be affected. Lately I have actually been sorely tempted to move to nearby Brentwood, where this problem does not seem apparent. Does Brentwood handle this problem in a more productive way?

Please, City of Santa Monica, do something before it's too late.

Esther Cameron
Santa Monica


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