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They Broke the Santa Monica Machine

November 10, 2020

Dear Editor,

Despite the backing of the usual suspects (SMRR, Santa Monica Forward, the Democratic Club and assorted politicians) three of the four incumbent Councilmembers lost their seats ("Santa Monica Voters Usher In New Era," November 6, 2020).


First and foremost is the bungling of the riots on May 31 and the lack of a follow-up investigation. People going to the polls were still seething about the city's intolerable performance on both 5/31 and the stalled investigation that has been put off for as long as 11 months.
The (finally) hired investigators got six months from October to turn in a report.

Then it sticks in the craw of voters that despite strong resident opposition to the Plaza on public land and the expansion of the Miramar hotel/condo development, the Council voted for both projects. It paid more attention to the Unite Here Local 11 workers than its own taxpayers.

Others grieve the spread of crime (courtesy of former Councilmember Pam O'Connor's Expo line). And, of course, there's the ever present homeless problem that never goes away despite many failed Council promises.

The fairy tale that SMRR is guaranteeing rent control to a city of renters has lost its allure. Most people realize that protection is enshrined in city law.

The Democratic Club is SMRR's lapdog. Santa Monica Forward has been exposed as a coalition of out-of-town developers, lobbyists, local lawyers and residents feeding off them. None of them cares how much Santa Monica gets sliced and diced by development.

Residents said "enough" and voted to give challengers Phil Brock, Christina Parra and Oscar de la Torre a chance to right the city.

The question is how did staunch supporter of development Gleam Davis escape the deluge?

Her campaign literature never mentioned her welcome of the state's proposed 9,000 new housing units by 2028 and the possibility of turning single-family zones into multi-housing areas. Instead it extolled her efforts on "education" and "child care."

One can only speculate that the education community gave her its full support in hopes of keeping city funds flowing to a voracious school district.

Now the real work of the "change" slate begins -- cleaning up the lame ducks' mess.

Harriet P. Epstein
Santa Monica

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