Santa Monica Lookout Opinion
It's Time to Return Decorum to City Hall

April 17, 2024

Dear Editor

You may have seen footage or social media posts of Tuesday’s rally at Reed Park sponsored by a group known as “the Santa Monica Coalition,” the same folks behind the “Santa Methica” and “Santa Monica is Not Safe” signs on the Promenade that are harming local businesses.

The rally opened with Roxanne Hoge, a registered Republican who ran for LA County Supervisor. Other speakers were Jessica Rogers, a co-founder of the Coalition, and the four “Change Slate” councilmembers Phil Brock, Christine Parra, Oscar de la Torre and Lana Negrete.

They spoke out against the limited clean syringe exchange program conducted by LA County which has saved lives at one of our highest concentration locations of unhoused individuals: Reed Park. Chants called for the firing of David White, our City Manager, and against their Council colleagues.

It’s normal in our political discourse to have reasonable policy disputes. It’s normal to have political rallies in support of or against a policy or a candidate. We support such rallies and have participated in many ourselves.

What is not normal -- especially in Santa Monica -- is for sitting city councilmembers to publicly support a crowd calling for the firing of their own City Manager.

Even worse, none had the courage to call out the protesters carrying signs with cruel messages against their elected colleagues: “Jesse Zwick is a d**k” and “Mean Gleam.” Instead, Vice Mayor Negrete called out a regular local news blogger for filming her speech. After she did, a protester came up to the blogger and threatened physical assault against him.

We expect better of our elected leadership in Santa Monica. Our businesses who are trying to recover from the pandemic deserve better than Santa Monica Coalition banners and signs disparaging all of the efforts they are making to return our downtown and Promenade to greatness.

Our residents deserve better than the public vitriol and nativism we see from our officials in City Hall. Voters have a choice this November: continued divisiveness or a new generation of positive leadership who are guided by science, compassionate values, and collaboration.

Dan Hall

Ellis Raskin

Barry Snell

Natalya Zernitskaya

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