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Meet the Candidates for Santa Monica City Council:Gleam Davis

Frank Gruber for Santa Monica City Council

Ted Winterer for City Council 2012

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Re-elect Robert Kronovet for Rent Control Board

Pico Business Improvement District
7th Annual Pico Festival
Sunday, October 28th

October 5, 2012 -- This is the fourth in a series of posts that provides the answers to questions by candidates in the November 6 race for Santa Monica City Council. The answers from the candidates will be posted in the order they were received.

Candidate Profiles --

Name: Gleam Davis

Profession: Attorney

Birth place: Los Angeles, CA

Running for: City Council

Status: Santa Monica Councilmember

1. How long have you lived in Santa Monica? In what neighborhood do you live?
I have lived in Santa Mon ica for 26 years. I currently live North of Montana but I also have lived in Ocean Park and Wilmont.

2. Describe yourself in 10 words or less.
Sleepless mom, attorney, and councilmember.

3. What was your first job?
Camp counselor.

4. Describe your history of community involvement, if any, in 75 words or less.
Currently I am Mayor Pro Tem. I was appointed to the council in 2009 and elected to a two-year term in 2010. Prior to my appointment to the council, I was a Planning Commissioner and co-chair of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights. I have served on the Steering Committee of the Community for Excellent Public Schools and was a board member of WISE Senior Services.


5. How would you rate the current City Council?
What particular decisions stand out for you that made you form that opinion?
The current council gets a good grade. It rejected proposed out-of-scale developments such as the first iteration of the Papermate project and sent the Miramar developer back to the drawing board to design a better project that addresses neighbors’ concerns. It also supported our schools and the Pico Neighborhood Library.

6. What is the most frequent complaint you hear on the campaign trail? What do you plan to do about it?
Traffic! Traffic is a regional problem that requires regional solutions such as more mass transit and working with neighboring cities to improve traffic flow. I support more local transit and improved bike and pedestrian infrastructure that will give Santa Monicans the opportunity to move around the city without a car.

7. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
- There are already enough jobs in Santa Monica, so the city doesn't need more commercial development.
I partially disagree. Santa Monica does not need to worry about job creation. However, we need to be able to maintain the jobs that already are here. For example, Tom’s Shoes moved out of Santa Monica because the company could not find sufficient space to handle its growing business.

8. Should Santa Monica residents be allowed to vote on major development agreements? Why or why not?
No. Santa Monica’s current standards require almost every new project to be structured as a development agreement. This includes projects that are primarily housing and that include significant affordable units. If every development agreement were put to a vote, it would become prohibitively expensive to build housing in Santa Monica.

9. Do you believe developers have undue influence on City government?
Santa Monica is definitely not viewed as “developer friendly.”
As I mentioned above, the City Council has scrutinized proposed developments very carefully and almost always has required a reduction in size, a change in the mix of uses, or significant physical changes to improve design and reduce negative impacts.

10. How would you solve the traffic problem in Santa Monica?
As I stated above, reducing traffic will require both regional and local solutions. The City is completing its traffic synchronization plan that should help ease congestion and it is going require developers to pay a Transportation Impact Fee to fund additional infrastructure improvements that will improve traffic flow.

11. If Santa Monica has the authority to shut down the airport, should it do so?
Santa Monica should look for a solution that has the best chance of providing meaningful, long-term relief for neighbors. If the City cannot negotiate significant reductions in the airport’s operations (such as banning or significantly limiting jets and flight schools), the City will have to consider closing the airport.

12. With which statement do you agree more:

  1. Tourism is an important part of Santa Monica's image and a major revenue source and should be encouraged.

  2. There are too many tourists in Santa Monica and businesses are catering to tourists at the expense of locals.

1. Tourism is a sustainable industry that enhances the health of Santa Monica’s economy. It supports local businesses that would not survive if they depended only on residents. We enjoy so many wonderful dining options because tourism adds to the bottom line for many local restaurants and keeps them viable,

13. True or False: Santa Monica has become Beverly Hills by the Sea.

False. Santa Monica, however, needs to be vigilant about preserving affordable shopping alternatives. I want to make sure we keep our affordable full-service grocery stores and don’t upscale them all. I also want to find a way to bring more affordable retail, such as Macy’s, back to Santa Monica.

14. With which statements do you agree. You can pick more than one. Affordable Housing:

  1. Creates blight and brings crime.

  2. Pays back hotel and restaurant union workers for their political support in the past

  3. Creates more tenants to vote for Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMMR) candidates

  4. Addresses a legitimate need, especially in Santa Monica
    d. Housing prices in Santa Monica have resumed their upward trajectory. If we want to preserve our wonderful cultural and economic diversity, we need to provide affordable housing, particularly for families and seniors. Otherwise, we will lose much of the richness that makes Santa Monica so special.

15. In the past ten years, the number of laws passed by the Santa Monica City Council has increased from 32 in 2002 to 48 last year. This is:

  1. A reasonable response to the concerns of residents.

  2. A council that tries to please everyone

  3. A council that believes it knows what's best for the city and likes to impose its will.

a. The council does not pass laws “to please everyone” or to “impose its will.” In the time that I have been involved in city politics, I have seen the range and complexity of the problems facing the City increase. I think this may explain the increase in legislation.

16. Santa Monica's contribution to employee pensions has risen from $10 million a year a decade ago to $40 million and growing today. To help pay for its growing contribution Santa Monica should:

  1. Lay off workers

  2. Generate more cash by increasing development

  3. Increase local taxes.

  4. Other

d. Santa Monica has a proud tradition of working with employees to provide good compensation packages that do not unduly strain the City’s financial resources. In the past few years, City employees have made important concessions that show they recognize the need to keep the City on sound financial footing.

17. Do you support Measure ES, a $385 million bond to build and improve Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District facilities?

Yes. Studies show that improved education facilities have a positive impact on student performance.

18. Has Santa Monica successfully addressed the homeless problem?

Santa Monica has made tremendous strides in reducing homelessness and it has maintained those reductions during the economic downturn. Unfortunately, to serve more homeless veterans, Santa Monica needs the federal government to step up to the plate and convert the unused Veterans’ Administration buildings in Westwood to housing.

19. Do you believe Santa Monica is a segregated city?

Unfortunately, to some extent, Santa Monica remains racially and economically segregated. We should not ignore this reality because it is so important for everyone to continue to support programs that improve educational and economic opportunity for all residents.

20. Do community groups play an important role in Santa Monica?

Community groups play a vital role in Santa Monica. Our neighborhood organizations keep residents informed and give voice to their concerns. Our local non-profits provide a wide array of essential services to youth, seniors, and the economically disadvantaged. Without them, Santa Monica would be less lively and soulless.

21. Which of the following statements do you agree with.

Santa Monica is:

  1. Doing enough to encourage biking

  2. Not doing enough to encourage biking

  3. Doing too much to encourage biking
    a. I am proud of the Council’s adoption of a visionary Bike Action Plan. The downtown Bike Centers are a stunning success and new bike-friendly infrastructure seems to crop up every day. We currently are focusing on safety education; bike sharing and more cycling-oriented events are on the horizon.

22. Do you support a law banning smoking in apartment and condo units?
I support banning smoking in all new apartment and condominium projects and requiring that new tenants of existing apartments and new occupants of existing condominiums be prohibited from smoking.

23. What is your favorite place in Santa Monica? Least favorite place?

My favorite place is Palisades Park. It is full of people and has wonderful shopping and dining options nearby. My least favorite place is the intersection of the Pier bridge, Colorado and Ocean; what a nightmare! I am hopeful that building the Colorado Esplanade will solve its many problems.

24. What is the last piece of music you bought?
I bought a ringtone of the theme music from Jaws. I assigned it to calls from my boss.

25. If you were emperor with absolute authority for a day and could do one thing for Santa Monica, what would it be?
I would make sure that every person in Santa Monica had adequate food, shelter, and medical care. If I had any “emperor mojo” left over, I would fix Santa Monica’s traffic and parking problems.

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