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Council Votes Get Mixed Reviews, City Still Not on Right Track, Poll Finds
By Jorge Casuso
April 22, 2021 -- A monthly poll of some 170 "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents found that the vast majority -- 80 percent -- don't believe the City is on the right track.
The second monthly "Santa Monica Pulse Survey" by the hotel union watchdog Eyes on 11 also gauged how respondents viewed three recent actions taken by the City Council over the past month, and the results were mixed.
Most of those who responded to the brief text poll disapproved of the City's affordable housing plan and thought adding "Safety Ambassadors to the Downtown area won't reduce crime.
More respondents approved than disapproved of the City Council's rejection of the Police Department's request to pass an emergency ordinance banning items at local protests that could be readily "weaponized."
The survey gauged the response to the Council's plan that "paves the way for building more than 6,000 new affordable housing units, including in exclusive single family neighborhoods.”
Some 71 percent disapproved of the plan approved last month on a 4 to 3 vote, 19 percent disapproved and 10 percent were unsure.
The plan to meet Santa Monica's ambitious State-mandated housing target largely relies on paving the way to build 100 percent affordable housing projects on City land.
It also calls for an overlay zone that would allow four-story buildings in most parts of the City ("Divided Council Approves Plan to Meet State's Affordable Housing Mandate," April 6, 2021).
The three challengers who scored upset victories in the November race for three full-term Council seats voted to reject the plan.
The margin was narrower when respondents were asked to weigh in on a program launched April 1 that added “Safety Ambassadors” in the Downtown to “address quality of life issues and help deter unwanted behavior” ("Rapidly Expanding Downtown Program Adds 'Safety Ambassadors,'" March 31, 2021).
Fifty-five percent said the new ambassadors "will not reduce crime and homelessness Downtown," while 28 percent said they would "slightly reduce" those problems.
Some 4 percent thought the ambassadors would "significantly reduce" crime and homelessness, while 13 percent were not sure.
The ambassadors -- who wear distinctive uniforms and possess security guard credentials -- assist Santa Monica police with "public nuisance incidents and criminal activity," according to Downtown officials.
The poll found more respondents in line with the Council's vote to oppose an ordinance that would have banned the “carrying or possession of items that can readily be weaponized” at community events and public assemblies.
Some 48 percent approved of the Council's rejection of the proposed emergency ordinance, while nearly 37 percent disapproved and nearly 16 percent weren't sure.
The three newest Council members voted in favor of the ordinance, which would have made it illegal to carry items such as poles, pipes, bottles, rocks and laser pointers ("Santa Monica Could Ban from Protests Items That Can Be 'Weaponized,'" April 7, 2021).
Asked if they thought Santa Monica was on "the right track," nearly 80 percent of the respondents said no, 2 percent said yes and nearly 19 percent were "not sure."
That was up from the 72 percent who said Santa Monica was not on the right track in the second poll, but down from 85 percent in the first poll.
The survey -- taken between April 14 and 20 -- asked if respondents had received a COVID-19 vaccine or planned to get one.
Some 74 percent said they had received at least one shot, 11 percent said they planned to be vaccinated and 15 percent said they did not plan to get the vaccine.
The latest Santa Monica Pulse poll was sent to some 1,000 residents and had a 17 percent response rate.
The poll was sent via text to "a group of civically engaged Santa Monica residents who had previously opted in to receive more information on education efforts surrounding crime and safety in their city," Eyes on Local 11 said.
To be included in the next poll, email your name and cell phone number to SaMoPulse@gmail.com.
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