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Residents Back Main Street Pilot, Worry About Impact of Venice Homeless, Poll Finds

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica

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By Jorge Casuso

June 24, 2021 -- Most Santa Monica residents approve of the Council's vote to close a short stretch of Main Street to traffic on select weekends, according to a brief monthly poll.

Conducted between June 17 and June 23, the poll also found that most of the 170 "civically engaged" residents who responded worry about the impact of clearing homeless encampments in Venice Beach.

While those responses were clear cut, opinions on the impact of Kevin McKeown's abrupt retirement from the Council were more mixed, according to the the latest Santa Monica Pulse poll.

Asked if they felt more of less optimistic about Santa Monica's future with a new Councilmember and City Manager expected to take office, some 27 percent said they were more optimistic, while some 12 percent were less optimistic.

Most -- 37 percent -- said they were “unsure,” while another 24 percent said their feelings were unchanged.

On Tuesday, the Council is scheduled to vote to fill the vacant seat from a pool of 35 applicants ("Field of Council Hopefuls Swells With Final Rush," June 22, 2021).

The poll, which was conducted when 14 hopefuls had applied, found that 32 percent favored Planning Commissioner Mario Fonda-Bonardi, while 14 percent backed Lana Negrete, a member of the newly formed Public Safety and Reform Advisory Commission.

Jones of the Bay

Since the poll was taken, several frontrunners were added to the list of candidates. They include Rent Control Board Commissioners Nicole S. Phillis and Caroline Torosis, the only applicants currently holding elected office, and Planning Commissioner Ellis Raskin.

If the Council fails to make an appointment, a special election would be held.

Meanwhile, the City Manager's position will be filled on an interim basis by John Jalili, who held the post from 1984 to 1999 ("Jalili, City Reach Agreement for Interim City Manager Post," June 17, 2021).

Jalili, who takes over on Friday, will run the Ciity until the Council chooses a permanent replacement after Montebello City Manager René Bobadilla rejeced the City's offer ("Bobadilla Rejects Offer to Become Santa Monica City Manager," June 10, 2021).

When it comes to the Council's 4 to 1 vote to close a two-block stretch of Main Street once a month on Saturday and Sunday, 61 percent of the respondents approved, 28 percent disapproved and 11 percent were unsure ("Council Approves Main Street Pilot Program," June 10, 2020).

The response was equally clear cut when asked if they were worried that the removal of homeless encampments on Venice Beach would cause an increase in the homeless population in Santa Monica.

Sixty-eight percent said yes, 18 percent said no and 14 percent were unsure.

Last month's poll found that crime and homelessness continued to top the list of resident concerns, as they did before the November Council election ("Homelessness, Crime Still Top Resident Concerns, Poll Finds," May 28, 2021).

As with previous polls, the latest Santa Monica Pulse poll conducted by the hotel union watchdog group Eyes on Local 11 was sent to some 1,000 residents and this time had a 16 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."

Those who wish to be included in the next poll, should email their name and cell phone number to To view the poll results click here

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