By Jorge Casuso
November 2, 2023 -- A monthly poll of "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents found the vast majority agree with the City Council's recent decision to join a lawsuit seeking to block LA County's zero-bail system.
The Santa Monica Pulse poll -- taken between October 27 and 31 -- also found scant support for a proposal to help shorten Council meetings, as well as Governor Gavin Newsom's recent trip to China.
The poll of about 130 residents found that 81 percent approve of the Council's 4 to 3 vote to join more than 20 cities in a lawsuit to block the zero bail system that went into effect countywide on October 1.
Only 16 percent of the respondents opposed the Council vote at the October 10 meeting, while 3 percent were not sure.
The poll notes that the new protocol allows "those who commit theft offenses, vehicle code violations, and other property and non-violent
crimes to be either cited, booked and released, or referred to an on-call magistrate" ("Santa Monica Joins Lawsuit to Block Zero Bail," October 12, 2023).
The four Councilmembers who voted in closed session to join the lawsuit -- Phil Brock, Oscar de la Torre, Christine Parra and Lana Negrete -- all were elected on a pro-public safety platform.
The three opposing votes were cast by Mayor Gleam Davis and Councilmembers Caroline Torosis and Jesse Zwick, who are backed by Santa Monica's liberal establishment.
Torosis, who along with Davis, were the only Councilmembers to explain their vote, said the old cash bail system "criminalizes poverty and perpetuates inequality and injustice" and disproportionately affects "people of color."
The poll also shows little support for a proposal floated by Torosis to shorten Council meetings by requiring the vote of five Councilmembers, instead of four, to consider an item after 11 p.m. ("Councilmember Floats Proposal to Shorten Meetings," Councilmember Floats Proposal to Shorten Meetings," October 18, 2023).
Thirty-six percent support the proposal -- which Torosis removed from the October 24 Council agenda -- while 41 percent oppose it and 23 percent were not sure.
The poll notes that the proposal "would also limit Councilmember comments to one minute each with no member allowed to speak more than twice per item, in addition to other limitations meant to shorten meetings."
Over the past two decades, the Council has unsuccessfully tried to curb meetings that routinely go past midnight. proposals have included everything from placing a five-minute limit on oral staff reports to filing a lawsuit claiming that meeting after 11 p.m. violates the Brown Act.
Respondents also weighed in on California Governor Gavin Newsom’s week-long visit to China to “promote climate cooperation.” The poll noted that Newsom "has faced criticism for avoiding accusations of human rights violations in the country."
Twenty-six percent approved of Newsom's trip, 57 percent opposed it, while 17 percent were not sure.
As with previous polls, the latest Santa Monica Pulse poll was sent via text to nearly 1,000 residents who "previously opted in to receive more information on education efforts surrounding crime and safety in their city." It had a 13 percent response rate.
The poll is conducted by Eyes on 11, a hotel union watchdog. Those who wish to be included in the next poll should email their name and cell phone number to SaMoPulse@gmail.com