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Council Shouldn't Get Raises, Monthly Poll Finds


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By Jorge Casuso

June 3, 2024 -- A monthly poll of Santa Monica residents found most respondents oppose giving pay raises to Councilmembers or amnesty to UCLA students arrested during anti-Israel protests.

The Santa Monica Pulse survey of about 130 residents concerned with public safety also found overwhelming support for a new ordinance barring the use of City funds to distribute needles in outdoor public spaces.

The poll, taken between May 31 and June 2, found that 56 percent of respondents oppose a proposal to raise the compensation for Councilmembers, who are paid about $17,000 a year.

Thirty percent favored the increase, which proponents on the Council argue would make the seven-member elected body more economically diverse. The other 14 percent said they are not sure.

At its May 28 meeting, the Council took initial steps to explore the proposal by voting 6 to 1 to conduct a survey of comparable charter cities to determine how much Councilmembers make in compensation and benefits ("Council Could Explore Asking Voters for a Raise," May 30, 2024).

The result of the survey -- which will be presented at the first Council meeting in July -- will help the Council decide whether to place a charter amendment on the November ballot.

The poll also found strong opposition to a demand by the union representing student workers to give "amnesty for those who experienced arrest or are facing University discipline” for their role in the pro-Palestinian protests.

The poll noted that "some protesters erected encampments on school property and took over a campus building before being pushed out by police."

Seventy-eight percent of those polled said they oppose giving the students amnesty, 16 percent favor amnesty, while 6 percent were not sure.

The demonstrations ended after hundreds of police officers from several agencies dismantled the encampment and arrested some 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

The move came after counter-protesters mounted an attack on April 30, tossing fireworks, setting off tear gas and attempting to dismantle barricades.

The April 30 attack prompted UCLA to launch a search for the counter-protesters with the help of LAPD, internet sleuths and the media. So far, an 18-year-old high school senior from Beverly Hills has been arrested.

The poll conducted by Eyes on 11, a hotel union watchdog, also found overwhelming support for an ordinance that bars any City funds and Human Service Grants from being used to distribute needles and glass pipes in Santa Monica’s parks, all public areas and near schools.

Eighty-five percent of the respondents said they support the ordinance approved by the Council on May 14 with a 6 to 1 vote, while 13 percent oppose it and 2 percent were not sure.

Under the ordinance, contracts with the Venice Family Clinic and CLARE|Matrix, which provides treatment for drug addiction, will include the funding restriction as a condition to receive City money ("Council Bars Use of City Funds for Needle Distribution Program," May 17, 2024).

As with previous polls, the latest Pulse poll was sent via text to about 1,000 Santa Monica 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.

Those who wish to be included in the next poll should email their name and cell phone number to

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