Before SMa.r.t. there were Letters to the Editor. Here are letters from 2013 by Ron Goldman, FAIA, and Bob Taylor, AIA, predicting the coming failure of the planning direction the City was actually implementing, as opposed to the direction set by the newly adopted LUCE (Land Use Circulation Element of the General Plan) that they … Continue reading So What’s New?
The music could be heard from blocks away. A man holding a large boombox on his shoulder, striding down Santa Monica Boulevard toward the Promenade, followed by a couple dancing happily to the loud rhythm. As the celebrating trio drew near, this writer noticed an elderly man dressed in rags and wearing a hospital patient’s … Continue reading Refugees in our Midst
Last week’s SMart Group column discussed the history of at-large representation for city council seats in Santa Monica. A proposed change in the election system would result in city council and school board seats chosen by the residents of each neighborhood rather than the entire city. Santa Monica would be divvied up into districts, with … Continue reading Depositions and Lawsuits, Oh My!
If our city were a ship, it might be described as “floundering and adrift.” At times it seems that Santa Monica knows neither where it’s going nor, if it did, how to get there. It is difficult to make policy without a clear vision or a well-defined course of action. For example, do we see … Continue reading Santa Monica…A City Searching for Itself at Sea
“Santa Monica pioneered the ‘park once’ strategy with centralized parking structures that made it easy for people to leave their cars behind… and walk” – Ted Winterer, Mayor. There is an expression: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This certainly applies to our Mayor’s recent suggestion that parking in Santa Monica’s downtown needs to … Continue reading The Road to “Parking Hell” is Paved…and We Are On It
The Santa Monica Pier is a major cultural asset for the City as it is for the whole of Southern California. The City perhaps doesn’t benefit so much directly in cash from its existence as much as from the cash infusion to the other commercial businesses which make up our downtown. Let me start by … Continue reading Challenges, “Opportunities” for our Pier
There has been a two decade battle to get a playing field at the South West corner of Pico and Fourth. That field was to provide expanded playing fields for both the crowded high school across the street and additional recreational sport options for everyone. This idea was enshrined in the Civic Center Specific Plan … Continue reading Zombie ECLS Kills Civic Center Playing Field
From the anecdotal evidence I’ve been receiving over the past few weeks, it appears that a crime explosion is underway in our lovely beachside community. Emails, screen grabs, Nextdoor posts and sharing on local social media indicate that crime in Santa Monica is rising and that the level of fear among many long-time residents is … Continue reading If it Bleeds, it Leads
“Oh, a storm is threat’ning My very life today If I don’t get some shelter Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away” Some 1,000 homeless people live on Santa Monica’s streets, without a guarantee of a warm bed or roof over their head. It is a social problem that is region, state, and nation wide, affecting … Continue reading “Gime Shelter” (to borrow a phrase)
Many residents in this city are forced to deal with a daily reality: the difficult interaction with the city’s man-made environment because of poor planning, inconsiderate design and weak communications. Examples range from parking structure signs on Fourth Street blocking the view of on-coming traffic, to well-known problems with the bus benches – a problem … Continue reading Santa Monica: A Friendly City for All, Especially the Most Vulnerable