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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Hines Lawsuit, Referendum A Big Step In Right Direction

Posted Apr. 14, 2014, 9:22 am

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

The lawsuit and referendum against the Hines Project is a big step in the right direction, but the issue at hand is far more than just the Hines project in particular and over development in general.

Residents need to be aware of just who benefits from development revenues. Developers are not the only special interest that determines who gets elected to the Santa Monica City Council.

I’m talking about the elephant in the room feeding at the public trough; the powerful city employee associations and 200 member Santa Monica Renters Rights. The 13 member SMRR Steering Committee is running scared; changing sides and abandoning the four current members of the council they endorsed in the last election, attempting to deceive the residents by belatedly distancing themselves from developer interests.

Every one on the current council has received endorsements and support from SMRR, city employees and/or developers! Already, several candidates are already jumping on the Referendum bandwagon to run for council this year. Opportunistic sycophants are toadying up to SMMR and the various city employee associations in the hope of receiving their endorsements and contributions; some may even be supporting the following:

(1) an immediate moratorium on all development not approved by the residents who are directly impacted.

(2) repealing LUCE.

None will they be:

(3) speaking out against cronyism, conflict of interest, or

(4) repudiating any past or present council or SMRR members employed by the city at six figure salaries, or received excessive consultant fees, or city contracts.  

None of this is against the law, but it is highly unethical!

SMRR will not release the names of any of their members, or any present and past members of the City Council, who work for the city, school district, receive city contracts or consultant fees, etc. Nor will they release the names any SMRR members living in low income public housing.

As long as transparency and accountability is lacking in this city it will remain almost impossible to investigate the egregious conflict of interest and cronyism, so the coalition between SMRR, City Employees and developers will continue to influence elections, AND such rampant corruption will persist, unless a new council implements a Virtual Town Hall on the city website.

I will support any referendum that calls for a recall of any elected or appointed official that is part of the current ruling coalition. Unfortunately, (Santa Monica Daily Press columnist) Bill Bauer made sure that won’t happen when he ambushed Armen Melkonians into going on record that he would not use Residocracy to recall members of the council.

Jon Louis Mann

Santa Monica

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Apr. 14, 2014, 10:40:01 am

David in Santa Monica said...

What we need to do is have an investigation of our elected city leaders like the city of Bell, CA did. They uncovered lots of corruption and now some of them are going to prison for as long as 11 years! Let's have a closer look at Santa Monica to see what's really going on. If they're not afraid of losing their jobs or money then maybe the thought of jail time will straighten them out.

Apr. 14, 2014, 3:05:04 pm

Gregg Heacock said...

I appreciate Jon's comments but I take exception to his remark about Armen Melkonians being ambushed by Bill Bauer, regarding the use of Residocracy for recall. Armen held a public meeting in which he raised the question of what needed to be done to protect Residocracy and make it an effective tool for change. The focus needed to be on empowering residents so they would be heard. It was not to threaten City Council members with recall. Threatening people does not open channels for communication. Recall is something we could already do. Residocracy was formed to do something new. And we did it! We stopped the Hines Project from going forward. We have reason to celebrate those who helped achieve this victory for residential democracy!

Apr. 14, 2014, 4:20:58 pm

Helen M said...

Now with this precedent Santa Monicans can put the airport closure to a vote by the people. Hopefully this will be a new era of city governing by the people and not just the whims of the Mayor and council "under the influence" of corporate campaign donors.

Apr. 14, 2014, 11:22:16 pm

Randl Fleck said...

Wait a minute Helen, who do you think is paying for the pilot's Ballot Initiative that will change the City Charter to protect the pilot's exclusive interests at Santa Monica Airport? It is the AOPA (Aircraft Owners And Pilots Association) and corporate aviation. Talk about corporate interests !

Apr. 15, 2014, 10:34:11 am

Voters said...

Randl Fleck, who do you think wants the airport closed? Big developers like Hines! That's why we need to put these things to a vote. Who cares who put it on the ballot just put it on the ballot. Let the voters decide the Hines and the airport.

Apr. 15, 2014, 8:40:03 pm

Hines Beans said...

Pilots would like you to think that this is about development, and that is how they are marketing this but actually _READ_ the initiative. It says that ANY change (such as ending Lead gas sales in order to reduce lead pollution) will require another election or ANY change to raise the cost of current under marking leasing will require yet another election. This is designed to only to benefit the aviation industry not the people of Santa Monica.

Apr. 16, 2014, 9:57:16 am

Over you said...

That's right Nimby. Play the victim card! Your aggressive PR machine is now up against another aggressive PR machine. You brought the fight on by being unwilling to compromise and by being downright nasty. Now you must deal with the consequences of awakening an opposition that includes billionaire multi national corporations, the federal government and wealthy celebrities and VIPs. Good luck!

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