Letter To The Editor: I’m My Own Voice On Santa Monica Development

Saturday, 8 Feb 2014, 6:44:00 AM

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

I recently attended my first Santa Monica City Council meeting after moving here a year and a half ago from the Valley. I came to speak and support the Bergamot Transit Village project and sat through hours of public comments.

In those comments and the public dialogue that followed through our local newspapers and community blogs, many community members claimed that they were speaking for all of Santa Monica and asserted that the residents of Santa Monica were united against the project.

Neighborhood groups and community organizations claimed to speak on behalf of me opposing the project, but my voice is my own. I’m a renter, a resident of the Pico Neighborhood, and I work in downtown Santa Monica.

I favored Bergamot Transit Village as proposed, and I feel that my voice was heard and considered by our elected officials, along with the voices of the many other supporters at the hearing.

Some have accused the majority of the members of City Council who voted for the Bergamot Transit Village of being out of touch with the residents of Santa Monica.

As a young resident of Santa Monica, I take offense to that. I moved here because I wanted to be part of a city that is changing and growing in the right way.

I’m proud of our bike lanes, our clean buses, and our thriving walkable downtown.

I’m proud of our cultural destinations like Bergamot Station, our parks, our libraries, and our charming storefront-lined streets like Main and Montana.

I’m a resident just as much as members of our community that have lived here for 50 years or more.

I'd like to continue to see developments oriented around transit to improve our quality of life and I believe Bergamot Transit Village will do just that.

Simply because a vocal group of residents gets together and rallies against a project does not mean that they represent the views of the majority of residents in the city.

It’s hard to get young people to sit through four or more hours of a community hearing to speak for two minutes, but I can tell you that many of my friends who live or work in Santa Monica favor this project.

I know because I have asked them. It’s important to be aware that residents who are happy about the way Santa Monica is transforming are not as motivated to be vocal because they're too busy enjoying this amazing city that we live in.

I’m tired of hearing others claim to speak on my behalf. I’m a resident of this city and I speak for myself!

Jeremy Stutes

Resident, Santa Monica

Chairman, railLA

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