Santa Monica City Council Candidate Oscar de la Torre Supports Lawsuit by SMCLC to Protect Public Land for Public Use
Public land is a rare commodity in our City and once it is sold off to private interests there is no turning back. I believe that public land should benefit the true owners of this land, the residents. Yet the City Council has voted to give away our public land and it is the developer who stands to profit while Santa Monica residents lose out.
?Let me be clear on my position on the Plaza project for the public space at 4th-5th and Arizona. This project uses scarce public land for a huge private project. I stand wholly and unequivocally in support of the Surplus Land Act suit being brought by Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) and for the principle that public land should remain public, be under public control and be used for public purposes. Thus, I oppose the Plaza project not only on the basis of its massiveness and inappropriateness for the space and for the city of SM, but more importantly, for the land grab, giveaway and plunder of the public purse that it represents. The City Council should have ended negotiations with the developer but instead it moved forward with the developer and their project essentially ignoring the Surplus Land Act.
Moreover, I believe that the City should not enter into development agreements (DAs), which are contractual instruments formed between the city and developers outside of public process and outside of public view. This in effect, permit and enable circumvention of city codes and regulations regarding land use, in this case, zoning and other codes long on the books as well as the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), which is the product of a decade-long public planning and democratic process, continuously being circumvented through DAs. With regard to other projects for which the city has behind closed doors negotiated DAs for overdevelopment and hyper-density, I stand firmly opposed.