Open Letter to City Council to Terminate Jeffrey Tumlin's Contract

February 27, 2013

Dear Santa Monican,

Residents all over our city are calling for the dismissal of planning consultant Jeffrey Tumlin, who, as you can read below, has shown himself to be incapable of providing an objective analysis of our traffic and parking problems.

We will be sending the following open letter to City Council, signed by as many Santa Monica residents as possible. If you would like to add your name to it, please do so by emailing us here and writing the words: "Add my name" followed by your name as you would like it to appear on the letter.

Here is the letter:

Dear City Council:

We are writing to urge you to dismiss planning consultant Jeffrey Tumlin.

While we are concerned by Mr. Tumlin's proposal to decrease the amount of parking required by new developments in our city-- this in spite of residents asking for MORE parking not less-- we are even more troubled by Mr. Tumlin's contemptuous attitude toward Santa Monicans.

In his own bio (on his website, as of 2/24/13) Mr. Tumlin describes Santa Monica residents concerned about overdevelopment and traffic, as: "...NIMBYs who used traffic fear as their primary tool for stopping development."

This dismissive attitude toward residents' legitimate concerns is alarming coming from a man who is tasked with finding solutions for ALL stakeholders in our community. Mr. Tumlin should be listening to residents-- who not insignificantly, are paying his salary-- rather than vilifying them.

Mr. Tumlin's attitude also betrays his belief that all development is good. He has shown that he has already made up his mind: residents' concerned about development are not to be taken seriously.

Additionally, Mr. Tumlin is dead wrong when he states, (also on his website, dated 2/24/13) "For decades, Santa Monica politics had been dominated by NIMBYs…"

The development history of Santa Monica is one of rapid growth, with over nine million square feet of new development added during the period Mr. Tumlin cites. (Which greatly exceeded our 1984 General Plan.) No one can reasonably say that "NIMBYs" have stopped development in Santa Monica or "dominated" Santa Monica politics. Indeed, such an assertion is outrageous.

Mr. Tumlin has also espoused the controversial idea of decoupling parking from new apartment projects; that is, allowing new apartments to provide less parking than currently required, this despite the fact that many Santa Monica neighborhoods have a history of terrible parking shortages. Requiring new units to have less parking benefits no one but developers.

Mr. Tumlin is wrong to demonize residents and he has demonstrated no interest in knowing or understanding the unique characteristics of our city. Instead, he calls residents names meant to diminish us.

Worse, he has undermined his credibility. If those with whom he disagrees are mere "NIMBYs", he must already know the results he's looking for. His conclusions and suggestions are now irrelevant.

As residents we urge you to terminate his employment immediately.

Thank you,

In the news, Santa Monica Daily Press:
Community groups demand consultant’s job over comment

..."Even planning director David Martin who said that he has confidence in Tumlin's firm "vigorously opposed Tumlin's comments" and said he was concerned that they would hurt his ability to work in SM, particularly in meetings."

In the news, Santa Monica Daily Press:
Consultant refuses to remove ‘NIMBY’ comment

Resident letter to editor:
..."Only a consultant would consider his fancy (and expensive) how-to plan as an “accomplishment,” when there are zero tangible results, nor any results-based metrics to judge it on. Based on his blue-sky projections, the city of Santa Monica bows at his feet, and is gambling that millions of square feet of new development are just what we need while already overwhelmed with traffic. ..."