October 11, 2010

Dear Neighbor,

Does this make sense to you?

Powerful developers want to build huge projects in our city, larger than current zoning allows. Rather than live by the rules, they go to City Council for a "Development Agreement," a loophole that allows them to violate existing zoning in exchange for some specific "public benefits."

City Council grants the Development Agreement, usually over the objections of local neighbors. The massive project is built. More traffic spills onto our streets. Santa Monicans are stuck in gridlock, unable to move in our own city, and then...

The developer doesn't even deliver on the "public benefits" part of the Development Agreement.

It's true. According to the city staff's own report, eight of twelve of these monster projects have been out of compliance with their promised "public benefits."

Our City Council has allowed developers to build beyond what our city allows-- beyond what residents want - then has looked the other way as those powerful developers reneged on their end of the agreement.

Developers get the gold mine, while residents get the shaft.

How does this happen?

Take a look at four-term council member Pam O'Connor. In her 16 years of being on City Council, Ms. O'Connor has NEVER voted against a Development Agreement. Never. Not once.

Apparently, Ms. O'Connor feels that every time a developer wants to build a project larger than zoning allows, City Council should bend the rules and let them. (Ms. O'Connor has been absent for a few DA votes, but alas, in sixteen years has never voted against one.)

Follow the money.

Before her last election, Ms. O'Connor retired almost her entire previous campaign debt with donations from one single developer, who at that time had the largest project then pending in our city. (Macerich Company, the developers of Santa Monica Place.)

And in this election cycle she's done it again! Ms. O'Connor has taken over 95% OF THE MONEY she needed to RETIRE HER LATEST CAMPAIGN DEBT from ONE DEVELOPER, who also happens to have the largest pending project in town. (The developers of the PaperMate site on Olympic and 26th Street.)

Ms. O'Connor also recently cast the deciding vote overturning the city's Landmark Commission's decision to protect the historic apartments at 301 Ocean Ave, thus causing the eviction of residents from 47 units of affordable housing to make way for high-end condos. Then she turned around and accepted campaign contributions from the out-of-state developer who owns THAT project. (301 Ocean Ave. Tammell Crow developer.)

Shouldn't Santa Monica's elected leaders be better than that?

This November, you can send a message to Ms. O'Connor as well as the other Big Developer Inc. candidates seeking re-election.

The days of cashing developer's checks, then clogging our city streets with their traffic are over.

You can send this message by voting for three candidates who will work for residents, not powerful special interests. Vote for Ted Winterer and Kevin McKeown for election in the four-year Council seats. And vote for Susan Hartley for election in the two-year seat.

And to make your vote even stronger, vote ONLY for those three candidates.

If you want to help more, send this email to five other Santa Monica voters.

And visit our website at smclc.net to learn more and to make a donation to help us reach more Santa Monica voters.

Is Santa Monica for sale? Sadly, many of our City Council members act like it is. Let's change that this November.

Thank you.