Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Way to Go Santa Monica!!

Well, we dodged a big one last night. Proposition T was defeated by a 12% majority. That strikes me as a victory for the LUCE process, and a defeat of ad hoc planning by a strident minority. Over the next few weeks I will transform this blog into one that advocates on urban design and planning issues in the city, but for now, I will just enjoy. Congratulations to all who worked against this measure, to our re-elected council members, and to everyone who voted for Measure R, an important part of this overall effort.


Gary said...

I was happy to see all the transit issue endorsements I made went the way I wanted, Yes 1A (some votes still needed but looks strong), Yes on R, and No on T. Thanks for putting this blog together to provide the real issues on Prop T.

I thought it was interesting that on my blog primarily about riding a bike, my post against Prop T became the most viewed post on my entire blog in the final days before the election.

Frank Gruber said...

And way to go Neal. --Frank

Dan Jansenson said...

You forgot to congratulate the out-of-state developers who poured over a million dollars into the campaign to defeat the measure.

These are the same developers who contributed thousands of dollars (or more) to the reelection campaigns of incumbent anti-T Council members who will be ruling on those developers' projects, currently in the pipeline.

While you are congratulating yourself and other anti-T proponents, consider for a minute how the democratic process--and the functioning of the City Council--in this small city have been distorted by these commercial interests' intervention in the process. And keep in mind that over 14,000 voters here supported T because they've been observing how this city has been developing over the past few years and are deeply unhappy that their concerns are not being heard.

It is one thing to advocate on behalf of urban planning principles, but you ignore half the electorate at your peril. These are folks who live here and aren't going away any time soon.

Neal Payton said...

No Dan, it's 44% of the electorate that you believe were ignored. And Dan, if you read the blog, the whole blog, you'd know that I am not ignoring them, but suggesting that there are better ways to reduce traffic than Prop T. This is a question of tactics,and technique. It's not us against them. I am amazed that the 14,000 citizens are not being heard. Have they not been participating in LUCE? or is it that compromises have been made and therefore LUCE is not 100% of what they want?

dan jansenson said...

"No Dan, it's 44% of the electorate that you believe were ignored"

Well, I guess ignoring the wishes of 44% of the electorate is somehow much better than ignoring those of 50%. I stand corrected.

Many of the RIFT supporters HAVE been participating in the LUCE process, and have been finding the process sadly lacking in many different ways. But more importantly, the LUCE process has been extended, complicated, and not easy to understand for many residents. I know several that stopped going to the meetings because the information was presented in a way that was difficult to understand; the mechanisms for input were not well described, and frankly it required a very large investment of personal time and attention to a complex issue. The bottom line is that opponents of T are in favor of a project that-NEARLY-half the electorate strenuously opposes, whether you agree with their reasoning or not.

To keep pushing a policy that so many people oppose is not only anti-democratic at a very fundamental level (particularly in a community of our size), but also displays an "I am an expert who knows more than you" arrogance that is likewise rejected by many people here.

You may believe that it is a "question of tactics and technique" but for many residents here it's a question of City Hall again not listening to the needs of a large part of the community. Urban Planning does not trump all, democracy does. And democracy was ill served by the flood of developer money that distorted the issues, and blanketed the community with lies and misrepresentations.

People didn't vote against RIFT for urban planning reasons, but because they were fearful of damaging the schools, responding to a completely bogus claim made by many anti-RIFT advocates funded by out-of-town development money. It was a disgraceful display of political arrogance.

I, too, am an architect but if I was associated with the anti-RIFT campaign, even if I felt strongly about the urban planning virtues of the LUCE process, I'd be deeply embarrassed at my association with this campaign and would fight to repudiate it.

Neal Payton said...

By the same token for you to keep pushing a policy that over 1/2 the residents rejected might be construed as equally undemocratic.

You seem to know why people voted against T. How is that? Did you do polling?

Moreover, I will say, I don't know why people voted against T, probably for a variety of reasons, one them being the possibility that it will hurt schools, which I believe will be the case. We disagree on this issue, but to call it a completely bogus claim implies a financial acumen on your part, that is beyond psychic. The competing analysis conflict.

Please note that on this blog, which in no way was associated with the Save Our City my claim was based on this analysis. I have attempted to be fair, but even if you think I was not, for you to say that it is impossible to think that this measure could not hurt schools is as arrogent as you claim the other side.

You claim that the anti-T folks used scare tactics. I think both sides used such tactics. The mailings I received implied that failure to pass this measure would bring traffic in Santa Monica to a standstill - despite the fact that traffic studies suggested no such thing, that this would somehow stop large buildings, despite the fact that it had nothing to do with building size, that it would stop 6 and 8 story buildings, etc. Neither set of tactics was appropriate. I was told on other blogs, to "get the hell out of town," called a "stooge," or "paid agent." One woman made up my biography, and speculated why I'd live in Santa Monica, if I hated it so much. Another suggested I had no right to an opinion as I am a newcomer.

The bottom line is that I believe this measure was wrong. I worked hard to fight it. It lost. I'm pleased. I will now work hard to promote what I believe are smart land use and planning decisions. I will do that as a citizen, my right, just like yours.

Dan Jansenson said...

"Moreover, I will say, I don't know why people voted against T, probably for a variety of reasons, one them being the possibility that it will hurt schools, which I believe will be the case. We disagree on this issue, but to call it a completely bogus claim implies a financial acumen on your part, that is beyond psychic. The competing analysis conflict. "

It is a completely bogus claim because placing a limit on the rate of increase of city revenues--if in fact T would have resulted in such--simply does not automatically suggest a reduction in school funding. There are many, many places where reductions can occur and savings made before any suggestion is made to reduce school funding, including half-baked streetscape improvement plans in the downtown area, and the unwillingness of the city to take the appropriate Federal tax credits from the infrastructure benefits provided by the urban forest's stormwater runoff mitigation impact (I mention this because it's been an area of particular interest for me during this year's efforts to preserve the city's urban forest downtown).

The use of school funding as a scare tactic was, and continues to be, a disgraceful attempt to intimidate voters. I have yet to see any of the anti-T proponents repudiate this tactic. I have also yet to see any of the incumbent council members who received anti-T developers' contributions repudiate these tactics as well.

It doesn't matter. As Peggy Clifford said in the santamonicadispatch.com,
"Bloom, Genser and Katz will surely have to recuse themselves from discussing and voting on a whole lot of proposed developments because they took money from the developers."

We'll see if that happens. But if it does, the resulting stalemate in City Council will make all these discussions moot.

I don't know why you are so defensive about exercising your right to support a measure you agree with. I, for one, never suggested otherwise, and your blog provides a perfect vehicle for that. More than that, I have strenuously objected to the efforts of certain City Council members to cut off discussion, by the public, of topics that cause them discomfort (on several occasions this past year).

I suspect that if they refuse to recuse themselves when these developers' projects come up for review, there will be ample opportunity for them to attempt another public speech restriction. I encourage you to speak up then, if it does occur.

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