LWV League of Women Voters of California
Los Angeles County, CA November 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Donna Block

Candidate for
Member of the City Council; City of Santa Monica

This information is provided by the candidate

I believe our community has been under siege by special interest groups and that SMRR and union militancy is rendering us incapable of standing up for the greater public good. If elected, I envision my relationship with unions, both public and private, to be the same as any other relationship I may have, with any other special interest group; Fair and equal representation.

I support increased wages for workers in my community and feel that what has been studied and proposed thus far to be inadequate in addressing the real problem. I would further a study on the proposed `Local Earned Income Tax Credit' because I believe it has a greater potential of meeting the needs of low wage workers in my community. It would affect all low wage earners, who live and work in Santa Monica; not just a select few who work in a small area on the coast.

Santa Monica has a serious problem with far more than our share of homeless. We cannot provide services for the nation; Santa Monica's city limit is eight square miles and we already have a population of 90,000. We have to work within our means to adequately accommodate those who we can. I think we need to make a distinction between those who are truly homeless and those who are hard core transient in need of mental health services that are out-come based, life-changing, and rehabilitating.

Our city budget provides for funds that go into housing, but they are not directed towards projects for the residents of Santa Monica. Seniors and families that already live here have to be placed on waiting lists, and compete with applicants from all over the nation who wish to live in Santa Monica. The inability to prioritize applicants occurs because we co-mingle state, federal and city funds, for all affordable-housing projects. Because of this we had almost three-hundred displaced people, on the street, this year.

If we truly were concerned with providing for the people of Santa Monica, we would fund housing that would allow us to prioritize our own residents also. I believe the quality of the services we provide to the community outweighs the quantity of services we provide to the nation.

I am very supportive of a revision of the old TORCA plan, SMRPH. It creates and protects, affordable housing. Affordable housing that doesn't even have to be subsidize by the tax payers. Housing that can be purchased at an affordable price by tenants that may never have the opportunity do do so otherwise. Although I may not to be ready to buy my apartment right now, I sure would like to have that option open for me in the future.

I believe affordable housing should be as available to the
middle class as to anyone else. SMRPH continues to protect low-income housing while it also opens the door for the hard working middle class and their families.

It is the only progressive future for affordable housing in this town and has a provision that guarantees a 99 year lease, not only for the tenant but also protects the rights of roommates that reside in the unit for three months, even if they are not on the lease. Rent control can't do that, in fact, the Costa Hawkins Act has basically eliminated most protections of rent control and the courts are upholding the law in spite of challenges. SMRPH is the only protection renters have left. In addition, it makes available the possibility of ownership to renters in Santa Monica, something that would never be accessible to most of us in this life time.

Residents at the June 3rd Mid-City Neighbors Annual Convention overwhelmingly voted to support this initiative, their only question was why they haven't heard of this before.

Non purchasing tenants in a SMRPH conversion receive an irrevocable a 99yr lease that maintains existing local rent control and eviction protections, even if rent control is abolished in SM.

Senior Citizens may pass on an existing lease agreement with a "will" type of written designation.

No SMRPH tenant can be evicted under the Ellis Act", No SMRPH tenant can be charged more than the maximum allowable rent, even if rent control is abolished.

No SMRPH tenant can be given a rent increase under "Costa Hawkins" or any other laws that seek to decontrol rent levels.

No SMRPH tenant can be evicted for "owner-occupancy" If your unit is "bootlegged", there are specific provisions to legally convert, increasing housing in SM. Currently, if those units are discovered the tenants are evicted and the unit goes off the market.

SMRPH protects existing housing, protects renters and provides our residents with options for a piece of the American Pie.

My vision for Santa Monica is a community that first tends to the needs of the citizenry for open space as it competes with overdevelopment in our community. I see:

  • All the promises of upgrading the parks and playing fields come into being. Our community truly begins to green up, and I don't mean planters in the middle of the road. Virginia Park no longer has a "plan," because it's done, and kids are playing soccer at the airport fields.

  • Roads that move traffic smoothly, with lights that are timed and a plan for traffic that is both comprehensive and citywide. I see places to park when you get home or do business at a local merchant because development has slowed and has become neighborhood friendly.

  • Kids of all ages, having things they enjoy doing, activities that don't cost a fortune or require parent transport. I see after-school programs that provide sports, enrichment, and tutoring with the open space of parks and fields to do them in.

  • Palm trees on the next block because building codes of height, density, size, and parking, are no longer waived. Housing is development too! I see a lot of recycling of existing buildings, maybe even incentives to encourage slow growth.

I intend to uphold the master plan that has already been approved for our community. We have yet to see any real change in upgrading and increasing our open space. I support the proposal for 3% of our city budget to go towards open space and would push for that to actually happen as soon as possible. Money has been set aside and promises have been made to our community, we need to see those plans go into effect.

As a member of the `League of Women Voters', I am working on a transportation study with our local league. We are looking at a light rail line. MTA is planning a light rail line from downtown Los Angles to Santa Monica. The Governor's new transportation plan will help fund it. Over ten years ago the City of Santa Monica begin planning the use of the old Exposition railroad line for light rail transit. L.A. County Transportation Commission (predecessor to the MTA) bought it from the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1990. The tracks are still on the south side of Olympic Boulevard by Bergamot Station and between USC and Exposition Park.

MTA began considering Exposition again for transit in 1998, after Proposition A ended local funding for future subway extensions, leaving Federal money that had been allocated for a short Red Line subway extension to Pico/San Vicente. At the beginning of this year, the MTA's consultants recommended a short list of West-side projects to begin detailed planning and an EIR: dedicated bus lanes along Wilshire Boulevard, and light rail and bus-way alternatives along Exposition.

The route adopted by the MTA Board follows Exposition from Santa Monica to USC/Exposition Park, where it would turn north to join the Long Beach Blue Line. Major street crossings would be on bridges; others would use signal control to give priority to trains. The MTA will also be planning a bike-way along the mostly 50 or 100 foot wide right-of-way. This line would eventually link-up to all other major lines in the region.

I think the `Neighborhood Watch' programs in our community have been successful to the most part and have raised the level of awareness in our community to watch out for our neighbors. SMPD has done a very good job of keeping our crime rate down for the last five years without having a strong, visible, police presence. I believe that a responsive police force is necessary in a community that has up to 400,000 visitors on weekends and am happy with the way they have created an environment that feels, and is safe, for visitors and residents alike. However, I know that some residents feel that regular pa

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