Letter from Co-Chairs Denny Zane and Mike Soloff
SMRR members, Election season is upon us and soon we will all go to the polls or mail in our ballots to vote for national, state and local leaders. This November Santa Monicans will again vote to elect members of the Santa Monica City Council and the Rent Board, School Board and the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees. We are writing now, as we have before every election for the past 40 years, seeking your help. We write now because we need your support if we are to win again.
First, we need you to plan to attend our online endorsement convention on Sunday, August 30 at 1:00 pm. The info will be on our website: www.smrr.org/convention. And we need your financial support. It is the only way that we have remained competitive and able to elect SMRR supported candidates all these 40 years – because of your support.
Developer interests will give plenty of money to our rivals. Your support is the only way we can elect candidates truly committed to protecting renters, renters’ rights and our rent control law, and those truly committed to SMRR’s priorities of preserving our affordable rental housing, of developing new affordable housing, rather than market rate luxury housing or oversized and overpriced luxury hotels, and ensuring that commercial office developments that generate excessive traffic are restrained.
For the past forty years in Santa Monica at every election we have faced essentially the same challenge – will the Santa Monica City Council represent the best interests of the community of Santa Monica, especially the renter majority of Santa Monica, or will it be swayed by moneyed interests who are primarily interested in enriching themselves by enabling more and more upscale development with the minimum possible community benefits? Most often, we have won and have elected people who are fully committed to renters’ rights and smart, moderate scale development, people who make us proud year after year– like Mayor Kevin McKeown and Sue Himmelrich whom we re-elected two years ago.
But sometimes, people who are elected to the City Council, including some we have previously supported, disappoint us and begin to vote increasingly in support of the objectives of development interests. We do not believe that all development is bad. We have supported thoughtful revitalization in our downtown and have worked tirelessly to create more affordable housing.
But some council members seem never to vote “No” on any development and seem never to vote against the urgings of the coterie of development attorneys who work regularly in Santa Monica to maximize profit for their clients and so to minimize any return to the City. We believe there is a risk that a majority of the current Santa Monica City Council might be inclined to support excess development. When that happens, we need your help to challenge them!
SMRR is a grassroots organization, among the most enduring and successful such organizations in our nation. But we endure and succeed only because of the support we get from neighbors like you. Please attend our convention on August 30 and send in a donation right away. And please put your email address on the enclosed card so we can update you quickly on important information.
Denny Zane and Mike Soloff SMRR Co-Chairs