by Sue Himmelrich, SMRR member and Former Mayor
Let me first answer the questions everyone asks. Do I miss Council meetings? No. Do I miss the reading? No. Do I miss the drama? Emphatic no! But do I miss the myriad of opportunities to make Santa Monica a better community and hearing from the public every two weeks (and virtually every day as Mayor)? Maybe a little.
But there are many ways to work to make Santa Monica better. SMRR has been my home since before I was even on Planning Commission. I first showed SMRR my PowerPoint demonstrating that the Village Trailer Park project as originally approved by Council provided less affordable housing than the legal minimum, and SMRR’s support prompted a new City Council to require a legally sufficient project. During my ensuing decade on Planning Commission and Council I could always count on SMRR as the first and loudest voice for affordable housing, conservation of rent control housing, resisting hyper-gentrification, and renters’ rights.
My new role as an unelected, unappointed activist will allow me again to advocate and agitate in my own unconstrained voice. We have lots of housing work to do at every level of government, and SMRR’s platform and grassroots network should be home base for that work in Santa Monica. The pandemic hampered our ability to launch planned projects, e.g., organizing tenant meetings in buildings and eviction court watch at the courthouse. I look forward to helping to launch those projects and more before next election season.