The Lines Have Been SMeaRRed - What's the Future of Rent Control in Santa Monica?

The Lines Have been SMeaRRed - Is this the beginning of the end of Rent Control in Santa Monica? The Writing is on the Wall - You Just have to Read it.

Over the weekend I received a political mailer from Santa Monica for Renter's Rights (SMRR).  Being intimately familiar with the biggest  overriding resident concerns in this election - that of course being over-development and the associated traffic and parking woes -  I was shocked to read the SMRR mailer.


SMRR informs the Santa Monica Voter that, "now big developers have formed a Super PAC that is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence our local election." They go on to warn and direct the Santa Monica voter to, "Don't let them get away with it.  Keep Santa Monica a community of low-rise human scale neighborhoods.  Protect rent control and affordable housing.  Defend local control over local planning."


Wait a minute.  Put on the Breaks.  What's going on here.  WOW!!

 It's time to react. SMRR is right. The Super PAC they are referring to is Santa Monican's United for  a Responsible Future (SMURF).  SMURF has raised at least $400,000 - mostly from big out-of-town developers -  to "independently" back those City Council candidates which they believe will ultimately vote favorably on development projects which will ultimately require City Council approval.  Millions of square feet of new construction, thousands of new apartment units - all currently in the pipeline - are waiting to be approved and built within our small 8-square mile City.  Not to mention of course the many millions of more square feet and countless tens of thousands of more new apartments which will follow, if these out of town developers are succesfull.


Thank you SMRR for warning us that if these out-of-town developers are successful in getting their slate of candidates elected, then Santa Monica may ultimately lose its protection of rent control and affordable housing.  Thank you SMRR for letting us know that we should not be fooled by these "out-of-town developers and real estate interests who put profit before people".  Thanks for giving us the heads-up about this Super PAC known as SMURF - Thanks for looking out for our future.


But wait. SMRR, you forgot to tell us who these candidates are that SMURF is independently backing.  Who are these candidates - that if they get elected - we may lose our protection of rent control and affordable housing?  I think that it's really important that we know, so that we as voters can make informed decisions. After all isn't SMRR interested in protecting Rent Control and affordable Housing.


Wait a minute! Put on the Breaks! What's going on here!  Double WOWWWWW!!!!!

Apparently SMRR is backing three of the four same candidates that the out-of-town developer group SMURF is backing.  That's right; Terry O'Day, Gleam Davis, and Ted Winterer are all backed by both SMRR and SMURF (and Shari Davis is the other candidate backed by SMURF).  So What's going on?  Welcome to Politics - Nothing is what it seems - Or is it exactly as it seems.


SMRR who is the champion of Santa Monica's Rent Control Law is warning us that Santa Monica risks losing Rent Control and affordable housing if the voters support the candidates which they themselves also support and "independently" back.


Is this the beginning of the end of Rent Control in Santa Monica?  Will all of the new non-rent controlled apartment units - which would be approved by the same SMURF and SMRR backed candidates - eventually dilute the existing percentage of rent controlled units in our city.  Will this dilution of  units, that fall under rent control, eventually lead to the overturning of rent control through a ballot measure which will not have enough Rent Control supporters to save Rent Control.


What side is SMRR on?  Have the lines been SMeaRRed?  Is SMRR really SMURF?  Is SMURF really SMRR?  Who can we trust anymore?   Who are the real players?  What is the future of Rent Control in Santa Monica?  Time will tell, but the writing is definitely on the wall - we just need to read it.


My name is Armen Melkonians, I am an independent City Council Candidate.  I did not make any alliances nor did I accept any contributions, I merely reached out to provide the Santa Monica Voter an alternate resident oriented simple platform.  As a California licensed Civil and Environmental Engineer, I offer  "Real Engineered Solutions not Political Ones" to our over-development and traffic and circulation problems. I am the only candidate licensed by the California Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors who can provide real engineered solutions.   My values and ethics have never been SMeaRRed - they have never been - nor will they ever be - for sale.  If elected, my vote and voice on City Council will only belong to the Residents of Santa Monica.


Vote your conscious on November 6 - for me the lines are not SMeaRRed - Are they for you?

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Jon Mann November 09, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Bauer does comes out with dirt on these guys, sometimes, but he doesn't follow up as thoroughly as I would like. He is an angry guy and is easily provoked, especially when he can't refute an argument. He loses control of his emotions and becomes irrrational. The blogs actually do a better job of exposing some of the corruption, cronyism, revolving door practices, and other conflicts of interest.
Brenda Barnes November 09, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I have a few ideas who might do it. I was shocked this week how many notices paid for by the City were in the Daily Press--what a conflict of interest that is! Ashley Archibald is a great reporter, but limiting the forum to developer lapdogs and John Smith was unconscionable. We've got our own corporate press problem. Actually doing the legal case for Village Trailer Park has made us notice all the problems in the Planning Department. Peter's thinking of writing a Ph.D. thesis at Cambridge on this case study of how a city goes bad. It's actually more of a structural problem than one would think. When I was a manager for the Rent Control Board, I refused to let my department be at City Hall. The Charter says keep the Board separate from the Council. When they stopped doing that, it was inevitable the Council would take over. Mary Ann Yurkonis personally was also very good in legal matters and very strong personally also--we don't have anything like her now. It's also interesting how many other freeloaders on the public trough they have. Do you know WISE? And Dial-a-Ride? Do nothing for non-paying clients. And Community Corp of SM. Co-Developer of the Village of SM!!! I think some of this is criminal. We are preparing a RICO submission to the US Atty General about stealing TORCA money to buy Mountain View Mobile Inn and then harassing tenants for 10 years, and now what they've done to VTP. We should get some real investigation there.
Jon Mann November 09, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Good luck, I wish you success! What this city needs is for the voters to wake up and Robert Myers, whom the city council fired, back as city attorney!
Brenda Barnes November 10, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Bob would never have sold out rent control the way the Council has, that's for sure. In fact, his principles are why they fired him and got such a poor substitute. Marsha Moutrie was a second-rate Rent Board lawyer, so that's what they wanted, someone who would do what they said, tell them some law justifies whatever they want to do. Have you looked up any of the cases they claim say whatever the Council wants? Ridiculous. They say the opposite.
Danielle Charney April 06, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Dead on Amen- and well said- I believe the intent is very clear to end rent control- have you tried dealing with that dept of late? Not the same as when the wonderful Beth Leder-Pac worked there or Barbara Collins worked in the city manager's office- they are not interested in helping and Community Core is tailored to keep low wage workers and rid the city of it's oldest and most needy and vulnerable residents- we have 55 million for a park to connect two huge projects but no money to revive and refund the Section 8 Program - the only program that really protected the most needy- oddly - the few vouchers available are funneled from the actual list to those who go through the pet programs - OPCC, Upward Bound, Step -Up etc- most people in those programs are not SM residents- and they get vouchers while the needy and deserving long time residents do not- SM is owned by developers- so is SMRR - we must stop it


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