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?