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Blog: Open Letter to City Council to Terminate Jeffrey Tumlin's Contract

Residents are calling for the dismissal of planning consultant Jeffrey Tumlin, who has shown himself to be incapable of providing an objective analysis of our traffic and parking problems.

Residents all over our city are calling for the dismissal of planning consultant Jeffrey Tumlin, who, as you can read below, has shown himself to be incapable of providing an objective analysis of our traffic and parking problems.

We will be sending the following open letter to City Council, signed by as many Santa Monica residents as possible. If you would like to add your name to it, please do so by hitting "reply" and writing the words: "Add my name" followed by your name as you would like it to appear on the letter.

Here is the letter:

Dear City Council:

We are writing to urge you to dismiss planning consultant Jeffrey Tumlin.

While we are concerned by Mr. Tumlin's proposal to decrease the amount of parking required by new developments in our city-- this in spite of residents asking for MORE parking not less-- we are even more troubled by Mr. Tumlin's contemptuous attitude toward Santa Monicans.

In his own bio (on his website, http://www.nelsonnygaard.com/Resumes-NN/TUMLIN-J-resume.pdf as of 2/24/13) Mr. Tumlin describes Santa Monica residents concerned about overdevelopment and traffic, as: "...NIMBYs who used traffic fear as their primary tool for stopping development."

This dismissive attitude toward residents' legitimate concerns is alarming coming from a man who is tasked with finding solutions for ALL stakeholders in our community. Mr. Tumlin should be listening to residents-- who not insignificantly, are paying his salary-- rather than vilifying them.

Mr. Tumlin's attitude also betrays his belief that all development is good. He has shown that he has already made up his mind: residents' concerned about development are not to be taken seriously.

Additionally, Mr. Tumlin is dead wrong when he states, (also on his website, dated 2/24/13) "For decades, Santa Monica politics had been dominated by NIMBYs…"

The development history of Santa Monica is one of rapid growth, with over nine million square feet of new development added during the period Mr. Tumlin cites. (Which greatly exceeded our 1984 General Plan.) No one can reasonably say that "NIMBYs" have stopped development in Santa Monica or "dominated" Santa Monica politics. Indeed, such an assertion is outrageous.

Mr. Tumlin has also espoused the controversial idea of decoupling parking from new apartment projects; that is, allowing new apartments to provide less parking than currently required, this despite the fact that many Santa Monica neighborhoods have a history of terrible parking shortages. Requiring new units to have less parking benefits no one but developers.

Mr. Tumlin is wrong to demonize residents and he has demonstrated no interest in knowing or understanding the unique characteristics of our city. Instead, he calls residents names meant to diminish us.

Worse, he has undermined his credibility. If those with whom he disagrees are mere "NIMBYs", he must already know the results he's looking for. His conclusions and suggestions are now irrelevant.

As residents we urge you to terminate his employment immediately.

Thank you,

Diana Gordon, SMCLC

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kathy May 14, 2013 at 05:09 PM
I 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th this. Why would building new buildings without amply parking (for bikes, too!!!) is INSANE and just stooooopid. I could care less if the property owner will loose a few dimes, I DO NOT CARE!!! Parking is IMPORTANT & NECESSARY for all sorts of reasons, i.e., safety, convenience for the general public AND residents, lessens traffic "situations", etc. etc. etc.
Kathy May 14, 2013 at 05:17 PM
I was "sort of" with Gary for awhile -- but with these last statements he blew me wayyy away from his ideas and plans. I can see where they are driven --> towards bikers ONLY, and screw the rest of us - no matter what the age. Old folks can just pack up and leave a city they have supported for a hell of a lot longer than he has (AND how does he support the City of Santa Monica other than his blogging and opinIons???), the population of 55 years and older are the people with large and small businesses, AND homes, they have maintained here (which I am one of these people!), residents paying the property taxes and raises to support the schools, roads, etc. ADIOS GARY !!!
Kathy May 14, 2013 at 05:24 PM
I do NOT want more bikers taking advantage of our insensible traffic laws/regulations giving bikers a sense of owning the entire road. I intend to read the biking laws/regulations because I am tired of endangering myself because of their rude, uncaring riding on the streets, AND they are STILL riding their freakin' bikes on the sidewalks. I had to literally jump out of the way for a biker (about 35 years old) riding on the sidewalk in front of Whole Foods (23rd & WIlshire) traveling VERY fast! I was so damn angry I wish I would have pushed him out into the street. But thank God he had his helmet on!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Yep, Gary walking is so much fun with these sorts of bikers actions happening way too often.
Gary Kavanagh May 14, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Kathy, I have never said "bikers only", I'm not sure where you are getting that from, and have been quite explicit in promoting transportation choices. When many people drive for trips they hate to make by car but feel compelled to because alternative means are subject to hazard, harassment, or unnecessary inconvenience or other things our society subjects non-car travelers to, that is not a just model of freedom or mobility. I pay taxes here like anyone else, my primary employment is in video game development locally. I live here, work here, shop here, eat here, and rarely take my money elsewhere. Many seniors cannot drive at all, so it baffles me why promoting pedestrian and bicycle safety, and better public transit service is perceived like some attack upon the elderly. Many seniors aren't driving (and some are who perhaps shouldn't) and they deserve better choices. Some cannot ride bikes, but I've never said any one mode of transportation is appropriate to everyone. However some folks can ride, well into late age, like Octavio Orduño, who rides a 3 wheeled bike around regularly in Long Beach at the age of 104 now. We should be make safe spaces and streets that can accommodate self powered mobility for anyone that wants the opportunity to do so free of assault and harassment by motorists. High quality bike facilities also significantly reduce prevalence of sidewalk bicycling by buffering bicyclists from on road harassment and assault.
Gary Kavanagh May 14, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Kathy, I believe having housing that people can afford is equally as important as having parking spaces. Overbuilding parking in multifamily housing structures significantly contributes to higher rents, in some cases as much as a few hundred dollars a month difference. Whether parking is mandated for housing or not, most developers build it. Within the downtown, developments don't have to build parking & haven't had to for years because they pay into the parking district garages and lots. However most developers build on-site parking for housing anyways. One recent proposed project without car parking, only bike parking, passed the public process but was rejected for financing as proposed without parking by skeptical local banking interests that are tepid about deviations from what they are used to. However I do not believe legal mandates for parking should be the highest priority given the defining problems of the 21st century. Any number of things could be higher priorities, more affordable units, solar energy, better durability, greater water efficiency, but none of those priorities are placed as high as we do on subsidizing car parking. In the Pico Neighborhood 20% of households have no car, but 0% of new housing is built without bundled car spaces, raising housing costs to accommodate cars, even for people who don't drive. I don't believe car free households should be forced by the government to pay for the private real estate demands of car owning households.

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