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Letter to the Editor: 'Evicting the Powerless Is Not the Santa Monica Way'

City Councilman Kevin McKeown raises concerns about the proposed Lionsgate development agreement at Stewart and Colorado.

Santa Monica City Councilman Kevin McKeown submitted the following letter to the editor to Santa Monica Patch on Friday morning:

On Tuesday night, the will be urged to approve a development agreement at Stewart and Colorado, as a way to keep a valued employer, , in town, and to retain good local jobs—both goals which merit consideration.

It is also important to retain residents. The only way to protect the nearby seems to be to coordinate the Lionsgate project with planning for the adjacent parcels.

Just a year ago, in adopting the new Land Use and Circulation Element, the council adopted language meant to protect the unique affordable-housing ownership opportunities at Village Trailer Park.

Now is the time our council must live up to last summer's commitment. If the approval of the Lionsgate project as currently proposed means the subsequent eviction of our long-term neighbors in the nearby Village Trailer Park, we must pause and seek a better plan. Evicting the powerless is not the Santa Monica way.

Paul Rich July 22, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Please forward me the Declaration of The Santa Monica Way. I would like to read it as I feel uninformed. I certainly champion the U.S. Constitution when it comes to property rights. As Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier point out in their book Decision in Philadelphia, those men had “an almost religious respect” for property, that “the rights of property were inviolable,” and that the Constitution itself is the embodiment of the rights of property as developed primarily by John Locke in the 17th century. So the question is: who owns The Village Trailer Park? Do they have a right to sell it? Will keeping Lionsgate help Santa Monica grow their economy, thus creating more jobs and an overall higher standard of living? I do not question the need for good affordable housing, essential for any community.
Nancy Schort July 22, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Hooray for Paul Rich!! I have lived and worked in Santa Monica over half of my life now and have always wondered if there was a hidden document the City Council was following that was written by some despot of a failed utopian economy. I figured the "Declaration of the Santa Monica Way" was not from our U.S.A. Founding Fathers. City Council: Please help Lionsgate, get rid of the eyesore "Village Trailer Park" and help your business base who is paying 5% off the top of Gross (not Net) to keep the City of Santa Monica afloat. Also, don't fine business people for washing vomit and urine off their business property doorsteps, don't let little children get panhandled and look at your "Rent Control Laws" that hurt small property landlords in our city. The City of Santa Monica is now the focus of humor across the country for helping out Mafia fugitives and protecting their rent at desirable close-to-beach rental properties at the expense of some honest, tax paying landlord. Whitey's landord should get the "2 million dollar reward" since it wouldn't even recover his rent receivables lost in the time Whitey lived on Third St. Loyal Subject, Nancy Schort
Claudia Schafer July 23, 2011 at 07:30 AM
Wow! How does anyone twist the arrest of a fugitive from justice into an indictment of rent control!?! And a landlord who failed to do a proper background check and collected cash rent month after month year after year deserves a reward for facilitating this 15 year vacation?! With all due respect Ms Schort - it is you, not Mr. McKeown who is out of line here. I applaud him for supporting a program that makes it possible for elderly, disabled, and other disenfranchised people to stay in their rented homes as long as they need to and are able. Even Mr. Rich, whose comments you have so heartily endorsed acknowledges that good affordable housing is essential to the vitality of any community. Additionally, the implied assertion that all landlords are honest and losing their shirts by owning property in Santa Monica is simply preposterous. There are good and bad tenants, as well as there are good and bad landlords. The Rent Control laws simply even the playing field between the haves and have-nots. Are you also opposed to Prop 13, which is an equivalent housing cost-control vehicle that helps keep your property taxes from skyrocketing you out of your home? Regarding the offensive bodily substances - surely the majority of that comes from poor souls who have already lost their homes, and thus not from people who are sheltered by rent control. If more people were to lose their homes for lack of that protection - well, that could result in more vomit for you to clean up.
Eddie Greenberg July 25, 2011 at 02:29 AM
Amen Claudia! Everybody is entitled to their own opinion but Kevin McKeown is only one of two council members to show compassion consistently to the people he serves. Kevin ought to be appreciated for this thoughtful letter and the balance he seeks to strike. Surely none can blame him for the Whitey Bulger fiasco. The landlords should not loose money for sure, but when is the last time you heard one go broke in our fair city? Kevin has not always been treated fairly by his peers either yet he never appears bitter or petty. That Kevin loves this city is immediately apparent when any resident engages him in conversation. None can doubt that he tries his best and that his record of accountability is above reproach. It would seem Kevin is the embodiment of "reasonable", in what used to be called a "reasonable profit." Santa Monica needs someone to save us all from the developer gluttany of the public trough, and the corruption of our leaders by developer legal and illegal campaign contributions. Watch the city council meetings and see how the people express their wishes against a development project and are voted against every time. Then watch who votes on the side of the people and sanity.

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