Location: Santa Monica, CA
Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City ("SMCLC") is a nonprofit, all volunteer group of Santa Monica residents concerned about unsustainable commercial development in our city, the effects it has on traffic and our quality of life, and the influence developer money has on our local elections.
Through education, advocacy, and organizing, SMCLC works to ensure that residents have meaningful input into the development decisions that affect their lives.
With traffic gridlock threatening to become the new norm in our city, intensified commercial development continues at an alarming rate. New projects are discussed in isolation, without fully accounting for other projects that are either on-line or will be coming online in the future. "Development Agreements", which enable projects to be built beyond what zoning codes allow in exchange for some promised community benefit, are almost never denied.
Then, as has been disclosed, developers often don't even live up to the meager community benefits that were promised, and the city doesn't enforce those so-called requirements. Developers are allowed to build beyond zoning requirements, while the community receives little in return but additional traffic.
SMCLC was formed in 2005 when the owners of Santa Monica Place, the city's only mall, proposed adding over one million square feet of office, residential and retail space to that site. This would have resulted in the square footage equivalent to placing all nine of Santa Monica's largest hotels on this one site.
The proposal would have had huge, irreversible impacts on traffic, open space and Santa Monicans' quality of life. Widespread community opposition caused this proposal to be scrapped and a new one to be put forward, one that did not add any significant square footage to the site. It was a win-win for both residents AND the developer.
We believe new development in our community should serve the people who live here, not the other way around.
We believe residents are entitled to participate meaningfully, and at an early stage, in development proposals.
We believe residents should be given full access to public records about proposed developments, as well as full and accurate information about their impacts and long-range consequences.
We believe Santa Monicans are also entitled to know who is funding Santa Monica City Council races, and that the sources of money spent on behalf of candidates, whether directly or through independent expenditures, should be disclosed to residents.
We believe big developer money does influence Santa Monica City Council and it is our role to shine a light on that relationship.
Keeping Santa Monica livable, requiring new growth to be on a scale that is both sane and sustainable, and ensuring transparency in local government are all key goals of SMCLC.
SMCLC is a California 501(c)(4) organization.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)
"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"
Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster
Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.
I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.