There’s something you hear a lot from people who claim liberal/progressive/forward-thinking views, but often seem to put conditions on their self-declared high-mindedness. And that is the word, “But.” Hold that thought.

On Tuesday evening, the Santa Monica City Council is scheduled to discuss several “16 items,” or city councilmember-requested items for discussion saved for the end of any council meeting agenda. They include:

  • An effort to have the city publicly oppose the county needle exchange program.

“I sure have compassion for drug addicts, and I know social scientists and humanitarian workers have explained many times why these programs work best at the point of use, but … they make some residents uncomfortable and are somehow going to make drug users out of our kids.”

  • A noble effort to help three major business improvement districts – Pico Improvement Organization, Montana Merchants, and Main Street Business Improvement Association – recover from the pandemic slowdown with $22,500 ($7,500 each) from the city discretional budget to promote events, boost business outreach, and build community.

“I’m as big a supporter of Santa Monica local businesses as you’ll find, but … I would rather we boost councilmember travel budgets so that some of our councilmembers can take more misguided trips to a fascist dictatorship like El Salvador and report back they’re a model country for public safety.”

  • A measure intended to silence hotel workers on strike who are picketing and protesting in front of hotels during early morning hours (when many workers are expected to show up for work).

“Goodness knows I support hotel workers, but… does the fight for justice have to be so noisy? My goodness – you’re going to wake up hotel guests who have decided to cross the picket line!”

  • A noble effort by councilmembers Caroline Torosis, Jesse Zwick, and Gleam Davis to learn more about Silas White’s effort several decades ago to establish the Ebony Beach Club at 1811 Ocean Avenue as a nice, recreational location for Black families; And to study efforts to repair the harm done to the White family and others when the property was seized by the city on racist grounds.

“My parents marched with Cesar Chavez, Dr. King, hell, maybe even Larry King, but…we three other councilmembers are going to sponsor our own 16-item on the agenda to discuss eminent domain of the Ebony Beach Club.”

Truth be told, what Vice Mayor Lana Negrete, Councilmember Christine Parra, and Councilmember Oscar De La Torre are up to with their item remains a mystery. But we know the effort Torosis is spearheading is magnanimous. So why wouldn’t they simply join her effort? Are they actually against restorative justice? I guess we’ll find out if they are, or if there’s a “but” there.

Speaking of De La Torre, “I know every thinking person in Santa Monica can see I have a clear-as-day conflict of interest being involved in litigation concerning a lawsuit my wife and I initiated to misguidedly force the city to adopt district-based local elections, but…some judge and I don’t really see it.”

Here’s my favorite one of all, and you’ve all heard it:

“I support more affordable housing, but … why does it have to be in Santa Monica?

but … do these people really deserve to live here?

but … there’s a (fake number) vacancy rate already!

And so on, and so on, and so on.

Beware politicians that pay lip service to support everything holy under the sun, but continuously have conditions or hide behind their NIMBY supporters who think Santa Monica is a finished product, or don’t like pedestrian and cyclist-friendly transit infrastructure because it forces them to consider other people. Or perhaps claim they care about the homeless, but … don’t want to actually have to see any and aren’t interested in solving homelessness.

We’ve got big problems, and I assure you – some people who sit on the Santa Monica City Council aren’t up to the task. I’d tell you who they are, but … I think some of you may already know.

Photo of Santa Monica City Hall by Stefan Auth on 

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