From Renters Write, July 2009

Your home, your city — safe thanks to SMRR

Despite frighteningly tough economic times, good things continue to happen in Santa Monica. Our beaches are better than ever with the recent addition of the new Annenberg Beach House at 415 PCH, now open to the public. Our city services continue to support seniors, young people and the disadvantaged. Our schools and college remain strong.

Most of all, in a nation fraught with housing fears, Santa Monica renters remain safe and more secure. Did you know that in Santa Monica, even if a bank forecloses on a rent controlled property, renters cannot be evicted?

One important reason Santa Monica is such a successful haven is the 30-year-old organization whose newsletter you hold in your hands. The progressive vision creating the Santa Monica we all enjoy is spelled out in SMRR¹s platform, implemented over the years by community-based representatives you¹ve helped elect.

SMRR secured passage of one of the country¹s strongest and most durable rent control laws, guaranteeing you limited rent increases and protection from eviction. Our ongoing dedication to affordable housing has kept Santa Monica a vibrant community of various cultures and income levels, where seniors are afforded the dignity of security in their housing while new families are welcomed to our neighborhoods and our schools.

SMRR leadership has also greatly enhanced our community’s ability to provide resident services, funded by diverse sources not overly reliant on any one segment of our local economy. That SMRR-directed fiscal stability saves us somewhat from unpredictable revenue swings, sparing police and fire protection from being pitted against other essentials, as is happening now in nearby cities.

Thirty years on, celebrating our consistent and continued successes, we should be careful not to take SMRR for granted. We in Santa Monica enjoy something very special in SMRR, a community organization effective not only in housing, but in education, recreation, social services, public safety, preserving neighborhoods, protecting the environment, and nurturing arts and culture.

SMRR exists because of you, because of us; and it is up to you, up to us, to ensure that SMRR continues. SMRR is a volunteer membership organization, and it is our own dues and donations over the years that have made our city of Santa Monica the safe, protected home we all want.

Be a good neighbor. When new neighbors join our community, make sure they know what we know: Santa Monica renters have strength in solidarity, and that strength is named SMRR.