From Renters Write - March 2013

Third Time's the Charm

After serving our community as a Planning Commissioner, Recreation and Parks Commissioner, President of the Ocean Park Association and in other capacities, I am thrilled to have been elected to the Santa Monica City Council in November of 2012. And of course I’m especially grateful to the SMRR membership for their endorsement and votes.

While Santa Monica is fortunate to have the resources to provide its residents quality services at a time when other municipalities are enduring cutbacks and layoffs, we nonetheless face many challenges in the years ahead. First and foremost, we must preserve our socioeconomic diversity. Consequently, we must be vigilant about protecting not just rent control but also our stock of controlled housing: our new zoning ordinance must include development standards that preserve older rental buildings in our multifamily districts. And with the loss of Redevelopment Agency funding, our city leaders need to explore new funding sources and strategies to produce additional deed-restricted affordable housing. As a complement to these housing strategies, we must assure that new jobs hire locally and pay a living wage and at risk youth are provided the training for these new jobs.

Development pressures are as intense in Santa Monica as anywhere in the county, so we must assure we approve only projects which are appropriately scaled, artfully designed, offer substantive traffic reduction strategies and significant community benefits and, in residential and mixed use projects, provide considerable affordable housing.

And in the absence of an aggressive Federal policy on climate change, we must do all we can locally to reduce our carbon footprint. To that end, the Council recently adopted the 15 x 15 Climate Action Plan which includes 15 steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 15% below 1990 levels by the year 2015. I’m especially interested in the strategies to make our buildings greener, offer more sustainable transportation options and put more solar power on our rooftops.

And while our public schools and Santa Monica College were spared draconian cuts when California voters passed Proposition 30 last fall, we must continue to work to make a quality education available to all income levels. I hope to enhance the partnership between the City, College and SMMUSD to provide shared physical resources and programs such as the Cradle to Career initiative.

Finally, I’m always eager to hear from constituents and hope you’ll reach out to me at ted.winterer@smgov.net to share your thoughts. And once again, thanks to SMRR for your support last fall!