From Renters Write - July 2018

SMRR: Accountable to YOU!

By Councilmembers Kevin McKeown and Sue Himmelrich

Vote for a SMRR candidate, and you know what you’re getting. We represent you based on the SMRR platform, which you helped write. What are our platform achievements over the past four years?

SMRR's primary purpose is protecting renters and increasing the availability of truly affordable housing. Your SMRR Councilmembers have strengthened tenant harassment protections, intervening on landlord attempts to force out long-term renters with lowball “buy-outs.” Those buy-outs often accompanied Ellis eviction threats, and offered fewer benefits than a renter was already entitled to by existing Santa Monica law. We banned discrimination by source of income and limited evictions of teachers and students during the school year.

Predatory “vacation rental” agencies can no longer convert our scarce affordable housing into de facto hotel rooms. Your SMRR Councilmembers were early to recognize the threat, and passed one of the first and most effective “AirBnB” laws in the country.
We created new revenue streams that will help us house those who just can’t afford new “market rate” rent levels. Further, we have funded a pilot program to subsidize the most rent-burdened among us, often seniors with long tenancies but a short list of options.
SMRR is pro-resident and slow-growth. This is reflected by our platform. Santa Monica’s comprehensive new city-wide zoning code re- places “wild card” development agreements with mandatory community benefits from limited development along transit corridors, constrained to protect neighborhoods and existing affordable housing. Our Downtown Community Plan is the most housing-friendly in all of California.

In 2016, you asked via the SMRR platform for further protection against over- development. Your SMRR Councilmembers are planning to place that protection on November’s ballot. It will keep a bare 4-3 majority of the Council from green-lighting massive, out-of-code projects. Look for SMRR’s 2018 “Stick To Our Plan” ballot measure, or “S.T.O.P.”.

SMRR's solidarity with working families became part of our platform. In 2016 we guaranteed growing paychecks for the working poor. Almost all workers in Santa Monica will soon receive a minimum wage of $15 per hour.

To further increase transparency and accountability, we created an Audit Subcommittee, chaired by Councilmember Sue Himmelrich, to assist the City Council with their oversight responsibilities.

Appreciating Santa Monica is more dif cult when you are stuck in traffic. SMRR’s platform includes solving our mobility issues, and in just the past four years our successes have included the arrival of regional light rail service and the immediately popular opening of Breeze bikeshare, the first and technologically most advanced bikeshare system in the entire Los Angeles region.

Public safety also has its own section of the SMRR platform. With rising regional crime statistics reflected here in Santa Monica, your SMRR Councilmembers have made more resources available to public safety. Our City Manager hired a new Chief of Police, who plans to increase the number of officers on the street. The SMRR platform and the SMRR Councilmembers are fully committed to public safety.

Throughout the city, these last four years saw welcome improvements to our beloved parks, and we continue to grow Airport Park, which will achieve full size when the airport closes.

SMRR’s progressive and expansive work on the environment, sustainability, and climate change have long been a centerpiece of our platform. Our pioneering work on these issues was recognized and honored in 2015 when then-Mayor Kevin McKeown was invited by the United Nations to make an international presentation at the “COPS-21” world climate change summit in Paris.

We continue to work on water self-sustainability, electrifying the Big Blue Bus, and most recently, helping form a regional non-pro t electrical power agency that will provide you cleaner electricity for less than you now pay SCE, with the option to choose totally green power from 100% renewable resources.

Your SMRR Councilmembers take inspiration and support from what you’ve told us you want for Santa Monica, via the SMRR platform. You helped write it, but have you read it lately? The SMRR platform is online at www.smrr.org. Voting SMRR means voting for accountability, as our candidates and Councilmembers are committed to our shared vision for Santa Monica.

 

 

 

 

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