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LETTERS: Bird Rewarded After Failing During Trail Period

There's something rotten in the City of Santa Monica ("Bird, Lime Named Among Companies Allowed to Rent E-Scooters in Santa Monica Pilot Program," August 30, 2018).

After operating without a license and paying more than $300,000 in fines, Bird has been selected as one of the four "pilot" e-scooter operators for the next 16 months. Why?

Bird already has had its trial period. It has been operating for 11 months and has failed the public.

Sure, it can generate form emails to sway our gullible city officials, but they ignore the citizen complaints -- and there are many.

Over 1,500 signed a petition to ban or restrict their e-scooters. Even the city's own staff ranked Bird 10th, or last among the applicants.

Other cities like Beverly Hills and Newport Beach has banned Bird for its uncivil actions (more vulture than bird). Yet Planning Director David Martin, under the direction of City Manager Rick Cole, added Bird to the list.

In justifying his choice, Martin overrules his staff's rankings and focuses on experience, ignoring that the Bird "experience" has been bad for besieged Santa Monica pedestrians.

And why did the cowardly City Council abdicate its responsibility to make the choice? It shifted the decision-making to an unelected staff employee so they don't have to face resident anger.

There was never a community-wide discussion of the companies in the running. There was never a Council discussion on them either. The decision was made in the back rooms of City Hall.

Since there was no regard for transparency, how do we know there wasn't a bribe involved?

Harriet P. Epstein
Santa Monica resident


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