Gleam Davis was appointed to the Council to fill the seat vacated after Herb Katz died in January 2009. She was elected in 2010 to a two-year term and to four-year terms in 2012 and 2016. Davis is endorsed by Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR), Santa Monica Forward, the Coalition of Santa Monica City Employees (CSMCE), the Santa Monica Firefighters Political Activities Committee, the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) and the Santa Monica Democratic Club, all of which are spending money to back candidates.
1. Should Santa Monica try to build the 8,874 new housing units by 2028 mandated by SCAG?
Yes, because our failure to do so could result in serious consequences for the City. The City does not need to actually build or pay to build the housing. The City's obligation is to identify suitable sites for housing and use zoning and other tools to make it possible for others to build the housing. If the City does not facilitate the construction of sufficient housing, the City could be subject to substantial financial penalties and/or lose local control to review and disapprove or modify housing projects in the City.
2. The Plaza project should be
I cannot comment on The Plaza because it may come before Council and I cannot prejudge such projects. In addition, it is my understanding that, because the City Council asked for a redesign of the project, it is undergoing significant modifications. Therefore, I do not know what the project currently looks like.
3. The City needs more major developments to help balance the budget.
False. The City should not approve developments of any size for the sole purpose of raising revenue.
4. The Council should have delayed voting on the Miramar project until after the election.
As I recused myself from Council's consideration of the Miramar project, I cannot comment on it one way or the other.
5. When it comes to hotel developments, the City Council has consistently sided with Unite HERE Local 11.
False. For example, the City Council voted to approve what is now The Proper Hotel over Unite HERE Local 11's objection. However, I and other councilmembers worked with the hotel developer to establish card check neutrality for the site so that it provides good paying jobs for its employees.
6. Is Santa Monica's City government racist?
No, but the City needs to become more sensitive and responsive to the issues facing historically marginalized groups and develop intentional programs that address past discrimination. That is why the City is supporting the development and implementation of a Black Agenda, is building anti-discrimination programs among city employees, and why I support anti-bias education for City employees as well as residents and businesses in Santa Monica. In addition, I believe that we need to be sure that the City's economic recovery is fair and just.
7. Should the police budget be reduced?
Yes, if you mean that we should rethink policing and redirect funds away from an armed police response to every call for assistance. I anticipate that the recently-created civilian oversight committee will, among other things, evaluate potential alternatives. As part of this effort, we should invest more in services that prevent crime such as mental health and youth diversion programs. Some of these changes may cause funds to be reallocated within the police budget and others may require some divestment from the police budget and investment in other departments’ budgets.
8. If coronavirus cases spike, should the City order another economic shutdown?
Yes, if that is the guidance that we get from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health. The decision about what businesses can and cannot remain open and how the open businesses operate resides with the LA County Department of Public Health and the City must comply with its directives. Public health and safety are paramount. If there is a coronavirus spike and the County orders some form of shutdown, the City has set aside funds to help the City get through it.
9. Santa Monica is one of the few Southern California cities to issue fines for not wearing a face
mask. Do you support that policy?
Yes, I do.
10. The budget cutbacks forced by the coronavirus shutdown were the inevitable result of the City's decades' long spending spree.
False. In my time on the Council, the City Council has been a responsible steward of the budget which is reflected by the fact that Santa Monica is one of the few cities in the State to consistently earn a AAA bond rating. The budget cutbacks are the result of the pre-pandemic change in retail buying habits and the unexpected, significant loss of revenue caused by the pandemic. Even in these difficult times, the City’s financial situation is better than that of many other cities.
11. City workers are paid too much.
False. It is totally inappropriate to attack the salaries paid to City workers. The City recently commissioned a study which showed that City employees’ salaries are consistent with those paid in similar neighboring cities. Moreover, in these difficult times, most City employees have agreed to take pay and benefit cuts to help the City balance its budget. We have more employees per resident than other cities due to the fact that we are responsible for miles of beachfront (which is a regional and international attraction) and operate a Pier, a regional bus service, and an airport.
12. Unions wield too much power over the City Council.
False. If you mean City employee unions, they do not. In my time on the Council, city employees have negotiated very modest annual increases in compensation while contributing larger percentages of their salary to both medical and retirement benefits. These agreements have been fair to employees but certainly are not evidence of any undue union influence over the Council.
13. Do you feel safe in Santa Monica when it comes to crime?
Yes, I feel safe in Santa Monica. Since the beginning of 2019, the City has experienced significant decreases in the number of serious and violent crimes in the City. I understand that this is little comfort to someone who is the victim of such a crime. However, we always are looking for ways to further reduce violent and serious crimes including redeployment of police resources to areas that seem to be the most problematic.
14. The City Council is doing enough to make public parks safer for families.
False. Unfortunately, we have a lot of anti-social behavior in our parks and that makes families feel uncomfortable. We need to do more to change that. For example, I would increase the number of Ambassadors in our parks and expand the number of parks in which they serve. In addition, I would encourage more cooperation between the Ambassadors and SMPD so that they can maximize their effectiveness. I also hope that our recent doubling of the number of Neighborhood Resource Officers will help families feel safer in our parks.
15. Santa Monica is doing a good job addressing homelessness.
True. Although the problem of persons experiencing homelessness is one of the most difficult that our City and region face, Santa Monica continues to do a relatively good job of addressing it. While the number of homeless persons increased in the City and County of Los Angeles last year, Santa Monica was able to reduce its homeless population by 8 percent. But Santa Monica needs to do more. We need to build more permanent supportive housing so that unhoused persons do not have to sleep on our beaches and in our parks. We also must increase the availability of mental health services.
16. Who is responsible for the Police Department's response to the May 31 riots?
a) The Police Chief
b) The City Manager
c) The City Council
d) All of the above
The Police Chief. Neither the City Manager nor the Council directed the Police Department on May 31. The Chief is the decision maker with regard to strategy and tactics and she was charged with developing the response to the extraordinary events of May 31. It was horrible to see tear gas and rubber bullets used and wanton looting in Santa Monica. I am anxious to see the after-action report and the independent review of May 31 so our community can evaluate the response to the challenges of May 31 and determine how we can do better in the future.
17. The police used excessive force against protesters.
I am committed to allowing peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights in Santa Monica but, as “excessive force” is a term that has a specific legal meaning, I cannot answer this question. Without the after-action report and the complete factual account of the day, it would be irresponsible and inappropriate for me to apply that legal standard to the events of May 31. In any event, I am supportive of police policies that require the use of tactics that de-escalate confrontations between police and civilians and otherwise preserve the right to peaceful protest.
18. Should Santa Monica switch from an at-large election system to districts?
No, because district elections actually would reduce the influence of minority voters in Santa Monica and would allow voters to vote for only once councilmember every four years instead of voting for seven councilmembers over the course of four years.
19. Despite caps on individual contributions, money remains the biggest factor in winning an election.
False. The candidates that raise the most money do not always win elections. Nevertheless, I support public funding of campaigns at all levels of government to reduce the influence of money in elections.
20. Do you think Councilmembers are transparent when they disclose their personal and political finances?
Yes, the Fair Political Practices Commission requires councilmembers as well as candidates, City board members, and commissioners to disclose their sources of income as well as gifts and other financial interests on their annual Form 700. The Form 700 is a publicly available document.
21. Was the $77 million "uber-Green" City Hall annex a good investment?
Yes, because the consolidation of City functions in a single City-owned building rather than in rented office space spread throughout Santa Monica ultimately will save the City money. In addition, the new building with its energy and water self-sufficiency will save the City money on utility and other costs. Finally, it shows local developers and other cities that a building can be both environmentally and financially prudent.
22. The City spends too much money fighting climate change.
False. Climate change is an existential threat to our City and our world and reduction of local greenhouse gas emissions is a vital component of fighting it. As part of our recent budget cuts, we had to delay implementation of some portions of the City’s Climate Action and Adaption Plan. As the City budget recovers, I hope we can reverse some of those budget reductions.