The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Power Failures, Rent Hikes and Black Holes

June 19, 2001

Dear Editor,

(Re: "Outages Leave 500 Businesses in Dark," June 19.)

This past week has seen two more unnecessary and inexcusable power failures in Santa Monica. These are not "rolling blackouts," but rather they result from years of neglect to our electrical infrastructure by Southern California Edison.

As a professional electrician, I know that equipment failures should be very, very rare. However, in the last few years, the city has experienced numerous breakdowns. Edison engineers have admitted to the City staff that its equipment in Santa Monica is seriously deteriorated and is among the worst in the Edison service territory.

These disruptions are not only inconvenient, they can be dangerous. One recent early morning explosion could have proven deadly if it had occurred during the daylight hours when the streets are crowded. On other occasions our public safety personnel had to expend City resources to do things like getting people out of elevators and direct traffic.

Santa Monicans have paid the same electricity rates as everyone else in the Edison territory and there is no excuse for such poor service. For several years, I warned the City Council of this dangerous and unacceptable situation. Over time, I made several motions which were unanimously adopted to authorize the City staff to take action. I also contacted a member of the Public Utilities Commission who offered to help.

Clearly nothing has changed. The City has failed in its responsibility to protect the public's safety. Edison now uses its problems with the failed deregulation scheme as another excuse to do nothing. Somehow, Edison does find the money to make expensive emergency repairs after each failure.

It is now up to the public to demand action from the City.

Paul Rosenstein
Former Mayor of Santa Monica


June 19, 2001

Dear Editor,

(Re: "Rent Board Grants Largest Rent Hike in 10 Years," June 19.)

So the Santa Monicans for RENTERS' Rights (SMRRs) on Santa Monica's Rent Control Board (minus Bruria Finkle) just approved a 4.2% rent increase -- the highest in ten years.

"This is to cover increased utility and other costs," the board said. Most renters pay their own utilities so who is giving us a break? It is surely not Santa Monicans for RENTERS Rights who has been granting ever larger increases to landlords over the last couple of years.

Between this and our SMRR dominated City Council who doesn't want to rebate the windfall utility tax revenues from increased energy rates, Santa Monica renters are taking it in the shorts from both sides from the organization that claims to represent them.

Santa Monicans for RENTERS' Rights is sounding more like "Santa Monicans for Screwing the Renters" lately. It seems that its the Living Wage, which will cost us a lot more money when we go down town, that is taking top priority with them these days.

I hope the "renters" of the community remember all the good things our elected SMRR officials have done for us come election time next year. I intend to.

Bill Bauer
Santa Monica


June 18, 2001

Dear Editor,

Congratulations on your deserved award.

You are a steady light in our community keep up the good work.

Bruria Finkel
Santa Monica


June 18, 2001

Dear Editor,

In the Good Lord's name, please support our efforts for Justice and Equality for the disabled. The following recommendation of establishing a Disabilities Commission was endorsed by a veritable Who's Who List that has more than 120 names. In my heart, I feel that we must rally in a dignified and respectful manner at City Hall in support of a Disabilities Commission and Emergency Life Support Registry.

Are you willing to overcome government adversity to the Disabilities Commission and Emergency Life Support Registry by six City Council members? Will you make this dream into a reality to have a Disabilities Commission and Emergency Life Support Registry established? Should six City Council members that refuse to obey the will of the people demanding Justice for the disabled hold 86,000 Santa Monica residents hostage?

Please understand a simple truth that some of the disabled have a terminal illness and are on Emergency Life Support and cannot wait ten more years. 1,000 of the disabled men, women, and children are on Emergency Life Support and may die when the power goes out. The terminally ill and the 1,000 on Emergency Life Support want to live long enough to witness the birth of a long overdue and much needed Disabilities Commission and an Emergency Life Support Registry.

Will you please commit to spend 30 minutes of your time towards the cause of Justice on Tuesday June 26 5:00 PM at the City Council Chambers?

The goal of this rally is to create more goodwill and to let the community know that the Disabled still can be empowered to shape their own destiny. With the Good Lord's help, we will overcome. Thank you

Pro Se
Santa Monica


June 12, 2001

Dear Editor,

(Re: Frank Gruber's column "The Black Hole of Planning," June 8.)

Congratulations to Polyzoides for giving a reasonable response to Kaku's schizophrenic parking study which first said there was no parking shortage and then projected a 2,400 space shortfall.

Too often these studies are more about ulterior agendas than sound urban planning which makes the downtown more of a political football than a reflection of responsible urban design. It takes a great deal of effort to resist the pull of the "Black Hole."

Santa Monica deserves more thoughtful solutions like this.

Craig Johnson
Santa Monica


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