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OPINION -- Santa Monica is #1!

By Professor Jerry Hausman, MIT

As a resident of Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, I would like to share the following facts on achievements of the Santa Monica Government.

All data are public information and all comparisons are for Southern California and west of downtown LA, unless otherwise noted. If any of my facts are incorrect or not current, I invite City Hall to inform me and I will revise the list.

1. Santa Monica is #1! Santa Monica has the highest homeless population.

a. Santa Monica Homeless grew at a higher rate than Venice by a statistically significant amount, although Venice has a higher per capita homeless rate. I use the most recent June 2019 LAHSA counts to have a consistent methodology.

b. Comparable communities all decreased the number of homeless or stayed constant compared to last year, including Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Marina Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, Brentwood, and Beverly Hills.

c. All of these communities have far smaller per capita homeless rates than Santa Monica.

2. Santa Monica is #1! Santa Monica has the highest murder rate, using the last year of available data (2018). Santa Monica had 7 murders in 2018. (Source: The Homicide Report, LA Times)

3. Santa Monica is #1! Santa Monica has the most FTE (full times employees) per capita when compared with similar size California cities. (SOURCE: Santa Barbara Comparative Indicators report – 2015)

4. Santa Monica is #1! Santa Monica’s median senior leadership compensation is the highest compensation of all peer cities studied. (Source: Moss Adams study 2018 sponsored by Santa Monica City government)

5. Santa Monica is #1! Santa Monica has the highest property tax rate.

6. Santa Monica is #1! Santa Monica has the highest sales tax rate allowed in the state of California.

Some other notable Santa Monica achievements.

7. The City of Santa Monica’s own 2018 survey found (p. 20) “Concern About Vehicles Speeding: Nearly two in three residents were concerned as pedestrians about speeding vehicles.” The Survey concludes (p. 31) “63% of pedestrians, 50 percent of drivers, were concerned about speeding cars in their neighborhood”. (Source: 2018 Santa Monica Resident Satisfaction Survey)

8. To test whether the City government is addressing the problem, I collected data from the Santa Monica police department. I compared 2018 to 2017 data for the same months of 22350 VC violations (speeding). Police Chief Cynthia Renaud was in office during
that period of 2018. No statistically significant difference exists.

9. The same 2018 Santa Monica City government survey referenced above found that 55 percent of the survey respondents thought that crime had increased compared to a year earlier (p. 16).

10. Serious crime (Part 1 crime) in Santa Monica increased by 8.8% in 2018. The City government claims the increase was caused, in large part, by changes in California laws. Yet in Los Angeles crime decreased, which is inconsistent with the Santa Monica Cty government claims. Data: Santa Monica +8.8%, Los Angeles -15.9%, Venice -11.5%, Culver City -11.9%, West LA -13.4%. Only Santa Monica increased.

All the differences are statistically significant.

Jerry Hausman is the John and Jennie S. MacDonald Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a notable econometrician. He has published numerous influential papers in microeconometrics.

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