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LETTERS -- Santa Monica Forward Manifesto Calls for More Crowding

May 4, 2020

Dear Editor,

In the midst of a pandemic in which crowding has become a factor, Santa Monica Forward (SMF) has put out a 20-page manifesto urging our city to create more density ("Coronavirus Crisis Fuels Development Debate," May 1, 2020).

According to two disease experts writing in the New York Times last month (“Crowding May Mean More Death”), “Large, densely populated cities are going to need a more cautious plan. We’re learning that crowding itself may also affect the death rate.”

On Sunday, confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 171 in Santa Monica, and another 111 cases have been confirmed in five local nursing homes ("Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Approach 300 When Nursing Homes Are Included," May 4, 2020).

There have been nine deaths reported citywide and 12 in Santa Monica nursing homes ("Death Toll Higher at Two Santa Monica Nursing Homes than City At Large," April 29, 2020).

Yet here is Santa Monica Forward advocating to push more development, more housing, more people into an already densely overused Santa Monica.

It is interesting to note that two of our sitting councilmembers, Gleam Davis and Terry O’Day, are listed supporters of this lobbying group. Do they argue with themselves to vote in favor of Forward's directives?

The fact that higher density brings problems is no news to thinking Santa Monicans.

There is the question of increased traffic (when everyone gets back into cars) and the higher cost in services for added residents -- schools, policing, garbage pick-up, etc.

One outstanding problem is water supply. The city’s self-sufficiency goal has been pushed back several times and now is being pushed back again under the coronavirus emergency.

Won’t an additional 20,000 people change that equation? Where will we get the water and at what cost?

SMF’s plan calls for economic development and increased density at any price -- no matter the burden on the city’s infrastructure and services.

Not even the threat to lives of Santa Monicans in future pandemics matters.

Motivated by sheer greed, SMF wants to infect Santa Monica with a development plague as deadly as Covid-19.

Harriet P. Epstein
Santa Monica

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