Santa Monica Lookout Opinion
Stop Inciting Division

April 22, 2024

Dear Editor,

I am responding to the Letter to the Editor (April 17, 2024) by Dan Hall, Ellis Raskin, Barry Snell and Natalya Zernitskaya, titled "It's Time To Return Decorum to City Hall." I am one of the Co-Founders of The Santa Monica Coalition, a movement of over 5,000 residents, business owners and employees in Santa Monica, who organized the successful community event.

The Protest Rally on Tuesday was held in Reed Park along California Avenue facing Saint Monica's Church and K-12 School, and less than 100 yards from Westminster Senior Care Residential Housing.

This is one of the spots in Reed Park where LA County and Venice Family Clinic employees park and walk (without uniform, badge or identification, usually only carrying a backpack) into the park to distribute needles to anyone who provides their first and last initials.

County and Venice Family Clinic employees do not collect or look for discarded needles in the grassy areas or near the fences or storm drains. City employees have been injured on the job from encountering the sharp needles and glass pipes freely handed out. And there is no further follow-up or appointments.

On Tuesday, when organizers arrived early to set up, homeless addicts were on both sides of Lincoln Boulevard at the abandoned 1139 Lincoln property, on the steps and along all sides of Miles Memorial Playhouse and blocking the entry foyer on 7th Street. We were approached by two individuals acting erratically who asked us what we were "doing in their park." We offered them bottles of water and ponchos and they left.

Two Commissioners from Santa Monica's Recreation and Parks Commission (which has been very vocal and helpful in their stance against the Needle Distribution) also attended. Upon arrival, one confided to me of having passed a drug deal occurring directly on the steps of and adjacent to Miles Memorial Playhouse. Immediately following the event, a few who chose to stay and talk were also approached by transients.

There were no obscenities or signs displayed ridiculing any elected or appointed City Leader, as the letter charges. There were no signs stating "Zwick is a d**k." There were signs calling for the ouster of Gleam Davis and City Manager David White, who endorsed the Needle Distribution that City Council voted against.

Public safety, drug addiction, open use of drugs, drug dealing and rising crime, are not "right or left", nor "Republican or Democrat Party" issues. We are ALL affected. The culture of Santa Monica reflects listening, courtesy, open discussion and tolerance towards all.

Business Owners and residents (86 percent of whom the City says no longer visit the Promenade or Downtown) realize we are better off immediately addressing the problem, rather than have it linger and forever tarnish Santa Monica's reputation.

The four candidates who wrote the letter are unwilling to discuss this. Their letter does not promote accountability, equity, inclusion, innovation, safety and stewardship, all values of our City. It was written to incite division and promote the candidacies of those who signed their names.

Two audio and video transcripts of the Protest Rally (including before and after) are in the links below. Please watch and come to your own conclusion.

John Alle

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