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Residents Feel More Empowered After Council Election, Poll Finds

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica

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Santa Monica College
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By Jorge Casuso

December 1, 2020 -- Nearly half of Santa Monica voters chose "someone new" in last month's City Council race and think reducing homelessness should be the Council's top priority, according a to poll released Tuesday.

The telephone survey of 312 likely Santa Monica voters conducted for Eyes on 11 by Roosevelt Opinion Research between November 17 and 19 found that 94 percent of the respondents voted in the November 3 race for four full-term seats. The poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 5 percent.

Of those polled, 45 percent said they voted for "someone new," 14 percent voted for incumbents and 26 percent voted for both. The other 15 percent were unwilling or refused to say.

A voter revolt propelled three challengers into office -- Phil Brock, Oscar de la Torre and Christine Parra. They will replace incumbents Terry O'Day, Ted Winterer and Ana Jara ("Santa Monica Voters Usher in New Era," November 6, 2020).

"The survey results are clear," said Charlyce Bozzello, communications director at the Center for Union Facts. "Residents want the Council to address the homelessness crisis, and they want to feel safe again in their city.

"For too long special interests, including hotel worker union Unite Here Local 11, took priority over community members," Bozzello said.

"Now, residents are finally feeling confident about having their voices heard at City Hall. The new Council has a mandate for change, and residents expect them to act on it."

Of those polled, 41 percent said Santa Monica residents will have "more influence in their local government with the newly-elected Council."

Eighteen percent said residents would have the "same" influence, 8 percent "less" influence and 32 percent were unsure. The other one percent refused to answer.

Given a choice of three top priorities for the newly elected Council, 44 percent chose reducing homelessness, 26 percent chose "limiting development projects, including the Plaza," and 16 percent chose "reducing crime."

The other 14 percent chose "other" or were "not sure."

Given four options of areas that "most concern you when it comes to crime and homelessness," 27 percent chose residential neighborhoods.

Seventeen percent chose "Downtown and storefronts," 13 percent chose "public parks" and 7 percent chose the "pier and beach."

The remaining third chose multiple or other options, were not sure or refused to answer.

Asked what "specific steps" the Council should pursue to "fix homelessness in the city," 22 percent would like Samoshel to be relocated "away from the Expo line."

Eighteen percent would like the Council to "close the beach from midnight to 5, while 16 percent think the City Council should "pause the distribution of meals in public parks."

Another 22 percent chose other options, 4 percent chose multiple options and 22 percent weren't sure. One percent refused to answer.

Asked the steps the Council should take to "solve rising crime in the city," 49 percent chose "add more police patrols throughout the city."

Eleven percent said the Council should "enforce 11 p.m. park closures," while 7 percent chose "greater policing of the pier and beach."

The other third chose multiple or other options, were not sure or refused to answer.

The poll conducted for the anti-hotel union watchdog group, also found that 43 percent of respondents believe Unite HERE Local 11 should have less influence over the Council when it comes to development.

Twenty-two percent said the union should have "more" influence, while 10 percent said the "same." A quarter of the respondents were unsure or refused to answer.

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