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'Pulse' Poll Finds Most Local Voters Undecided
 

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By Jorge Casuso

August 29, 2022 -- A select poll of Santa Monica residents found that few have made up their minds on how they'll vote in the November election but strongly oppose the idea of housing the homeless in hotels.

While the hotel measure will appear on the March 2024 ballot in Los Angeles, the approximately 160 local residents who participated in the monthly Santa Monica Pulse poll would overwhelmingly oppose a similar measure in their city.

The question on the text poll conducted between August 19 and 26 stated that "Hotel worker union Unite Here Local 11 wants to force Los Angeles hotels to house homeless individuals in unoccupied hotel rooms.

"Hotel workers and LA residents have spoken out against the idea, citing safety concerns, especially in cases where homeless individuals have serious mental health or addiction issues."

The overwhelming majority of respondents -- 87 percent -- would oppose having a similar ordinance in Santa Monica. The remainder were evenly divided, with half in support and the other half unsure.

The proposed measure made nationwide headlines after the LA City Council voted unanimously on August 5 to place it on the March 2024 ballot after it received 126,000 signatures gathered by the hotel union.

The controversial measure would require LA hotels to report the number of vacant rooms to the City and rent them to the homeless through a program paid for by the city's Housing Department.

The Santa Monica poll also asked residents to weigh in on
two rival real estate transfer taxes that will appear on Santa Monica's November 8 ballot -- one from Mayor Sue Himmelrich, the other from Councilmember Phil Brock.

Half of the respondents said they were unsure which of the two measures they would vote for if "the election were held tomorrow."

Of those who have decided, 15 percent said they would back Himmelrich's measure, which would would tax $53 per $1,000 on properties valued at $8 million.

Thirty-five percent said they would vote for Brock's measure, which "would charge a more modest transfer tax on certain commercial properties, with the revenue going to support various local priorities," according to the question.

If both measures get a majority vote, the one with more votes becomes law ("Opposing Arguments Promise Bitter Transfer Tax Battle," August 10, 2022).

The poll also asked which of the 13 City Council candidates respondents would vote for in the race for three open seats, with a maximum choice of three candidates.

Two-thirds of the voters were unsure or supported none of the candidates. Armen Melkonians, a slow-growth activist, was supported by 23 percent of the respondents.

He was followed by incumbent Lana Negrete with 18 percent, Arthur Jeon with 9 percent and Rent Board Commissioner Caroline Torosis with 5 percent.

As with previous polls, the latest Santa Monica Pulse poll was sent to nearly 1,000 residents who "previously opted in to receive more information on education efforts surrounding crime and safety in their city." It had a 16 percent response rate.

The poll is conducted by Eyes on 11, a hotel union watchdog. Those who wish to be included in the next poll should email their name and cell phone number to SaMoPulse@gmail.com.


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