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Monthly Poll Finds Most Residents Oppose Gender-Neutral Restrooms
By Jorge Casuso
May 2, 2023 -- A monthly poll of Santa Monica residents concerned with public safety found a vast majority of respondents oppose the Council's vote to require gender-neutral public restrooms in new buildings.
The text poll of some 150 residents -- conducted between April 28 and May 1 -- also found most oppose using Artificial Intelligence (AI) cameras to increase public safety and setting a $25 minimum wage for local health care workers.
The Santa Monica Pulse Poll found that 71 percent of respondents oppose requiring men and women to share the same bathroom facility in an effort to foster “greater inclusivity and equity.”
Nineteen percent support the law, scheduled to be approved on final reading next week, while 10 percent say they are not sure, according to the poll.
The Council's 6 to 0 vote last month came after some residents, especially women, worried the new restrooms would make them feel vulnerable, a concern initially echoed by Councilmembers Phil Brock, Oscar de la Torre and Lana Negrete ("Councilmembers Concerned About Gender-Neutral Public Restrooms," April 21, 2023).
Brock and Negrete, who was absent from the meeting, said their concerns were misrepresented after Santa Monica's liberal establishment attacked them for making the comments.
De la Torre said he understood the concerns, but seconded Brock's motion to approve the measure, which will make Santa Monica only the second U.S. City to require gender-neutral restrooms ("Council Approves Gender-Neutral Public Restrooms," April 26, 2023).
When it came to a pilot program testing the use of AI cameras to monitor for trespassing, criminal behavior and other unwanted activity at the Main Library the response was more evenly divided.
Forty-five percent of the respondents do not support the use of the cameras, which also are being tested to monitor traffic violations, while 41 percent are in support.
The rest -- 14 percent -- say they are undecided about the pilot programs initiated by Transportation Director Edward King ("City Tests AI Cameras to Deter Unwanted Behavior," April 17, 2023).
As was the case with gender-neutral restrooms, several Councilmembers said they were unaware of the initiatives, which were driven by City staff ("Council Unaware of AI Camera Programs," April 19, 2023).
Finally, 48 percent of respondents oppose a proposed ordinance that sets a minimum wage of at least $25 for "frontline care givers" in Santa Monica.
One third -- 33 percent -- support the proposal, while 19 percent are not sure.
The Measure applies to workers at hospitals, clinics, and psychiatric facilities, and for those who provide home care services ("Council Votes to Draft Minimum Wage Law for Health Care Workers," April 12, 2023).
The poll question notes that the ordinance being drafted is opposed by the California Hospital Association, which is concerned it could cause more hospitals to close their doors or reduce services for patients.
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 15 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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