By Jorge Casuso
November 9, 2023 -- A new political grassroots group made up of local hospitality businesses is being formed to push City Hall to more aggressively fight crime and homelessness and lower operating costs.
Led by the California Restaurant Association, Hospitality Santa Monica currently counts 22 local restaurants and hotels as members and is growing, the Association said.
The new group hopes to bring together local business owners, neighborhood groups and other community leaders to "create a new political force in Santa Monica," according to its website.
"Small businesses and residents in Santa Monica face many of the same problems in their communities but have yet to see solution-based policies coming out of City Hall," the website says.
"The lack of appropriate action from City Council has hit the hospitality industry in Santa Monica particularly hard."
Homelessness, crime and rising costs are plaguing neighborhood restaurants, small businesses and boutique hotels, the group said.
The health of these businesses is "critical for a thriving community that welcomes visitors worldwide and serves the locals."
According to the group, employees "are often harassed on the job by troubled homeless individuals" who live in a growing number of encampments in the city's neighborhoods.
A subsequent rise in crime is putting public safety at risk, while small and independent hospitality businesses "face ever-increasing costs to operate and keep employees."
The group plans to "engage with local leaders, City Councilmembers, local press, and others to educate them on the issues our members are facing and advocate for vital policies."
The group's goals are to improve public safety, clean up the streets, lower the cost of doing business and "support a thriving hospitality environment," according to the website.
"We must come together to advocate for City Hall policies that support
the needs of local community members and hospitality providers," the group said.