Opinion: Santa Monica Bayside Owners Association – “A Decision Forged from Spite”

Our question to the City Councilmembers is simple – what are you trying to prove?

The Santa Monica City Council has once again decided to act based purely on defiance rather than from a thoughtful, reasoned basis. On the eve of one of the biggest weekends for the retailers and merchants of downtown Santa Monica—the Super Bowl, hosted this year in Los Angeles—the Council has decided to close Parking Structure #3, the largest and most popular parking garage used by visitors to both the Third Street Promenade and other nearby businesses.

Just when the City seems to finally be coming out of the crippling vise of the Covid pandemic, the Council takes an action that will severely hamper visitors from coming to our City to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday at our many outdoor restaurants and bars.

This decision is even more perplexing since the City has arranged to have the Promenade become the central location for the Cincinnati Bengals pre-game activities. The City and DTSM, Inc. have spent thousands of dollars preparing for and promoting these events, all to bring people to our city. So why close a 337-space parking structure, inconvenience visitors and residents, and inevitably create a huge traffic problem in downtown?

This inexplicable decision comes immediately on the heels of Wednesday’s court ruling prohibiting the City from demolishing Parking Structure #3. The Council professes it must move forward with demolition because it foolishly signed a demolition contract last July, after a lawsuit had been filed by a group of property owners in June. Who signs a $2 million contract knowing that it likely cannot move forward for months, if at all?

The City Council also claims it must demolish the Parking Structure #3 because it’s seismically unsafe and would cost a fortune to retrofit. But the City has disregarded its own 2017 order to prepare the required structural study, and cannot even produce a study it claims was prepared in 1995 after the Northridge earthquake. If that’s the case, the City has been sitting on this information for more than two decades and has done nothing to secure this garage in the name of public safety. In fact, the City has failed to properly maintain and secure the parking structure for years, letting it languish and allowing vagrant to destroy and occupy this vital public asset.

Our question to the City Councilmembers is simple – what are you trying to prove?

That you are deaf to the requests and cries of your very own constituents? That even though you do not have a plan or a replacement project for the site of Parking Structure #3, and have even admitted it might be several years before you do, you intend to just demolish it anyway? That even with a court order preventing demolition for the next month or so, you still intend to close it off from the public the day before the Super Bowl weekend begins?

The only rational conclusion is that the City Council is acting out of spite.

Closing Parking Structure #3 now is just petty, vindictive, and fiscally irresponsible. It disrespects the residents, business owners, and property owners who they have been elected to represent. The Council has decided they want what they want, regardless of the cost or impact to the community. Clearly, they have no duty or loyalty to the many constituents they are elected to serve.

Please join us this November in sending a message to our tone deaf elected officials, and vote out of office the ones we can.

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