Hello. Do you live in Santa Monica? If so, please read. Note: there is potential for you to get delicious, delicious cookies.

For the past year and change, I’ve been getting involved with two groups in Santa Monica that are working to stop a series of proposed massive hotel/condo/retail projects scattered around Downtown Santa Monica. The first of them is the Fairmont Miramar, the hotel on Ocean and Wilshire; its owner, Michael (Dude, You’re Getting A) Dell wants to tear down the current structure and replace it with a giant retail area, more dining space, less hotel space, and 120 condos all crammed into a 261-foot (21-story) tower. There will be some new underground parking, but not enough to cover the 800+ spaces that are required by city ordinance for staff, visitors, and residents, which means a lot of spillover parking in the surrounding neighborhood. Oh, and the current plan will also dump a parking entrance onto California Avenue, right in the middle of the bike lane. Plus, more traffic right at the California Incline, more pollution, and, I think, more crap that the edge of the city that we don’t need (like we need more high end retail? Isn’t that what Santa Monica Place was for?). I am not against the Miramar fixing itself up; I am against it turning into a condo development that’s being tacked on so the builders can start with their budget in the black, much to the detriment of the neighborhood.

This is the trial balloon, and if it goes forward, it’s going to set a precedent with the City Council and Planning Commission that it’s okay for more of these 20+ story developments in Downtown, with the potential for more scattered all over the city. Even with the addition of the Expo line in a few years, these bloody great towers are going to mean even more traffic, which is going to make riding our bikes that much hairier, and it’s going to mean the streets will be even less safe for our kids, and it’s going to mean the skyline from the beach will look more like Miami than Santa Monica. I think this sucks, and I want to stop it.

That is where you come in. On Thursday, May 16, there is going to be an important meeting at the Main Branch of the Santa Monica Public Library at 6.30pm to discuss the Miramar’s environmental impact report, which is a key step to getting legal approval for this monster development to advance. This is where we, the citizens of Santa Monica, the people who live here and run here and play here and eat tacos here, can give our public comments and tell the city that we want alternatives to the proposed condo/retail/bike-lane-interfering/dogs-and-cats-living-together scale. Anne and I are getting a sitter for Grace so we can attend and speak, and I would like to invite you all to attend. If you do, I will have cookies for you. Freshly baked, delicious, politically active cookies. All you have to do is show up and make your voice heard; or, if you can’t, you can send comments your comments to the City Council and Planning Commission, via the addresses at the bottom of this email. (Note: emailed comments may result in your cookies not be as fired up and ready to go as the ones at the meeting.)

Thank you reading. I hope you can attend. I hope we can kick Michael Dell’s ass.


To contact the City Council, just send an email to council@smgov.net. To contact the Planning Commission, you’ll have to contact the commissioners individually:

In your email subject, please say something about “Miramar EIR Scoping” (if you really want to know the nuts and bolts, email me and I’ll fill you in on all the gory process details). In the body, please tell the recipients who you are, where you live, how long you’ve lived in Santa Monica, that you are a registered voter in Santa Monica (if you are), and that you have concerns about the scope of the current Miramar development plans and that you would like the EIR to include alternatives that include a) doing nothing (ie keeping the whole place as a hotel of the same size), b) moving all large development toward Wilshire (instead of clustering it all along 2nd and California), and c) that you want studies of the impact of any development on the current bike paths on Ocean and California (apologies for sounding like a broken record, but I loves me some bike paths that don’t have driveways in them).