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Santa Monica: Land Donation for AIDS Hospice

July 24, 1994

Thank you for your "Outrage of the Week" section, a.k.a. Santa Monica City Council news. This week's travesty compels me to comment, although I despair of affecting yet another insidious outcome of our political machine.

I read that our City Council has slimed through another boondoggle on the residents of Santa Monica. This time, we are to donate $1.5 million of land to create a beach resort for the terminally ill (Westside, July 17). Of course, a prospective resident must have a politically correct terminal illness to be considered for acceptance at this seaside hospice.

We are informed that a less elegant location is not acceptable to the political cronies of our elected representatives. No doubt the persons operating this AIDS hospice will have penthouse offices at their new location, and a polling booth will be installed in the lobby for the grateful residents.

I guess I'll just stroll through Palisades Park and enjoy the stench of urine and feces wafting in the breeze from our local bum population, and watch the former Sand and Sea (club) rot on the beach while the council finds another inane project to inflict on Santa Monica. I can look forward to reading all about it in next week's Westside section.

WILLIAM ELSWICK, Santa Monica

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It should come as no surprise that the hegemony of Santa Monica's out-of-touch political majority has now produced its latest pathetically inept farce, the placing of an affordable-housing complex for AIDS victims on some of the city's priciest real estate, on the bluffs overlooking the pier.

A similar fiasco already underway is the construction of a multistory accommodation for the mentally ill homeless. Where? Square in the heart of Santa Monica's principal commercial tourism area, of course, on 2nd Street, just a block from the Promenade.

It is all part and parcel of what has become a deep tradition in Santa Monica. After all, for years now we have offered free of charge one of our city's premier public meeting rooms--located right on Main Street, in our City Hall--for a loosely organized group of the community's "intellectually challenged," euphemistically known as the Santa Monica City Council (In this characterization, I do not include non-SMRR council members Holbrook and Greenberg, who seem completely out of place on the council by persistently offering creative, thoughtful, intelligent approaches to the issues).

There was a time when SMRR, the city's "powerful rent-control machine," as Times Staff Writer Nancy Hill-Holtzman accurately describes it, was clearly understood by the voters to stand for Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights. Increasingly it seems that a more apt elucidation of the acronym might be Social Machiavellians for Radical Reform. For far too long now SMRR has hid behind the cloak of rent control for the sole purpose of the preservation of their incumbency.

At the foundation, they care little for renters and nothing whatsoever for renters' rights, as their knee-jerk reaction (or was it a reaction of jerks?) to the Jan. 17 disaster confirmed--when SMRR officials passed all earthquake-related expenses from landlords to tenants, essentially an acknowledgment that rent control, at least in the absence of vacancy decontrol, has failed.

Once voters get that message, SMRR, instead of being "far out," will be far out of power . . . and Santa Monica will be a far better city for it.

DAVID STOUGHTON, Santa Monica

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