Wilshire Montana Neighborhood Coalition (Wilmont NC)
Elizabeth Van Denburgh began the meeting by giving an overview of the Miramar project which is going before the Planning Commission on September 2. She showed an overview and an architectural rendering.
Next, we were happy to have Mario Fonda-Bernardi, Christine Parra, Phil Brock, and Oscar de la Torre, the candidates on the Resident’s Slate, come and share their views:
Overall, some primary concerns were shared by all the candidates:
And they shared their individual views:
Alissa Finerman did a good job of digging into the issue of homelessness, asking the candidates to “break it down” about what they would do.
Parra decried the loss of the position of a “homelessness czar” to the budget cuts.
Brock made the point that out of our population of approximately 1000 homeless people,
1.) a small percentage is intractable, they are “outside” people and will refused to be housed, even if housing were available to them, and
2.) about 1/3 were Vets, often subject to PTSD, who could be housed at the VA, which was the VA’s original purpose, to provide an old soldier’s home.
When asked if we “should allow” the homeless to “take over” the parks, especially Reed Park,
Oscar reminded everyone that just being homeless is not a crime. His model would be “compassionate accountability.” It was acknowledged that homelessness is not a simple problem with a simple solution—that it is a regional and national problem, and involves difficult mental health and drug addiction aspects that are not easy to deal with. But the sentiment is that Santa Monica has done more than it’s fair share to help the homeless. It’s time for our surrounding cities to do their part. But the Slate as a whole seemed energized to try to find new solutions.