No Voice for the Middle

For the first time in 48 years of voting I had to choose the lesser of two evils. We were given the choice between the two most hated politicians running for the presidency.

This election is a direct result of our divided nation — liberal vs. conservative, men vs. women, and black vs. white. They say it is my way or the highway. Gone are the days of compromise and civility, replaced by partisanship and anger. Moderates like me feel that there is no longer a place for us in today’s divided nation.

Arnold Lipschultz

Support Parks, Transit and Measure LV

Dear Santa Monica Voter,

Elections are a great time for honesty and truth about issues. You won’t get much of either from the full-color brochures filling your mailbox, so here are some bits of both:

If you love parks and hate traffic, vote YES on L.A. County Measures A and M in support of parks and mass transit.

Two words: Hillary Clinton.

One of the easiest ways to know how to vote on propositions is to know who is for and against them. For example, tobacco companies are spending millions to defeat Prop 56, so vote FOR it. YES on 56. Big pharmaceutical companies are against Prop 61. So vote FOR it. YES on 61.

Use the above examples to guide you on Measure LV, Santa Monica’s LUVE Initiative. You know big developers don’t want it and are spending big money to defeat it, so vote FOR it.
YES on LV.

Some well-established politicians and groups claim it is too restrictive, but there is nothing in Measure LV that prevents any developer or even the city from proposing projects above 32 feet. If the Miramar wants to bring back that 320-foot Godzilla, they can try. But under LV, even if the current council or a future council approves it, residents can vote to reject it. Measure LV simply gives residents the final say. That’s it. Don’t believe the BS in the brochures mentioned above.
Just remember who is paying for them.

Finally, who should you support for Santa Monica City Council? Well, with more than 45 new projects in the pipeline, a city manager who recently said traffic has reached “a tipping point” (his words, not mine), and four incumbents seeking re-election to four  council seats, if you want more of the same you know exactly what to do.

John C. Smith
Chair, Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission

Don’t Let ‘Experience’ Fool You

Re: “The Argonaut’s Election Endorsements: California Assembly, Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City,” Oct. 20

I take offense that Autumn Burke should be endorsed over Tony Leal because Mr. Leal has not held a public office.

What makes Ms. Burke so qualified? Until two years ago she never held a public office either.

Of course Burke has political privilege, thanks to mommy Yvonne Burke and her political connections to “Moonbeam” Obama and the unions.

On Burke’s first adventure into the political arena in 2014, she was one of six Democrats. This year not one single Democrat — zero — attempted to place their name on the primary ballot for the 62nd Assembly District. Funny how DNC politics work, especially in California.

Marc Rener
62nd Assembly District Republican Committee
El Segundo

No LUVE for Santa Monica’s Land Use Voter Empowerment Measure

L is for the loopholes to abuse.

U is units rental we will lose.

V is vehicles that won’t be absentee-icles.

E is economic; growth will bomb like the atomic.

LUVE to recognize what’s really true.

LUVE to go through just who LUVE will screw.

Don’t do what a chump does.

LUVE makes less sense than a Trump does.


I hate it.

So should you.

A. D. Draycost, Santa Monica

Which Way, America?

Re: “The Argonaut’s Election Endorsements: Federal Offices and State Propositions,” Oct. 13

Thank you, Argonaut, for simplifying information about the candidates and measures on the Nov. 8 ballot. The verbiage on election materials can be misleading and inundating.

Speaking of verbiage, it is utterly appalling that a presidential candidate can say what he wants about any nationality, religion, or gender and be rewarded with running for president, while an entertainment newscaster is fired (no pun intended).

We are ‘hiring’ someone to represent us, and we can learn from recent elections around the world. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is gunning down his citizens involved with drugs and comparing himself to Hitler; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ran a clean, positive campaign.

We all have mothers, and some of us daughters and wives. We know people of different races and religions. We should take pride in ourselves, as a nation. Look at the candidates’ resumes and think about what it is they could really do for you and for this country.

Morgan Jackley, Playa del Rey

Reasonable People Can Disagree

As I watched the third and final presidential debate, I couldn’t help but reflect on the level of incivility and division in this year’s presidential campaign. And I also couldn’t help reflecting on how that incivility and division is reflected in our local elections this year.

There is broad agreement that the many serious issues facing Santa Monica need addressing. There is no argument about that.

The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica welcomes robust discussion and debate on these issues.  We are people of involvement:  We understand that democracy is a participatory sport.

A new Zogby Survey on Civility in U.S. Politics, commissioned by Allegheny College, found that the uncivil behavior that has marked the presidential campaign appears to be numbing the electorate.  After reviewing the survey, the college president went on to say that “These findings are stunning and deeply disturbing for everyone who believes civil discourse is essential to the long-term health of our democracy.”

Let’s all remember that reasonable people can disagree and should be able to debate issues civilly. We will still be neighbors on Nov. 9.

Barbara Inatsugu
President, League of Women Voters of Santa Monica

A Call for Civic Discourse

Over the last few weeks, we have noticed a great number of letters to the editor regarding the controversial Santa Monica Measure LV. There are very strong opinions on both sides of the issue and we want to kindly remind your readers that regardless of what voters decide on Nov. 8, we’ll still be part of the same community on Nov.9.

The proliferation of community involvement and opinions surrounding the future of Santa Monica is a wonderful thing. Democracy works best when those who disagree on issues can come together, compromise and move forward. We would like to encourage everyone to practice civil discourse.

What is civil discourse? It is being respectful to those who have different opinions than your own. It is refraining from name-calling or attacking someone’s character. Civil discourse means avoiding antagonism when engaging in discussion with someone you disagree with (or even someone you agree with). It means focusing on the issues before us and understanding that others may not share the same life experiences.

When we practice civility and civil discourse, we may even inspire more Santa Monicans to become involved in our city. Too many currently shy away from sharing their opinions for fear of hostility from anyone who may disagree with them.

Civil discourse may be simple, but it’s not always easy. It takes conscious effort and practice. Please try to be kind to each other—and remember we’ll still be neighbors after Nov. 8.

Natalya Zernitskaya and Karen Carrey League of Women Voters of Santa Monica

Open Letter: Don’t Let Politics Make You a Monster

The Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council (SMAIC) and community continue to struggle together toward the day when every person is treated with dignity and respect, regardless of sexual identity, creed, color, ability, religion, age, culture, gender or gender expression.

As members of the Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council, we recognize that election seasons bring our differences into sharp focus. We celebrate healthy, robust debate that helps advance our understanding of the decisions voters are asked to make. Passionate disagreement is a hallmark of our constitutional democracy.

We draw the line, however, at racism, xenophobia, misogyny, antisemitism and other forms of intolerance. Such expressions of hate have no place in Santa Monica — or anywhere else. Nor does the implication that the only “real” residents are those who have lived here for a certain period of time.

It has come to our attention that a Santa Monica-focused Facebook group recently became the forum for a series of explicitly anti-Semitic posts, addressed toward a Los Angeles-area rabbi and a local Jewish family. Comments included offensive allegations that they are “part of the same cabal,” suggestions about connections between Jews and banking and Jews and power, allegations about the Torah, and suggestions that Jews are “maggots” and “bred for such logistics.”

Just as disturbing to us is that these posts have stayed up without comment or criticism by other members of the group in question. These posts are unacceptable in any forum, and we condemn them — and the silence that has surrounded them — without equivocation. We call upon all Santa Monicans to do the same.

The election is only a short time away. Emotions are running high, and people in entrenched camps are demonizing one another. To be clear, the Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council has not taken a position on anything that is on the ballot. This letter is not about defending one “side” or the other. We strongly believe that there is no place for this kind of behavior, no matter which initiatives you support or oppose. We believe that this community can and must do better. We call on the members of this community to engage with one another in an attitude of dignity and respect for all people.

Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen, senior pastor, Church in Ocean Park, Santa Monica

Rev. Eric C. Shafer, senior pastor, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Santa Monica

Amir Hussain, Muslim, Professor of Theological Studies at LMU

Dennis Hardwick, chair, JustFaith Peace and Justice Ministry, St. Monica Catholic Church

Omar Haroon, Muezzin and former vice chair of Islamic Center of Southern California

The Rev. Nathan A. Rugh, rector, St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal Church

Rev. Rebecca Benefiel Bijur, minister, Unitarian Universalist Community Church,
Santa Monica

Jamshid Ashourian, member, Baha’i Community of Santa Monica

Dr. Bill Wood, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica

Ann Miks, Buddhist, Soka Gakkai International USA

Vicar Sharon M. Ruff Richter, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Santa Monica

Rev. Amy Rosenbaum, hospice chaplain and retired United Methodist clergy,

Curtis Raynor, clerk of Peace and Social Action committee, Santa Monica Quaker Meeting

Mahomed A. Khan, interfaith and outreach director, King Fahad Mosque

Rev. Jim Conn, United Methodist Clergy, retired; former mayor, Santa Monica

Rev. James E. Boline, pastor, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Santa Monica

Theresa Bonpane, founder, Office of the Americas

Blase Bonpane, executive director, Office of the Americas

Nathaniel Trives, member, Calvary Baptist; former mayor, Santa Monica

Darya Jones, Orthodox Christian, member, Church in Ocean Park

Sue Schuerman, Unity of the Westside in Culver City

Andre van Zijl and Debrah Friedland van Zyl, interfaith ministers, All Paths Divinity School

Rev. Herman Kemp, (Baptist) Chaplain, Veteran’s Administration

Jeremy Iversen, Baha’i Community of Santa Monica

Joanne Berlin, United Methodist Clergy, Committee for Racial Justice

Bonnie Johnstone, Interfaith, member, Church in Ocean Park