The Venice Breakwater
Photo by Kris Dahlin

Something We Can All Agree On

Fellow Argonians,

The last few months, opinions have been shared about views of political parties. I present an issue all parties can agree on, the END of gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is dictating the results of our elections, violating our constitutional rights. My hope is that by working together on this issue, we will learn to work together on others… VOTE!

Morgan Jackley

Playa del Rey

Main Street: Mitigate to Survive

The deadly coronavirus can hitch a ride into our bodies through many routes, and if an overwhelming amount of virus gets in and the body’s defenses are overwhelmed — we get COVID-19. This is scientific fact and not tribal belief.

We have ample evidence that stringent mitigations can reduce transmission and that without them, even the President can fall victim. Most people who’ve checked the science can see that we’re still in for a long haul before we’re clear of this pandemic. And to get clear of the pandemic, we have to get really smart deciding what to do while mustering common purpose and individual obligation to escape prolonged contagion.

Outdoor dining is popular, potentially providing lifeboats to aid Santa Monica’s Main Street’s survival during this storm of community transmission. With plenty of space for social distancing and enough fresh air circulation, coronavirus carrying aerosol concentration is diluted below the danger level for most people, for most of the time.

Open Main Street by closing it to traffic and there would be room to provide a safe space for mask-less diners and drinkers, distanced in their own intimate social groups with reduced transmission risk to others. Move the tables and chairs into the street and keep the sidewalks safely exclusive for masked pedestrians — not the virus spewing gauntlets now constricted by the small overflowing parklets during busy times.

If the rule is: “Masks required by everyone at all times except when seated at table service locations” — then it would be easier to tag violators, increasing safety for the rest of us.

With more street space, restaurants could restore more of their lost capacity to again operate efficiently and profitably while enriching Santa Monica’s life blood, again contributing valuable tax revenue to our cash-starved city.

We know Covid added multiple significant challenges to the long list Santa Monica had before the virus hit, and now city government has reduced income to face current increased demands. Administration time and attention is now spread over wider concerns so saving Main Street gets pushed down the priority list for attention and resources.

What can we do?

One thing is to support more professional public health input into important decisions when planning begins. With aerosol transmission expertise at the table when the Al Fresco plan was coalescing, the proponents of thru traffic lanes with cement block safety barriers could have been challenged with basic science, psychology and economics.

Our physical and economic health depend on making wise timely choices. City government should take counsel from advocates with common sense solutions and objectively game out alternatives for our best chance at a Main Street rescue. This election we have more than 20 candidates running to fill four city council seats, so it will be interesting to see how they’ll attend to the Main Street emergency when the new council gets seated.

Tim Tunks

Santa Monica

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