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AGENDA FOR May 2, 2011 MEETING

7:00 – 9:00 PM SMASH/Muir Library – note new venue!

All ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION.  ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE MEETING CHAIR 48 HOURS PRIOR TO THE MEETING.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN DISCUSSION IS WELCOME.  ONLY DIRECTORS MAY VOTE ON ISSUES BEFORE OPA.

TO FACILITATE AN EFFICIENT AND RESPECTFUL DISCUSSION, PLEASE WAIT UNTIL CALLED UPON BY THE MEETING CHAIR BEFORE SPEAKING.

NOTICED BOARD MEMBER ABSENCES:  Fresco, Nafshun, Winterer

Presentation by Linda Gamberg, City of Santa Monica, Big Blue Bus - Proposed service changes (20 min).

 

7:00 to 9:00 PM REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING

   

1.     Introduction to OPA (Ludwinski - 1 minute)

2.     Announcements

3.     Actions taken since last Board meeting

4.     Approval of minutes from March Board meetings; see Attachments 1

5.     Relocation of John Muir Elementary School Monthly Fundraising Event (Amy Hopper/Helene Seisay, 15 min.)

6.     Candidate transparency in funding – proposal to post results from the Transparency Project on the OPA website. See also proposed letters for approval in Attachments 3 and 4 (Marlow, 30 min)

7.     Events Committee status (Nafshun 10 min.)

8.      SMO Airport updates and action item (Perrone 5 min.)

9.     Treasurer’s report (Godon-Tann 10 min.)

10.  Membership report (Huq, 5 min.)

11.  Neighborhood survey status action item (Taylor, 5 min.)

12.  Proposed policy on membership-wide email blasts; see Attachment 2 (Ludwinski, 10 min.)

13.  Future agenda items – note that June 6th meeting will also be at SMASH/Muir Library


Attachment 1

Preliminary Minutes

Meeting Date: April 4, 2011

Time: 7-9 PM

Location: Joslyn Park

Board Members in Attendance

David Auch

Pauline Bohannon

Patricia Godon-Tann

Jeffrey Jarow

Jan Ludwinski

Mary Marlow

Lori Nafshun

Michele Perrone

Bob Taylor

Noticed Board Member Absences

Dana Ehrlich

Sadat Huq

Susan Lewis

Roger Swanson

Other Board Member Absences

Nina Fresco

Ross Furakawa

Topics Discussed

Introduction to OPA

President Jan Ludwinski introduced the guest speaker at 7:05 PM

Discussion with by Randy Little / SM Public Landscape Manager

Responded to questions about the Torrey Pine trees in the beach lot at 2030 Barnard Way.

       Torrey Pines are the smallest species available for this grant, which is specific to CA Native plants

       City received funding from US Forest service to plant 1,000 trees

       Trees help to meet AQMD air quality programs as well as tree cover calculation for City

       Planting on the beach lot at 2030 Barnard Way to be on April, 30, 2011

       New trees will be pruned to not block views from Sea Colony condos and surrounding areas

       City to replace the palm trees at the end of OP Blvd with native palms Fall/Late 2011

Presentation by Miriam Mulder/ SM City Architect

Discussed public works projects planned for the next 5 years, including:

        17th Street Expo Station

       Colorado Esplanade

       Pier Bridge (2014)

       Freeway Capping

       Palisades Garden Walk

       Village (Public/Private – Fall 2011)

o Housing

        Civic Auditorium (Nederlander Group, Design/Build)

       SM High School

       Cultural Facility at Civic Center

       UCLA Medical

       St. Johns

       SM College

       Pico Branch Library (8300 Sq Ft)

       eGenesis

       Bergamot Expo Station

       Village Trailer Park

       Hines/Papermate Site

       SMC Academy on Stewart

       Expo Maintenance

Infrastructure:

·       California Incline (2013 / 1 yr to 18 mos)

·       1000 Trees

·       Bike Path improvements city-wide

·       Expo Rail

·       20th and Cloverfield

·       OP Blvd Improvements

City is reviewing all project schedules in order to best coordinate the efforts and inform the public.

Question:  What about Lincoln Blvd?

·       The City expects to get control of LB by end of year

·       Patching is planned, but nothing further at this point

Miriam Mulder to send overview URL to Jan.

OPA BOD Call to Order

President Jan Ludwinski called the meeting to order at 7:50 PM

Announcements

       Lori – special event taking place

       Jerry Rubin – Big Blue Bus realignment 5/10 City Council and Petition

       Bob – Need to get notice of Events in OP.  Lori to contact Kate at the City

Actions taken since last Board meeting

       Letter sent to City Council regarding Main Street signage

       OPA had a table at the Grand Re-Opening of the Ocean Park Library on Saturday, March 12.  Patricia and Jan attended the event on behalf of OPA. No significant traffic at OPA table.

       A formal stance of the Board was communicated to City Council at the most recent Council meeting regarding the Hines/Papermate Project.  Michele presented on behalf of the board.

Approval of Minutes

Motion to approve March 7, 2011 meeting minutes, as amended, passed unanimously.

Relocation of John Muir Elementary School Monthly Fundraising Event presented by Amy Hopper.

Amy Hopper, John Muir Volunteer and Parent, briefly described the school’s plan to permanently re-locate the monthly fundraising Flea Market event from the Olympic High campus to the Muir/SMASH school parking lot, located between 5th and 6th street on Ocean Park Boulevard.  On behalf of the school, Amy requested that OPA give the plan its blessing. The event will be held in the school parking lot, and attendees will be expected to park in local streets.  The event will be held every month on a Saturday until further notice.  The School Board has already given their approval of the move from the current site location at Ocean Park Boulevard and Lincoln. The Borderline Neighborhood group voted in favor of the relocation.  While the Borderline Neighborhood group does not encompass the school location, there are Borderline families with children at the school.  There has been no prior notice of the move to neighbors of the school nor has there been discussion with the neighborhood about potential impacts of the move.  There is no plan presented regarding handling of parking or how to deal with days when events are already being held in the park.  There was no consideration of holding the flea market in the park and having flea market attendees park in the school parking lot.  No other sites are under consideration at this point.

Lively discussion followed, including comments addressing: need to support the school, concerns about impact on the neighborhood.  It was determined that we know too little about the schools plans or impact to officially support the move.

Motion: To request a formal meeting with the school district to discuss their plans for the Flea Market and its impact on Ocean Park and the neighborhood.

Vote:  Yes 6, No 2.  Motion Passed

Neighborhood Survey

Bob gave the status report:

       Survey has been written.

       Bob will send out the survey for comments.

       Discussion held about the dynamic and potentially ongoing nature of the survey.

Neighborhood Council Report

David reported on the March 19 meeting that included several topics:

       3/31 Neighborhood mailers to be (and were) sent

       Miriam Mulder presentation of upcoming public works and infrastructure projects

       4/7 Transparency Meeting @7pm, 933 20th Street, Unit A

       4/26 SM City Council discussion regarding RDA Funding Priorities

       New/renewed Neighborhood Organizations:  Mid City Neighbors and Northeast Neighbors

       5/10 SM City Council meeting discussion regarding Big Blue Bus realignment and changes.

Events Committee status

Lori recapped the first parade meeting that was held on Friday March 30th.  Grand Marshall ideas were discussed and solicited.

Candidate Transparency in Funding

Mary Marlow reported on the development of a group called The Transparency Project.  This is a grass roots initiative by Santa Monica residents following the 2010 City of Santa Monica elections.  The goal of the group is to provide ongoing public awareness with respect to the amount of funds donated to participants in City-wide elections.  The effort is underway to collect donation information and it is being determined how to best present the data to the public.  Initial data was presented by members of The Transparency Project at the recent City Council meeting at which the Papermate project was discussed.  Currently, meetings of the group are not public.  Jerry Rubin suggested that the group should consider opening its meetings to the public.

SMO Airport updates

Michele made the SMO Airport report with the following highlights:

       SMO Webtrack site has launched.  Michelle to send a link and draft letter to membership.

       Rand study is starting about optimal uses of the airport upon expiration of the lease in 2015.  Will begin interviewing residents.

       Kevin McKeown letter was discussed.  It appears less likely that the FAA will move forward with a Finding of No Significant Impact from the new flight pattern.

       Henry Waxman legislation was introduced in the US Congress regarding safety at SMO.

       Comment:  Need for improved resident reporting mechanism

       Comment: Red Cross is apparently against closing the airport because of its potential usefulness during a disaster.

       Discussion: Bill Rosendahl position

Treasurer’s report

Patty made the Treasurer’s report, including the following comments:

   Quarterly Report

Starting Balance: $2451 (General Fund)

Ending Balance: $2253

Grant was signed and received

o   Need to spend the money by 6/25

Patty to send the quarterly report to Jan

Membership report

Sadat was not present at the meeting so discussion was deferred until next month.

Policy on membership-wide email blasts

Further discussion on the proposed policy on membership-wide email blasts was postponed until the May meeting.

       Jan reminded that guidelines had been sent to the board along with Board meeting documentation

       Jan to resend the guidelines in a dedicated email communication to the board

Future agenda items

Meeting minute approvals for the 4/4/11 minutes

Monthly reports:

       Treasurer

       SMO Airport

       OP Blvd.

       Membership

4th of July Parade

Neighborhood survey

Policy on email blasts

Meeting Close

Next Meeting, May 2, 2011 (location TBD) 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Action Items

What: Letter to School Board regarding the move of the Flea Market

Who: David

When: Draft in two weeks

What: Send link and email regarding airport and Webtrack to the Board and Membership

Who: Michele

When: within two weeks

What: Resend membership email guidelines to the board

Who: Jan

When: within two weeks

What: Get link from Miriam Mulder regarding Public Works and infrastructure projects.  Consider posting the link on the OPA-SM website.

Who: Jan

When: within month

Attachment 2

Proposed Policy for email Blasts


Respecting our members’ busy lives and limited time availability, we endeavor to limit our email to only those considerations that are most important and worthy of their attention. It is therefore our policy to restrict all-membership emailing to the following purposes:

1)    Notification of official OPA meetings

2)    Notification of important pending business that is coming before a City Commission or the City Council that affects Ocean Park and that is to occur prior to the next OPA Board meeting

3)    Provision of factual information aimed at educating the membership regarding upcoming ballot initiatives

4)    Relaying of local government announcements, including transportation-related concerns, that are deemed of general interest to our membership

5)    Conduct of membership business

6)    By specific direction of the OPA Board

Attachment 3

Letter to CA Assembly Elections & Redistricting Committee Supporting AB1148


April 26, 2011

Honorable Paul Fong

CA Assembly Elections & Redistricting Committee

1020 N Street room 365

Sacramento CA 95814

Re:  Assembly Bill No. 1148

Dear Chairperson Fong and Committee Members,

The Ocean Park Association, a nonprofit representing a neighborhood of over 8500 residents in Santa Monica CA strongly supports Assembly Bill 1148 introduced by Assembly Member Julia Brownley.  As residents, we urge this change to the law governing slate mailers and the organizations that create them to make it clearer to voters that these are commercial advertisements, particularly in the case of those mailers that claim to be a “Party Voter Guide”. 

 In the last weeks before the Nov. 2, 2010 election Santa Monicans for Quality Government, a group later revealed to be funded by developers and their associates, put out a “Democratic Voter Guide” that endorsed state and local candidates and measures.  It appeared to be an official party publication both in color and layout.  There was a bold letter notice in a contrasting color urging voters to take the guide with them to vote.  Many voters believed it to be an official party publication and took it with them when voting.  The current disclaimer, required on only one page of the mailers, uses tiny print that is easily overlooked by busy voters.  The disclaimer changes, especially the inclusion of a prominent boxed notice clearly stating the mailer is “Not an Official Political Party Organization” described in AB 1148 will make it clearer to voters which candidates and measures are behind these types of paid advertisements. 

The current asterisk system to identify paid endorsements from some of the candidates is ineffectual. For example, in our local election, City Council candidates Gleam Davis and Pam O’Connor had asterisks by their names as having paid for the slate mailers. But in reality they didn’t make a minimal payment for them until after they were re-elected, according to the January 2011 SMQG filing. Candidates Terry O’Day and Bob Holbrook appeared in the mailer with no asterisk although the majority of the cost was paid for by large developers supporting them.  We applaud the proposed revision that requires an asterisk if payment is received from any source supporting a candidate.

We believe that increased transparency in political advertisements will help reduce voter confusion and deception.

Sincerely,

Jan Ludwinski, President, Ocean Park Association Board of Directors

Cc:        Assembly member Julia Brownley

        Assembly member Dan Logue

        Assembly member Susan Bonilla

        Assembly member Tony Mendoza

        Assembly member Sandre Swanson

        Assembly member David Valado

        Santa Monica City Attorney Marsha Moutrie

        Santa Monica City Clerk Maria Stewart

        Santa Monica Democratic Club

        Neighborhood Associations


Attachment 4

Letter to FPPC


April 25, 2011

 Chairperson Ann Ravel

Fair Political Practices Commission

428 J Street, Suite 800

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Chairperson Ravel and FPPC taskforce members,

Ocean Park Association, a nonprofit representing a neighborhood of over 8500 residents, writes in strong support of two important issues that are currently under discussion at the FPPC.  First, we urge the FPPC to move forward with the Secretary of State and local jurisdictions to create a single, searchable online database for all data that is required to be reported by the Political Reform Act. Second, we urge the FPPC to revise the rules for slate mailers, and particularly those mailers that claim to be a “Party Voter Guide,” to make it clearer to voters that these are commercial advertisements, not official party materials, put out by professional political consultants and paid for, in part, by some of the candidates “endorsed.”

We believe there are a number of steps that can and should be taken now to clean up the campaign disclosure process and to make it transparent, fair, and easy to access. These reforms would prevent the irregularities specified below from recurring in every election cycle in Santa Monica or elsewhere in California and eliminate voter confusion.

Adopting an Online Searchable Statewide Database for All Election Activities

In our recent Santa Monica election, Santa Monicans for Quality Government (SMQG) registered with the State as a state slate mailer organization in order to produce and mail a series of inaccurate and misleading mailers solely concerning the local city council race. SMQG flouted the local law requiring it to file a copy of its campaign disclosure reports with the Santa Monica City Clerk and filed them instead in paper form with the Secretary of State. SMQG then refused to make the reports available to the community, claiming it had complied with its state filing obligations.

The group, a front for wealthy developers with large projects pending in Santa Monica, used a local sounding name – Santa Monicans for Quality Government -- and a local address in connection with its series of misleading and inaccurate mailers.

SMQG’s deliberate strategy of bypassing Santa Monica’s local e-filing system worked to SMQG’s benefit (and the developers who funded the group) by effectively concealing the developers’ identities and contributions until the election was over.

Implementing a consolidated web-based method for statewide electronic filing mandatory for all qualifying state or local committees would end this gamesmanship and provide needed transparency in election campaigns while simplifying compliance for filers.

Revising Slate Mailer Requirements So that Voters Are Not Deceived

Just prior to the Nov 2, 2010 election, SMQG put out a “Democratic Voter Guide” that endorsed state and local candidates and measures. It had the appearance of an official party publication and voters were encouraged to take it into the voting booths with them to guide their voting. We’ve heard from poll workers in Santa Monica that many residents used them to vote, mistakenly believing them to be FROM the Democratic Party.

This means that the disclaimer currently required by the FPPC does not make the lack of party affiliation clear enough. A clear, bold and large text subheading, directly under the title “Democratic Voter Guide” which states that this is “NOT THE OFFICIAL SLATE OF ANY POLITICAL PARTY – IT IS PAID COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING” needs to be required, there and on every page of the booklet.

The asterisk system to identify paid endorsements from some of the candidates is also ineffectual. For example, in our local election, City Council candidates Gleam Davis and Pam O’Connor had asterisks by their names as having paid for the slate mailers. But in reality they didn’t make a minimal payment for them until after they were re-elected, according to the January 2011 SMQG filing. This delay meant there was no way for voters to have this information before the election. This information needs to be made meaningful – by providing a better explanation and by requiring the mailers be paid for when they are mailed, so that the related disclosures are discoverable before voters cast their votes.

Finally, where “big money” is behind these slate mailers, as was the case in Santa Monica, where only a few developers and those who do business with them bankrolled mailers costing over $40,000, the top payees over a certain threshold amount should be named on the mailers with a readable footnote (paid for by Hines Corporation, Armbruster law firm and X) so voters know who is behind the mailers. Without that, the electorate is left in the dark.

Each of these changes is doable and each goes to the heart of making our democracy work by eliminating voter confusion and deception.

Sincerely,

Jan Ludwinski for

Ocean Park Association

 CC: Santa Monica City Attorney Marsha Moutrie

         Santa Monica City Clerk Maria Stewart

         Santa Monica Democratic Club

         Neighborhood Associations

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