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Meet the Candidates for Santa Monica City Council: Richard Mckinnon


Frank Gruber for Santa Monica City Council

Ted Winterer for City Council 2012

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Re-elect Robert Kronovet for Rent Control Board

Pico Business Improvement District
7th Annual Pico Festival
Sunday, October 28th

October 10, 2012 -- This is the eighth in a series of posts that provides the answers to questions by candidates in the November 6 race for Santa Monica City Council. The answers from the candidates will be posted in the order they were received.

Candidate Profiles --

Name: Richard McKinnon

Profession: business owner and strategic adviser

Birth place: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Running for: City Council

Status: married, one son

1. How long have you lived in Santa Monica? In what neighborhood do you live?

12 years in Wilmont

2. Describe yourself in 10 words or less.

Highly focused

3. What was your first job?

Delivering telegrams

4. Describe your history of community involvement, if any, in 75 words or less.

Intensely involved in schools and education at every level including PTA, PTA executive Council; Chair, three School Governance Councils; board member non profits such as PYFC; youth sport coach; bike activist, Spoke executive; Recreation and Planning Commissioner, Planning Commissioner.

5. How would you rate the current City Council? What particular decisions stand out for you that made you form that opinion?

The current City Council struggles to maintain civility towards each other. It is time for generational change to allow new thinking and progress. They avoided moving forward on major issues like banning smoking in apartments. B-

6. What is the most frequent complaint you hear on the campaign trail? What do you plan to do about it?

Traffic and congestion are overwhelming normal life. Put in a place a range of policies to encourage alternate transport; finish the bike plan within two years, toughen Transport Demand Management on commerical and retail properties, make Big Blue Bus respond to alternate transport needs. Get kids to ride bikes to school, Encourage safe walking with a pedestrian plan. Link the light rail arrival to City needs.

7. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:

There are already enough jobs in Santa Monica, so the city doesn't need more commercial development.

The issue is how people circulate, arrive and leave the City. Previous development has generated car trips and congestion. Unless we speed up moves to get people out of cars and discourage their use, major parts of the City will be unreachable for long periods of the day. There is no community wide consensus for more development currently because of the traffic issue. Only solving congestion will allow argument free development.

8. Should Santa Monica residents be allowed to vote on major development agreements? Why or why not?

Any DA can go to referendum. Beyond that City Councils are elected to govern and run the affairs of the City. Representative democracy implies allowing elected officials to make decision for a perodi of time and be tested at an election. This is that moment.

9. Do you believe developers have undue influence on City government? Yes

10. How would you solve the traffic problem in Santa Monica? see 6

11. If Santa Monica has the authority to shut down the airport, should it do so? Yes.

12. With which statement do you agree more:

a. Tourism is an important part of Santa Monica's image and a major revenue source and should be encouraged.

b. There are too many tourists in Santa Monica and businesses are catering to tourists at the expense of locals.

Neither. Authentic cities generate the greatest tourism appeal, dollars and satisfaction. Santa Monica needs to gear itself towards making this a lively interesting City where the streets satisfy residents; with a nighttime economy, a downtown that bursts with activity. That City, beside the beach, with people walking and using bikes in the sun has worldwide appeal.

13. True or False: Santa Monica has become Beverly Hills by the Sea.

Increasingly true. When it gets hard to buy an inexpensive shirt or item of kitchenware, and few residents frequent the Mall, its a sentiment you hear all over the City

14. With which statements do you agree. You can pick more than one.

Affordable Housing:

a. Creates blight and brings crime.

b. Pays back hotel and restaurant union workers for their political support in the past

c. Creates more tenants to vote for Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMMR) candidates

d. Addresses a legitimate need, especially in Santa Monica


15. In the past ten years, the number of laws passed by the Santa Monica City Council has increased from 32 in 2002 to 48 last year. This is:

a. A reasonable response to the concerns of residents.

b. A council that tries to please everyone

c. A council that believes it knows what's best for the city and likes to impose its will.

All three.

16. Santa Monica's contribution to employee pensions has risen from $10 million a year a decade ago to $40 million and growing today. To help pay for its growing contribution Santa Monica should:

a. Lay off workers

b. Generate more cash by increasing development

c. Increase local taxes.

d. Other

D. Cap the number of City workers, allow natural attrition to begin cutting numbers in a controlled fashion; rearrange work inside the Council, use technology in solve City work issues and overall refocus on service delivery rather than headcount.

17. Do you support Measure ES, a $385 million bond to build and improve Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District facilities?

Yes. It is a major contribution to our City and Santa Monica community. School are the foundation of our community, they have been neglected for years. This measure will begin to fix that problem

18. Has Santa Monica successfully addressed the homeless problem?

No. There are still way too many people on the street every night. That’s unfair to resident and the homeless. We need to think differently and treat the homeless with a whole of person and whole of life approach.

19. Do you believe Santa Monica is a segregated city?

Yes. Latinos are unseen and African-American even more so So many discussions in America come back to race and its impacts. The Pico neighbourhood has often been al dumping ground for social problems or charity organisations because of the perceived voicelessness of the residents.

20. Do community groups play an important role in Santa Monica?


21. Which of the following statements do you agree with.

Santa Monica is:

a. Doing enough to encourage biking

b. Not doing enough to encourage biking

c. Doing too much to encourage biking

B. Bikes Everywhere should be the major thrust of the new council. which must finish the Bike Plan within two years (excluding the San Vincente path and Seventh Street bridge) and start deeper more challenging work to get people to sue bikes, including kids going to school. This is a major way to ge no new net trips.

22. Do you support a law banning smoking in apartment and condo units?


23. What is your favorite place in Santa Monica? Least favorite place?

Favourite. Palisades Park. Least the heavy industry and trash yards between Michigan and the Freeway

24. What is the last piece of music you bought? With Pandora you don’t buy music. (ok Stan Getz).

25. If you were emperor with absolute authority for a day and could do one thing for Santa Monica, what would it be?

Transform our streets into walkable user friendly areas where residents and visitors would want to hang out, naturally gather, mingle, and develop a community and retail life that’s got a different energy that’s spectacular.

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