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Meet the Candidates for Santa Monica City Council: Ted Winterer


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 11, 2012 -- This is the ninth 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.

Name: Ted Winterer

Profession: Writer/marketing

Birth place: Brooklyn, NY

Running for: City Council

Status: Married, two children age 11 and 6

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

20 years in Santa Monica, 12 years in Ocean Park where we live now.

2. Describe yourself in 10 words or less.

Working to protect the future of Santa Monica.

3. What was your first job?

Junior counselor at Camp Chewonki in Wiscasset, ME. Great place: organically farmed food for the kids, sustainability practices, and low-impact camping long before these all became commonplace.

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

Currently I’m Vice Chair of the Planning Commission and was previously a Recreation and Parks Commissioner. I’ve served on the school district’s Economic Feasibility Committee and on the steering committee of Community for Excellent Public Schools. I am a former President of the Ocean Park Association and was Co-Chair of its predecessor the Ocean Park Community Organization. And I’m an organizer of the annual Fourth of July Parade and an AYSO referee and coach.


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

Good on fiscal management, affordable housing production and mass transit. Not so good on traffic, the Santa Monica Airport, requiring real community benefits from development and insisting on great architecture. I’m dismayed the Council hasn’t asked for better design from projects such as the Miramar hotel and the Papermate site.

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

In Sunset Park and Ocean Park the biggest grievance is Santa Monica Airport. I support the Airport Commission: reduce flights before the end of the FAA agreement in 2015 and then ban flight schools, shorten the runway and seek complete closure. Elsewhere the big complaint is traffic; see question 10.

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.

Agree, we have enough office space and the car trips it generates.

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

Yes. Voters should have the chance to weigh the merits and impacts of very large projects.

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


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

A) Count the new car trips generated by approved projects not yet built, insist mitigations are yielding no net new pm trips; B) Implement a Transportation Impact Fee to offset car trips from new development, as is done in neighboring cities; C) Update the 1992 Transportation Management Ordinance.

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


12. With which statement do you agree more:

  1. Tourism is an important part of Santa Monica's image and a major revenue source and should be encouraged.
  2. There are too many tourists in Santa Monica and businesses are catering to tourists at the expense of locals.

A) Tourism provides low impact revenues; however, City policy should be driven by the needs and goals of residents.

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

False. All you have to do is walk neighborhoods to meet voters as I have this fall to see that our population, even in some of the more affluent areas, is much more economically diverse than Beverly Hills and that many of our residents struggle to make ends meet.

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

Affordable Housing:

  1. Creates blight and brings crime.

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

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

  4. Addresses a legitimate need, especially in Santa Monica

D) Local law, approved by the voters, requires that 30% of housing production is affordable. And affordable housing helps preserve our socioeconomic diversity while reducing traffic, as employees in Santa Monica no longer have to drive in and out of our town every day.

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:

  1. A reasonable response to the concerns of residents.

  2. A council that tries to please everyone

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

Depending on the ordinance in question, any or all of these answers could apply. And the question doesn’t take into account what new laws by have been required by Federal and state statutes.

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:

  1. Lay off workers

  2. Generate more cash by increasing development

  3. Increase local taxes.

  4. Other

D) Governor Brown's pension reforms will help with future costs and in the interim we must honor the obligations made to already-hired employees. Employee bargaining units have already agreed to pay a higher percentage of their own pension costs. Meanwhile, the City has prepaid some of its PERS obligations to reduce future costs.

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


18. Has Santa Monica successfully addressed the homeless problem?

Successfully? Not until we and our neighboring cities have taken care of everyone in need. But targeting the chronically homeless with a housing first policy has reduced our homeless count even in a bleak economy while costing taxpayers less than providing emergency services to those who live on our streets.

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

On the whole, no: we have a heterogeneous population unrestrained by legal and cultural discrimination. However, the Pico Neighborhood still suffers from the environmental injustice of the toxic triangle and a lack of jobs for its youth.

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


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

Santa Monica is:

  1. Doing enough to encourage biking

  2. Not doing enough to encourage biking

  3. Doing too much to encourage biking

A) Provided we fund and execute the Bicycle Action Plan in a timely manner.

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

I support reducing and eventually eliminating the health risks of second hand smoking in a manner which doesn’t put existing tenancies at risk of eviction or harassment.

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

The beach: if don’t visit it at least once a week I’ve let myself down. And I don’t care for the Water Gardens: banal design, unfriendly to pedestrians, too many car trips in one area.

24. What is the last piece of music you bought?

A quick look at the iTunes account shows the last piece of music I bought was “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jensen. Apparently my kids have hacked my password.

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

Get ride of the eastbound traffic after 3 pm on a weekday so we could all go to a Dodger game, visit MOCA, attend a concert or see a play in downtown LA or just visit a friend in Pasadena without risking a stroke from the stress.

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