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By Jorge Casuso
October 14, 2020 -- A leading Santa Monica slow-growth group on Wednesday endorsed Oscar de la Torre for City Council hours after he issued a blistering attack on the proposed Plaza project Downtown.
The Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City's (SMCLC) endorsement of the School Board member rounds out its support of a slow-growth slate challenging the incumbents in the race for four full-term seats on the Council.
"As you know, SMCLC had previously endorsed only three candidates for our Santa Monica City Council," the Coalition wrote in an email to supporters Wednesday evening.
"With the release of this statement and press release from Oscar de la Torre, we are pleased to announce that we are now endorsing Oscar for City Council along with the entire 'Santa Monica Vote for Change' slate of council candidates."
In his statement Wednesday, de la Torre elaborated on his position, calling the proposed 357,000-square-foot mixed-use hotel development on City owned land Downtown a "land grab, giveaway and plunder of the public purse."
"Public land is a rare commodity in our City and once it is sold off to private interests there is no turning back," de la Torre wrote in his statement. "I believe that public land should benefit the true owners of this land, the residents.
Filed late last month, the lawsuit charges that the City failed to abide by the State's Surplus Land Act, which requires that the land be offered for affordable housing or use as open space ("Slow-Growth Group Sues City to Halt Plaza Negotiations," September 25, 2020).
"The City Council should have ended negotiations with the developer but instead it moved forward with the developer and their project essentially ignoring the Surplus Land Act," de la Torre said.
"With regard to other projects for which the city has behind closed doors negotiated DAs for overdevelopment and hyper-density, I stand firmly opposed," de la Torre said.
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