There’s a lot of unknowns at Santa Monica City Hall right now — and our latest Santa Monica Pulse shows that residents aren’t sure what to make of it. After Councilmember McKeown stepped down unexpectedly, the City put out a call for applicants to fill his spot. But if the Council can’t reach a decision, a special election may be in order. That’s not to mention the City’s seemingly endless search for a permanent City Manager which was most recently derailed when the Council’s first choice turned down the position.
When asked if they felt more or less optimistic about the future of the city now that there will be a new Councilmember as well as a new City Manager, 37 percent of residents said they were “unsure,” while another 23 percent said their feelings were unchanged. 26 percent said they felt more optimistic.
At the time the poll was launched, 14 people had thrown their hat in the ring for City Council. Of those 14, one applicant stood out in the poll. 32 percent of respondents said Mario Fonda-Bonardi was their preferred candidate — the most by far of any applicant listed. Lana Negrete came in second with 13 percent, and Robert Kronovet came in third with 6 percent. 34 percent of respondents did not choose a candidate, instead writing in their thoughts. While a few wrote in other names, many said they needed to learn more about each candidate before choosing or cited the overall need for someone who would reduce homelessness and crime in Santa Monica.
Concern over homelessness and safety remains a hot topic in the city. Neighboring Venice Beach recently announced it would remove all homeless encampments by July. When asked if they worried that the removal of these encampments would cause an increase in the homeless population in Santa Monica, 67 percent of residents said yes. Only 18 percent were not worried about a rise in homelessness and 14 percent weren’t sure.
When it came to the City’s recent decision to close two blocks of Main Street to traffic on select weekends, 60 percent of residents approved of the plan while 27 percent disapproved.