A recent report from the city concluded a “series of missteps led to a botched police response” to the riots that took place in Santa Monica last May. This included a police chief who was out of town with “no one clearly” left in command in her absence. The department was also said to be dealing with budget cuts that left it concerned about overtime spending on additional officers. Despite several warning signs, the report found the police were disorganized and lacked the appropriate resources to respond to the growing threats.
As Santa Monica searches for a new City Manager and works to confirm a new budget, residents weighed in on their top priorities for both. When it comes to the next City Manager, over 48 percent of residents said their top priority should be reducing homelessness. Another 23 percent said it should be increasing public safety.
Similarly, when it comes to the city budget, almost 60 percent (59.17) think the top priority should be increased police patrols, especially around the beach and pier. Another 15 percent said it should be increased street cleaning and other sanitation services.
In regard to homelessness, the vast majority of respondents believe Santa Monica should take a similar approach to Los Angeles. A judge recently ordered the city and county to find shelter for every homeless person in the downtown area by mid-October— after which the city would be permitted to clear homeless encampments. He also mandated the city auditor examine all public money spent in recent years to combat homelessness. 70 percent of Santa Monicans said the city would benefit from a similar approach.
Residents’ confidence in the new City Council seems to be improving. While 70 percent of Santa Monicans said they believed the city was not on the right track, that was down about nine points from April 2021. It’s also down from a high of 85 percent in February 2021.