October 10, 2022

The Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) is pleased to announce our endorsements for City Council.  We urge voters to elect Councilmember Lana Negrete and candidate Armen Melkonians.  

Lana and Armen believe that residents need to be heard, and our concerns meaningfully addressed, before the City approves huge  projects with irreversible negative consequences. They know that community input inevitably yields superior, more environmentally friendly projects.  

They also believe our City Council should work for us, serving the people of our City over private interests, and that our City bureaucracy needs to be more transparent. Both are running because they have made, and will make, a difference in keeping Santa Monica livable. Neither wants a future community with blocks of wall-to-wall, six-story buildings. They know the importance of open space and sustainable infrastructure, especially in a high-density city like ours, which is under constant pressure for even more densification.     

Councilmember Lana Negrete  

Lana was appointed to the City Council last year. A lifelong Santa Monican, long-time renter (like 70% of SM residents), and small business owner, she brings her lived perspective to issues residents care about, including land use policy, development, and transparency. She is a natural leader who has shown a willingness to question staff and isn’t easily swayed by “we always do it this way” thinking. Lana consistently looks for an approach that better serves residents and small businesses.  

Lana believes that public open space – like at 4th and Arizona – should not be privatized. Santa Monica has never had enough open space for a city our size and needs to enact policies that don’t pit scarce green space against affordable housing.

For more on Lana: https://lananegrete.com/  

Armen Melkonians  

Armen is running for City Council because he believes “our fight to keep Santa Monica livable has never been more urgent.”  He is a civil/environmental engineer best known in Santa Monica for his community activism through Residocracy, a group he formed to challenge the hugely unpopular Hines project on the old Papermate site at 26th and Olympic Boulevards.  

SMCLC worked closely with Armen to qualify a referendum that would have halted that project. The City ultimately reversed its approval, paving the way for that factory space to be adaptively reused. Like SMCLC and SMa.r.t. (the group of local architects of which he was a member) Armen believes the City needs to better support turning existing, vacant commercial spaces into other uses, such as affordable housing, rather than fast-tracking huge, out-of-scale luxury housing developments. He also believes that our scarce public open space needs to be preserved as such and not traded away for private development.  

To see Armen’s platform: https://www.votearmen.com