Brock, Negrete, Davis Take Aim at “Santa Monica Is Not Safe” Series of Signs at the Promenade

Date:

At tomorrow night’s meeting of the Santa Monica City Council, a motion will be presented by Mayor Phil Brock, Vice-Mayor Lana Negrete and Councilmember Gleam Davis directing city staff to draft a motion expressing their disapproval of the current and most-recent previous “Santa Monica Is Not Safe” signs.

In December of 2022, a sign stating “Santa Monica Is Not Safe” was erected on unrented property on the 3rd Street Promenade owned by John Alle. The sign was paid for by the Santa Monica Coalition, a political non-profit Alle co-founded. The Santa Monica Coalition charges that crime is rising at accelerated rates because of people experiencing homelessness and people battling drug addiction and have waged an aggressive public relations campaign with the help of conservative media to amplify their views. Over the next year and a half, the sign has been changed twice, with each iteration getting more aggressive and mis-leading than the last. 

You can read about the second sign, “Santa Methica Is Not Safe” that targeted City Manager David White here for his support of a “needle and met pipe giveaway program” (that he has not supported) here. Or, you can read a review of the “pride themed” sign that Alle claims was funded by a national LGBT non-profit (that says it has never heard from Alle and has nothing to do with the sign) here.

Brock, Negrete and Davis have hardly been allies on the Council, and seeing them work together on this motion is something of a surprise.Two months ago the Santa Monica Coalition held a political rally in Reed Park against the county’s harm reduction and needle exchange program where: Davis’ name was jeered by the crowd, attendees held signs attacking Councilmembers in vulgar terms, a chant calling for the firing of City Manager David White was led from the microphone, Santa Monica Next columnist Jason Mastbaum was called out by Negrete at the podium leading to him being harassed by attendees, and Brock spoke while literally being surrounded by signs calling for Davis’ ouster.

When given the chance, Brock spoke forcefully about White’s professionalism and pushed back against calls for his ouster. “I want it made clear that I have full confidence in our City Manager’s work in guiding our city. I appreciate David White’s leadership of Santa Monica every day,” Brock wrote in a statement to Next when asked to comment on the Santa Monica Coalition’s call for White to be fired.

The potential motion goes some steps further than just defending White. After acknowledging the three Councilmembers respect for the 1st Amendment rights of Alle and his political affiliates; the councilmembers lay out three areas where the signs on the Promenade are wrong or unhelpful:

  1. The “free needle and meth pipe program” is a harm reduction program administered by L.A. County through private contractors. Neither David White, nor the City Council for that matter, have control over it. In fact, the Council has twice asked the County to end the program.
  2. The city’s position on any program is set by the city council, not the city manager.
  3. And last, in their own words, “the signs also may be counter-productive to the community’s stated goal of economic recovery as they may deter people from visiting and shopping in Santa Monica at a time when the City’s retail, travel, and entertainment businesses are still recovering from the pandemic.”

Brock is taking something of a political risk here, as he has been seen as a supporter of the Santa Monica Coalition. As noted above, he spoke at their most recent rally and last summer he was in an altercation with a man who was vandalizing the second sign. 

However, he found himself the target of the Coalition’s social media over the weekend with a post on their Instagram stating, “Santa Monica’s Mayor Phil Brock and its City Council need a ‘reality check’. In 2014 The Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury found Santa Monica to be one of the most financially irresponsible cities in the County. Santa Monica was forced to create an Audit Subcommittee in July 2015. Mayor Phil Brock has been a member of the committee since 2021, Councilmember Gleam Davis since 2020. Since then, millions of dollars remain unaccounted for from their Human Services Grant program.“

Brock’s seat on the City Council is up for election this year. He is widely expected to run for re-election, although has not officially announced his intentions.

The Santa Monica Coalition emailed their supporters earlier today, asking them to flood the council with written and in-person comments against the motion. A full copy of their email can be found at the bottom of this article, and it argues that their right to free speech is being violated (it’s not), that they have proof that White is conspiring with the county in support of the needle pipe exchange program (based on this MOU that was authorized by the city and county explaining who does what in the county’s program and is available on the county’s website) and threatening legal action should the city move forward.

Full letter from Santa Monica Coalition to supporters about tomorrow night’s motion:

Dear Santa Monica Coalition Supporter:

Mayor Phil Brock, Vice Mayor Lana Negrete and Councilmember Gleam Davis proposed Council Meeting Agenda Item 16 B Item scheduled for Tuesday  25, 2024 to limit the Santa Monica Coalition’s ability to our First Amendment right to make the statement that the City Manager David White supports the Needle and Meth Pipe Distribution Program in our parks.   

Please attend the City Council Meeting tomorrow or send an email to the City Council no later than 12pm tomorrow telling them to put an end to agenda item 16B. 

In the letter attached here, our team has addressed the reasons cited by Brock, Negrete and Davis for their proposed resolution, and provided hard facts regarding City Manager David White’s involvement with the Needle and Glass Pipe Distribution that covertly started on our 3rd Street Promenade, the 7-Eleven property at 7th and Wilshire, the California Incline and within Palisades, Reed and Tongva Parks.  

We have provided statements and copies of emails showing City Manager David White lied, and that neither Mayor Brock, Vice Mayor Lana Negrete or Councilmember Gleam Davis conducted any review of City staff exchanges with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. We have many pages of additional emails and information which are embarrassing and damaging to Santa Monica.

The City Council’s refusal to address this issue and pay attention to the collaboration between Santa Monica City Manager David White and Barbara Ferrer’s Department of Public Health team contributed to the growing number of transient addicts 24-7 in the parks and in our City, decline of business and tourism, and rise in retail theft and violent crime in Downtown Santa Monica and all areas of the City.

We feel actions and statements made by Mayor Brock, Vice Mayor Negrete and Councilmember Gleam Davis (who authored the 16 B Agenda Item) are harmful to The Santa Monica Coalition and its members, and that each needs to be very careful moving forward or, face a character defamation lawsuit.

If you are unable to speak at the Council Meeting and would like to send a letter in opposition to the proposed council resolution and in support of everyone’s First Amendment Rights, please do so before 12 pm on Tuesday.  It is important that your voice be part of the public record.

You can send your emails to:  to:  councilmtgitems@santamonica.gov, phil.brock@santamonica.gov, lana.negrete@santamonica.gov,  oscar.delatorre@santamonica.gov, christine.parra@santamonica.gov, gleam.davis@santamonica.gov, caroline.torosis@santamonica.gov, jesse.zwick@santamonica.gov

CC: david.white@santamonica.gov

RE: Opposition to June 25 2024 Santa Monica Council Meeting Agenda Item 16 B

As always we are grateful for your support. 

The Santa Monica Coalition

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

Share post:

More like this
Related