Newest Santa Monica Is Not Safe Sign Is Pride Themed, Has Mysterious Backers


The third iteration of the “Santa Monica Is Not Safe” signs on the unrented property on the Promenade owned by John Alle is certainly the most whimsical, although it still maligns City Manager David White with a charge that not even Alle’s political supporters believe is true along with a handful of other easily proven lies.

Emblazoned against a rainbow background, the sign reads, “SM City Manager supports Free Needle & Meth Pipe Distribution Program in our parks and public spaces.” (sic) The banner also has a black and white picture of White identifying him by name and title. The sign also reads, “Sponsored by the Santa Monica Gay and Sober.” (sic)

“SM City Manager supports “Free Needle & Meth Pipe Distribution Program in our parks and public spaces.”

As we discussed last year when Alle’s unrented storefront hosted a similar, but not Pride-themed, banner; it’s hard to argue that David White supports the needle distribution program in Santa Monica’s parks. In both 2022 and 2024 the city wrote letters to the county asking them to end the needle exchange program in Reed Park, which is active for one hour a week.

In April, the Santa Monica Coalition (of which Alle is a co-founder) held a rally at Reed Park where leaders of the group led members of the audience in chants calling for White’s firing over his alleged support for the county’s needle distribution services. A majority of the City Council spoke at the rally, and Next reached out to them with a simple question asking if they believed White should be fired. Only Santa Monica Mayor Phil Brock responded, with a strong defense of White. He wrote to Next, “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. 

Of further note, I did see one sign asking for Mr. White’s resignation and asked that that sign not be displayed behind me while I was speaking. I also informed the rally organizers that I supported our city management team.

David White has been extremely responsive to our request of the LA County Health Department and is doing everything he can to assist our residents each and every day. I fully support David.”

After our story critiquing the “Santa Methica Is Not Safe” sign last year, Alle wrote to Next that White’s enthusiasm for the needle exchange program is proven by a statement released by the City and County about the county’s harm reduction program that was released without input by the City Council, implying that a rogue White was creating policy out of thin air.

However, the “Joint Statement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and City of Santa Monica Regarding Harm Reduction Services” is readily available as a pdf. on the county’s website. The document is merely a reflection of what is currently happening in Santa Monica, and not an endorsement.

“Sponsored by the Santa Monica Gay and Sober.”

We reached out to Alle himself to ask about who sponsored the sign, as Gay and Sober is a national nonprofit with a strong brand across the country. But the addition of the word “the” made me think that maybe there were some words missing that identified the group. The email included a link to Gay and Sober’s website.

Alle confirmed this is a local chapter of the national group.

Which would come as a surprise to staff at the national group. Next also reached out to the community relations office for Gay and Sober asking about the banner, and their response was simple and succinct.

“Hello. That’s not us,” wrote Landon Smith with Gay and Sober Community Relations. “We don’t have partner relationships in Santa Monica.”

We have reached out to Alle for further clarification and will update this story if we hear a response.

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.

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