If absence makes the heart grow fonder, distance makes reality look rosier. From a long way off Santa Monica appears like a liberal’s fantasy of justice in paradise. After all, we have a tough rent control law and we’ve had a mostly enlightened city council, government and school board for more than three decades. But from up close, the picture’s not that sweet.
A recent hotel approval exposed the reality. A developer wanted some special consideration for the 710 Wilshire hotel project that was oversized and out of conformance with zoning standards. Hotel workers in the city wanted to guarantee a decent wage for the people who would work in the new hotel as well as those who would build it. The city staff likes hotels because they provide an easy source of revenue. But the developer wouldn’t budge on the wage issues.
He wasn’t willing to require an operator to pay a decent income to hard-working,