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Frank Gehry

Santa Monica's 'grand bargain' on growth and housing: A model for other cities?

Santa Monica's 'grand bargain' on growth and housing: A model for other cities?

Like many cities in Southern California, Santa Monica is split between two entrenched camps when it comes to the politics of growth, housing and development. Here’s how Rick Cole, Santa Monica’s city manager — and before that a deputy mayor of Los Angeles, city manager of Ventura and Azusa and mayor of Pasadena — describes the gulf.

On one side, Cole told me over lunch recently, is the slow-growth or even no-growth faction, “a group of people who think until we have more water, until the air is clean, until traffic is solved, we don’t need even one more brick on top of brick.” For them, any new housing “is too much.”

On the other side are the vocal and increasingly organized...

EDITION: California | U.S. & World
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