Fury Over Meters On the Rise

Jeronimo Saldana, president of the Associated Students, launched a drive asking the city to remove the parking meters on Pearl Street.

Saldana pointed out that SMC Acting President Tom Donner is a major ally of this campaign.

This past Friday, Donner spoke with Saldana over the phone. During their conversation, Donner let Saldana know that he needs to start another e-mail campaign.

After speaking with Donner, Saldana spent eight hours last Monday writing letters to each of the six members who make up the Santa Monica City Council, letting each one know where SMC students stand on the issue.

"I let the board know what my actions were," said Saldana. "I initiated an e-mail and petition campaign with Dina Cervantes."

Jeronimo has set several goals that he would like to accomplish to have the meters removed.

Saldana said he would like to have 1,000 paper letters written by students to the city council office, to get as many e-mail letters as possible sent to the council by the students, and to get at least 15,000 signatures on the petitions.

"I spent all day yesterday (last Wednesday) getting petitions by the parking meters and I had an incredible response," Saldana said. "In over an hour by myself I got over a 150 signatures."

Saldana is working off a timeline he has set in place. He wants the city to stand up and take notice. If the letter, e-mail, and petition campaign do not work, then on March 17 a rally and a march to the City Hall will be held to the let city know that the students disapprove of the meters out on Pearl Street.

"I got two responses today," Saldana said. "One response from council member Bobby Shriver and all he said was that he was going to check with his staff, contact me sooner than later. And I got another response from council member Kevin McGowen and he said the same thing." Saldana is not happy with lack of response from the other council members.

He believes that since he spent many hours writing letters to each of them, there should be more responses from the other members. In each of the letters he lets them know how important this issue is to students.

The council members of Santa Monica have been contacted but have failed to offer comment at this time over this issue.

"I have also reached out to other schools for support and solidarity. I have reached out to all of the Caltech schools, and I will continue to reach out to all of the schools," said Saldana.

This past Friday an alliance was reached with the A.S. of West Los Angeles College which gives the students of SMC a database of other students to help with this cause.

Saldana also spoke with Lucy Dyke, transportation manager of Santa Monica. According to Saldana, "she was less than helpful," as she didn't seem to care about the problem. He feels that her less than helpful attitude was disrespectful to the students.

"I told her what was going on and she said that there was nothing she could do about it. I said the students really need to know what they can do about this and she said what is done is done and you really can't do anything about it." Lucy Dyke could not be reached for comment.