Santa Monica Yuppie Scum Death Battle Overflows onto New York Times Front Page

Today’s New York Times has an article, apparently on the front page, about a heated battle taking place in Santa Monica.  It’s gotten so bad that the police now have to maintain a constant presence.  The issue?  Whether or not Santa Monica’s yuppie fitness maniacs may use the grassy median at the north end of 4th Street to practice their Pilates, do their yoga stretches, and work with their personal trainers.

You see, the signs on the median direct that it’s for “walking or jogging only.”  I have been to this picturesque spot many times.  4th Street dead-ends into the famed Santa Monica Stairs, an inexplicably popular exercise spot for the SMYFMs.  At this intersection, some of Santa Monica’s most stately homes line 4th Street and Adelaide Drive.  The view across Santa Monica Canyon to Pacific Palisades and the ocean is spectacular.  However, some neighborhood residents (who, coincidentally, include Santa Monica City Councilman Bobby Shriver), have reportedly complained about the ” increasingly loud, littering and generally intrusive groups of exercisers” who have allegedly disturbed the homeowners with their military exercise chants, pop! pop! kickboxing moves, grunts of side-stitch pain, and snapping of tendons and ligaments.  So now park rangers, ordered by the Santa Monica Police, are reportedly maintaining a presence at the Grassy Knoll during a large part of the day, and are ready to crack down on the offenders, albeit, presumably, in a quiet way.

But the yoga stretchers aren’t taking this lying down.  According to a recent L.A. Times article, “exercise trainers have circulated a petition to try to regain the use of the medians.”  A recent public meeting was reportedly held at the Santa Monica Public Library, and even the Santa Monica City Council has become involved, with Shriver requesting “for staff to report on the use of the median on 4th Street, near Adelaide, for exercising purposes including the associated allocation of resources to enforce existing laws at the location and for the City Manager to confirm that the enforcement activities were not undertaken at the request of any councilmember(s), but in response to complaints from San Vicente Avenue tenants and condominium owners.”

Perhaps the City Council should next consider changing Santa Monica’s motto to: “We’re not elitists, we just have different priorities.”

16 Replies to “Santa Monica Yuppie Scum Death Battle Overflows onto New York Times Front Page”

  1. Just when I get complacent and don’t think anyone can outdo the insanity over at the Peoples Republic of Pasadena, Santa Monica has to step in and up the ante.

    Are they seriously thinking that any of us really gives a damn whether its running/walking/jogging or pilates and yoga in the grass? Can’t they think of better ways to waste public money?

  2. Fraz, I’m not sure what the rationale is for permitting walking and jogging, but not other exercise, in the first place. Perhaps they only want to allow activities that cause maximum wear and tear on the grass. Maybe this is a pork boondoggle for Santa Monica’s landscape contractors? Maybe the grass seed industry lobbyists weild undue influence in Santa Monica? I think we need to investigate further.

  3. Have at it Matt, I have my hands full with a city hall that threatened to ED a church and shut it down for helping the homeless. Rationale is they were creating a nuisance. Reality is a developer wants the land. Happy Freaking Holidays.

  4. The New York Times tailors its So Cal edition for local appeal, maybe to entice frustrated LA Times readers into considering other options.

    Last Thursday’s NYT Home section had four articles about LA.

  5. Chal, that was my first thought, but at the bottom of the online version of the NY Times article, it reads: “A version of this article appeared in print on November 25, 2008, on page A1 of the New York edition.”

  6. Not surprising that the NY Times is more interested in covering local LA news than the LA Times. Sad, but not surprising.

    The whining Santa Monica residents need to move somewhere more isolated, or shut the hell up. And Santa Monica City government needs to take a common sense approach to enforcing the law. This is public property we’re talking about – this idea of fining people for stretching, sitting, or even doing yoga on a patch of grass is absolutely ludicrous.

    I pretty much stopped frequenting Santa Monica years ago after they began banning bikes, roller blades, and skateboards from the Promenade. Clearly they would prefer if I biked on the grass, but sat on the sidewalk.

  7. David, I agree, although, in all fairness, as the second link in my post indicates, the L.A. Times is covering this story as well. Now, whether this should qualify as local L.A. news worthy of such newspaper coverage(as opposed to a local controversy entertaininly evidencing stupidity and vanity, in other words, something perfect for L.A. Metblogs), is a different issue.

  8. Chal, there’s only one national edition of the NYT.

    The LAT did a story about this around two weeks ago, and it generated nowhere near the interest online that the NYT article has.

  9. My take on the article was that there were trainers (etc) who were taking their clients (and sometimes groups) for their workouts on the median, and that often included loud instructions and pace-making cadences. If I lived there I think I’d be unhappy if I were woken up at daybreak by something sounding like a drill sargeant and his squad running through my neighborhood. I think people may have objected to the colonization of the median by people…runners, walkers & joggers occupy a smaller amount of space for a limited amount of time…and while this is cynical, I think some of the ‘beautiful’ people just want a place to show off as they work out…

  10. Spencer, that photo is from the stairs, which are located across Adelaide from the end of the median in 4th Street. There’s also a second set of stairs about a hundred yards up Adelaide. As far as I can tell, police enforcement activity does not involve the considerable number of people using the stairs themselves for exercise (although some people exercising on the stairs do congregate at the top of each set of stairs when they get there). That might take some creative ordinance-writing, even in Santa Monica, to restrict. It’s pretty hard for someone to take up much space or make much noise on those stairs, other than very heavy breathing. Rather, the complaints appear to be over people planting themselves on the median for training, stretching, and other activities, as Gabriele points out.

  11. Thanks sroehlmax, and I liked the implication in your post that maybe there’s some buff body envy taking place by those slumbering Santa Monica shut-ins.

  12. “As far as I can tell, police enforcement activity does not involve the considerable number of people using the stairs themselves for exercise (although some people exercising on the stairs do congregate at the top of each set of stairs when they get there). That might take some creative ordinance-writing, even in Santa Monica, to restrict.”

    Matt, I’m pretty sure the stairs themselves are in Los Angeles, and not the City of Santa Monica.

  13. Evan, all the more reason why the L.A. Times photo referenced by Spencer of the people on the stairs isn’t as relevant.

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