Is there some kind of Santa Monica-Los Angeles rivalry going on surrounding earthquake preparedness? LA recently announced that it was embarking on what sounded like a long, slow process to retrofit its most vulnerable buildings. Now Santa Monica pipes up that it's going to do one better by being the first city in the state to inspect all its concrete buildings (thought to be the biggest risk in a 'quake), as well as its wood- and and steel-frame ones, and then require that property owners demonstrate the buildings are safe or make upgrades. Though it's not yet been decided how much time it will give the owners to finish the fixes, the fact that they'll have to make the changes is big.
It'll be interesting to see what, if any, backlash comes from the Santa Monica property owners who will have to pay for retrofits, which earlier estimates put at anywhere from $10,000 up to $1 million for large office buildings. In LA, the funds to make the potentially lifesaving changes are a part of what's holding up the process (but just part), as the city for some reason searches for a way to help pay for upgrades to private property. Some owners in Santa Monica are pushing for a "a low- or no-interest loan fund and ... an exemption from the city's rent control law," the latter of which would essentially leave tenants paying for their own retrofits (which is bogus because that's why you rent: so someone else has to pay for that crap).
Those same earlier estimates suggested that individual inspections, needed to determine each building's level of vulnerability, could cost anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 a pop, but Santa Monica's budget for the whole program is around $100,000.
· Santa Monica targets quake safety [LAT]