10 Milestones that Shaped Our City in 2018

January 3, 2019
by Erin Taylor

10 Milestones that Shaped Our City in 2018

2018 was quite a year for Santa Monica! From welcoming new Police Chief Cynthia Renaud, to announcing a shared mobility pilot program, to doubling down on the City’s homelessness efforts—let’s take a moment to look back at 10 milestones that shaped our City in 2018.

  1. City Doubles Down on Homelessness

    The City has long prioritized reducing homelessness, and this past year, Outreach Teams working across Santa Monica made strides in addressing this critical issue by connecting more than 700 people experiencing homelessness to direct services. The Santa Monica Homelessness Steering Committee (SMHSC), comprised of more than 200 individuals who live or work in Santa Monica, had its first meeting in February to discuss proposed strategies that address the impact of homelessness on the community. In the same month, we welcomed Alisa Orduña as Senior Advisor on Homelessness. Since joining the City’s leadership, Orduña has actively engaged the growing array of Santa Monica stakeholders participating in developing and implementing solutions in the City’s ever-accelerating homeless efforts. Last but not least, the City has distributed more than 70,000 Homelessness toolkits answering questions about what to say, what to do, how to get involved as well as providing information about the 20+ non-profits working on this important issue every day. 

    Learn more about our work to address homelessness.

  2. Shared Mobility Pilot Program Includes Bird, Jump, Lime and Lyft

    The City of Santa Monica announced the selection of Bird, Jump, Lime and Lyft as the four operators to participate in our Shared Mobility Pilot Program, which kicked off in September. This pilot program builds upon the City’s existing Breeze Bike Share system, and expands Santa Monica’s commitment to be a truly multi-modal community that offers residents and visitors sustainable and convenient transportation options. Each of the four selected operators began the pilot with an initial allocation of 750 devices each, totaling 1,000 e-bikes and 2,000 e-scooters.

    Learn more about shared mobility devices.

  3. New Police Chief Cynthia Renaud

    In March, the City announced Cynthia Renaud as Santa Monica’s new Chief of Police. Renaud served as Chief of Police for the City of Folsom, California for the previous seven years, where she led the police force in both property and violent crime reduction during her tenure. Chief Renaud previously served in the Long Beach Police Department for 20 years before taking the chief post in Folsom. As our new Police Chief, her goals include lowering crime, positively impacting homelessness, and fostering relationships with both our residential and business communities. Renaud replaces former Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks, who retired last year after a 36-year career in law enforcement.

  4. North Beach Playground Grand Opening

    The City’s North Beach playground opened in September, joining the ranks of four other beachside playgrounds for sand-side fun. Located north of the Santa Monica Pier and east of the beach trail at Montana Avenue, the playground features a universally accessible design that inspires activity, mobility and imagination. Children using a wheelchair, and children with physical, cognitive, vision and hearing disabilities can enjoy the floating rocks, sound columns, and a stone abacus that connects with the sensory play elements of touching, feeling and hearing. The playground includes separate play areas for children 2-5 years old and another for children 5-12 years old. Both play areas are highlighted by barrier-free equipment such as a two-mast space net, a bird nest basket swing, and a sensory garden.

  5. Expanded Ban on Single-Use Plastics
    The Santa Monica City Council approved a revision to the 2007 Non-recyclable Plastic Food Service Container Ordinance that expands the list of banned plastic to include single-use plastics for prepared foods. This includes: straws, lids, utensils, plates, bowls, trays, containers, stirrers, cups and lid plugs. This vote aligns with the City’s sustainability goals and longstanding commitment to the environment, which includes a goal to achieve zero waste through diversion, composting and recycling by 2030. Santa Monica was one of the first cities to ban polystyrene food service containers in 2007 and single-use plastic bags in 2011.

  6. Big Blue Bus Celebrates 90 years

    Big Blue Bus (BBB) celebrated its 90th Anniversary this year! BBB started in 1928 with just eight buses, which were garaged and operated out of a gas station on Lincoln and Pico. Today, BBB is known industry-wide for its innovative technology, energy-efficient vehicles and exceptional customer service.

    Find more news from Big Blue Bus.

  7. Introducing We Are Santa Monica

    The City launched a new initiative to invite neighbors, local nonprofits, businesses and community organizations to create a stronger community for all. We Are Santa Monica focuses on every aspect of our community wellbeing, from homelessness, diversity and inclusivity, to lifelong education. In addition to releasing multiple resources, We Are Santa Monica spotlights 17 inspirational people who have made a difference in our community.

    Go to weare.santamonica.gov to learn more and join the movement!

  8. Santa Monica Prevails Against AirBnB and HomeAway


    The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of the City of Santa Monica in litigation against internet platforms AirBnB and HomeAway. The C­­­­ourt denied AirBnB and HomeAway’s motion for a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of the City’s Home-Sharing Ordinance. The Court held that the platforms are not likely to prevail on their claims that the City’s Home-Sharing Ordinance is unlawful under the federal Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), the First Amendment and the California Coastal Act. This decision permits the City to resume enforcement of its local law. This is a win for the City, as it allows us to take reasonable steps to protect residential units from conversion into de facto hotels, while also allowing individuals to share their homes with guests for compensation in authorized circumstances.

  9. Council Approves Renewable Energy Tiers

    In October, the Santa Monica City Council approved the selection of 100% renewable energy as the default product for all residential electricity customers, beginning in February 2019. Using electricity through renewable electricity sources is the most substantial action the City can take to a­chieve carbon neutrality, and aligns with its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner. The Clean Power Alliance (CPA) of Southern California, a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, will provide three renewable energy options: 100%, 50% and 36%. The 100% renewable energy tier will be applied to Santa Monica residents and businesses who do not opt out or select another option. By sourcing renewable energy from the CPA, Santa Monica can reduce the City’s emissions by as much as 20%, and is one step closer to achieving carbon neutrality.

    Learn more about the Clean Power Alliance.

  10. The Arroyo Opens 64 New Affordable Homes in Santa Monica

    The Community Corporation of Santa Monica opened 64 new affordable homes. Although affordable housing issues are complex and there’s no magic solution, this housing complex reflects our ambitious policies to address this important issue affecting our entire region.   

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