22 Accomplishments of 2022

December 20, 2022 12:59 PM
by David White

It has been a great year, Santa Monica! Our local economy continues to show signs of recovery; our staff and City Council are working hard to right historic inequities; we recently unveiled a trailblazing water project to reduce our reliance on imported water and mitigate the impacts of severe drought; and we just welcomed two new Councilmembers, a returning Councilmember, and selected our mayor for the next two years.

Voters also approved several measures that will further the City’s priorities of addressing homelessness, providing a safe and clean community, and advancing an equitable economic recovery.

In 2022, we continued to put in place a team of skilled and experienced leaders with the hiring of: Danny Alvarez as Fire Chief, Doug Sloan as City Attorney, Erica Cuyugan as Director of Library Services, Christopher Dishlip as Assistant Director of Public Works, Paolo Velasco as Equity and Inclusion Manager, and Cecilia Tovar as Assistant Director of Library Services.

As we look back at 2022, here are 22 accomplishments in which the residents and workers of our wonderful City can take particular pride.

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  1. The City began accepting applications for the Historically Displaced Households pilot, which gives households that were displaced from Santa Monica in the 1950s and 1960s due to urban renewal projects priority on the Below Market Housing waitlist.
  2. The City of Santa Monica was named a LEED Platinum City for its sustainability and resilience achievements. The City scored high marks for emissions reductions, the distribution of green and natural spaces and public amenities in the community, access to transit, quality of life, and sustainability innovations.

  3. February

  4. After nearly two years of pandemic closures, the City was able to reopen the doors to historic City Hall and the Public Safety Facility and welcome the public in.

  5. March

  6. Congressman Ted Lieu secured $2 Million in federal funding to support the City’s project to build a mixed-use affordable housing project on the former site of Parking Structure 3.

  7. April

  8. In its first six months, from September 2021 to April 2022, the Fire Department's Community Response Unit (CRU) responded to 300 calls for service, which freed up front line Paramedic Fire Engine Companies 164 times, keeping those resources available for more urgent calls. In total, SMFD responded to 17,400 calls for service in 2022 with an average citywide response time of six minutes and five seconds.

  9. May

  10. The City shared the results of its February 2022 Homeless Count, which showed that its focus on permanent housing solutions and its comprehensive approach to homelessness, as well and the expanded availability of regional interim shelter beds, helped prevent a local increase in homelessness.

  11. June

  12. Midway through 2022, SMPD reported a decrease in crime in the City with Part 1 Crime in Downtown Santa Monica decreasing by 27% compared to 2018 and 9% compared to 2019 and Part II Crimes in Downtown Santa Monica decreasing 33% since 2018 and 40% compared to 2019. The City allocated more public safety and sanitation services to the downtown and beach areas.
  13. The City hosted its 30th Annual Juneteenth Celebration. First held in Santa Monica in 1992, the annual celebration has grown into an important annual tribute that brings together Santa Monica's Black community. City Council also designated Cesar Chavez Day and Juneteenth as official City holidays.
  14. Ridership on the Big Blue Bus is increasing after its pandemic decline, with annual ridership in fiscal year 2021-22 (July 2021 through June 2022) at 6,312,168, up from 5 million passengers the previous fiscal year. Also in June, construction commenced on the grant-funded Pico Boulevard Pedestrian Safety Improvements Project at five intersections. Additionally, the project will build a protected bike lane between 16th and 17th streets to create a seamless connection with the pedestrian and cycling improvements underway on 17th Street and Michigan Avenue.

  15. July

  16. The City secured $16.3 million in State budget funding for three priority projects: the City Yards Modernization Project, the Lincoln Boulevard Neighborhood Corridor Plan, and the Santa Monica Behavioral Health Center project.
  17. City Council approved a mixed-use project on Ocean Avenue designed by renowned Santa Monica-based architect Frank Gehry with significant community benefits.

  18. August

  19. The Santa Monica Police Department joined thousands of communities nationwide in celebrating National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie aimed at making our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
  20. The Rent Control Adjustment Relief (RCAR) program began taking applications to provide $750,000 in funds to help rent-burdened households in rent-controlled apartments who were unable to afford the 6% Rent Control General Adjustment.

  21. September

  22. The City released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Human Services Grants Program. Through the program, the City will provide a total of $8 million to selected nonprofits to address critical community needs and gaps in existing service systems.
  23. New affordable housing building Pacific Landing opened, providing37 apartments affordable to households making 30% to 80% of the Area Median Income. The property leveraged more than $9.5 million from the City’s Housing Trust fund and was filled through the Below Market Housing waitlist. Pacific Landing joins other recent affordable buildings, Magnolia Villas and Greenway Meadows. Since spring 2021, the City has added 114 affordable apartments, and another 239 are currently in the pipeline.

  24. October

  25. The City reported a 27% increase overall in sales tax from Q1 of 2021 to Q2 of 2022, including an 89% increase in the restaurants and hotels sector. And from October 2021 to October 2022, the City approved more than 951 new business permits across multiple industries, including health and wellness, restaurants, and retail.
  26. The California Department of Housing and Community Development certified the City of Santa Monica’s 2021-2029 6th Cycle Housing Element Update for Santa Monica’s eight-year housing strategy.

  27. November

  28. The Fairview Branch Library reopened for self-service and hours were added across all branch locations, including on Saturdays. Earlier in the year, the Montana Avenue Branch Library reopened. And the Santa Monica Public Library’s Fine Free for All program eliminated overdue fines, removing barriers to access at all Library branches.
  29. The City’s fifth community garden opened with a community celebration at Marine Park. This followed on the heels of an extensive upgrade to the Marine Park playground and basketball courts over the summer.
  30. The City held the grand opening for the first-of-its-kind Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP), which will help Santa Monica become more water self-sufficient and continue to lead the way in sustainability.
  31. City Council adopted a Statement Apologizing to Santa Monica's African American Residents and Their Descendants. The statement acknowledges and apologizes for over a century of racial injustice and discrimination against African Americans.

  32. December

  33. Newly reelected and new City Council members Lana Negrete, Caroline Torosis, and Jesse Zwick were installed. Gleam Davis was selected as Mayor for one year, Phil Brock was selected as Mayor for the second year of the two-year term, and Lana Negrete was selected as Mayor Pro Tempore.

Authored By

David White
City Manager


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