October 13, 2022 8:40 AM
by David White
Hello, Santa Monica.
As I mark one year as your City Manager, I want to share how grateful I am to serve this remarkable community.
I have enjoyed immersing myself in Santa Monica life and becoming part of the community – from celebrating with residents at Americana in the Park and the Montana Avenue Art Walk this summer to making regular connections shopping and running errands or while enjoying our glorious beach. There is so much that I love about life in Santa Monica.
In my short time with the City, it is notable that fostering a high quality of life is something every member of the City workforce is dedicated to, with a focus on our priority areas of a clean and safe Santa Monica, addressing homelessness, and an equitable economic recovery.
We are making important strides in each of these areas, while also steadily, as economic conditions allow, implementing new programs, restoring services, and rebuilding many areas of City operations that were significantly cut in 2020.
Everything we do is made possible through the leadership of our City Council. Together, over the last year, our collective efforts have contributed to:
- Reopening City Hall;
- Deploying a comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness and its impacts that involves multiple departments and includes street outreach, increasing the supply of affordable housing, and strengthening regional capacity;
- Responding quickly to rent increases for rent-controlled tenants by making $750,000 in City funds available to eligible households who applied to the Rent Control Adjustment Relief Program;
- Listening to residents and businesses and advancing enhanced deployments and a more visible presence of our Santa Monica Police Department on the beach, on the pier, and in the downtown. Our Police Department is also deploying new technologies as a force multiplier and filling vacancies;
- Expanding Library access and hours at each location along with after school programs for local youth through Playground Club;
- Building infrastructure and adopting policies that reduce our impact on the environment;
- Staying focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion with our new Equity and Inclusion Manager leading the charge;
- Opening vibrant new public spaces like the Marine Park playground and community gardens, and making improvements at places like Gandara Park, where we leveled the baseball field so it can once again serve the community;
- Moving long-term initiatives forward such as the redevelopment of Memorial Park and advancing a strategy to address the mental and behavioral health needs of our community. Council has approved the Housing Element and development agreements with partners such as St. John’s as they expand their campus and a Frank Gehry designed mixed-use project at Ocean and Santa Monica that consists of commercial development and cultural amenities that will support Downtown’s economic recovery; and
- Continuing to be a place where people want to be and anchoring globally significant events here like the MLB All Star Week activation and Art Frieze at Santa Monica Airport in February 2023.
At the forefront of our efforts is a dedication to excellent customer service. The team that powers this City is knowledgeable, committed to exceptional service, and responsive to community needs. It has been an honor and privilege to get to know our workforce and see them in action.
I hope you’ll get in touch with us. Download the Santa Monica app or call us at 311.
Thank you for your contributions to a thriving and vibrant Santa Monica. I look forward to seeing you around town.
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