More than 700 locals turned out last Tuesday for a free BBQ on Main Street.
The neighborhood gathering was organized by the year-old Ocean Park Association (OPA) and paid for and hosted by The Victorian and Duck Duck Mousse Catering.
“The caterers ran out of food after feeding 700 people and there were a lot of people who said they didn’t get a chance to eat — I know I didn’t,” said OPA President Joel Brand. “We and the gracious folks from The Victorian were shocked at how many people turned out. This is a wonderful demonstration of how vibrant a community we have in Ocean Park. I don’t know of another neighborhood in the city where 700 people turn out to an event for which we emailed out only about 300 invitations. There was clearly a lot of word-of-mouth about this.”
Word spread to Santa Monica’s political establishment, too, with four of the seven City Council members in attendance — Mayor Pam O’Connor, Kevin McKeown, Bob Holbrook and Bobby Shriver.
The owners of Duck Duck Mousse catering, which operates The Victorian, said they hosted the event to “give back to the community.”
In addition to the BBQ and a chance for Ocean Park residents to meet and mingle, the evening gave people an opportunity to express their views. OPA set up boards with post-it notes to gather residents’ opinions on the things they like about their neighborhood and their concerns.
More than 100 written comments were collected, including these:
“Stop the volume of home construction.”
“Feed the artists, not the homeless. Make Santa Monica beautiful.”
“More affordable housing.”
“More green space.”
“Preserve the little community in the big city.”
“No more big buildings on Main Street.”
OPA was founded in June of 2004 by a group of Ocean Park residents concerned that the disintegration of the Ocean Park Community Organization had left the neighborhood without a voice at City Hall just as the General Plan update was getting underway.”We’ve consistently had large turn-outs at our monthly meetings, but we had around 150 people stop by our table tonight to talk about neighborhood concerns. That’s a tremendous amount of interest and I look forward to seeing that turn into an even stronger voice for Ocean Park,” Brand said.