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Some Hereos of 2005:

Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City. Founded by some smart, dedicated residents who have in common a deep and abiding affection for Santa Monica, it has functioned effectively as both an advocate for the preservation of the town we all love and a City Hall watchdog.

When the City refused to release documents related to its dealings with Macerich, SMCLC took the City to court and secured the documents. It has also prepared cogent analyses of the City planners’ “progress” reports on the revision of the General Plan, and its members have spoken frequently at Council hearings on development.

Its website is must reading for residents:

Veterans for Peace. Every Sunday, and some holidays, since February of 2004, these quiet, self-effacing volunteers have set up Arlington West Memorial on the beach north of the Santa Monica Pier in the early morning and taken it down at dusk. In addition to honoring the American soldiers who have been killed in the Iraq War, the ever-enlarging field of crosses reminds everyone who sees it of the true cost of war.

Nick Kennerly, then a fifth grader student at the Franklin School, traveled to Sacramento for the statewide PTA protest of cuts in school funding, and made a speech on the steps of the Capitol, opposing the cuts. If members of the State Legislature had Nick’s courage and resolve, our schools would be in much better shape.

Debra Young Krizman and Tom Browne, natives of the Gulf Coast and parents of children at Franklin School, acted quickly when Hurricane Katrina hit their home towns. They began with an e-mail and several days later saw six 50-foot trucks loaded with food, clothing and other supplies for hurricane victims, heading out for the Gulf Coast.

Amanda Seward of the 20th Century Architecture Alliance has done more to save Lincoln Place from the wrecking ball than all of the City of Los Angeles officials put together. Struck by its extraordinary architectural and historic significance, while L.A. officials fiddled, she acted and won Historic District designation for it from the California State Historical Resources Commission last August.

The Commission determined that Lincoln Place met California Register criteria as an excellent enduring example of both the garden apartments that once flourished here and Modernist architecture. It also found that is was an excellent intact example of the low and moderate income rental housing built in Los Angeles after World War II in response to a severe housing shortage.

The listing in the California Register, combined with a recent victory in Appeals Court, requires that Lincoln Place be treated as a significant historical resource under state law and local ordinances. Its demolition will be prohibited unless an Environmental Impact Report process finds that there are no feasible alternatives.

Warren Beatty is a brilliant film-maker. From Splendor in the Grass to Bonnie and Clyde, Shampoo to Bulworth, Reds to Dick Tracy, whether as actor, director, producer or writer, or all four, he has rarely set a foot wrong and created a body of beautifully crafted, deeply felt, ground-breaking films.

He is also, in his own words, “An old-time, unrepentant, unreconstructed, tax and wisely spend, bleeding heart, diehard liberal Democrat.” And last fall, in that role, he went on the road to campaign against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ill-advised special election, while most Democratic leaders remained mute.

Beatty was, by turns, eloquent, passionate and funny, and always on the mark, and gave legions of “oldtime, unrepentant, unreconstructed, tax and wisely spend, bleeding heart, diehard liberal Democrats” reason to hope that the party might finally get up off its knees and back in the battle for the heart and soul of America, and Beatty can concentrate on making movies.Ed Ruscha, one of Los Angeles’s most talented and original artists said that setting out to create a work of art is “like stepping into smoke.” None of these people set out to be heroes, they just stepped into the smoke, and we are all the better for it.

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