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I always get upset when a president of the U.S. gives his administration credit for a strong economy. How many people here in Santa Monica really give our Federal Government the source for our robust economic engine? The state, the county, the city? Nada Mucho, as the saying goes. Between being a tourist mecca, home to many extraordinarily wealthy individuals and a hotbed for many industries – including the mega-billion dollar entertainment industry – how can Santa Monica NOT have a robust economy?

Yes, there are times when the economy is so bad – recall our first President Bush – when earthquakes, floods, fires, civil insurrection, 10-percent unemployment and a national economy in so dire of straits, that it was called a recession, though most would have called it a depression. Still, we recovered from that one; similar to the fall we had in the first Reagan term.

The Westside of Los Angeles is likely to be economically strong due more to the intestinal fortitude of our businesspeople. One good friend of mine, an award-winning television producer, has always said to me that our biggest job as business owners is to manage fear. Hear that, Ms. Huffington? As the owner of a contracting company, a newspaper and real estate, I still feel fear and work to manage it daily. Someone once told me that fear is a great motivator and that it actually forces people to act. A bald tire is meaningless; a flat one is altogether different.

It should be noted that our Colorado Boulevard commercial complex has now been named the Yahoo! Center. This replaces Colorado Courtyard, known prior to that as the MGM Complex. Google has its Santa Monica Sales and Engineering Office at 6th and Arizona. The rest of our real estate market has been going through a mini-shakedown, with Coldwell Banker laying off quite a few agents in the Palisades, and Boardwalk Realty has closed its downtown Wilshire complex. Truth is, with long-term rates being affected by the worldwide market, mortgage rates are still highly affordable. And likely to stay that way, despite the fact that a person can only deduct up to $1 million of a mortgage.

* * * *

I just took another drive from Oregon down to my RV’s winter home base here in Southern California. The entire mini-vacation took about six days, and included stops along the Oregon Coast at one of my favorite haunts of all time – Cape Blanco. This point is the westernmost land in the continental U.S. and the camping is quite divine, with secluded campsites with full hookups and even some rustic cabins for those traveling on the fly. When my friend Don and I arrived at Camp Blanco after watching the sunset and having dinner in Bandon, we settled in to our little homestead, put on a nice fire and were amazed at the amount of stars out that night. The Milky Way was so full and robust and the sky was clear as a bell. Plus, being late November, all of the campsites were generally open so we got to spend the night in a favorite spot.

The next day we took a walk along a beautiful LONG clear beach and discussed our lives, health, family, business and general state of the world. With a long farm season behind us, a new world politic and our children getting older, there was a lot to reflect upon.

Of course that was not all. We then cruised down the coast until we hit redwood country, and landed in a strip of land just off the beach and watched another glorious sunset. It must be told that I took a six-pack of movies with me so our nighttimes were provided some entertainment. Our most favorite flick was the Neil Young: Heart of Gold concert by Jonathan Demme. What a beautiful arrangement and a magnificent set of fantastic songs.

The next morning we woke up and actually backtracked about 10 miles to the Redwood Creek forest trail, one of my favorite spots in the Northwest. It is along this quiet zone that you can see the beautiful canopies of the oldest and tallest living things on the planet. The creek widens up so you can be along this area and get a magnificent view of it in its altogether. The weather at the end of November was quite sunny and beautiful.

Next stop was Ukiah and my dear friends, the Hamburgs. Of course we first stopped in Willits in order to chow down the best burritos in Mendocino County. We spent a night in Ukiah, had a gorgeous lunch and moved out for our next stop along the 101 coast route. We ended up stopping at Lake Nacimiento, and from there we headed into Los Olivos, a great wine country stop. I picked up some wine for my pop, a gift for my kid and we had our last meal on the road.

And here in Santa Monica? The electorate decided to keep the same old folks. Smoking has been further banned. Marijuana enforcement has been demoted. More money has been given to help protect our beaches. And yet another person was shot in the streets around Pico. Perhaps our new police chief can help with the latter.

The best part of our little paradise-by-the-sea? The air has been clean, the beaches look good and the community is lit up for the holidays. Let’s be thankful for all we have and enjoy our good fortune.

Michael Rosenthal


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