I am sitting at my home office, seeing the heavy dew and light rain on my papyrus plants. Also in bloom are the camellias in their bright pink, red and white versions. My wife has asked me to trim the trees from our window; however, with the plants so heavily in bloom the trimming will just have to wait.
2006 was an interesting year. My family is healthy and safe. Our son is now attending kindergarten and enjoys staying late, as it is a warm, loving environment with lots of fun things to do. My wife works hard at editing this newspaper, now in her 9th month of scouring our environment for the right news and mix to share with our readers. I am fine too. The last few years have been challenging health-wise, but truth be known I feel great and, except for some minor surgeries, have never felt better.
Our town has gone through some interesting shakeups. Though we failed to elect any new blood on to the City Council, we have a new city manager, a new top cop, a new planning director, a new finance director, a new communications officer, a new college president, a new SMMUSD superintendent, a new Chamber director… and I could go on. Personally I like the change I am seeing, it refreshes the community, puts new vigor into our establishments and will hopefully shape our next few years in ways we enjoy.
In the business world, auto companies are strong and expanding, but real estate is down by nearly 30 percent. The old MGM plaza is now the Yahoo center, and commercial vacancies are once again below 10 percent. Hotels in town are booming with very low vacancies and the highest day rates in years. Retail trade appears strong.
Our sports community is active and vibrant, with all the schools fielding spirited and involved teams. Even our local rugby club won a national championship this year.
Local art continues to flourish, and with strong support from the community the 18th Street Arts Center, Bergamot Station, theater, dance and music are all vibrant and active in town. SMC’s The Madison Project had its official ribbon-cutting this fall.
Santa Monica mourned the senseless death of young Eddie Lopez, a beloved student at Samohi, while the revamped Virginia Avenue Park gives kids a safe place to hang out.
Development in Santa Monica continues as new housing and mixed-use projects are being built on Main Street and elsewhere in town.
In politics, our beaches received additional funding for quality improvement, marijuana was downgraded to the police department’s lowest priority and smoking has been banned in most outdoor public places. The Teriton apartments seem to have been saved, and SMRR continues to hold the reign on the city’s educational boards as well as dominating our City Council.
Here at the Mirror we are fortunate to have a wonderful, fun, diverse group of people working to put out a truly local paper that, as we always have said, reflects the concerns of the community. The combined talents of the printer, the salespeople, the office staff, the art department and the writers produce Santa Monica’s finest weekly newspaper.
The weather is beautiful, the surf is steady and our beachside community continues to thrive.
Blessings to all.