This past week we have had magnificent skies and some remarkable sunsets. Sometimes I forget to get out and check in on the sun setting. It used to be a habit. With the bright red and seemingly long languishing sunsets of the past few nights the remarkable place we live becomes quite obvious.
This past weekend I took a friend and his daughter, Ella, on a day trip up to Leo Carrillo and Pt. Mugu. Ella and my son have been friends since birth, so when we cruise it is a form of extended family. The park at Leo Carrillo, a gift from the actor, is one of the more remarkable “urban” campgrounds anywhere. The beaches are long, clean, undeveloped, and the campgrounds have sites big, wide, green and full of sycamore trees. During the fall, the trees can be covered in Monarch butterflies. In the summer you need reservations, but this time of year, other than holiday weekends, you can usually find a comfortable spot. And the weather is normally dry and sunny. Dare I say we had 68-degree weather while so much of the country was facing huge storms.
Later we drove up to Pt. Mugu, which has some of the finest trails in all the Santa Monica Mountains. We hung out on the beach this day, playing football, being regaled by passing dolphins (yes, I have seen whales here quite often) and enjoying a day at the beach. On December 29, we had lunch at County Line where surfers were enjoying the regular breaks and the fish restaurant was packed with bikers and other folks cruising the coast. By the time we got home it was as if we had toured another country. I took the balance of the weekend to read, rest, take my son and wife to movies, indulge in hot fudge sundaes on New Year’s Day and generally kept myself as low key as possible. Which is my general desire, so I take any excuse possible.
Now, however, things have changed. We are back at work. Vacation time is over, and we are concentrating on the tasks at hand. Our editorial staff is meeting about what stories we will be covering in ’07 and who will be handling the specific beats. There is some regularity and rhythm to Santa Monica. There are always planning, landmark and city council meetings. Our new city manager has been making a tour around town to discuss with the neighbors what they want to see in the specific plan being developed as we speak. There will be special holidays, with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day kicking off the new year on January 15. The schools have their share of stories with special kids, classes, high achievers and perhaps some hiccup in the finances or leadership to make note of. The college will be building something, or perhaps they will be finishing another construction project (Madison?).
Sports will be a big focus, as so many of our schools put such emphasis on it and it is a grand distraction. I still have a clipping from the Palisadian Post dated 1969 when I captained a basketball team in the summer league and scored 36 points. In Santa Monica we have championship tennis, club rugby, soccer, volleyball, surfing, football, basketball, baseball, all played by both sexes for not just our public but also our well-financed private schools.
Yes, 2007 will be much like any other year. Automotive, retail, hotel and hospitality, medical, think tanks like Rand, tourism, education, huge commercial building complexes housing Yahoo, MTV, Microsoft and others all will be “doing their thing” in our town. When we started the paper back at the turn of the century (1999), hi tech stocks were going through the roof, and Santa Monica was the home to much of it. Then they went bust, and commercial property slowed for a while. This last year by some reports residential property sales volume is off 30 percent. That is a lot, but the good news is the values have seemed to hold for the most part. In May-August it would not surprise me to see people taking advantage of our lovely city and the relatively low interest rates. I think Santa Monica is a good place to buy property and put down roots. Come to stay, not speculate.
The days are getting longer. There will be some rain at some point; the kids are heading back to school. And we at the Mirror have a job to do. Please, when you have something interesting to share with the community give us an email or call so we can share it with everyone.
The newspaper business as you may have read has become quite challenging. We have some great ideas to implement in 2007, all designed to engage our community, inform our readers and attract new ones.
We love what we are doing here. Thank you for supporting us. Please do stay connected with us in 2007 and let’s all enjoy the year, together.