The Friends of Sunset Park (FOSP) brought in the “heavy hitters” from City government to address its annual meeting on Saturday afternoon, June 16, as it presented remarks from City Manager P. Lamont Ewell, Police Chief Timothy J. Jackman and Fire Chief Jim Hone.
The nonprofit neighborhood organization, which covers the area from Pico Boulevard south to the city limits and from Lincoln Boulevard east to the city limits, also elected its board of directors for the coming year and presented its annual “Emmalie” award, given to a member for volunteering time and energy for the benefit of Sunset Park, to Emmalie Hodgin (for whom it was named).
FOSP President Zina Josephs called to order the more than 80 people gathered in the Fellowship Hall of Mt. Olive Church at 14th Street and Ocean Park Boulevard and generally presided over the proceedings.
City Manager Ewell spoke particularly about the recently approved $481 million City budget, the pending Land Use and Circulation Element of the City plan (the draft plan is expected next spring, and Ewell opposes a building moratorium in the meantime) and the City’s support for Assembly Bill 700 to study air pollution at Santa Monica Airport (also supported by FOSP) on the conditions that: the City not be burdened with an unfunded mandate, the study be conducted according to “best science,” the study be non-discriminatory rather than single out jet traffic, and the process not be a “set up” for litigation.
Fire Chief Hone explained that traditional fire department responses to structure fires have been declining, and the department is mostly engaged with medical calls and the growing field of “urban search and rescue.”
Police Chief Jackman discussed youth and gang violence (which is down), burglaries in Sunset Park (which are up) and traffic on Ocean Park Boulevard (which is a constant problem, but has been addressed by a crossing guard at John Adams Middle School).
Elected to the FOSP board for the coming year were Brian Bland, Phyllis Chavez, Tom Cleys, Charlie Donaldson, Eric Gabster, Susan Hartley, Emmalie Hodgin, Zina Josephs, Gail Myers, John Reynolds and Lorraine Sanchez. The new board will elect its officers for the year at the next board meeting.
In presenting the annual Emmalie award to Hodgin, who had been initially honored by having the award named for her, President Josephs remarked that Hodgin was one of the founders of Friends of Sunset Park and the last original board member still serving, 18 years later. Josephs quoted Santa Monica Councilmember Bobby Shriver as having said to Hodgin in 2005, “You are that very real, very rare thing – a genuine orator, which is a cross between a musician and a prophet.”