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Chamber Music Rocks At Installation Dinner:

Thomas R. Larmore was installed as Chairman of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, and the coming year’s new board of directors along with him, at the Chamber’s Installation Dinner at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel on Thursday evening, June 7. Over 400 movers and shakers and others from business, government, education and nonprofits gathered for the truly gala event.

The theme of this year’s edition of the 82nd annual affair was “Dedicated Employees Sustain Our Future,” and both easels outside the hotel’s Starlight Ballroom and pages in the evening’s program book saluted employees from member businesses who were particularly recognized for such contributions.

The pre-event publicity for the dinner invited guests to come early and dance to Tom Larmore’s kind of music. The Surf City Allstars did not tarnish Larmore’s reputation in the least, as the band made up of musicians who toured with the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean provided fine and spirited sounds that ranged from the surf genre to the Rolling Stones, with some “Runaround Sue” and Jimmy Buffet’s “Volcano” in between. Larmore told the Mirror, “One thing I insisted on tonight was good music,” and he got it.

In fact, Larmore, a partner in Santa Monica’s Harding, Larmore, Mullen, Jakle, Kutcher & Kozal law firm, added a personal contribution to the program when he doffed his tuxedo jacket, strapped on a guitar and offered a (presumably) original song with a refrain that promised/threatened that there will be a million lawyers in 10 years.

(This was particularly amusing in view of the fact that there is a large billboard just outside LAX that proclaims, “Welcome to California – The Sue You State,” and it is presented by the Institute for Legal Reform, a tort reform project of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of which the Santa Monica Chamber is a member.)

Also on the program that evening, the Chamber presented more than 10 awards, including the Roy E. Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award to noted local architect Kristina Andresen of Andresen Associates. Former Chamber chairman and former mayor Nat Trives moved the evening along as master of ceremonies, and Mark Benjamin, President and CEO of Morley Builders, delivered the main address, focusing on the theme of dedicated employees.

Outgoing Chamber Chairman John Bohn was honored for his work and contributions. He was all smiles as he said he was happy to have been chairman and happy to relinquish the job. He thanked the board that served with him, and described the just completed “year of challenge, change and new beginnings.”

Bohn recounted the Chamber’s hiring of a full-time government affairs coordinator, Samantha O’Neil, to fulfill his pledge to improve business-city relations, the entry of Jim Lynch as Chamber President/CEO when Kathryn Dodson left for El Paso “because she could not find affordable housing” in Santa Monica and the Chamber’s efforts on behalf of workforce housing and improved transportation.

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