After 15 years on the City Council, Herb Katz has finally got the opportunity to run the show as mayor.
Katz, who was first elected to the council in 1984, assumed the position as Santa Monica’s top elected official Tuesday night, December 4, in a packed City Council chamber during the regularly scheduled Council meeting. He replaces Mayor Richard Bloom, who served a one-year term and who will now become mayor pro tem, a position Katz had held.
An architect who served on the Council from 1984 to 1992 and again from 2000 to the present, but had not previously been mayor, Katz was given congratulations and a “long overdue” testimonial from everyone from Council gadflies Pro Se and Joe Natoli to firefighter Paul Radowski and the rest of the councilmembers.
Santa Monica councilmembers are elected to four-year terms in staggered years so that half of the Council is elected every two years. The Council elects the mayor from among its members.
Outgoing Mayor Bloom reviewed the past year, including the opening of Airport Park and the Civic Center Parking Structure, progress on homelessness (including the three VA buildings to be opened to homeless veterans), and the ban on Styrofoam carry-outs.
Various councilmembers thanked Bloom for his fine service. Bloom and Katz switched chairs, and Katz allowed, “I’ve got good colleagues [on the Council] and I thank them for this honor.” He promised to shorten Council meetings, but acknowledged that prior mayors had made the same promise without success.
After the Council meeting, new Mayor Katz invited everyone to a party at Casa del Mar, where hosted hors d’œuvres and beverages greeted the hundreds of people who gathered in the hotel’s Colonnade Room to celebrate the installation.
In his remarks at the Council meeting, Katz also pledged to “work with Bobby Shriver on homelessness – get more housing and get people working,” and he stressed the need for rapid transit and to “push LUCE [the Land Use and Circulation Element of the City Plan] so we can get on with the business of the City.”
In other action at the Council meeting, the Council, sitting as the Redevelopment Agency as well as the City Council, received the agency’s Annual Report for fiscal year 2006-07 and directed its executive director to transmit the report to the state Controller for filing.