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2008 in Review: Santa Monica’s “Person of the Year”:

Time magazine named Barack Obama as Person of the Year for 2008. While Sarah Palin was a runner-up, Joe the Plumber was blanked by Time. So what about our burg-by-the-bay? Who might Time choose as “Santa Monican of the Year” for 2008?

Sports could be one source and so I nominate Juan Magana. Last March, the Samohi student blasted the final winning goal of a 29-0-1 soccer season which earned the Vikings a Number Two national ranking. Or how about Coach Sean Ritter who finally ended the St. Monica’s football team’s four-year losing streak? Or how about Joe/Josephine the Jogger who frequents “the stairs” at Adelaide, and violates city code by working out on the median on 4th Street – a crime that has dominated media coverage.

Can government perhaps provide our city’s Person of the Year? Ken Genser is our new Mayor. Our Assemblywoman, Julia Brownley, now chairs the powerful Education Committee. Speaking of a sea-change-by-the-sea, newly-elected Robert Kronovet is a Republican and a landlord, believed to be two firsts ever for the Peoples’ Republic Rent Control Board. Or maybe Time would honor Joe the Bureaucrat who took time on our dime to determine that it would take action by Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and the California Coastal Commission to alter or close the Adelaide stairs and keep the fitness crowd away from the 4th Street median.

Maybe law enforcement could provide our bayside burg’s Person of the Year, starting with the entire City Council, who courageously decriminalized Mar Vista dogs’ use of the Airport Dog Park. Or how about Joe/Josephine the Hedge Owner who dutifully registered his or her non-conforming hedge? And of course, there’s Joe the Park Ranger who, when not patrolling gangs, child molesters, vandals, muggers, and other criminal elements at other city locations, pounces on fitness buffs who stretch, recline, push up or in any other manner violate City Ordinance 4.20.010 at the 4th Street median.

Maybe the arts could provide our Person of the Year. Dustin Hoffman and Eli Broad were major underwriters of the stunning new Broad Performing Arts Center. Jessica Cusick, City Cultural Affairs Manager, oversaw last July 19’s historic GLOW festival that attracted an estimated 200,000 visitors. Bob Dylan came home to the Santa Monica Civic this year for a live performance. The good folks at McCabe’s celebrated 50 years of live performance at their funky digs on Pico with an all-star concert at UCLA’s Royce Hall headlined by Jackson Browne. Or how about Josephine the Dance Instructor whose small troupe was chased from the 4th Street median by local authorities, caught in the act of an outdoors workout on a sunny spring day?

And the winner is?

A dark horse! Joe the Reporter! That’s right, a salute to all the scribes from all the publications – local to the New York Times – who covered the ongoing battle between the city and the fitness crowd who violates 4th Street median law. Way to go Fourth Estate.

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