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State of the City Program Will Have a New Look:

The Chamber of Commerce State of the City program set for Friday, January 30, will feature a new format and a new venue. This installment of the successful series on the local economic outlook will feature only two speakers rather than the panel of a half dozen local leaders presented by the Santa Monica Chamber in January and July 2008, but it will now allow a half hour for questions from the audience.

It will be a breakfast gathering at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage on Santa Monica College’s Madison campus rather than the Fairmont Miramar Hotel luncheons of last year. The breakfast reception is 7:30 to 8 a.m. with the program following, so people will be free to head to work at 9:30 a.m. Presale tickets for chamber members are $35, non-members $45, at the door $55; students (with valid school ID) are presale $15, at the door $20. Seating is limited and all tickets include parking. For information please call 310.393.9825 or visit online at

City Manager P. Lamont Ewell and economist Christopher Thornberg, past economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast and cofounder of Beacon Economics, will address the conference and take questions from the audience.

We are all aware that the City’s current financial position and future economic outlook have been impacted by the unexpected financial crisis occurring throughout California and the nation, said Laurel Rosen, president of the Chamber. Santa Monica is a rich and diverse community that has weathered storms before. The purpose of this event is to learn from the past and gain insight from our speakers on how to move forward in the coming year towards a more secure and prosperous future.

The agenda, entitled “Reflecting on the Past to Find Solutions for the Future,” will include a local overview of the city budget for 2009 from Ewell and a global perspective as to how the economy affects us locally presented by Thornberg. City Manager Ewell will be tackling issues such as the challenges expected in preparing the budget for 2009-2010 and beyond, local economic and revenue trends, and the potential local impacts of the State budget crisis. Economist Thornberg will provide answers to questions such as: Will the economy recover, get worse, or stay the same? Are homes going to be a good buy in 2009? The new D word is deflation – can it happen? Does it matter?

A new year brings in new hopes and new fears, said Thornberg. While the underlying problems in the U.S. economy remain large, the Federal Reserve and Treasury have already taken historic actions in order to stabilize the economy – and the new Obama administration promises to bring aggressive fiscal actions to the table as well.

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