May 24, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

A Considerable Time: For a Considerable Town: City’s Leadership in Transition

The night that Mayor Ken Genser died, there was a retirement party underway for Santa Monica Police Captain Alex Padilla, celebrating his 30 years of service to the city he grew up in. This reporter learned of the mayor’s passing during that dinner party, and it brought to mind the truly remarkable gathering of leadership that Santa Monica has enjoyed during the last several years.

The City has lost Genser and Councilmember Herb Katz to death, it is losing City Manager Lamont Ewell and Fire Chief Jim Hone as well as Padilla retirement, and it will continue to enjoy the service of Police Chief Tim Jackman, School Superintendent Tim Cuneo, Samohi Principal Hugo Pedroza, and many others. Add to these the many civic leaders in the private sector and the nonprofits, and Santa Monica has had an awfully good run recently with leaders who emphasize warmth, engagement, and the ability to work with others.

To borrow a phrase from the title of M.F.K. Fisher’s book about Marseille, Santa Monica these days is certainly “a considerable town.”

At Cpt. Padilla’s retirement party, he collected proclamations and “hardware” not only from the SMPD and the City Council, but from statewide law enforcement groups, the Governor’s office, the state Assembly, and the U.S. Congress, as befits his service to a world-class city. Yet the party was held in a second-floor Masonic Hall meeting room that had a distinctly small-town feel to it. The combination was very Santa Monica.

It certainly felt like there were more people in the room than the posted occupancy limit(400 for conference seating, 187 for dining with tables and chairs), but that may have been because the very big sound provided by the 10 musicians of the Westside Crew more than filled the room. (Yet another Santa Monica/Lennon family music connection.) Besides, Fire Marshall Jim Glew was among all those people.

Also among all those people were everyone from Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Laurel Rosen to Pico Youth and Family Center Executive Director Oscar de la Torre. And combinations like that are also very Santa Monica.

Down the hall outside the dinner, SM Police Officers Association Chairman Jay Trisler was seen in conversation with de la Torre, who sits on the SMMUSD School Board, talking about gang activity and youth programs. And conversations like that are also very … very much what has made Santa Monica the considerable town that it is.

Lamont Ewell has had a lot to do with that. He attended his last City Council meeting as City Manager this week and collected “hardware” of his own, including a framed letter from President Obama. Councilmembers spoke of Ewell’s “integrity” and his “ability to get to the heart of matters.” They described him as “unremittingly gracious,” “straightforward,” and “a steady hand.” Councilmember Richard Bloom said, “I made a really, really good and lifelong friend.”

That “friend” quality, and his disarming combination of professionalism and warmth, has made Ewell’s time in Santa Monica a very good time to have lived here. There has been lively public debate and protest, from the RIFT initiative to the treatment of special education families to the ficus trees. There have been concerted efforts, from Ed Edelman’s campaign on homelessness to community gatherings in response to youth violence to the drive for a sustainable city. There have been some Very Big Events, from the Pier’s 100th anniversary to the internationally recognized GLOW to the coming Los Angeles Marathon finish line.

Through them all, Ewell, and a whole lot of other Santa Monicans – official and not – have fomented a culture of open doors and rounded corners that has allowed and encouraged people to talk together and get things done in this considerable town.

At the January 19 City Council meeting, Ewell said that his time as Santa Monica City Manager “has been the pinnacle of my career” – a career that spanned 30 years of public service before he came to our town. It’s been a high point for Santa Monica, too.

At the Mirror, we swore that we were not going to use the term “golden age” in this article (although that has been a working title for some of us while thinking about the story), but the last several years have really been a golden age of leadership in Santa Monica.

One trouble with talking about a golden age is that it suggests a perfection that is not real: everyone has not always talked to everyone else as often or as candidly as they might have; some civic issues have not received th­­e attention that others have and that all deserve.

Recognizing that fact is at the heart of the response to the other trouble with talking about a golden age – namely, that it suggests that things will go downhill from here, that there is nowhere left to climb. And that is not true: Santa Monica could still “go platinum,” as they say in the music business.

in News
Related Posts

Husband and Wife Arrested After Reporting Sexual Assault

May 23, 2024

May 23, 2024

The Tables Were Turned  By Zach Armstrong The tables were turned on a married couple after they demanded officers arrest someone...

(Video) The Long Awaited Opening of @Something About Her. The line was down the block for most of the day. Huge success

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

If you look closely you can see the owners in the video, who were so very gracious and genuine to...

SMMUSD Seeks Middle School Athletic Coaches

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

Positions Are Available for Flag Football, Girls’ Volleyball, Cross Country, Basketball, Esports, Track and Field, Soccer, Spring Volleyball and Lacrosse...

Report: Promenade Currently Suffers 25% Retail Vacancy

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

Businesses and Customers Prefer Much More Vibrant Environments Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, once bustling with shoppers and street performers,...

LAFD Rescues Trapped Individuals From Venice Public Bathrooms

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

After Approximately Eight Minutes, One Stall Door Was Successfully Unlatched By Zach Armstrong LAFD Firefighters and LAPD officers were dispatched to...

Venice Canal Attack Victim’s Condition Takes a Tragic Turn

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

CD 11 City Councilmember Traci Park Releases Statement The devastating news that one of the two women who were brutally...

(Video Recap) MAINopoly Offers a Sample of Main Street’s Best

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

The Annual Event Took Place May 19 @smmirrornews MAINopoly offered a sample of Main Street’s best eateries and bars #california...

(Video) 2024 Take Action Campaign Happening Now

May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024

More Information at takeactionla.com @smmirrornews Take Action Campaign is happening now throughout LA County #mentalhealth #losangeles #fyp #california #wellbeing #health...

Council Extends ‘Local Homelessness Emergency’ Proclamation Through 2025

May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024

Extending the Proclamation Enables the City to Receive Additional Resources  By Zach Armstrong Last Tuesday, Santa Monica City Council unanimously...

Father-Son Duo RSG Janitorial Services Finds Joy In Serving Customers

May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024

Finding handymen and janitorial services can be a hard pick. RSG Janitorial Services, based in Los Angeles, offers a mix...

Los Angeles County Rent Relief Program Opens Second Round of Applications

May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024

Applications Accepted Until June 4, Funding and Support Have Been Increased  The Los Angeles County Rent Relief Program (LARRP) has...

Suspect Arrested After Stabbing Leaves Two Injured in Santa Monica

May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024

He Remains in Custody at the Santa Monica Jail Pending Arraignment A suspect was arrested Sunday evening after a stabbing...

City Files Lawsuit Against Motel Owners For Allegedly Allowing Drug Activity

May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024

A Court Order Could Close the Motel for One Year and Require Changes to Management By Zach Armstrong A lawsuit...

Injured Female Hiker Rescued From Temescal Ridge Trail

May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024

The hiker was transported directly to a nearby hospital The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to an incident involving a...

Detectives Seek Public’s Help to Locate Attilio Brillembourg, Stepfather of Greek Princess

May 19, 2024

May 19, 2024

Stepfather of Princess Tatiana of Greece is Missing in Malibu Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are seeking...