Santa Monica Mayor and long-serving City Councilmember Kevin McKeown has been elected Vice-Chair of the Westside Cities Council of Governments, a multi-jurisdictional body addressing regional issues including traffic, transit, social services, and sustainability.
McKeown takes his position as Vice-Chair of the COG effective immediately, which puts him in line to chair the COG next year.
Besides Santa Monica, the Westside Cities Council of Governments consists of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Culver City, and parts of the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County.
“Santa Monica is leading the region on sustainability and now bike-sharing, as light rail arrives in our downtown within the year,” said McKeown. “Mobility and traffic are our chief challenges on the Westside, and I look forward to continued multi-city cooperation on transit, traffic management, and responsible, sustainable land use.”
Mayor McKeown has served as Santa Monica’s delegate or alternate to the COG continuously since its formation in 2006, and before that was active in helping the less formal “Westside Cities” group come together as an official, regional Council of Governments.
Among his contributions in the course of that formation were an agreement to consider joint social issues, including homelessness, and the procedural structure of the COG, favoring consensus rather than potentially divisive votes.
For many years, McKeown was co-chair of the COG’s Environmental Committee. “Air and water quality are clearly issues where regional cooperation is key,” he said. “Local solutions to global problems need a regional implementation, which our COG can help provide.”
In his first action as Vice-Chair, Mayor McKeown led the COG to support local control over short term rentals in potential state laws, further supporting Santa Monica’s recent pioneering vacation rental ordinance. At the same meeting, Jeff Cooper of Culver City was elected Chair, and Beverly Hills’ William Brien became Secretary.