Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce announces 2020-2021 Board of Directors
By Sam Catanzaro
A representative of the proposed “The Plaza” development and the President of Santa Monica College (SMC) are among the new members of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.
The Chamber announced its new 2020-2021 Board of Directors on July 31, coming from a mix of large and small employers and non-profits.
“We are in one of the most unpredictable and challenging times in our city’s history with the impacts of the global pandemic while addressing the real issues facing our community around economic and justice equity,” said new chair of the board Becky Warren. “The Chamber will be focused on identifying and supporting new policies and ideas that will support local businesses — who are the heart and soul of our community. We know this road will be challenging but the Chamber’s commitment is to work with all community leaders on solutions that embrace equity and to help our local businesses so that our city remains vibrant, distinctive and welcoming.”
Warren, Principal at Elevate Public Affairs, will lead a board which counts as among its new members SMC President Dr. Kathryn Jeffery, Managing Director for the Proper Hotel Julien Laracine, Vice President Commercial Lending Officer – Commercial Bank of California Kathy Irby and Managing Director at Clarett West Development Frank Stephan.
Clarett West is the development firm behind the proposed The Plaza at Santa Monica, an 11-story, 240-room luxury hotel, 106,800 square feet of creative office space, approximately 40,000 square feet of open public space and 48 units of affordable housing at 4th Street and Arizona Avenue in Downtown Santa Monica. Negotiations were put on hold earlier last month after Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) filed a complaint arguing the property should be reserved for public use under the California surplus land act. Last week City Council voted to continue negotiations with Clarett West, deciding the job, housing and revenue it would generate outweigh the risks of pending litigation.
Warren, Jeffery, Laracine and Stephan are joined by the following individuals as new Chamber Board members: Mert Aktar (Kite Pharma), Kevin Delijani (Delijani Group), Janet Rimicci (UCLA Health), Ryan Ole Hass (Align RE), Jamarah Hayner (JKH Consulting), Iao Katagiri (Iao Katagiri Consulting), Chris Harding (Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal LLP) and Susan Neisloss (Big Bite Productions).
“As a city, we will be relying on the Chamber for advice and ideas on how to best support local business owners to stay in business and to attract new businesses to our city. We must work together to successfully ensure businesses have what they need to continue to operate safely and residents continue to have the vital services they need,” said Santa Monica Vice Mayor Terry O’Day.