February 5, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Opinion: City Manager Lane Dilg’s Leadership Saw Us Through Our Darkest Days

By Mayor Sue Himmelrich and Mayor Pro Tem Kristin McCowan

This week, we say goodbye to Lane Dilg, who for the last four years has served the Santa Monica community with keen intellect, clear foresight, and a resolute heart first as City Attorney and for the last 14 months as our Interim City Manager. 

The work of a City Attorney is one of the most exhaustive roles in the legal profession due to the multifarious nature of the work and one Lane held with absolute distinction beginning in 2017.  She took on tech giants in the name of preserving Santa Monica’s housing for residents, and did so in-house – a testament to her confidence in the talented attorneys in the City Attorney’s Office. 

Then, in the early and most uncertain days of the pandemic the City Council had a critical decision to make: who will lead us through the darkest days in modern history? We needed a leader who was ready to go, poised to take on the challenges of a global pandemic and excruciating revenue losses. We knew Lane possessed the knowledge and fortitude to see us through. This was a giant ask that came at great personal cost, yet, miraculously because of her love of Santa Monica and commitment to public service, Lane agreed to take the job. 

She hit the ground running with the complex and painful task of restructuring the City organization in the face of $224 million in projected revenue losses. The actual losses ended up being within $2 million of the original projection, so we are extremely grateful for the early action. Through her leadership, our fiscal health is strong – the FY 2021-23 Biennial Budget reflects no deficit now or in the five-year forecast. We have retained our AAA bond rating – which means we are poised for a steady and solid economic and community recovery. 

With our finances stabilized, Lane and City leadership focused on providing a clean and safe Santa Monica, emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic recovery. Through the We Are Santa Monica Fund, $1.1 million was raised to sustain the Virginia Avenue Park Emergency Food Pantry and to support small businesses with small grants that will open soon as well as the Black Agenda for Santa Monica. Our public spaces were transformed into safe and creative spaces for dining and services with splashes of art through the Art of Recovery program. The Santa Monica Pier reopened and people came back to the beach for respite, a place Lane will undoubtedly miss most when she relocates to Washington, D.C.  

Another area where the City made measurable strides under Lane’s leadership is the City’s tangible commitment to racial justice efforts both inside the City organization and in the community. Equity and Inclusion Officers are working to change policies and practices for more equitable operations and Santa Monica’s first civilian public safety oversight commission’s work is underway.

Lane has shared on multiple occasions that the strength of our organization is our city staff and that what she is most proud of is having served alongside such a talented team of people in public service together, rising up to meet each moment in order to save lives and safeguard Santa Monica’s future. The challenges were many, but because of her measured approach to problem-solving, skillful diplomacy, and a little grit, Lane leaves us on a path towards a bright and verdant future. We – along with our fellow Council colleagues past and present – are grateful Lane came to us in 2017 because we couldn’t have gotten through 2020 without her. As Lane always reminds us, Santa Monica is a special place. That is what she’s worked so hard to preserve. Thank you for your service to Santa Monica, Lane, we are deeply grateful. 

in Opinion
Related Posts

SMa.r.t. Column: To a Better Housing Element

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

Your City is busy rewriting much of its zoning code to implement our new Housing Element as demanded by the...

Santa Monica Police Chief’s Message to the Community

January 30, 2023

January 30, 2023

January 27, 2023  Dear Santa Monica Community,  The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) would like to extend our heartfelt condolences...

Column: State Usurping Key Powers From Cities

January 28, 2023

January 28, 2023

By Tom Elias All over California last fall, hundreds of the civic minded spent thousands of hours and millions of...

Column – A California Positive: Kids Swarm Extra Classes

January 24, 2023

January 24, 2023

By Tom Elias It’s become a cliché, the shibboleth that California has lousy public schools and most of the kids...

SMa.r.t. Column: Let’s Get Real and Apply Practical Common Sense

January 20, 2023

January 20, 2023

This week’s column is a letter to the City Council, written by Arthur Jeon and sent in this past week....

SMa.r.t. Column: Water Water Everywhere

January 13, 2023

January 13, 2023

The new year has started with water, lots of WATER. The west coast and particularly central and northern California have...

S.M.a.r.t. Looks Ahead

December 31, 2022

December 31, 2022

It’s that time of the year again, when people and organizations look ahead and make resolutions to try to do...

SMa.r.t. Column: Refugees in our Midst

December 22, 2022

December 22, 2022

We published this article exactly five years ago. We leave it to the reader to consider whether this article is...

Column – Superintendent’s Message: Farewell SMMUSD

December 21, 2022

December 21, 2022

Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff, Students and Community Members, I write this last message to the community with both a heavy...

Pacific Ocean Park– A Positive & Optimistic Place in Santa Monica’s History

December 16, 2022

December 16, 2022

It’s the Holidays again, and we hope your spirits of joy and happiness are being well celebrated! In continuation of...

The Street Seen: Crescent Bay Park

December 12, 2022

December 12, 2022

Our guest columnist this week is Ocean Park local, Mark Gorman. Mark writes a semi-monthly local blog he calls “Street...

​​Column: No One Very Pleased as New Rooftop Solar Rules Improve

December 9, 2022

December 9, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist Only rarely does the California Public Utilities Commission, long known as the least responsive agency in...

A SMa.r.t. Thanksgiving

November 23, 2022

November 23, 2022

SMart has much to be thankful for this year: We are thankful for the courage of all who face death...

SMa.r.t. Column: Renting and Owning. The Santa Monica Long View

November 18, 2022

November 18, 2022

In May, 2020, SMa.r.t. urged the city to consider establishing community land trusts, in which community-owned land is leased at...

SMa.r.t. Column: Santa Monica Housing Development – Poison Pills, Bad Data and the Blame Game

November 11, 2022

November 11, 2022

Prior councils have made long term decisions that have locked the city into an extraordinarily fixed path, the consequences of...