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|Mayor Celebrates 2011 As Year of Success in Santa Monica||
By Jason Islas
January 27, 2012 -- Mayor Richard Bloom reported Thursday that “the State of our City has never been stronger,” thanks in part to a healthy crop of tech start-ups that have earned the seaside city the moniker "Silicon Beach."
According to the latest figures, Santa Monica had the third highest assessed valuation in Los Angeles County and the lowest office vacancy rate in the region for the third quarter of last year, Bloom announced in the annual State of the City address Thursday morning.
The mayor credited the city's success in the midst of a regional, national and international economic crisis, at least in part, to Santa Monica's “technological foundation,” including one of the fastest fiber optic networks in the world.
“Tech commerce has arrived in Santa Monica in big way," Bloom told The Lookout after the address hosted by SGI-USA at the World Culture Center in Santa Monica. "It brings good green jobs to us and generates economic activity.”
Addressing the crowd Thursday, Bloom said, “Companies like Demand Media, True Car, Adconion and their many peers in Santa Monica have brought an influx of entrepreneurial energy, optimism and economic boom to our local economy.”
A panel of tech entrepreneurs moderated by Jason Nazar, co-founder Docstoc.com, took part in a discussion about the future of the tech industry in Santa Monica. The panel was composed of David Travers of venture capital firm Rustic Canyon Partners; Chui Tsang, president of Santa Monica College; Keith Klein of law firm Bryan Cave, and Paige Craig, CEO of start-up BetterWorks.
The tech industry is "flocking to Santa Monica for the same reason residents love our city," said Bloom, who is running in the June Democratic primary for State Assembly. "We have unparalleled natural beauty, great schools, livable neighborhoods and first rate infrastructure and services.”
The growth of the tech industry wasn't the only success story Bloom shared with the crowd. Business in general is doing well in Santa Monica, including the hospitality industry – which generated $1.2 billion and more than 10,000 jobs in 2011, Bloom said.
“Our hotels enjoy the highest occupancy rates in the County,” the mayor said.
“When I joined the City Council in 1999, Santa Monica was a lesser known suburb you might visit as part of a trip to Los Angeles,” he said. “Today, you travel to Santa Monica and take in Los Angeles while you are here.”
Santa Monica's good fortune is also its residents' good fortune, including those who are most vulnerable, the mayor said.
In 2011, the City “helped place 305 people in permanent housing, and reconnect 254 folks with their families, closed on financing for 270 affordable apartments [and] supported 12 families who receive housing vouchers to graduate from the family self-sufficiency program,” Bloom said.
Rounding out his comments, Bloom said, “Look no further than Santa Monica to see how good governance, partnerships and community engagement will lead to economic vitality and progressive growth."
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