Santa Monica Lookout
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Santa Monica Sets Goals for 2014

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

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By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

January 2, 2014 -- The new year is here and, to celebrate, The Lookout asked community leaders, City officials and other Santa Monica notables to talk about their personal goals for 2014.

Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor said that this year, she’s resolved to learn French, an ongoing goal she has had ever since reading the Madeline books as a child.

A Chicago native, O’Connor said that she also resolves to “be ready to purchase tickets for the MLB World Series as this next year will be the one when the Chicago Cubs” go all the way.

Her hometown team hasn’t won the World Series since 1908.

Councilmember Gleam Davis had two personal goals: to walk more and to make more time to see movies. But, she also has some political aspirations for 2014.

“As a councilmember, my goals are to work to keep our civil discourse respectful and productive,” Gleam said.

She will also “do what I can to help Santa Monica residents who have been hurt by federal budget cuts to vital social programs such as affordable housing voucher grants and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” she said.

Assemblymember Richard Bloom, a resident of Sunset Park and former mayor of the bayside city, also divided his resolutions between the personal and the political.

“I am disappointed that I did not get out to see as much live music and art as I would have liked in 2013,” he said. “So, my personal resolution is to change that in 2014.”

His political goal for the upcoming year was perhaps more ambitious.

“In Sacramento, and keeping with the same theme, I want to focus on reestablishing California as the ‘Creative Coast,’” he said.

“Good, middle class jobs in our film industry and other arts/entertainment sectors are under siege by other states and countries,” Bloom said. “This is a war that we cannot afford to lose. My resolution for 2014 is to prioritize this issue so that these lost jobs return to California and to create a favorable business climate that allows the sector to continue to grow.”

Councilmember Kevin McKeown didn’t mince words with his resolution, nor did he shy away from politics.

“I will not and cannot forget the vulnerable senior citizens being evicted
from Village Trailer Park,” he said.

“I resolve to help elect a more resident-responsive City Council majority: one which remembers that people live here, and need protection from over-development and displacement,” he said.

Santa Monica’s fire chief, Scott Ferguson, wants to spend more time with his grandchildren who live in Arizona and Washington state.

He also hopes to read more books, especially ones about former President Abraham Lincoln and to compete “in some kind of fitness challenge.”

For some, political goals are inextricably tied to personal ones, especially when it comes to development in Santa Monica.

Diana Gordon, founder of the slow-growth group Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC), opted to provide a resolution for her organization.

“Developers like Hines, NMS and Dell, with huge, unpopular projects before the
City, should not try to buy the council elections,” she said.

“Massive amounts of developer money flowing through shell groups has been overwhelming our elections for years: This needs to end," Gordon said.

Alan Epstein is one of the developers Gordon refers to. As lead negotiator for MSD Capital, Epstein is the public face of the team behind the proposed redevelopment of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica’s Wilmont neighborhood.

In 2014, Epstein hopes to “get home from work in time for dinner with my wife more often” and to “help my youngest daughter find her first job after graduating from college,” he said.

The Westside Director of the regional hotel workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 11, Francis Engler has high hopes in the upcoming year.

“My resolution is to make Santa Monica's job training and local hiring programs a model for the whole country,” he said.

“I know a cafe server who lives in Santa Monica and has a daughter studying design, and I want her daughter to have the chance to work on an architecture team building one of the city's best green buildings,” Engler said.

“I know a dishwasher who has a son who loves to cook, and he should be studying under a celebrity chef at one of Santa Monica's best restaurants. I want every business in Santa Monica to be an educational opportunity for someone in our town with an ambition,” he said.

Melanie Luthern, a community organizer for UNITE HERE who works on the Westside, said she wants to get back to her roots as a youth mentor.

“I would really like to give back to the community by engaging with the youth of Santa Monica,” she said. “In 2014, my resolution is to play a part in shaping the next generation of Santa Monica activists.”

Zina Josephs, chair of Friends of Sunset Park (FOSP), made a resolution for her whole group, which represents residents around Ocean Park Boulevard.

“The FOSP Board will continue opposing large developments whose traffic impacts on Sunset Park can't be mitigated, such as the proposed Bergamot Transit Village Center,” Josephs said.

“Meanwhile, Sunset Park residents are encouraged by the City's decision to file suit against the FAA over control of Santa Monica Airport, and we hope it will be successful,” she said.

Taffy Patton, who sits on the Wilmont Neighborhood Coalition board, said she was speaking for herself.

“I will remain hopeful while collaborating with fellow residents, commissioners, City Council and staff on the new zoning codes,” she said. “These codes will guide and protect the wondrous character of our city for the next 20 years.

“I will also strongly support City Council candidates who are most likely to limit density and height across the city to that strictly necessary for a work force/housing balance,” Patton said.

The chair of the North of Montana Association (NOMA), Albin Gielicz, said his goals were his own and not those of his board or the association.

In 2014, Gielicz said he hopes to “improve and promote direct and constructive communication between all stakeholders in Santa Monica” and to “begin a meaningful dialogue with decision-makers about quality architectural design and valued community benefits.”

Laurel Rosen, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, said, “This year I resolve to create more special moments and not just let time pass as can happen in our busy, busy lives.

“There are so many opportunities to connect with someone you care about create memories,” she said.

“I also resolve to take more time to have a consistent healthy lifestyle. I eat well, but don’t always get to the gym or my yoga classes as often as I would like and being healthy impacts all parts of my life,” Rosen said.

And Misti Kerns, the CEO of the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, said she will “embrace the future, learn from the experiences of others, know when to act and when to listen, and help provide balance to those who seek it.

“I look forward to spending more time with my family and friends, enjoying the wonderful place that we live in, appreciating the beach and taking advantage of the amazing services that our city provides. As a fellow resident and tourism leader, I also hope to raise awareness to the values that tourism brings to our community,” she said.

Local Peace Activist and long-time resident Jerry Rubin resolved to “stop procrastinating and finally start working on my backlog of old unfulfilled resolutions.”

Patricia Hoffman, the co-chair of the powerful political group, Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR), responded to our The Lookout's question with, "Sorry. I've never made a New Year's Resolution. I try to do my best all year round."

Finally, Santa Monica City Manager Rod Gould said, “My New Year’s resolution will be to redouble my efforts to support the City Council and staff in a year of what looks to be intense and demanding community decision-making involving people, place and planet.”

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