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Council Names Park for Late Mayor Bob Holbrook

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By Jorge Casuso

May 25, 2022 -- A small oval-shaped park near the heart of Santa Monica where the late Mayor Bob Holbrook played as a boy will be named in his honor.

The City Council -- on which Holbrook served a record 24 years -- voted unanimously on Tuesday to rename Goose Egg Park, a 0.7 acre circular plot surrounded by Palisades Park, Bob Holbrook Park.

Goose Egg Park
Goosse Egg Park (Courtesy City of Santa Monica)

In a motion that would have been appreciated by the historical buff who died in December 2020, the new plaque will also note the history of the park, which was named for its shape.

"I don't like to get rid of the old historical of anything," said Councilmember Christine Parra, who made the motion to reference Goose Egg Park on the plaque.

Included in the original 1905 neighborhood subdivision as an aesthetic feature, the park is "commonly used by residents to exercise, meditate, visit with neighbors, and enjoy Santa Monica’s beautiful weather," staff said in its report to the Council.

Holbrook "was particularly proud of his work to expand and invest in our City parks" and had "a particular attachment to Goose Egg Park from when he was a child," staff said.

Among the guidelines used in naming City owned assets is "commemorating persons who have served the City in an exceptional manner."

The Recreation and Parks Commission voted in January to recommend renaming the park after Holbrook, who served on the School Board before being elected to the Council in 1990.

Councilmember Bob Holbrook in 2010

Bob Holbrook waiting for returns to show up on his computer at his campaign party
in 2010 (Photos from the Lookout archives)

Holbrook -- whose love for his native city steered his policy positions -- was long viewed as an independent voice on a Council sometimes prone to ideological pronouncements.

A large man who was never imposing, he was widely viewed as the Council's elder statesman whose pragmatic approach was reflected in his campaign slogan -- "the voice of reason."

He won six elections, though sometimes narrowly, without the backing of the Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR) powerful political machine and helped elect candidates who shifted the balance of power on the Council in the mid-1990s.

Councilmember Phil Brock, who viewed Holbrook as his mentor, said the former mayor played in Goose Egg park "as a little kid" when he lived nearby with his grandparents.

"He was a consummate Santa Monican," Brock said.

Born at Santa Monica’s now-defunct St. Catherine's Hospital in 1941 -- the year before Saint John's opened -- and educated in its local schools, Holbrook was one of the few native Santa Monicans in the past 30 years to serve on the Council.

Councilmember Oscar de la Torre, whose political ideologies often clashed with Holbrook's, said their hometown ties served as a bond.

"We came from different walks of life," de la Torre said, "but he understood one thing. He understood I love the city as much as he does and we're both from Santa Monica, and that meant something to him.

"He carried that with honor," de la Torre said. "My only regret is that he's not here today to see the appreciation we have for him."

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