Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Santa Monica Real Estate Company ROQUE & MARK Co.

Home Special Reports Archive Links The City Commerce About Contacts Editor Send PR

State of the City Speeches Express Cautious Optimism


Bob Kronovetrealty
We Love Property Management Headaches!

Welcome to Santa Monica.  Good Vibes Start Here.

Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 434-4000



By Jorge Casuso

March 1, 2024 -- Santa Monica has weathered the storm and is "turning the corner," but there is still work to be done before the city prospers and thrives again.

That was the message delivered Thursday by Mayor Phil Brock and City Manager David White in their annual State of the City speeches at the John Adams Middle School (JAMS) Performing Arts Center.

Brock's speech enthusiastically promoted the city where his parents "met at one of the cannons in Palisades Park, walked through Ocean Park, shared ice cream, and fell in love." (Speech by Mayor Phil Brock)

The first Santa Monica native to hold the post in 17 years, Brock delivered a speech that was a display of boosterism for a City that will turn 150 next year.

"There’s a feeling you get when you’re exploring this town, standing at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, viewing a glorious sunset in Palisades Park, taking a bike ride on our city’s safe bike paths, and enjoying our neighborhood haunts," Brock said.

"I call it the Spirit of Santa Monica. It’s a unique, distinct culture -- a way of life and a beauty that is unmatched."

But there is work to be done to recapture the Spirit tested during the coronavirus shutdown that saw long-time businesses leave, a homelessness problem that persists and development that is beyond the local government's control.

"Residents need to petition the governor and legislature to give our city back local control over our zoning while still welcoming residents of diverse incomes into our town," Brock said.

Public safety -- the top priority of every city -- is also being curbed by "federal, state and county laws and practices (that), in many cases, have worked against the goal of keeping us safe."

When it comes to tackling homelessness -- which the City Council declared a local emergency in February 2023 -- "we cannot solve this crisis on our own," Brock said.

“I am pushing, each and every day, along with our city manager, city council and our federal, state and county partners, to make sure that Santa Monica’s voice is heard. But frankly, we must do better.

"We must reduce homelessness, we must eliminate syringes and needles in our parks, and give people living on our streets a chance to recover their lives," he said.

But there is much to look forward to -- new businesses are cropping up around the City, large creative companies are reinvesting and expanding, the future of the airport is being charted and arts and culture continue to thrive, Brock said.

"Change can be challenging, but it can also bring great opportunity," he said. "I strongly believe that economic recovery isn’t coming —- it’s already here."

While Brock's speech focused on "the Spirit of Santa Monica," City Manager David White provided a more sobering account of the economic challenges facing the City and the initiatives it has undertaken. (Speech by City Manager David White)

They include the ongoing recovery from the COVID emergency, which has been hampered by more than $200 million paid to settle numerous sexual abuse claims filed by victims of former City employee Eric Uller.

"Major investment is happening in Santa Monica, both in residential and commercial projects, which is a sign of confidence in our city," White said.

"However, it will take some time for these investments to impact city revenues and, thus, allow us to continue to restore services.

"As a result, we continue to work within a very constrained environment, and we simply are not at the point where we can do all that we want to -- as quickly as we want to. Nothing frustrates me more," he said.

Still, the City has been busy addressing the Council's top priorities, which include tackling homelessness and keeping Santa Monica safe and clean.

White outlined the measures the City is taking to address those priorities, as well as achieving a "sustainable and connected community," making the city more just, equitable and diverse and boosting its economy and cultural vitality.

"We ARE turning a corner," White said. "I am extremely optimistic about the future of our city.

"We have shown that we can weather the most difficult storms, and still remain true to our city’s values and ethos," he concluded.

"Santa Monica continues to be a place that people feel lucky to be a part of."

Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2024 All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures