A Treemendous Victory

…was how Jerry Rubin, Santa Monica’s own professional positivist, described Monday night’s down to the wire Landmark Commission vote to landmark the huge Sycamore at 1122 California Ave., near the intersection of 12th Street and California. In fact it was a great victory for the entire city, as trees are rarely accorded the respect that … Continue reading A Treemendous Victory

Our Data, Our Privacy. Part 3.

In recent articles we stated that the City of Santa Monica gathers data about its citizens (and obtains it from other sources too), and suggested ways to protect that information, with oversight from citizens. Residents, we said, can certainly benefit from data obtained by the City in all sorts of important ways, from alleviating traffic … Continue reading Our Data, Our Privacy. Part 3.

Who’s Listening?

This article was being written as our City Council was spending a weekend retreat in Virginia Park addressing the City’s five strategic goals using “data driven planning” to solve “mobility,” “inclusiveness and diversity,” re-purposing the “Santa Monica Airport,” “homelessness” and childhood “education.” Shouldn’t they also be looking at “safety” and “happiness”? Are data driven decisions … Continue reading Who’s Listening?

Our Data, Our Privacy. Part 2.

Last week we looked at how our lives are made more convenient all the time by companies and organizations that provide services and then gather data about our activities. We mentioned that in the past, private businesses and government gathered information separately. Today we’re beginning to see pressure to combine these public and private efforts, … Continue reading Our Data, Our Privacy. Part 2.

Santa Monica’s Achilles Heel

Our expansive beaches largely define Santa Monica. How might our community be impacted, both financially and otherwise, should this vital asset disappear beneath the waves? Ironically, what makes our city so unique, may also be its undoing. As the earth warms, and sea levels rise, our city is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the ocean’s periodic … Continue reading Santa Monica’s Achilles Heel

Respecting History or the Wrecking Ball

Today our city is a built out metropolis with almost no vacant lots. However, if you came here 100 years ago, Santa Monica was mostly open fields. In fact the built out edge of the City had only reached about 11th Street with flat dusty open spaces continuing all the way east to the brand … Continue reading Respecting History or the Wrecking Ball

Have You Been Retrofit Yet?

Everyone experienced it differently. For this writer, lying in bed in the dark in the predawn hours of a Sunday in January, 1994, it was a sudden locomotive shaking the apartment like a mechanical paint stirrer, pictures falling off the walls and books off the shelves. The Northridge quake. The damage spread throughout Santa Monica. … Continue reading Have You Been Retrofit Yet?

ARB (All Ready to Build?)

Santa Monica City’s Architectural Review Board (ARB), established in 1974, acts “to preserve existing areas of natural beauty, cultural importance and assure that buildings, structures, signs or other developments are in good taste, good design, harmonious with surrounding developments, and in general contribute to the preservation of Santa Monica’s reputation as a place of beauty, … Continue reading ARB (All Ready to Build?)