For the first time since he was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in 1984, Herb Katz was installed as mayor at the council meeting Tuesday, December 4th.

Richard Bloom, who has served as mayor for the past year, will now serve as mayor pro tem.

In December last year, the two were appointed to the mayor and mayor pro tem positions and were to serve a year at each position and then switch.

“I am going to follow a hard act,” said Katz of following in Bloom’s footsteps. “Richard has been one of the best mayors we’ve had. You’ve knocked yourself out, you’ve set standards and I will try and live up to it. Thank you for your service.”

The mayor is not elected by the residents of Santa Monica; rather it’s a ceremonial position appointed by the council. Some believe it has been “long overdue” for Katz.

“Sometimes, Herb, we agree on things and sometimes we disagree, but I think tonight we can agree that it’s long overdue that you got the mayorship,” said Joe Natoli, who regularly attends the council meetings.

“It’s quite an honor and one I will cherish,” Katz said as he took the mayor’s seat. “I will try to do a good, if not better job than Richard, and I don’t think I can better it. I’ve got good colleagues and I want to thank them for electing me to this. It’s rare. Not many people ever serve on city councils and less than that ever get to be mayor, so it’s really quite an honor.”

Katz said that, as mayor, he would try to shorten the council meetings, which frequently run into the early hours of the morning.

He also thanked his family — and as he introduced his wife — teared up.

“Excuse me, I get emotional,” Katz said.

Bloom, who now serves as mayor pro tem, thanked the community, his family, city staff and the City Council “for collaboratively and effectively working together.”

He also told Katz he had done a great job as mayor pro tem and had “much to look forward to” as mayor.

“As mayor, it is a demanding job,” Bloom said, noting it had been a challenging year for him on a personal level. “It demands of our time, our energy and it does take some time away from those that we love. I just really want to thank all of you for a truly great year.”

Bloom pointed out that the council had accomplished many things over the past year and that “these things didn’t happen in a vacuum.”

“This is a collaborative effort and we accomplish things in this city by working together and I hope that, in some small way, I was helpful in moving our community’s agenda forward,” Bloom said.

Councilman Ken Genser thanked Bloom for his service and said that, as mayor, he did the job with “real grace and warmth and calmness.”

“I think you’ve been a terrific mayor,” added Councilman Bob Holbrook. “It’s not easy being mayor. Richard’s done a wonderful job representing the City of Santa Monica.”

Paul Rodomski, on behalf of the Santa Monica Fire Department, thanked Bloom for his service and congratulated Katz for his appointment to the mayor’s seat.

“The firefighters have always been here to support the council and appreciate the work you do,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the upcoming year and just want to extend, on behalf of the firefighters, congratulations to you, Herb.”

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