The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual State of the City address on Jan. 20 at SGI-USA Auditorium, 606 Wilshire Blvd.
Under the theme “Game Changers,” the program included a string of award presentations to recipients such as the Rand Corp. (Community Excellence); Edward Thomas Company, parent company of Shutters on the Beach & Hotel Casa del Mar (Economic Excellence); The Honest Company (Tech Excellence); and proved a warm send-off to Individual Community Excellence Award recipient City Manager Rod Gould, who retired at the end of January.
BrownList, Buddytruk, The Mobile Majority and Parkt all received Santa Monica Tech Startup Awards.
Mayor Kevin McKeown hit six bullet points outlining positive growth in Santa Monica, including the city’s leading role in the Silicon Beach tech boom and involvement by millennials (b. 1981 to 2001) informing city bike and ride sharing efforts.
Gould spoke of how bad things were when he first assumed his position in January 2010, when Santa Monica was still in the mire of the Great Recession.
“These past five years have been some of the most exciting of my career,” Gould said, ticking off a roster of improvements: a reduction in unemployment, homelessness and crime; 20 local buildings that were declared landmarks; the creation of Tongva and Town Hall parks, the incoming Expo light rail; $1.3 billion spent in Santa Monica last year alone.
For all that growth, Gould pointed out that population growth has been very limited. Santa Monica counted 92,185 residents last year, up from roughly 85,000 in 1960.
Gould ended his speech by urging others to abide by the Athenian Ephebic Oath: “Leave the city better than how you found it.”