Welcome to the Healthy City Local, my new blog about Santa Monica. Why am I writing it? After I didn’t win a seat on the Santa Monica City Council in November, friends and former readers of “What I Say,” the column I wrote for The Santa Monica Lookout News, asked me if I would resume writing the column. After all, I had stopped writing it so that could run, since I couldn’t be a journalist and a politician at the same time.
It’s an understatement to say that I enjoyed writing the column, but after almost a year of being an active participant in Santa Monica politics, I can’t return to being merely an observer.
I don’t know if I will run for office again, or what form my participation will take (if you’re reading this I probably don’t need to tell you that in January I applied for a position on the Planning Commission but the City Council appointed someone else), but I know I am going to stay active.
Activism is great, but I miss writing about Santa Monica. I write about urbanism for the Huffington Post, but it’s not the same as writing about what you’re close to – “write what you know,” the adage goes, and it’s not so much that I “know” Santa Monica but that I’m always getting to know it better. Besides, Santa Monica is a wonderful place to write about, unique, but with every issue. It’s no generic place on a Thomas Brothers map.
One thing I learned during the election campaign is that everyone looks at Santa Monica differently. They see different things. I’ll go further than that: a lot of people love Santa Monica, but I’d say that everyone who loves Santa Monica loves it at least a little differently from how everyone else loves it.
I’ve now been involved in public life in Santa Monica for 20 years. Along with my family and my work, this relationship to and with a city has been among the most satisfying and enjoyable elements of my life.
I hope to use this blog to articulate why that is so. Thanks for reading.