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The Road Ahead: Mayor Ted Winterer's State of the City Address

February 6, 2018 -- On February 1, Mayor Ted Winterer delivered the annual State of the City Address. Following is the text of his speech.

Good evening, everyone.

As you just saw, 2017 was an amazing and productive year, and 2018 brings new challenges.

Tonight, I’m going to talk to you about the biggest truth I’ve experienced this past year as your mayor…when we are united as a community, good things happen.
Our work today can build a more resilient and more vibrant community for tomorrow.

My colleagues on the City Council and I are rallying around common values in Santa Monica.

We are an inclusive community. We believe in protecting our environment for future generations.

We strive to foster the wellbeing of everyone.

As we look to the year ahead, I'd like to share with you 20 areas of focus for the City of Santa Monica as we strive to protect and strengthen these values.

Meaningfully moving the needle on homelessness.

There's no denying the magnitude of homelessness when 13,000 people lose their housing EVERY MONTH in Los Angeles County. We’re doing a lot. It’s not enough. We’re investing in more people and more resources across the police department and in our libraries, parks and public spaces. And we are asking for the best ideas from everyone in this room. We must work together to help our most vulnerable.

Facing community crime and hiring a new police chief.

I and my fellow Council members attended numerous community conversations in late 2017.
We heard what key qualities our City Manager should look for in our next Police Chief. We listened to personal experiences of crime reaching into our neighborhoods and we’re working hard to address the recent uptick.

Eliminating pedestrian fatalities with Vision Zero.

Between 2006 and 2016, collisions in Santa Monica resulted in a yearly average of 4 fatalities. Last year alone, that number was 9. Sweden, the birthplace of Vision Zero, has seen an 80% reduction in fatalities and now has the world’s safest roads, with only 3 deaths per 100,000 residents.
In Santa Monica, zero is the only acceptable number.

Getting everyone comfortable with multi-modal transit.

$41.8 billion. That's the amount Metro is investing in NEW transportation infrastructure as a result of Measure M. In the next 40 years, subway and light rail will become the norm. We already have a multi-modal network and we will continue to invest in infrastructure and local policies to be at the forefront of this cultural shift.

Adapting to climate change by investing in climate action.

As you just heard in the video, we have made great strides towards our water and carbon goals, but getting to carbon neutrality will not be easy and each of us will have to do our part. To learn how, join us for Climate Fest on May 19 to kick off our new Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

Housing sustainability for all incomes.

Since 1994, 38% of all multi-family housing constructed has been deed restricted to affordable income levels. That’s 4,500 units for low to moderate income individuals and families. Yet, rising rents threaten to displace too many of our residents.

Preserving and celebrating the diversity we have and keeping longtime residents right here at home.

This is one of the great challenges before us because our character and culture comes from our people. We must protect our existing affordable housing stock and invest in new housing inventory that can keep Santa Monica a reality for future generations.

Ensuring all kids are prepared for kindergarten.

We’ve made significant strides for our youngest residents, yet one-third are still not ready for kindergarten. We are focused on closing the achievement gap by investing in early childhood education. Because in Santa Monica, we believe EVERY SINGLE child should have an equal start.

Enhancing our status as an ideal community to age in place.

87 percent of adults age 65 and older want to stay in their current home and community as they age. Our multimodal city with access to amenities and services makes Santa Monica ideal to age in place. We must continue to think of our senior community as we develop future infrastructure, programs and housing.

Building social cohesion to support community wellbeing.

The Wellbeing Index indicates that residents in 90404 have the lowest life satisfaction and the highest economic worry. We need to dig deeper to understand and meaningfully support our neighbors. We also know one third of our residents report feeling they have little influence on city decision-making. That's a rallying cry for us to create new ways for the public to be heard and to get involved.

Protecting our community values in light of federal threats.

Speaking of our wellbeing…In Santa Monica, I’m proud to say we celebrate our diversity and embrace our differences, despite the messages coming from the White House. For instance, we contributed funds to help DREAMers re-enroll, oppose Trump's travel bans in court, and along with cities and states representing half of the U.S. population doubled down on the Paris Climate Accord. And this year, we should identify a Ms. Santa Monica in addition to our Mr. Santa Monica, Nat Trives.

Prioritizing planning projects and focusing on placemaking.

We are beginning our work on the Pico Neighborhood Plan and retaining the character of our single family neighborhoods. Our City has a strong sense of place, but how do we continue to ensure paper planning comes to life on our streets? Through strong policies and broad community input, we can make great places, not just buildings

Strengthening resilience in the face of natural and man made disasters.

This was one of the primary topics at last week’s US Conference of Mayors. Every city in the world needs to be prepared for disasters, both natural and manmade, including ours. Santa Monica has a strong emergency preparedness program, but it counts on you to do your part. Be vigilant. Have a plan so together, we can be a resilient community.

Breaking through the noise with critical information.

Every city needs to communicate critical information to the public, yet the abundance of information sources can make it complicated. We’ve challenged our staff to find ways to cut through the noise to make sure the public has immediate, easy access to city information. We want you to know what’s going on and how to get involved. If you don't already, follow the City on social media or sign up for the SaMoNews newsletter.

Building on the great network of parks we have, including transitioning the airport to a great park after 2028.

Santa Monica has some great outdoor public space and we are working on adding more. Soon, we will welcome 12 acres at Airport Park and a great new sports field at the Civic Center. And we invite you to be part of the process as we begin envisioning our great park at the airport when it closes after 2028.

Rallying together to support small, local businesses.

There are 850 businesses participating in our Buy Local Program who hire locally and actively support the community. We make a collective difference every single day when we support local Santa Monica businesses. We must recognize the challenges of operating a small business and do more to foster entrepreneurship.

Creating a space for innovators to partner with City Hall.

We’ve had the great privilege of meeting 28 startups this year through Hack the Beach and this year’s winning team, Project Minder, is here with us. They developed a tool designed to help first responders identify unused bed space in hospitals for the homeless. We must nurture this kind of synergy with our local tech partners.

Focusing on data to do what works, not what doesn’t.

Like a skilled carpenter or a fine tailor we must measure and measure again for the best results. City Hall is committed to making data informed decisions. Rigorous efforts have been made to measure our outcomes to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Preparing Santa Monica for long-term economic sustainability.

There are profound and rapid changes to our economy in the way we work and how consumers prefer experiences over goods. The changes require us to be nimble and responsive. 79 percent of Americans say they make purchases online. For a community with some of the highest brick and mortar rents, we need to understand what this means for our local economy. It’s the theme of tonight’s event and the future we must prepare for.

Harnessing the passion and expertise in our community.

Look around this room, it’s brimming with passion, expertise, and deep commitment to Santa Monica. Now shift your focus to the year ahead. How will we meet the challenges in 2018 and beyond? As a united Santa Monica.

If you watched the State of the Union this week and are even more confused by our national politics, know that just last week I was in DC for the US Conference of Mayors.

Mayors, both Republican and Democrat, came together to discuss immigration, infrastructure, climate, and economic opportunity.

Change happens locally and I and the City Council are prepared to partner with nonprofits, businesses, and the community to strengthen Santa Monica for today and for the future.

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