I wish I could thank each of you personally who contributed to the success of our Club meeting this past week. Sickness sidelined our scheduled speaker, Jim Harris, Executive Director of Santa Monica Pier but that’s when everyone went into action. Kera and her husband, Barry Snell were able to secure Andrew Thomas, CEO of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM).
Lisa Alexander thanks for introducing Andrew to our Club. Mr. Thomas is new to his position but not so new to our city. He seems to have a finger on the pulse of Downtown Santa Monica’s needs to attract new businesses to this vital area of our city. He is also very open to new ideas about growing retail businesses while meeting the needs of the citizens of our city.
While he focused on the Brand of Downtown Santa Monica being iconic, he also expressed a need to return to our core values to make our city a better place to live, visit and play. He announced the return of the Ice Rink is set for November 1st. While DTSM, the non-profit manages a ten-million-dollar budget they are still challenged by homelessness in the Downtown area. Their DTSM Ambassadors are the eyes and ears of the SMPD to keep the city safe.
Our members enjoyed the full thirty minutes of questions and answers following Mr. Thomas’ presentation. When asked what his access to resources were he explained that new assessment fees of about 5 million dollars is contributed form the city, 3 million dollars is produced from business tax revenue and events they sponsor generate about 1 million dollars.
The outdoor dining temporary permits for restaurants to use sidewalk and street space will stay in place. A huge concern is that there are too many vacancies in the downtown area. Retailers are no longer attracted by the large open spaces for stores.
Six days in his new position, reporting to a thirteen-member board and he sees his challenges as opportunities. We are very grateful to have had this unexpected time with Andrew Thomas, CEO of DTSM.
We were able to crow Timur Berberoglu “Fire Chief of the Day in Rotary” as his reward for winning Rotary Bingo a few weeks ago. We also welcomed Lan Nguyen back from her extended vacation in her home country of Viet Nam.
Others contributed to the success of our meeting including John Bartlett giving a thoughtful invocation following moments of silence remembering and honoring those we loss on 911, and their families, Queen Elizabeth II in her passing away, and our own Kent Colberg along with his widow, Kay, who survives his passing away.
Kera Blades Snell thanks for being the president’s pick, and Gary Ogden for introducing our visitors. Michael Cates thanks for greeting us as we came into the meeting, Felix Crown, and Richard Lombari thanks for the photos. Tom Larmore’s creativity in bringing songs and music to our club is simply the best, thanks Tom. Stan Fox thanks for the miles you walked in providing a microphone for our members to ask all their questions. Carol Powell, Pam Brady and Rose Mary Regalbuto you are the best, thanks. Len Lanzi thanks for keeping all Zoomed in.