I’m really tired of all the moaning and groaning about runaway development in Santa Monica. The real development tragedy occurred in the 1970s when hundreds of utilitarian, boxy, multi-unit apartment buildings destroyed much of the Santa Monica coastal community’s quiet beauty.

These ugly buildings have no redeeming architectural value and knocked down beautiful Craftsman homes with expansive yards to put up these monstrosities and bring thousands of renters into the area, changing the city demographic forever.

I live in Ocean Park and have no trouble getting around town. I go north/south, not east/west.

I’m a 30-year-resident and remember how dreary Downtown was in the early ‘80s and dangerous at night, with few streetlights, no good restaurants, shops, theaters, or clubs, and most of all, no people and no joy.

I enjoy the diversity of the airport, the museum and restaurants. I like watching the planes land and take off from the observation deck and visiting artist galleries and studios throughout the zone.

I welcome the new transit system which will make Downtown more accessible, the beautification of the streets, the bike paths and city-run bike centers with inexpensive rentals. I look forward to the new park development across from City Hall, but probably would have preferred the Broad Museum. I also look forward to Santa Monica resident Frank Gehry’s additional architectural legacy that will add even more prestige to Santa Monica.

In my other life I am a travel writer and over the past 15 years have been to every part of the world. I never get tired of returning to Santa Monica, my home and the place in the world I choose to live. I enjoy the community of the various Farmers’ Markets, taking my daily walk along the beach, embracing the temperate and dry weather and the natural beauty of deep, sandy beaches, palmed-lined streets and the exquisitely landscaped Palisades Park.

There is a reason why millions of tourists visit Santa Monica each year, spending millions of dollars in our community. There is a reason why film, TV and ad agencies shoot in our city. There is a reason why this small beach-side community of 8.3 square miles and 90,000 residents is a magnet to the world.

Take a look around and be thankful. We are blessed.


John Blanchette

Santa Monica

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