The face of Santa Monica is changing, too rapidly some say, as old buildings come down and make way for new housing and office space. (File photo)

I loved the rain this past weekend. I know many of us did. But now that the rainy season is over, we can get back to the business at hand of enjoying the beautiful spring days that await in our delightful little burg.

Dog walking is one of those daily activities that keeps me semi-active, at least when he’s with me and not with his other daddy. The nice part of having a dog is that you get to know your neighborhood and your neighbors.

The face of Santa Monica is changing, too rapidly some say, as old buildings come down and make way for new housing and office space. (File photo)
The face of Santa Monica is changing, too rapidly some say, as old buildings come down and make way for new housing and office space. (File photo)

When walking a dog you stop a lot, and you have to learn to enjoy the moment. Like Monday morning when I was walking in Ocean Park and the gardeners were out cutting the grass of a neighbor’s lawn. The contrast of the rainy weekend with the sunny morning and the smell of fresh cut grass brought a smile to my face.

The neighborhood is what made Santa Monica so quaint and beloved. It’s the heart of a small town, where people know each other. It’s what brings the real warmth of the city to individuals.

Lately there’s been a great deal of discussion about the level of development going on, and how that is destroying the city; how traffic is becoming unbearable; how the new Metro will bring too many people; that the Bergamot development will add further strain to a city that is bursting at the seams with cars and new residents and new office workers.

Many residents are disgusted with the City Council and the perception that they are rubber stamping any development proposal made by a developer that contributed to their campaign. Certainly the appearance of impropriety is something that all the council members want to avoid, but they’re not fools. They’ll take the donations.

The perception of what is good for the city was surveyed, and it breaks down right along age demographics. I know this because I was in the Loews Hotel locker room and made a comment about all the new development and a city employee who had just read the report said to me, “You fall right in line with your age group.”

Those of us who are fast approaching that phrase “of a certain age” are generally none too pleased with all the newness, but for those in their 20s and 30s, they’re cool with the development.

I’m reasonably certain it has a lot to do with the sense of nostalgia that I have as a young man riding the Big Blue Bus down to the beach, going for pizza around town and enjoying riding my bike in what was essentially a safe environment. In my 20s I enjoyed going to the Pioneer Boulangerie Bakery on Main Street and breaking out my law books as I studied criminal law and family law.

Those days are long gone, and in its place is Stella Barra pizza and M Street Kitchen and people’s homes. Real estate should be used for its highest and best purpose. That’s a rule of real property that one learns in law school. That means development. It is not always a joy to lose what was, but oftentimes what will be is better.

I’m not an apologist for the developers, but I’m willing to look at facts and see if there is an argument that maybe things could be better, for more people, if things change.

I am old enough to remember what a dump the Third Street Promenade was before its current incarnation. I liked the old Ferris wheel on the pier, but I love the new one with more lights and more creative use of the lights.

There is a season to everything. Like the rainy weekend, everything passes, and then there is the next season, which has its own benefits and joys. It happens in families with divorces, and businesses with ups and downs. It happens to all of us. We are crazy teens, arrogant 20 year olds, calmer 30 year olds and so on.

The question is not how do we stop the change, but rather, how do we adapt to it? Maybe we should enjoy the memory of what was, like this past weekend, and embrace the change like a 20 year old, and smell the fresh cut grass.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in father’s and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra




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