Thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you as Santa Monica’s mayor. I’m grateful and honored to have been entrusted with such a significant year.

Major policy decisions came at us, fast and furious. Of all the seventeen years I’ve been on our City Council, this may have been the one year most full of challenges and opportunities. I’m proud of how well this City Council came together, not only to resolve the pressing issues where circumstances forced us to react, but to chart a progressive course for Santa Monica’s future.

Protecting renters has always been one of my top commitments, and at the very first meeting I chaired as Mayor we enacted significant improvements in our tenant harassment ordinance. A year later, as I step down, I leave us poised to pass a minimum wage ordinance that will make Santa Monica a reference city for workers’ rights. In this year we hired a new City Manager, and already I think we’re seeing that Rick Cole is bringing our community together, with an inclusive vision for making Santa Monica an even greater place while keeping it human-scaled.

The year 2015 challenged us all with a non-stop agenda of major issues. We successfully planned a community response to long-term drought, even as we prepared for the short-term event of an El Nino-fueled wet winter. As with so many other sustainability issues, Santa Monica led the way with a plan in place even before the issuance of California state mandates.

The Council came together with unanimous votes on a new citywide zoning code, and on an ordinance to protect housing and neighborhoods against commercial vacation rentals. Both these actions will protect our cherished neighborhoods from the loss of existing housing and from commercial intrusion.

We set priorities for the years to come, including regaining control of the land we own at the airport, and I traveled to Washington to make our case to the FAA. We have hired an in-house expert to be the community’s point person on airport matters, including reduced emissions, increased safety, and our ongoing plans for expanded park, recreational, and cultural facilities.

Santa Monica’s focus on increased mobility choices and alternatives to choked automobile traffic found a fun solution with the debut of Breeze bikeshare, because every bike in use is one less car on the road. We adopted Vision Zero, a policy that all street planning be designed to end injuries and fatalities. I was privileged to welcome the first Expo light rail train to Santa Monica this summer, and now we are counting the months till the arrival of full passenger service, giving us new access to the growing regional rail system.

We doubled down on our commitment to diversity and affordable housing, approving the first significant new multi-family housing starts in several years. Our Council began serious work on developing new ongoing affordable housing funding, needed to replace lost state redevelopment money, and will engage the community in decisions on which revenue streams to pursue.

Raising money for such programs requires public trust, and our Council dealt forthrightly with pre-existing issues of ethics and transparency. Besides forming an internal audit committee which is holding public meetings, we hired an independent outside reviewer to advise us on better handling of City Charter and campaign finance matters.

As Mayor, I’ve been particularly excited about our progress toward a fair and just minimum wage. The final vote is coming in January, but we have already decided that in Santa Monica we will join the regional wage scale of $15 by 2020, and also protect tips, provide sick days, and continue to honor workers’ rights to organize and negotiate the best package of pay and benefits. Going forward, I’ll apply every bit of my ex-Mayor’s momentum to making sure our minimum wage law really delivers for working families.

Again, thank you. I have enjoyed being your mayor. The 2014 election gave us a Council that has already shown it can do great things together, and I’ll strongly support incoming Mayor Tony Vazquez to make sure we continue to fulfill our potential and provide leadership in making Santa Monica an even better place.