In the broad tableau of our nation’s stories, Santa Monica has etched its own unique symphony. Once, our city was a sonorous harmony of prosperity and unity, a place where families blossomed and dreams took flight. But of late, discordant notes of homelessness and crime have pierced our symphony, disrupting the rhythm of our collective lives.

Our city, a radiant star in the Golden State’s firmament, now finds itself at a crucial crossroads. Santa Monica, once vibrant with thriving businesses, joyful children, and the dynamic ebb and flow of a spirited populace, now wrestles with dissonance. This cacophony has disturbed our melody, eroding both our quality of life and economic vitality.

Yet, dear friends, this discord is not the final movement in our symphony. In the music of life, as in a grand symphony, it is often the most stirring crescendos that arise from the most solemn chords.

In the well-intended pursuit of equity and compassion, we’ve allowed our city’s challenges to be veiled, leading to a concerning rise in complacency. But this isn’t the Santa Monica we know, nor the one we wish to bequeath to future generations. We are not mere residents of this city; we are its composers, capable of renewing its harmony and restoring the symphony we all cherish.

To our civic conductors, heed this not merely as a plea, but as a clarion call to action. Public service is a sacred trust, a solemn vow to compose a symphony of progress, replacing apathy with action, and steering our city back to its rightful rhythm.

Now, the baton is in our hands. Let’s tackle homelessness not just with momentary solutions but with a melody of sustainable mental health care and drug rehabilitation. The compassionate heart of our city should not just resonate with empathy but should lead those in need towards long-term recovery and stability.

Similarly, let’s respond to crime not with resigned silence but with a chorus of proactive, community-centered justice. Every crime, regardless of its severity or the race, socioeconomic status, or housing circumstances of the perpetrator, must be met with the full force of our justice system. Fairness and equality under the law must form the steady drumbeat of our city’s symphony.

Moreover, we must address the scourge of drugs and their enablers. The distribution of free needles to drug addicts, masquerading as compassion, has only amplified the discord in our city. This is a melody we can no longer afford to play. It’s time we strike a new note, one of rehabilitation, not enablement.

And in our schools, the future maestros of our city, we must strike a harmonious balance in our education system. While diversity, equity, and inclusion have their place in our composition, they should not drown out the core principles of education. The fundamental notes of literacy, numeracy, science, and the arts must form the dominant theme of our children’s education.

Our city’s symphony is far from its finale. It’s an ongoing composition, ready to rise to a triumphant crescendo. As the residents of Santa Monica, we are the composers of this melody. United in our purpose, we can recapture the harmony we’ve lost and craft the music of our future.

The future of Santa Monica is ours to conduct. It’s time to script the score for our next chapter, conduct the harmonies of restoration, and revive the proud symphony that is Santa Monica. Let’s stand together in this effort. For Santa Monica deserves nothing less than a masterpiece for generations to come. In unity, our harmonies will triumph, and Santa Monica’s symphony will resonate once more, triumphant and renewed.

Houman David Hemmati MD PhD, Santa Monica