The Long View is Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole’s blog. It’s a place to share his thoughts on the future of Santa Monica. It explores the complexities of our times and promotes the wellbeing of this remarkable community.

Healthy Scrutiny of Public Pay

Media coverage of pay for Santa Monica City staff recently touched a nerve with many residents. Let me begin by saying: we never forget who we work for – you.  Let me add that the topic of public pay is a public issue and I welcome healthy scrutiny.

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Drowning in Data

We are drowning in data.  People took more than a billion photos last year, posting 250 million of them a day to Facebook.  We post 500 million Tweets per day.  This year Internet traffic will exceed one zettabyte.  That’s 1021bytes = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.  It’s expected to double by 2019.

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Taking Action Now on Traffic

Warm weather, an expanding economy and the strength of Santa Monica’s brand have attracted record numbers of visitors to our Downtown this summer.  If you think traffic has never been this bad, you are not alone.  Our traffic professionals say they've never seen this number of people and volume of traffic, especially on Twilight Concert Series nights. We want both residents and visitors to enjoy their experience -- and particularly to encourage them not to drive, especially into the heart of Downtown. Ultimately the answer is not to make it easier to drive and park in Downtown – it is to make it easier to use all the other options we are promoting with our GoSaMo efforts. 

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Interesting Times

In these interesting times, it is easy to lose sight of how, from the beginning, our country was designed to contain built-in tensions. Our Constitution was itself a product of compromise, balancing large states and small; centralized power and autonomous individuals and states; even slavery and freedom. Our stability has come from a delicately balanced system of checks and balances.

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Introducing the Long View

Exactly a year ago I became the twelfth City Manager to serve Santa Monica since local voters adopted the Council/Manager form of government back in 1947.

The City Manager’s role has evolved over time – and it will continue to do so in the future.  The City’s Charter designates the city manager as “the chief executive officer and the head of the administrative branch of the City government . . . responsible to the City Council for the proper administration of all affairs of the City.”  The powers and duties are to “appoint and remove” department heads and oversee the entire City staff; prepare the annual budget and administer the City’s finances; advise the Council on “future needs of the City and make such recommendations as may seem desirable; and “perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this Charter or required of the City Manager by the City Council.”

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