Bergamot and Hines

The future of Bergamot and the eastern end of Santa Monica comes into sharp relief next Tuesday at the City Council. Santa Monica Next has the latest.

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what next in health?

Deborah Cohen probably knows more about parks, fitness and health than anyone else in the US. Each one is a research specialty of her's at Rand. She is also a Recreation and Parks Commissioner in Santa Monica.

Dr Cohen has just published a new book; A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Forces Behind the Obesity Epidemic and How We Can End It. Her thesis is that we need to regulate food advertising, placement and availability to curb and then control the epidemic of obesity sweeping America and the western world.

Lifestyle diseases now threaten our longevity as well as our capacity to enjoy life. It's a remarkable thing that affluence has brought so many in our country, and every other country, to the point of personal ruin.  Cohen points to both alcohol and smoking as examples of where Government and society was forced to regulate a specific pleasure or pursuit because of its adverse health and society wide effects.

Her book is thoughtful. It almost certainly underplays or discounts too much the role of free choice, including the choice of parents to under exercise their kids. But her overall premise that the persuasiveness of modern food styles (ie burgers, pizza),  the combination of that food with unhealthful amounts of fat, sugar, calories as routine part of the style (fast food) and the ability to deliver the unhealthful food at incredibly low prices has switched the debate and playing field around to always favor the food manufacturer; is right. of course there so much more too.

Dr Cohen former colleague Dr Tom Farley was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg as Commissioner of Health. He lead the shakeup in public health approach towards salt usage, transfats, supersize soda. Each was considered a radical move at the time. In due course they will be considered the only intelligent thing to have begun.

Over the next few years every City and State will have to confront this new frontier of health issues. Too many people are afflicted with lifestyle health problems. Costs are soaring. Lives are being terminated prematurely.  Yet we already see pitched battles over smoking.  Food. Its going to be an interesting debate.

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schools build a community

The journey from local elementary school in Santa Monica to best college in America is all about the schools. It was for our son. For many of the kids in Santa Monica-Malibu, schools are a lifesaver. Literally.

In wealthy Santa Monica its often hard for most to realize that disadvantage and difficult socio-economic status makes life hard and overwhelming. Good schools make a difference. You see that with the passion of the parents for the kids to do well. To break from poverty
So a visit to the Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation direct giving campaign today, with donation, will spotlight where schools fit in Santa Monica. As a huge part of the foundation of our unique community
The aim is to raise 4 mill. The Ed Foundation are at 2.6 mill. This money supports all the things that cuts in state funding don't any more.  Arts, Science, Reading. Shameful to think that cutting education passes for good financial thinking. Or that slashing at teachers is considered smart politics by anyone. Both have been done to death and hence, California is at the bottom of the state league in support for K-12 education.
Luckily in Santa Monica local support for schools exists strongly from the sales tax base, parcel taxes and City revenue. Ed Foundation fund raising is the newest step in supporting equality and learning. We need to support their efforts. I did.
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renewables start to make serious difference

For a long time, anyone who believes in renewable energy as the way forward, has been told / shouted down /dismissed as not knowing what they are talking about. But there is a fundamental change coming. The technologies are maturing. More innovation is producing fascinating possibilities. The key now is how to recognize the change and then harness all of them for a City or Region.

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a new year

The combination of the holidays and the remarkable, warm, weather have made Santa Monica irresistible.

From around the region and country hordes of people have come flocking to the beach and the city. There's the Rose Bowl and BCS bowl crowds for Monday's game as well. It's a powerful reminder; the beach and environment here are enormous attractions and a major role we have as residents is to steward and preserve both.

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Richard McKinnon