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Planting My Roots in Santa Monica

By Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, SMRR Co-Chair

Life is full of decisions. From the earliest stages of our lives we are confronted with life choices and the challenges of making good, well informed decisions. Sometimes it is only after a decision is made, and with some distance, that we realize the impact it has had on our lives, for good or ill. I am sure you know what I mean.

It is from this vantage point that I reflect on the most excellent decision my wife and I made 15 years ago when I took a job at Santa Monica College and moved to the City of Santa Monica. As renters in a rent-controlled building, Santa Monica quickly became our “home” and our community. A community that supports our two children with quality public education, a community that is committed to diversity through affordable housing and the protection of neighborhoods, and a community that embodies progressive values every time it stands for living wages and labor protections, equity in public services for young and old alike, and an environmental and “political” greening of the community and the infrastructure that supports it that is a model for the country. Quite simply, Santa Monica is a city where its community members walk the talk and nurtures the well being of its citizens in deep and substantive ways.

To me, there is no doubt that Santa Monica is an exemplary community … that proverbial City Upon a Hill or in our case a city on the beach. This didn’t just happen. Creating Community requires hard work, devotion, and nurture and care. Over the past 35 years Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights has provided the platform, a foundation or blueprint if you will, for the growth of a progressive community seeking fairness, equity, education for all, and most importantly neighborhood preservation and a security in our “homes” whether we be renters or homeowners. This platform is a testament to the lives lived in support of a better community. (The sections of the SMRR Platform that we will be discussing can be found here).

So, as SMRR revisits its platform this spring I am feeling pretty good about the decision to make Santa Monica my home. I have a deep gratitude for those who were here before me blazing a trail for those of us today imagining how best to live our lives together in a spirit that sustains and enhances our community. I look forward to your joining us at our platform meeting on March 23rd.

Published inCo-Chairs LettersRenters' RightsSanta Monica College