LETTER: Santa Monica as it Once Was

Janice Slossy reflects back on what it was like to grow up in Santa Monica before the Third Street Promenade was closed to traffic.

I grew up in the Santa Monica-Venice area and have lived in the Bay Area for the last 10 years.

I miss, with all my heart the Santa Monica from years ago, and find what has happened to my beloved town SO SAD. As a teenager I had a job on 3rd Street before it was a promenade but rather a through street.

Each time I have returned to Santa Monica, I find the congestion, the hype, dogs being allowed in Palisades Park, the explosive construction SO SAD.  

For so many years my goal has been to return to Santa Monica, and really sad when I realize it will never be what it once was. 

Janice Slossy

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Hugo Jordan April 08, 2013 at 02:30 AM
Janice. I've lived in Santa Monica my whole life as well. The Santa Monica from 15 years ago wasn't always perfect either. I've seen this city clean itself up to one of the safest cities in the world. And its still an amazing place to go out, shopping, fine great food, head to the beach. You name it. The new Santa Monica in my opinion is a lot better, cleaner and safer. So cheer up. We who live here aren't complaining. At least I'm not. :)
Ted J April 08, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Hugo. Well said!!!!!
Bill Kelly April 08, 2013 at 02:46 PM
I have lived here 40 years. I too think that it is much nicer now than 40 years ago. It is cleaner, safer, and more interesting. We have great restaurants, shopping, and people visiting from around the world. It is more congested and crowded, but that is because people want to be here. I think our city council has done a great job.
Paul Rich April 08, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Yes Janice, I too remember when my mother used to take 3rd Street before it became a mall. Waxing nostalgic is fun when tempered with the realism that the grass looks greener through that lens. In the case of our quaint and charming Santa Monica, birthplace of Robert Redford and childhood residence of James Dean, the rear window has a wonderful view. The closest this generation may get to it, besides visiting the Santa Monica History Museum, would be the cult classic "Inside Daisly Clover," filmed on the Santa Monica Pier in '64/'65 starring Natalie Wood and Redford. I fondly recall holding my mother's hand as she traipsed the aisles at Henshey's department store and showed me her old apartment building on 4th where her rent was $45 in the '40s. I'd be happy to join you on a leisurely stroll along Pacific Palisades Park, a magical strip of land left unfettered by the march of time where the sun still shines off the Birds of Paradise as it did when big band music echoed up from the pier's Avalon ballroom.
mimi April 08, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Janice - Nothing is the same as it was 15 years ago, including you and me. Yes, I am nostalgic for the past. I enjoy the memories of ---my childhood, relatives who are now deceased, even the kittenhood of my two crazy cats. I agree with Hugh. Santa Monica's past was not perfect. Nor is the present. And it's a reasonable assumption that the future will not be perfect. Try to make the best of the imperfect world we inhabit. It's a temporary stay and once it's over, it's over. Unless you believe in reincarnation. But that's another subject altogether.
Steve Porter April 08, 2013 at 05:33 PM
I agree with Janice, I am guessing the others commenting on this don't drive. Or park. I remember when the parking structures by the promenade were free, Thank goodness someone had the foresight to build them. Now they are talking about tearing one down to turn into a movie theater. That is insane, an overcrowded area with parking at a premium and they want to sell out to another corporation. This city has lost it's soul to developers.
Crystal Sershen April 08, 2013 at 05:49 PM
I couldn't agree more about the development, congestion, etc., but ... what on earth is wrong with dogs being allowed in Palisades Park?
Mary Sanders April 08, 2013 at 07:53 PM
I'm assuming that Janice may have been commenting about dogs because their "masters" do not clean up after them. I've managed an apartment building for 33 years and in the last two years I've never cleaned up so much poop on my buildings front lawn. I was in Ralphs Supermarket on Cloverfield recently and witnessed a dog urinated on the floor. The owner just left it there.
Mary Sanders April 08, 2013 at 08:06 PM
I really cannot understand how anyone living in Santa Monica can believe that it is better than it was in, say, 1960. I too have lived in the Santa Monica-Venice area almost my whole life (since 1958). I don't care for the promenade or Santa Monica Place. I can't really afford most of the high class stores and restaurants. I can only afford to live here because I moved to an apartment that's under rent control. There are too many people, too much traffic, lousy public transportation (Blue Bus), terrible engineering of streets and sidewalks, etc etc. However, I am thrilled with the Expo Line coming through and remain very optimistic for the future of Santa Monica. I can only hope that with the Expo Line, many areas will improve.
SantaMonicaNative April 08, 2013 at 09:47 PM
My parents loved Santa Monica, the first place i remember was a huge old house on 4th and Montanna which had been subivided into units. If my parents had kept all the properties they owned in this city, i'd be rich. That said i must admit i still love Santa Monica. Go back to any city you grew up in and you will be shocked by the change. Part of the change has to do with the congested state if Caliornia. There are more people, no doubt of that. The other thing is memory tends to blur the facts. The things that matter to an adult are meaningless to a child. There are so many things that have disppeared from this city but they have been replaced by other things. Nothing but bugs are ixed in amber,cities can't be. In addition to that, Santa Monica has not grown in a natural fashion. The City Council has intervened in the natural growth of the city with laws, taxes and programs to fashion a city THEY want, not necessarily what would have been. The city has been pushed into a schitzophrenic combination of high ideals and directed outcomes. Rent control remade the city, changing it from a city with children and families to single renters. Vacancy decontrol helped to change that. Mom and pop owners are almost gone. Few small businesses can exist here, they can't compete with chains The city favors tenants over landlords, lawyers are expensive so properties get sold, torn down and replaced by multiple units. Low income housing increases the density of neighborhoods.
SantaMonicaNative April 08, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Continued (sorry) The city changes. More people, more housing needed. More people more cars, more traffic, more trash, more dogs. Next we get the commercial builders who see Santa Monica as a cashbox. In city where 10 stories is tall, we get money hungery people who don't live here, who think 20 stories is better. That's where we are now. A turning point in the city. Once you build them you can't take them back. The city will change even more with the Expo line. We can't stop change, we can't restrict building except through zoning. We can temper it. What we can do is shop locally to save the few local businesses that remain and call City Hall on over ambitious projects. Speak up! It's frustrating-they don't listen but eventually they can be voted out. Don't let Santa Monica turn into Beverly Hills by the sea. We need normal businesses we can afford. Places to eat that you don't need a loan. Stop voting for group politics, read the ballot, get involved, even if only on a personal level. Know your city, don't just complain.
karen April 12, 2013 at 02:02 AM
I left Santa Monica in 1987. I went to Samohi and Lincoln, worked at Sears and loved the small town feel. Yes it's changed, but so has everywhere else. If my kids were young enough to drag along I would move there in a heartbeat. If you don't like it anymore, don't visit. I don't really understand why anyone would write to a local media outlet and complain about the town. How insulting. I'll take SM over the Bay area (talk about expensive!) any day.


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