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How You Feeling, Santa Monica?

City is gearing up to study residents' well-being as part of a national competition with a $5 million grand prize.

Do you feel connected to your community? Can you handle everyday challenges or a natural disaster?

The city is working with RAND Corp. to create a well-being index that will measure residents' resiliency, physical health, social connectedness and overall quality of life.

The concept isn't new. Gallup-Healthway, for instance, has conducted massive surveys and created maps that show where well-being is highest and lowest around the country.

But Santa Monica wants to be the first local government agency to compile a municipal index. It's competing for a $5 million grand prize with 19 other cities that are finalists in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition created to inspire innovative ideas that improve city life.

According to the competition's website, Santa Monica's index will "reorient the city's definition of success and the way it does business based on this information." The goal is to see a measurable increase in well-being in five years.

"The Mayors Challenge has been a welcome opportunity to explore big picture ideas that are too often not pursued given the demanding pace of day-to-day business," Mayor Richard Bloom said in a statement.

The prizes—which also include four gifts of $1 million each—will be used to jumpstart the projects and will be announced next spring.

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Brenda Barnes December 23, 2012 at 08:49 AM
I read the proposals of the 19 finalists. Amazing Santa Monica got anywhere near the finals. If they win, we will know it was rigged, as their getting into the finals makes it appear. There are such great plans for how to use a million dollars, from mobile health care to smart responding to realtime implementation of best educational practices for everyone, and on and on. One city says their citizens came up with 440 great ideas, and the hard part was narrowing their submission down to one. In the midst of such public participation, ingenuity and great ideas, Bloom and the City staff came up with duplicating what has already been done by others, but do it on a municipal level. Talk about a solution in search of a problem, and lunkheads working on it. Then they get Rand to help them. Rand, which has compromised its integrity by having its graduate school funded by a major real estate developer, Pardee, and lately has taken favors from the City of SM to amend its development agreement to change parking space--said to be needed at the time the agreement was approved, and certainly judging from how many people have to pay $10 to park in the City's parking lot next to the Civic Aud, still needed today--to offices. Corruption is spreading in SM. It's the old story--one drop of oil can pollute a million gallons of water.
Jill February 22, 2013 at 05:30 AM
The Rand Corp. that has lived longer than me in Santa Monica??? Did they just not do a land swap with the City??? There are three Santa Monica's, the uber rich living North of Wilshire, who would drop dead if they saw a city bus and have never shopped in Santa Monica. Then we have the business district who think one more gap or pottery barn or a Santa Monica Place that looks like Pelican Bay MAX prison is a good thing. Then we have East Santa Monica the land of freeway off and on ramps and transit corridors, Santa Monica Airport, and the new train lines. Five million dollars??? That is chomp change for the fools running this city.
Brenda Barnes February 22, 2013 at 09:44 AM
You're so right, Jill. It's only a million dollars each for five cities. It's not the money I object to. It's the idea that such fools with foolish ideas they did NOT get from any part of their community--as they never do--should be anywhere near the finals. Against cities that got 440 ideas from their citizens? It's disgusting. Santa Monica is a microcosm of the inequality in the US today, the inequality stifling economic recovery--from a crash caused by the uber rich, not one of which has gone to jail--to educational inequality to environmental injustice that always puts pollution, noise, and any other disagreeable thing in the neighborhoods of the poor. Here, we have two of the three Expo stations, and all the support for it, in Pico Neighborhood. And such a hypocritical City is going to do a survey to determine how happy its citizens are????

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