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Santa Monica Task Force Will Try To Get City Back On Its Feet ASAP

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The view to Santa Monica pier on a very quiet beach on March 25. (Taylor Coffman / LAist)
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Like other cities across Southern California, Santa Monica is organizing a task force dedicated to helping the local economy get back on its feet as soon as the state and L.A. County relax stay-at-home orders.

The plan would allow city officials to collaborate with local businesses and community groups as they formulate plans to reboot the city's economy.

Deputy City Manager Anuj Gupta says the task force would also look at ways to make it easier for businesses to get certain permits, relax zoning rules when appropriate, and connect those who have lost work or income with new jobs:

"What this work is really about is getting our businesses open, and helping them set up - be set up, for success - the businesses that are at the heart of what has made Santa Monica such an attractive and vibrant place to live, work, visit, and play."

Among the 98,000 businesses in Santa Monica, only about 255 are considered "essential services," though many — like restaurants — are running under limited operations.
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Like cities across the state and nation, Santa Monica is facing a painful loss in revenue.

Santa Monica's City Manager Rick Cole stepped down earlier this month, citing the city's projected budget shortfall and concern that he was not in the best position to negotiate with the unions.

In a farewell letter posted on the city's blog, Cole, who served for five years, said he was voluntarily taking the city's lump sum offer of $10,000 to $15,000 for employees who resign. The offer was made by council to address lost city revenue.

Cole said he believed "the need to deal with a projected $300 million dollar shortfall over the next 26 months puts us all in a nearly impossible situation."

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