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Manhattan Beach is "The Place We Are So Lucky To Call Home"

Mar 21, 2024 10:45PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Manhattan Beach Mayor Joe Franklin shares his vision for the city at the annual State of the City event.

Gratitude - for both the city and its people - was the overriding theme at Manhattan Beach's State of the City event on Thursday night. 

The event, sponsored by the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce and held at Shade Hotel, brought together community members and local leaders to hear updates on the city's schools, police, budget, upcoming projects, and more.


While the evening did not offer any breaking news or new policies, city leaders used their platforms to paint a positive picture of the "state of the city" and expressed thanks to residents for strong community support and involvement.

"As we look to the future, our vision for the city is clear - a place where  safety, quality of life, and excellent education all go hand in hand," said Mayor Joe Franklin. "The state of our city is strong; the heart of our city is its people. Your creativity, generosity to others, and community spirit drive our progress and make what is good, even better."

(Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce President David Archer with Mayor Joe Franklin.)

Franklin asked audience members to call out names of community organizations that kept Manhattan Beach strong. Some of the names heard from the crowd included the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, MB Safe, the Manhattan Beach Historical Society, Manhattan Beach Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, Friends of the Senior & Scout Community Center, the Roundhouse Aquarium, Single Mom Project, Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council, Young Entrepreneurs Association, and more.

"We look out for each other. We respect each other. We are open and welcome to those who come visit the city to share what we enjoy every day," said Franklin. "I thank each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart, for making Manhattan Beach so special and the place that we are so lucky to call home."

City Budget Is Strong

City Manager Bruce Moe told attendees that the "big picture" of the city looked good, with a balanced budget, increasing reserves, revenues recovering, labor agreements in place, "clean" audit opinions, and Triple A credit ratings. He thanked community members for approving the new storm drain fee, which is expected to bring an outdated storm drain system into the current century. 

Regarding the city's $93 million General Fund, Moe noted that nearly 46% of the city's revenue comes from property taxes, making the budget uniquely stable, he said. On the expenditure side, he noted that the majority of the spending is on salaries, reflecting the city's emphasis on people and services - and in particular on police and public safety. 

Manhattan Beach Police Chief Rachel Johnson told the audience that certain crimes were down year over year, in part due to the collaborative efforts of both police and the community. Auto thefts were down by half, she said, thanks to communication by police and conscious efforts by people to keep their doors locked and their keys with their persons.

(Manhattan Beach Police Chief Rachel Johnson)

Johnson also showed off her vintage MBPD badge, honoring this year's 100th anniversary of the Manhattan Beach Police Department. "Lots of things have changed over 100 years, but what hasn't changed is MBPD's commitment to the community," she said.

MBUSD Superintendent John Bowes outlined the priorities of the school district, which he said included maximizing each student’s academic success; maintaining a climate of care and ensuring that every student feels welcome; making the most of the district's scarce budget dollars; keeping school facilities safe, clean and secure; and communicating well and regularly with the community. When asked about pending layoffs, Bowes said that the district was "scouring through" contracts to see which could be eliminated, not approving out-of-state trips, and generally looking to "squeeze the last drop out of every dollar" in its budget.

(MBUSD Superintendent John Bowes. Photo credit: Amy Howorth.)

Bowes extended special thanks to community members who supported Measure MB, a renewal of the parcel tax supporting Manhattan Beach public schools. The latest vote count from the March 5 election shows Measure MB approval at 67.75%, just above the 2/3 threshold required to pass, and the Measure MB committee claimed victory last week.

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