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Many times when stuck in a traffic jam of cars heading for the beach parking lots or circling the downtown area vainly in search of a vacant meter because all the public parking structures are full, I have despaired of life in Santa Monica. The tranquil little city I knew when I first moved here has long gone and been replaced by an oversized, bulging-at-the-seams tourist attraction where the city council has placed desire for dollars far above quality of life for residents.

At least, so I thought.

Then this week along comes news that National Geographic has named Santa Monica one of the top ten best beach cities in the world. Not just in America—in the world. And there’s more: The city’s Bloomingdale’s boasts the best store design according to the Retail Design Institute; the Penthouse at the Huntley had the best restaurant design of 2010, says the Zagat guide; the Umami burger is the burger of the year according to GQ magazine. And it goes on….all in all more than 50 accolades were earned last year by the city.
So maybe it’s not so bad after all….until I get my next parking ticket.



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