Capturing the Rhythm of
Downtown Santa Monica
Santa Monica Centric
DTSM getting 2 new board members
By Kevin Herrera

Downtown property owners have selected two new representatives to sit on the Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. Board of Directors.


Michele Aronson, senior vice president of capital markets at Douglas Emmett, which owns roughly 18.4 million square feet of office space and 3,320 apartments in Southern California and Honolulu, secured 48 percent of the vote for one of two at-large board seats.


Real estate developer Eric Sedman, who owns a building on the Third Street Promenade, secured 44 percent of votes cast for property owners for the other at-large seat.


Julia Ladd, currently the DTSM, Inc. board chair and assistant vice president of property management for Macerich, owner of Santa Monica Place mall, received 100 percent of the vote for the Zone 2 board seat. Ladd ran unopposed. Zone 2 of the Downtown Santa Monica Property-Based Assessment District covers much of the downtown core, excluding the promenade.


The board elections were held during the month of June.


"We are excited to welcome two new board members with a wealth of experience in property development and management and are pleased to have Julia Ladd return as a key leader in our community and uniquely versed in the changing dynamic of retail," said DTSM, Inc. CEO Kathleen Rawson.


DTSM, Inc.'s board is comprised of 13 members. Six are chosen by property owner elections, while another six are selected by members of the City Council. The 13th member is chosen by the city manager.


Aronson hopes to focus on three key areas: safety, maintenance and marketing.


"As a property owner of 10 office buildings and 820 apartment units in Downtown Santa Monica, Douglas Emmett is very supportive of the City of Santa Monica and Downtown Santa Monica's efforts to ensure Santa Monica remains the popular destination it has historically been for the past several decades," she said. "I am looking forward to working with the other DTSM board members and using my legal, financial and development experience to serve on the DTSM board and its various committees."


Sedman, who has over 35 years of experience in the sale, leasing, management and development of real estate in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties, believes he brings a unique perspective to the board, combining his role as a property owner and leasing and management professional who understands the needs and wants of residents and visitors in addition to property owners and merchants. He hopes to balance both the interests of businesses and property owners as well as residents.


"Oftentimes people come from one school of thought or another," Sedman said. "They are either a business or property owner and tend to look at things from an individual perspective in determining how their assets are performing. There may be competing interests that do not necessarily align and at the same time those interests need to be balanced with the desires of the community. I believe my experience will help in getting people to agree and work together for everyone's benefit."


Sedman would like to focus his energy on recruiting new and exciting retail concepts, marketing the district and DTSM, Inc.'s finances. 



Three council-selected seats are still to be determined. Current DTSM, Inc. board members Rob Rader, an intellectual property rights attorney and member of the Santa Monica College Board of Directors, has asked to be reappointed, as have DTSM, Inc. board members Juan Matute, associate director at the UCLA Lewis Center and the Institute of Transportation Studies, and prominent architect Johannes Van Tilburg, one of the first property owners to design for and invest in the Third Street Promenade. Rader and Van Tilburg are termed out but can petition to be reappointed by a super majority of the city council. Matute is seeking a second term.


Tara Barauskas, executive director of Community Corp. of Santa Monica, the city's leading affordable housing provider, has also asked for the council's support, as has local architect Yu-Ngok Lo.


The council could make its appointments in the next two months.

"We are excited to welcome two new board members with a wealth of experience in property development and management and are pleased to have Julia Ladd return as a key leader in our community and uniquely versed in the changing dynamic of retail." — DTSM, Inc. CEO Kathleen Rawson.

Kevin Herrera is a former journalist turned marketing and communication expert, beer enthusiast, cyclist, cultural observer/commentator and expert on all things Downtown Santa Monica. He is currently the sr. marketing & communication manager for Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.