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The Board of Directors, currently 14 members, is elected annually for a two-year term. Any Ocean Park residents may be nominated and run during the annual at-large election. Ballots are submitted and tabulated at the Annual Winter meeting, typically held the second Saturday of December. If you intend to run for the Board, please send an email to contact@opa-sm.org by November 1 to be included on the ballot.

Nicholas Ralston - President

Nick was born & raised in Santa Monica, on Bay St. to be exact, and graduated from SAMOHI. While at SAMOHI, Nick worked after-school for the Parks & Rec Dept. and played for the school’s volleyball team, eventually attending UC Santa Cruz and graduating with degrees in psychology & education. He returned to Ocean Park in 2013. Outside of his 15+ year career in Experiential Marketing, Nick volunteers with the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club, struggles at beach volleyball, and loves being a part of the community that helped raised him.

Nick believes in empowering locals in the continued development of Santa Monica & honoring the city’s great history. He hopes as a Board Member to help OPA continue to have a positive impact on Ocean Park, while supporting our public schools & youth organizations, impacting housing issues, supporting residential continuity and maintaining a compassionate approach for the homeless population.

Will Burrington, Vice President

Will is a recent arrival to Ocean Park who currently chairs OPA’s committee on Emergency Preparedness. He is a professional coach to organizations and individuals, and graduated from the highly respected Leadership Coaching Program at Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership in Washington, DC. His primary coaching interests include executive level leadership, evolving entrepreneurs, emotional intelligence, adult development, addiction and recovery, best mindfulness practices and the latest developments in neuroscience.  Earlier in his career, Will practiced communications and Internet law with firms in Milwaukee and Washington, DC; was Chief Counsel to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives; Associate General Counsel and Head of Global Public Policy for AOL (formerly America Online), as well as Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for AOL Europe in Hamburg and London.  Will graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in government from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI and earned his Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree in 1987 from Marquette University Law School.

Patty Godon-Tann -- Treasurer

Patty had spent 9 years as the Treasurer of the OPA Board and more recently Membership Chair and then had to term out.  She is now returning to the board this year to continue facilitating the positive changes OPA is making for our neighborhood.  She is a longtime resident of Ocean Park, living in the southern "Borderline" Neighborhood for more than 40 years.  Patty was the Chair of the Borderline Neighborhood Group and was largely responsible for the dramatic change in Ozone Park over the last decade. Years in the neighborhood have taught her how to create change from the grassroots level.  She is very excited about serving on the OPA Board again and participating in the development of a stronger union between the neighborhood and the City.

Sean Besser, Secretary

Sean has lived in Santa Monica for more than 20 years, the past 10 of them in Ocean Park. He is passionate about fostering a sense of community and striking a healthy balance between maintaining its beach town feel, keeping it safe and welcoming, encouraging diversity and openness, while evolving into the 21st Century. His top priorities on the OPA board are driving more community engagement, making Ocean Park more pedestrian/biking friendly, helping local Main St. businesses thrive, addressing homelessness, improving safety, and managing our relationship with city officials to make sure Ocean Park's unique needs and concerns are recognized.

Judy Abdo

Judy has lived in Ocean Park since 1974. She has been active on social justice and social service agency boards for many years, including OPCC and Sojourn. She is a long time member of the SMRR Steering Committee. She was part of the founding staff of Ocean Park Community Organization and became Executive Director of OPCO. She has been an elementary school teacher, a Council Deputy in the City of West Hollywood, Administrator of the Church in Ocean Park, Assistant Director of the Norton Family Office, and Director of Child Development for SMMUSD. She served on the original Pier Restoration Corporation, was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in 1988 and served as Mayor for 3 years. She served on the initial Urban Forest Task Force. She is the Chair of the Pier Corporation and is Santa Monica’s representative to the Metropolitan Water District. She has been working with the OPA OP Zoning group, the Downtown Study Group, and the Climate Change committee of the Church in Ocean Park.

Kate Kennedy

Kate, the daughter of a lobsterman, was raised in a small town on the coast of Maine, and knows first hand how special it is to live by the ocean.  Growing up, she frequently attended town hall meetings with her father and volunteered at various community fundraisers and events with her mother. That sense of community and civic duty is still an integral part of her life here on the West Coast.

Kate has been living in the Ocean Park neighborhood for over a decade. She spent several years running her own personal assistance business and has recently become a Realtor with Heyler Realty.  She is passionate about local issues and challenges facing the Ocean Park community.  Kate is excited to be a new member of the Board of OPA and hopes to spread her enthusiasm to many more residents of Ocean Park.

Jeffrey Jarow

Jeff is a Co-Founder of both OPA and the 4th of July Main Street Parade.  He is the community liaison for the Main Street Business Improvement District (MSBID), which is responsible for dealing with issues regarding Main Street and the Farmers Market, including putting the valet bike racks and free parking at the beach on Sunday mornings.  He is currently on the Lincoln Blvd Task Force and was also the Co-Chair of the Ocean Park Boulevard Beautification Project. 

Jeff has lived in our community over 35 years.  He is married to Faye and has a son, Morgan. He is currently President of the Santa Monica Sister City Asssociation (Fujinomiya, Japan - Mazatlan, Mexico - Hamm, Germany, and more to come shortly), as well as on the Boards of the "FREE" Santa Monica Symphony, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Monica Family YMCA, Legislative Chair of SMASH (his son’s school) PTA and PONY Baseball at Los Amigos.

Jeff feels it is extremely important for ALL of us, as the OCEAN PARK community, to use this OPA platform to voice OUR opinions, share OUR views, and most importantly, implement OUR ideas, regarding overdevelopment on Main St., traffic circulation and parking issues throughout, and pedestrian and community safety, to name just a few.

Zachary Gaidzik

Zac, the youngest son of a computer programmer and bookkeeper, was raised in Santa Monica, and is a product of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District. Growing up next to the ocean, he learned from a young age how valuable and unique the coastal city of Santa Monica is, and particularly the Ocean Park Neighborhood. After High School, Zac went to UC Santa Cruz, enjoying another unique beach side city while pursuing his undergraduate in Theater and Dance. While there he joined Delta Lambda Psi, the first Queer, co-ed, fraternity/sorority (AKA Farority), which gave him an outlet to pursue volunteering and social justice issues in Santa Cruz and the surrounding community.

After graduating, Zac moved back home to Santa Monica and moved into a wonderful historic home in the Ocean Park neighborhood. He’s been lucky to find work in Santa Monica since moving back, at Rusty’s on the Santa Monica Pier, and later at the Church in Ocean Park. He is now a founding member of Climate Action Santa Monica, a grassroots Climate Change Organization focused on education and empowerment about Climate Change. While working at the Church he learned about the Ocean Park Association, and over the past year has become more involved with the organization. He hopes to join the board to continue his involvement and to help make Ocean Park and even better place to live for the residents than it is today.

Abe Sassoon

Abe Sassoon was born half the world away in Rangoon, Burma.  His parents brought him to the beach at Ocean Park shortly after their arrival in the U.S.  He spent many summers at this beach, taking the number 7 bus from his home in Los Angeles then walking the gauntlet down Ocean Park Boulevard between Neilson and Barnard Ways where he and his friends were pelted with beer bottle caps and cigarette butts tossed by beachcombers and college guys who lived in the derelict beach shacks along the way.  Finally he moved to Ocean Park in 1992.  He adopted Santa Monica as his home since neither the city nor the country of his birth exist any longer.
Marc Morgenstern 

Marc hails from the east coast (where he worked for CBS for many years), but has lived in Ocean Park for more than fourteen years. He also served on the City's Public Safety Reform Advisory Committee and as the Chair of the Santa Monica Public Library Board. Professionally, he serves as a consultant to large media and entertainment companies, as well as teaching a creative writing course to veterans at the West LA VA. 

Marc writes our thrice-weekly eNewsletter that focuses on news ranging from Ocean Park to City Hall, with emphasis on responding to our current health and economic challenges. Marc believes the more we develop partnerships with like-minded organizations such as the Main Street Business Improvement Association and Beautify Earth, as well as the city government, the stronger our neighborhood will be. He hopes that in times like these, OPA can connect our community and serve as a beacon of civility and good will.

Chris Morgan

Chris spent time in a variety of cities throughout the country until he fell in love with the Ocean Park and moved here permanently in June 2020. Living in many locales has enabled him to understand the needs of diverse areas and appreciate the great things that each individual place does to support its residents. 

Chris is a senior manager for a global hospitality firm and has enjoyed 17 years of success managing large portfolios of clients across the United States.  Here in Santa Monica, Chris enjoys exploring the many gems that our area has to offer and volunteering at the city's farmers markets. 

He looks forward to serving the members of OPA, being a steward of the neighborhood and continuing his service to the community, which he looks to call home for many years to come.

Ben Bokich

Ben fell in love with Ocean Park when he first visited many years ago, and feels fortunate to have lived here as a part of the community for over 5 years, regularly biking and walking around the neighborhood and beach. He looks forward to being a committed member of the board. Over the last couple of years he’s regularly attended the OPA monthly board meetings and the COVID-era weekly Zoom calls. He’s a member of the OPA Emergency Preparedness committee. Keenly interested in local politics, he was one of only a handful of citizens that attended the working sessions of the Santa Monica Budget Task Force in late 2019/early 2020.

Professionally, he used his skills as a certified public accountant (CPA) in a variety of roles in the U.S. and Europe, including working for one of the world’s largest accounting firms and his own firm.

John Prindle

I have been a Santa Monica resident for nearly 3 decades and in Ocean Park for 13 of those years. We should continue to support the changes that OPA has been focused on since its inception: compassion, mobility and safety. We also need to continue to work closely with organizations like SMRR to provide housing assurance for our most vulnerable residents, including the homeless.

Residents and businesses have also talked about mobility and making our streets safe for cyclists and pedestrians. Proactively working with City Hall is how we will solve this challenge and the recent changes to Main Street show us the path forward.

I also support “cleaning up our streets” as this will improve our quality of life. One area of focus that I would like to see prioritized is reducing the amount of trash we see on our streets and in our parks. Being proactive, working with city departments and being responsive to OP residents will help us meet these goals.

Ian Novos

It has been my good fortune to have lived in Santa Monica off and on since 1988, and full time since 2004. No matter where else I’ve lived during these years, Santa Monica’s song that has played in my head. Ocean Park, in particular, has been a wonderful neighborhood to live in, and feel a part of.

Ocean Park and OPA are able to do what they do because of the many people who tend both the place and the organization with love and dedication. I welcome the opportunity to work with them and contribute to the critical work that OPA does to advance the well-being of its constituent community. Specifically, I want to work toward preserving the character of a safe, bike-friendly Ocean Park, a vibrant Main Street and positioning Ocean Park to thrive long term.

I recently retired, am an economist who has worked both in academia (teaching at USC for eight years) and the private sector. I also served for about eight years as President of the board of the Disability Rights Legal Center.

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