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The Board of Directors, currently 15 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.

Marc Morgenstern - President

Marc hails from the east coast (where he worked for CBS for many years), but has lived in Ocean Park for more than twelve years. Marc also served on the 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. 

As president, Marc moderates our weekly OPA Connects Zoom calls and writes our thrice-weekly eNewsletter with the latest information about the city's response 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.

Kate Kennedy - Vice President

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.

Nicholas Ralston -Vice 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.

Jodi Sommers - Secretary

The first time Jodi visited Santa Monica, she was seven years old. It was a family trip from her home in New York. As they were having an adventure on the Santa Monica Pier, Jodi told her parents she was coming back. She did…it was the week after the Northridge Earthquake. Not an auspicious but the start of a great adventure.

After sampling various areas along the Los Angeles coast, Jodi bought her home in Ocean Park 17 years ago.  It was her first major investment, and being part of the portfolio-building Southern California market inspired her to pursue a career in real estate, and help others build their wealth. On a personal level, she was comfortable within the community, appreciating the easy, self-motivating lifestyle.

Jodi believes that Ocean Park is one of the best neighborhoods in the country. It’s proximity to beach, business and shopping make it perfectly situated for her busy lifestyle. Realizing she had a flare for communications, Jodi attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, graduating with honors.

She is proud to serve her neighborhood on the Ocean Park Association and be a voice for her community.

Judy Abdo -Treasurer

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.

Will Burrington

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.

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.

Mark Gorman

I am interested in serving on the OPA board to help keep Ocean Park a great place to live.  Important features of Ocean Park include our iconic history and sense of place and community, which is different even from the rest of Santa Monica.  Ocean Park also has a diversity of people, buildings and businesses.  These we need to preserve - while making Ocean Park more walkable, more bikeable and more neighbor friendly.  I believe the main task of OPA is to keep our community informed of changes taking place that affect Ocean Park and making sure that our unique needs are recognized by City Hall.  The important issues that affect our quality of life are crime and traffic. Mark has lived in Los Angeles since 1979 and Ocean Park since 2008. A retired engineer, he previously served on the OPA Board 2014 – 2017.
Sean Besser

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.

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.

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