Manhattan Beach Leaders Reflect On 2020 & Look Forward To 2021

Liz Spear

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA — Public officials in Manhattan Beach definitely had their hands full in 2020 due to the pandemic and racial tensions. Manhattan Beach Patch asked a few of them to weigh in in 100 words or less on 2020 and 2021, in any way they wanted. Here are three of those comments.

Sally Peel, board member of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District

"2020 was largely defined by the ravages of COVID and a contentious, divisive election. We’ve seen shocking and heartbreaking loss. Importantly, good things also happened. Neighbors helped neighbors, America finally elected a female VP, and brilliant scientists created a vaccine faster than anyone imagined possible. We move into 2021 with hope. We can leave behind divisiveness and become stronger by asking ourselves: how can I do better? How can I show more compassion? How can we get closer to the kind of family/community/country we want? I know this town. We’ll work hard in 2021. We are all still trying."

Jennifer Fenton, president and board member of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District

"2020 is what I like to call ‘the year of the pivot!' All of our intentions and best laid plans were thrown to the wind and we were left to readjust, often at a moment’s notice. But 2020 was also a year of self-reflection and reprioritization. Family, health, and values became the focus, as we recognized what was important in our individual lives and to our community. 2021 will certainly bring its own set of unique challenges, but also endless opportunities for growth and change."

Richard Montgomery, Manhattan Beach City Council member

"2020 was an incredibly difficult year for all of us due to COVID-19. The preventative 'lock downs' had a devastating unforeseen effect on our economy, our mental health, our schools, our older adults and especially our entire business community. As mayor from day one of the pandemic I can tell you there was no 'easy day' for anyone at city hall. With whipsaw questionable directives from both the Governor and LA County along with constant requests for current information (cases, etc.) our frustration grew each week! To make matters worse we suffered a sharp rise in COVID cases from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

"For 2021, I see the release of two vaccines as the first positive step in reducing the continuing rise of COVID cases. After the vaccines slow the COVID spread, then and only then do I see (and hope) a return to reopening our restaurants, schools, our older adult facilities and our entire community."

Stay tuned for more thoughts on 2020 and 2021 and if you'd like to send one in for consideration, please email it to and keep it to 100 words or less.

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This article originally appeared on the Manhattan Beach Patch