By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
RAND‘s future in Santa Monica, officials say, hinges on the city’s approval of a building design uniquely shaped to fit the think tank‘s needs, a building where hallways are continuous, increasing the chances for employees to bump into each other in the hallway and share ideas. The environmentally friendly building also is designed to include two libraries (one of them ”classified“), computer-modeling-simulation workrooms, a shredding room, a cafeteria, and a 30,000-foot courtyard kept private for security reasons.
”We’re a unique institution, and the new building has to meet our functional requirements,“ said RAND executive Rich. ”If the City Council imposes conditions on its approval that mean that we can‘t meet those requirements, we will have to abandon the project and find a new home.“
RAND’s departure from Santa Monica would be a severe blow to the city. After more than half a century, RAND and its 1,100 employees have become an integral thread in the community fabric, especially as the think tank‘s focus turns increasingly to domestic issues.
Established at the close of World War II, the institution became independent in 1948 but retained its strong ties to the military establishment, evaluating weapon systems and developing anti-Soviet strategy throughout the Cold War. Even with the demise of the Soviet Union, 55 percent of RAND’s business stems from issues of national security, including studies on the threat of cyber-terrorism and improving the Army‘s supply chain.
But RAND’s work on domestic issues, which began in the 1950s, has expanded since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The institution -- which had revenues of $144 million in 1999 -- has taken on such varied policy issues as injured-worker compensation, classroom achievement, the drug wars, health issues and criminal justice.
The firm, which funds some of its research with money from its $85 million endowment, also has produced the most recent demographic profile of the city, recommended ways to increase public involvement and provided models for funding neighborhood projects. City officials also turned to the company that created the basic infrastructure for the Internet to help Santa Monica become the first city in the country to go online. One of the top 10 employers in Santa Monica, RAND has a number of staff members who sit on commissions helping shape everything from airport policy to models for overhauling the school district‘s financial performance.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city