In what was at times another high-stakes, high-drama year across Santa Monica, here is The Mirror’s run-down of the top headlines from September 2012.
Please note that some of the stories mentioned took place up to a week before or after the publication date, depending on whether it was a recap or preview piece.
• The Mirror’s first of four special reports was published that examined Santa Monica Airport’s future including perspectives from airport officials, citizens, the City Attorney’s office, Council members, and other leaders.
• Santa Monica city officials showed off their newly renovated Emergency Operation Center, which featured technological enhancements including a multi-screen video wall, an interactive Smart Board, video conferencing capabilities, and 34 independent work stations equipped with the latest computer technology.
• The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the Club’s new branch at Olympic High School.
• Construction on Town Square outside of City Hall began, which will include a new one-acre park that will feature pedestrian-friendly pathways and a streaming water design.
• A Big Blue Bus advertising practice came under the City Council’s microscope as Mayor Richard Bloom introduced a motion to review the public transportation entity’s long-standing but only recently enforced policy of not allowing non-commercial advertisements on its buses.
• Council members voted to move forward with the negotiation and execution of a $1 million construction contract to build the City’s first-ever universally accessible playground in front of the Sea Colony condominium complex.
• About 200 people attended the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club’s grand opening at its new 2012 PPDC Westside Democratic Headquarters on the Third Street Promenade.
• Santa Monica College let go of its winter program, at least temporarily, following its Board of Trustees’ unanimous vote to cease winter classes due to budget cuts.
• Thieves robbed a Santa Monica residence of more than $10 million of property including a red 2010 Porsche Carrera 4S, high-end art, and luxury watches while the victim, Jeffrey Gundlach (founder of DoubleLine Capital in Los Angeles), was away on a trip.
• The City of Santa Monica sold its beachfront property at 1920 Ocean Way to the owners of Casa del Mar hotel, which borders the property, for $13.15 million.
• Council members approved a Development Agreement that permits NMS Properties, Inc. to convert non-usable space into four new residential units in downtown Santa Monica at 1548 6th Street.
• The Santa Monica Pier’s bridge is in need of updating, according to City Hall, and a firm was approved by Council members to come in and put together a conceptual design as well as provide some public outreach and environmental documentation services.
• Barely two weeks after the City Council stated it would review a Big Blue Bus advertising policy prohibiting non-commercial advertisements, the founder of AIDS Walk Los Angeles sued Santa Monica claiming the policy is in violation of the First Amendment’s free speech protections.
• Two planned mixed-used buildings at 7th and Arizona, known as The Gibson, broke ground almost a full year after their respective Development Agreements were approved.
• Santa Monica Fire Department Captain Matt Norris was honored at the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s 19th annual New Heroes Celebration at Le Merigot Hotel.
• Santa Monica police and firefighters apprehended a man on top of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows at 101 Wilshire Boulevard who was threatening to jump off the hotel roof for more than an hour.