In what could be described as a year of big ups and downs for Santa Monica, here is The Mirror’s run-down of the top headlines from the year.
Please note that some of the following stories took place up to a week before or after the publication date, depending on whether it was a recap or preview piece.
• Santa Monica City Council member Tony Vazquez observed the Twilight Concert Series was lacking Hispanic or Latino programming. It was an observation that gained traction with Mayor Pam O’Connor and resulted in the council giving City staff and the Pier Restoration Corp. direction on expanding diversity-based programming on the pier.
• Three local La Leche League leaders hosted a public “Big Latch On” event at Douglas Park at 2439 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica Aug. 3 to honor World Breastfeeding Week.
• TV and radio personality Carson Daly (who is a Santa Monica resident) was named honorary chair of Prepare Santa Monica, partnering with the American Red Cross to introduce the three-year catastrophic disaster preparedness campaign.
• An insurance company and a risk management firm teamed up to give the Santa Monica Fire Department $22,500 to pay for fully equipped bikes to handle medical emergencies at crowded events like the LA Marathon and Twilight Concert Series.
• Santa Monica’s city leaders and business representatives rubbed elbows with each other at the Fairmont Miramar as Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. held its annual meeting Aug. 8. The key themes of the meeting included a celebration of Santa Monica’s history and a look forward to where the City is headed.
• Members of the Architectural Review Board met with world-renowned architect and Santa Monica resident Frank Gehry on Aug. 7 to discuss design plans for a future art deco hotel at one of the city’s busiest intersections. The discussion focused on how the proposed 22-story hotel, which would be built and designed by Gehry Partners, M. David Paul Associates, and Worthe Real Estate Group, would look like at the corner of Ocean and Santa Monica Boulevard.
• Officers from the Santa Monica Police Department mingled with locals Aug. 6 as part of the National Night Out campaign. From 6-9 pm, Santa Monica City officials hosted the 30th anniversary celebration of the countrywide campaign to promote public safety information in a fun family atmosphere.
• Meals on Wheels West in Santa Monica found themselves in possession of a brand new Dodge Dart, thanks to the charitable efforts of the Alpha Delta Chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity of the University of Southern California. The ZBT participants successfully crowd funded a brand new 2013 Dodge Dart through the “Dodge Dart Registry,” an online program that provides a creative way to raise money for the purchase of a new Dodge Dart.
• The Santa Monica City Council voted Aug. 13 to restrict studies for the Downtown Specific Plan’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to proposed developments of up to 84 feet.
• Santa Monica might not see a medical marijuana dispensary within city limits for at least one more year based upon a moratorium that council members extended Aug. 13. However, four of seven council members supported a separate direction for City staff to bring back to council a proposal paving the way for medical marijuana dispensaries to exist after the City’s new zoning ordinance is approved in December.
• Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor and Public Works director Martin Pastucha joined City officials Aug. 14 for the topping out ceremony for the redevelopment of Parking Structure 6, located on 2nd Street between Broadway and Santa Monica Boulevard. The new structure was expected to open to the public by mid-December.
• Izzy’s Deli celebrated its 40th birthday with an anniversary party Aug. 9. Over the past 40 years, owner Izzy Freeman said the deli had served 2,890,737 corned beef on rye sandwiches, 4,635,512 matzo balls, and 6,386,129 kosher pickles.
• Mirror Media Group, publisher of the Santa Monica Mirror and parent company of Direct Community Video, acquired the print publication Brentwood News. The Mirror also took over two websites, BrentwoodNewsOnline.com and WestsideToday.com.
• The Santa Monica City Council on Aug. 13 discussed the prospects of bringing the first-ever MINI dealership to Santa Monica. If plans are ultimately approved, the dealership will be built in place of a 76 gas station at 1402 Santa Monica Boulevard.
• A grand opening celebration was held Aug. 21 at Bristol Farms’ first Santa Monica location at 3105 Wilshire Boulevard. The store occupies the location that was formerly Albertsons, which closed in February 2013.
• Santa Monica’s fifth public library branch took a few steps closer to being realized as council members approved Aug. 13 furniture procurement, an automated system, and additional construction funding for the Pico Branch Library.
• Mirror Media Group, publisher of the Santa Monica Mirror and parent company of Direct Community Video, acquired the bimonthly business publication Century City News.
• Santa Monica’s recently shuttered post office on the corner of 5th and Arizona was put on a path to become a historic landmark, thanks to a 5 to 1 vote in favor of a preservation covenant approved by the City Council Aug. 27 to protect the former post office’s structure and allow it to gain historic status.
• The Santa Monica City Council unanimously backed two federal and one state bill Aug. 27 aiming to limit the amount of helicopter noise in residential neighborhoods.
• The family of Alice Gruppioni, the Italian newlywed tragically killed on the Venice Beach boardwalk Aug. 3, served a public records request on several local agencies seeking information to help answer questions as to how such a tragedy could have occurred.