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.
• State Senator Ted W. Lieu picked up Santa Monica as part of his 28th District, which included most of Los Angeles County’s coastal communities south of the city. Lieu now represents nearly 1.3 million people and added the cities of Beverly Hills, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and portions of Hollywood to his district.
• The Santa Monica City Council approved Jan. 22 an $8.2 million contract to demolish and rebuild a portion of the Santa Monica Pier. A recent assessment study of Santa Monica’s most iconic structure indicated it is deteriorating.
• The Santa Monica City Council appointed Sue Himmelrich to the Planning Commission on Jan. 22. She filled the seat vacated by Ted Winterer, who joined the City Council after being elected to the council in November 2012.
• The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica named Gretchen Galanis as its 2012 Youth of the Year in front of more than 320 guests at the 45th Annual Youth of the Year Awards.
• A group known as the Santa Monica Outdoor Fitness Coalition formed after the Recreation and Parks Commission contemplated a new policy requiring personal trainers be assessed a tax on their revenues, as much as 15 percent, in exchange for use of places such as Palisades Park and Santa Monica Beach.
• According to statistics available through the City Clerk’s office, expenditures made to local campaigns and initiatives in the Nov. 6, 2012 election totaled a little more than $1.2 million. The number includes races for City Council, Board of Education, and Rent Control Board.
• Santa Monica residents were invited to enjoy a free afternoon of live jazz, bicycle demonstrations, and bicycle-made ice cream Feb. 9 to celebrate the completion of Ocean Park Boulevard’s “Complete Green Street” between Lincoln Boulevard and Nielsen Way.
• For the 17th consecutive year, the Santa Monica community came together in full force at the Super-Bowl-A-Thon Feb.1 to raise about $40,000 for the Westside Shelter & Hunger Coalition.
• Although the last piece of steel was put into place at Santa Monica High School’s new Science and Technology Building on Dec. 2012, the school district held a topping out ceremony Feb. 11 to recognize the milestone. The building was expected to be operational in winter 2013, with a bordering softball field and additional parking expected to be complete in summer 2014.
• Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, a controversial antigay group that regularly stages protests around the country as often as several times a week, announced it would picket Santa Monica High School on Feb. 25.
• The Santa Monica City Council approved Feb. 12 a rate increase for those parking at the Main Library. Rates were not increased for those parking at the Main Library lot for two-and-a-half hours or less.
• Palisades Garden Walk was renamed Tongva Park on Feb. 12. The change came after council members renamed Town Square as Ken Genser Square in October 2012.
• When Santa Monica College announced in November it would reinstate its previously canceled winter program, there was a dedicated group of students who had been working behind the scenes, culminating in a $200,000 contribution from the student government toward the $1.2 million instructional cost to run the six-week program. Associated Students President Parker Jean, who led the efforts, was formally recognized March 5 at the SMC Board of Trustees meeting.
• The Fairmont Miramar hosted an open house Feb. 21, but there were a few Santa Monica residents who were not too happy that the event was held for an invite-only group of about 150 residents to learn more about the progress of the hotel’s planned redevelopment.
• Leo Bourget, a former Santa Monica businessman and Pacific Palisades resident, passed away Feb. 5 at the age of 87. He was born in Santa Monica on Aug. 10, 1925 to August and Celina Bourget.