Palisades Park

Playwright Luis Alfaro Named Writer in Residence

The City of Santa Monica has announced playwright Luis Alfaro as the new writer-in-residence at the Annenberg Community Beach House through March 13. While at the Beach House, Alfaro is working on a contemporary adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children for Center Theatre Group with an eye on the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles. He will also continue work on The Golden State, a trilogy of plays commissioned by San Francisco’s Magic Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The first part, Delano, focused on a Pentecostal minister and his flock in the Central Valley birthplace of the United Farm Workers of America union.

Alfaro is working from the resident office in the Marion Davies Guest House. The public is invited to his office hours Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. He is also presenting monthly public programs under the theme of “Things We Share” on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., 1/23/18, 2/20/18 and 3/6/18. From mid-January, follow his updates on

Luis Alfaro is a community-based writer known for his multi-faceted work in the American theatre along with his poetry, short stories and journalism. A Chicano born and raised in the Pico-Union district of downtown Los Angeles, Alfaro is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly known as a “genius grant”, awarded to people who have demonstrated expertise and exceptional creativity in their respective fields. Alfaro was recently named as part of the inaugural cohort of Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellows.

The first playwright-in-residence in the eighty-year history of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, his plays include Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (Getty Villa, Victory Gardens Theatre-Chicago); Delano (Magic Theatre-San Francisco); St. Jude (CTG Kirk Douglas Theatre); Oedipus El Rey (Woolly Mammoth-Washington DC, Boston Court-Pasadena, San Diego Repertory, 18 productions, upcoming The Public Theatre-New York); Electricidad (Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre, 32 productions); down town (Institute of Contemporary Art, London; XTeresa Performance Space, Mexico City); Body of Faith (Cornerstone Theater Company); Straight as a Line (Primary Stages; Edinburgh Festival; Goodman Theatre; National Theatre of Romania); Black Butterfly (Smithsonian Museum, The Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum).

His literary work is featured in more than 25 anthologies, spoken word CD (down town) and a short film, Chicanismo. He teaches at the University of Southern California. More at

Submitted by Constance Farrell, Public Information Officer



$3 Million Gift from Leonard D. Schaeffer Supports RAND Corporation Employee Recognition Program

The RAND Corporation has received a $3 million gift from health care executive Leonard D. Schaeffer to help endow RAND’s employee recognition awards.

The top award, given annually to two individuals or employee groups, will be renamed the Leonard Schaeffer Medals in recognition of the gift. The RAND medal awards recognize individuals throughout the institution who have made exceptional and inspiring contributions to RAND’s mission and priorities.

“Leonard Schaeffer is a valued RAND advisor and his contributions to society as a business leader and philanthropist embody the vision, integrity and leadership that RAND’s medal awards are designed to honor and inspire,” said Michael D. Rich, RAND president and CEO. “We are grateful for his generosity and honored to use this gift to recognize excellence at RAND.”

Schaeffer, the founding chairman and CEO of WellPoint (now Anthem), is a longstanding RAND trustee and member of the RAND Health Advisory Board. He has previously made gifts to RAND in support of the Leonard Schaeffer RAND-USC Initiative in Health Policy and Economics, and the Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts (COMPARE), a microsimulation model built by RAND researchers that predicts the effects of health policy changes at national and state levels.

“The quality of an organization’s staff is what sets it apart from its peers. At RAND, I’ve seen how skilled and dedicated RAND’s employees are to developing solutions to the most-significant challenges of our time,” Schaeffer said. “I’m pleased to help support a high bar of excellence among this high-achieving community.”

Schaeffer holds the Judge Robert Maclay Widney chair and serves as a professor at the University of Southern California. He is a senior advisor to the private equity firms TPG Capital and Starr Investment Holdings, and is active on the boards of numerous businesses and philanthropic organizations. He established the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC and serves as the chair of the Center’s advisory board. Schaeffer has endowed academic chairs in health policy and economics at the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and USC. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. To sign up for RAND e-mail alerts:

Submitted by Rand office of media relations



Bossa Nova & the Jazz Influence with The Angelo Metz Quartet

Get into the groove of 2018 with Bossa Nova and the Jazz Influence, a concert performance by the Angelo Metz Quartet, on Thursday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.

In this cool evening concert, the Angelo Metz Quartet performs a repertoire exemplifying the influences of jazz in the Brazilian musical style of Bossa Nova, and explores its incorporation into the classic American Jazz songbook. The quartet consists of guitarist and vocalist Angelo Metz, keyboardist Rick Olson, drummer Lucio Vieira, and bassist Michael Alvidrez.

This program is free and open to all. Seating is limited and on a first arrival basis. The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week prior to event. The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus routes 1, R10 and 18. Ride your bike. Bicycle parking racks are available at the library.

Submitted by Robert Graves, Public Services Librarian


Michigan Ave

Free Paper Shredding and E-Waste Recycling January 27

The Resource Recovery & Recycling Division of the Santa Monica Public Works Department invites residents to safely dispose of old documents and electronic waste from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, January 27, at City Yards, 2500 Michigan Ave. The free event is open to Santa Monica residents.

Each resident may bring up to five file boxes with a maximum size of 12 inches by 17 inches by 9 inches for shredding. The documents will be commercially shredded by the trained, licensed and bonded document destruction specialists from Confidential Data Destruction. The documents shredded by Columbia Data Destruction are recycled into new paper products, which provides the following environmental benefits:

  • A reduced need for landfill space
  •        A reduced need for new lumber
  • Less energy and water is needed to process new lumber
  • Trees can keep growing, cleaning the air and releasing oxygen

In addition to paper shredding, residents can recycle unwanted electronics, including:

  • computers,
  • monitors,
  • copiers,
  • fax machines,
  • printers,
  • televisions


For more information, visit the Resource Recovery & Recycling Division’s website at or call (310) 458-2223.

Submitted by Constance Farrell, Public Information Officer



SMMUSD Announces New Director of Food Services

The SMMUSD Board of Education approved the appointment of Richard Marchini Jr. as the new director of food services at its December 14, 2017 regular meeting.

Marchini brings 11 years of food services experience to this position from similar agencies in New York and California. He served most recently as the director of auxiliary services for the Garvey Elementary School District in Rosemead California since 2011.

At Garvey, Marchini developed student menus and handled food purchasing needs that met the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program requirements. He also established and maintained safety and sanitation standards for food service operations and products.

Prior to Garvey Elementary School District, Marchini served as the school food services manager for the New York City Department of Education, office of school food and nutrition services.

“I am very excited and honored for the opportunity to serve the Santa Monica and Malibu communities in this role,” Marchini said. “I am looking forward to getting to know the students, staff and families in our communities. As a former chef I look forward to bringing expertise to SMMUSD.”

He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in professional studies in hospitality management from the New York Institute of Technology and an associate’s degree in culinary arts.

“Mr. Marchini will be a valuable addition to our district team,” Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati said. “We are looking forward to his expertise and ideas to enhance our food and nutrition services program.”

Marchini’s appointment began on Jan. 3, 2018. He replaces Liz Powell, who took a similar position at a school district closer to her residence.

Submitted by Gail Pinsker, SMMUSD Community & Public Relations Officer



SMMUSD Announces New Director of Business & Fiscal Services

The SMMUSD Board of Education approved the appointment of Gerardo Cruz as the new director of business & fiscal services at its December 14, 2017 regular meeting.

Cruz brings 13 years school district finance department experience to this position, most recently serving as the supervisor of payroll & benefits for the ABC Unified School District in Cerritos. Prior to his position at ABC Unified, Cruz worked previously for SMMUSD for four years as the fiscal services supervisor. He has also worked for the Greenfield Union School District in Bakersfield.

Cruz is skilled in all aspects of budget planning and coordinating, payroll and accounting operations, reporting and auditing functions, working with bargaining units, school district operations and working with finance committees.

“I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running as there is a great deal of impressive work to continue in the business and fiscal services divisions,” Cruz said. “Items such as the Malibu Unification, the tracking of Local Control Funding Formula Funds (LCFF) funds through the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), and the implementation of the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s Business Enhancement System Transformation (BEST) project, which is aimed at revamping all of LA County school’s financial systems, are areas that will require a watchful fiscal eye. I’m humbled to not only offer my technical expertise in these areas and more, but more importantly it is my esteemed privilege and honor to take part in this homecoming where I can once again continue to serve every student, every school, every day.”

Cruz holds a Bachelor’s of Science in business administration with a minor in public administration from Cal State Bakersfield and a master’s degree in public administration with a leadership and management concentration from Cal State Northridge. He has completed the school business management program at USC, and is currently working toward his doctorate in public administration. He also is a Certified Chief Business Official from the California Association of School Business Officials.

“Mr. Cruz will be a valuable addition to our district team,” Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati said. “We are looking forward to his return to SMMUSD.”

Cruz’ appointment begins on January 16, 2018. He replaces Pat Ho who retired in December.

Submitted by Gail Pinsker, SMMUSD Community & Public Relations Officer



SMMUSD Announces New Director of Purchasing

The SMMUSD Board of Education approved the appointment of Anna Chhabria as the new director of purchasing at its December 14, 2017 regular meeting. Chhabria’s appointment began on Jan. 03, 2018.

Chhabria brings more than 20 plus years of purchasing, process change, budgets, process planning and information technology experience to this position, most recently from University of Southern California, where she worked for 15 years.

While at USC, Chhabria negotiated agreements and contracts, managed vendors, liaised with internal and external customers, stakeholders, affiliates, federal, state and city agencies, process planning, budgetary controls and conducted trainings. She also designed and implemented new automated systems for efficiency and compliance and conducted data analysis.

At City of Torrance, she managed job training, community and education grants for the Cities of Carson, Lomita, Torrance and Harbor City. As fiscal lead she managed budgets, federal, state, City of LA and all city and community agency reporting, purchasing, operations and process efficiencies. She brings a vast experience in technology and construction projects management and procurement in public and private sectors in academia and city governance.

“I am honored and excited to join the SMMUSD team and look forward to support the Board and District to enhance the efficiencies, accountability and transparency in our business processes,” Chhabria said. “I look forward to meeting with the school staff, department managers, vendors and PTA representatives and to collaborate with all stakeholders to achieve our mission of Excellence in Education to help our students grow into successful citizens of the diverse local and global economy.”

She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry with honors and a Master’s in Business Administration from Gujarat University, India with an emphasis in business management and computer programming and systems. Chhabria also holds certificates in project management, HIPAA, OSHA, CBEST, web-based multimedia and Microsoft and is skilled in digital-based systems. 2

She has strived to continuously keep her skills current with certifications in business strategy from Virginia University, internet policy and law from Cornell University, multimedia from USC, and negotiations and procurement from various professional associations. She is also a presenter at national, local academic and professional forums like Educause, ACUTA, ICN, USC and various community organizations.

“Ms. Chhabria will be a valuable addition to our district team,” Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati said. “We are looking forward to her expertise to oversee and manage our busy purchasing department.”

Chhabria’s appointment began on Jan. 3, 2018. She replaces Virginia Hyatt who retired.

Submitted by Gail Pinsker, SMMUSD Community & Public Relations Officer



2018 Santa Monica State of the City Event Focuses on Economic Trends and Sustainability

Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce will hold its 8th annual “State of the City” summit Thursday, February 1, from 5 – 7:30 p.m. at the SGI World Peace Auditorium. The summit, open to the public, will focus on trending economic industry developments and disruptions that will impact future growth and sustainability of the city and other communities locally, nationally, and globally.

Mayor Ted Winterer will share the city’s economic forecast and present new initiatives the city is rolling out this year. City Manager Rick Cole, and industry influencers will discuss economic trends and exciting innovations that will lead to an infusion of new companies and technologies in many sectors, from automated cars to retail purchases.

“This year’s ‘Economic Sustainability Summit’ showcases the trends, projects, and people shaping our city’s economic future,” said Laurel Rosen, CEO and President of Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce “We have more than 9,500 businesses here and this forum will help us gauge where we’ve been and working together what we need to do to help our business community thrive.”

The event is expected to attract more than 700 residents and business leaders. Water Garden, Santa Monica Place, and Plaza at Santa Monica are among the prominent industry leaders scheduled to attend representing an overview of Santa Monica’s diverse industries. Notable speakers will include Debs Schrimmer, Transportation Policy Manager for Lyft, the international ride sharing company with a growing presence in Santa Monica. Lyft recently signed an agreement to provide free rides to seniors and people with disabilities through Santa Monica’s Dial-A-Ride service and offer optional mobility services within the city. Dr. Sabrina Kay,, a highly successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, will share her vision for the future of new businesses that will lead to sustainability and growth.

“Every year we welcome more businesses that choose to make Santa Monica their home and this State of the City event promises to be one of the most important of the year,” said West Hooker Poletti, owner of Locanda del Lago and current chair of the board. “From technology and entertainment, to hospitality and healthcare, our we continue to attract respected companies that contribute towards our strong local economy. On February 1st, we will explore what our community should anticipate to sustain our diverse and vibrant economic profile for years to come.”

Doors at 4:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 5 p.m. A networking reception with exhibitors and tastings from local restaurants will take place immediately after the event. Tickets are $50 for members and $60 for non-members, $10 for students and seniors. More information is available at or by calling (310) 393-9825.

Submitted by Gigi de Pourtales, Director of Marketing & Events

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