Local entrepreneur takes the reins at Santa Anita Park

DOWNTOWN — Santa Monican Mark Verge can remember the exact day he fell in love with horse racing. It was March 22, 1981. His coach at St. Monica Catholic High School, Mike Amodei, took Verge and his best friend Doug O’Neill on a field trip to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. to watch the thoroughbreds race — and place a... Read more →

Red Cross raises $500K

The American Red Cross of Santa Monica raised approximately $500,000, including in-kind donations, at its annual Red Tie Affair gala at the Fairmont-Miramar Hotel on Saturday. More than 450 people attended the event, including celebrity honorees Jamie Lee Curtis (American Red Cross Crystal Cross Humanitarian Award), Denis Leary (Spirit of... Read more →

Controversial youth program moves to Venice

SUNSET PARK — Negotiations between community groups and a nonprofit dedicated to assisting people with HIV jumped a hurdle last week when the organization announced that it would be moving one of its most controversial programs outside of the city. An unnamed partner organization in neighboring Venice agreed to take in the Homeless... Read more →

Report: Impacts of Bergamot-area developments understated

CITY HALL — An attorney retained by a local community group took a scathing view of an environmental impact report for the proposed Bergamot Transit Village, calling its analysis “shoddy.” The village, which will be on the former Papermate site north of the incoming Exposition Light Rail station, was presented as a 766,094... Read more →

Motel owner settles dispute over bed taxes, tenant harassment

14TH STREET — The owner of the Palm Motel has agreed to pay $7,500 to City Hall’s Consumer Protection Fund and give free rent to three of his current and former guests as part of a settlement reached with the City Attorney’s Office, it was announced Wednesday. Spiros Dellaportas was accused of taxing guests at the hotel... Read more →

City Council wants clarity on community benefits

CITY HALL — Decision makers and the community need more information, and earlier, if they’re going to get appropriate concessions out of developers bent on building projects that exceed normal zoning rules, the City Council said Tuesday. The concessions, called “community benefits,” are extras like parks, community... Read more →

Main Street businesses beg for signs

CITY HALL — Since June 2011, Frank Strauss, proprietor of Fedora Primo, has been able to breathe easy. Not once in the last nine months have city officials stopped by his door to remind him that the sign and hat stand outside of his business on the 200 block of Pier Street are illegal. Gone are the days of written warnings and... Read more →

Leveling the playing field for purchasing art

BERGAMOT STATION — Incognito, now in its eighth year at Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMOA), is recognized as one of the most innovative and successful museum fundraiser/art sales anywhere in the art world. The concept — show the art without artist’s signature, so people make decisions based on their taste, not an... Read more →

Residents want a reduced Bergamot Transit Village

CITY HALL — A coalition of neighborhood groups from Santa Monica and West Los Angeles made their case Monday for downsizing a proposed development on the east end of town that they say will create more traffic in an area already plagued by gridlock. Their statements were made during a press conference on City Hall’s lawn that... Read more →

Nonprofit group reveals pearls of the Earth

OCEAN AVE — Between 5 p.m. and 4 a.m., anyone can take a mental trip to China to watch one of four giant pandas munch on bamboo or tussle with its siblings from its home in the Ya’an Panda Base, part of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. For most, the pandas live in the imagination, made accessible... Read more →