Local man to stand trial for murder

DOWNTOWN L.A. — A Santa Monica man was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on charges that he murdered two women, including a young fashion designer who had dated actor Ashton Kutcher. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson found sufficient evidence to require 34-year-old Michael Thomas Gargiulo to proceed to trial for the... Read more →

City Council

Measures to boost sales tax considered

CITY HALL — With a projected budget gap as high as $53 million by 2015, City Hall officials are considering whether to ask residents to approve a half cent sales tax increase or a property transfer tax hike this November to boost revenue and avoid cuts to services. Santa Monica’s City Council would have to decide whether to place... Read more →


Helping drivers, bikers share road

14th STREET — A new marking known as a “sharrow,” short for “shared lane arrow,” was recently installed on 14th Street between Montana and Washington avenues as a way to remind cyclists and drivers alike that the road is a shared space for both modes of travel, city officials said. The street marking is a white... Read more →


Transitioning from fighting to farming

DOWNTOWN — Phil Northcutt’s path to agricultural work was a self-described “wild story” and “spiritual journey.” Northcutt joined the U.S. Marine Corps after finding work in the music industry unsatisfying. He came back from Iraq a few years ago injured and in pain and became addicted to prescription... Read more →


Celebrate safely this Fourth of July

PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — As the July 4 holiday approaches, the Santa Monica fire and police departments remind everyone that all types of fireworks are illegal in the city. This includes so-called “safe and sane” fireworks, which may not be used, even if they are legal in the city in which they are purchased. Permanent... Read more →


Pier smoking ban considered

SM PIER — Continuing a trend toward stricter anti-smoking rules in town, officials are set to consider an outright ban on lighting up at the Santa Monica Pier, citing concern that discarded cigarettes pose a fire risk. Smoking on the family-friendly pier is already confined to seven designated areas, but there’s a growing... Read more →

City Council

City Hall surveys interest in boosting coffers

CITY HALL — Despite a balanced budget for the next fiscal year, City Hall officials are looking into options to boost revenue by possibly asking voters to approve one or more ballot measures this November. City Hall on Sunday began polling residents by phone about their support for possible “revenue enhancements” that could... Read more →

City Council

Winners announced in SM Teen Film Fest

CITY HALL — The results are in! Judges with the Fifth Annual Santa Monica Teen Film Festival sifted through more than 180 submissions from across the country and Canada and screened 33 films over two days to award top honors to Harry Keenan and Max Groel of Pacific Palisades for their film. “Batman Starts,” a humorous... Read more →


Students discover new figures on L.A. water waste

JAMS — In the fight to restore the Los Angeles River and end wasteful water practices, Venice activists have enlisted the mathematical minds of local students. Using complex algebraic equations, Parisa Jung’s seventh grade math class at John Adams Middle School tackled extra credit questions posed by non profits L.A. River... Read more →


Pay stations coming to Downtown structures

DOWNTOWN — Aiming to ease congestion for commuters who use City Hall-owned parking structures Downtown, officials are planning to add additional pay stations to the structures so more customers can settle their bills before they get in their cars. Don Patterson, City Hall’s business and revenue operations manager, said the... Read more →


VA to create home for chronically homeless vets

WESTWOOD — A building on the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration campus will be converted into a therapeutic-housing facility for chronically homeless veterans, thanks to $20 million in federal funds, local officials announced Monday. “Veterans have provided a great service to our nation, and it is our responsibility to... Read more →


Lottery system on horizon for SM Pier performers

SM PIER — With more performers seeking spots on the Santa Monica Pier to entertain the crowds, officials say the time-honored first-come, first-serve system is no longer practical. Performers sometimes show up before dawn to wait for the best locations and fights have broken out as performers jockey for position in line, said Ben... Read more →


Malibu treatment project completed

MALIBU — Malibu officials Monday celebrated the completion of a stormwater-treatment project aimed at preventing millions of gallons of polluted water from pouring into the ocean at one of the city’s most famous beaches. The Paradise Cove Clean Ocean Project uses three filtration systems to remove trash, sediment and bacteria from... Read more →


Metro debuts new bus line

VENICE BLVD — The Metro bus system on Sunday introduced a new route that travels between Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles via Venice Boulevard. Rapid Line 733 begins at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Arizona Avenue and ends at Union Station in Los Angeles. The line runs seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., with buses... Read more →


Assembly set to vote on chemical ban

SACRAMENTO — The California state Assembly will vote today on a bill written by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica) that would ban a chemical some say is toxic that is often used in plastic baby bottles, sippy cups and the lining of formula cans. The vote comes a year after the bill, the Toxics-Free Babies and Toddlers Act, or SB... Read more →