UFO turns out to be Red Bull skydivers

SM BAY — Those strange bright lights residents saw in the night sky earlier this month turned out not to be UFOs after all, but rather two daredevils from the Red Bull Air Force who decided to jump out of an airplane with night flares. Jon DeVore and Sean MacCormac performed two night skydive demonstrations over Santa Monica on Dec. 1... Read more →


Business leaders bash plan to raise rents for restaurants

THIRD STREET PROMENADE — Restaurant owners and Downtown business leaders on Tuesday slammed a City Hall proposal to raise rents for those who offer outdoor dining on public property. The proposal, which still has to be debated and approved by the City Council, includes increases that would nearly triple rents for some restaurants, a... Read more →

City Council

Council to approve mobile home financing proposal

Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series that tracks the city’s expenditures appearing on upcoming Santa Monica City Council consent agendas. Consent agenda items are routinely passed by the City Council with little or no discussion from elected officials or the public. However, many of the items have been part of... Read more →


City Hall ramps up focus on airport

CITY HALL — With widespread resident concern over a possible flight path change at Santa Monica Airport and the looming expiration in 2015 of the agreement with the federal government to operate SMO, Santa Monica officials are taking steps to prepare for a potential showdown with the FAA. The City Council tonight is set to hire a former... Read more →


Rubin asked to resign from SMRR

DOWNTOWN — Jerry Rubin, the man known for his love of Santa Monica, his peace activism and his near-spotless attendance record at local public meetings, has been asked to resign from local political group Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights. The request came last week in an e-mail from former Planning Commissioner Jay Johnson, who... Read more →


SM couple goes into the wild

DOWNTOWN — Yannick Chaigneau met his girlfriend Shirley Lam while rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park seven years ago. On their first date, they went on a night run on the Mount Wilson Trail in the San Gabriel Mountains. “We started at 7 p.m. on a rainy evening, jogged all the way to the summit and down … . It was 2... Read more →


Celebrity chef sentenced in murder-for-hire plot

AIRPORT COURTHOUSE — A former Food Network star was sentenced to nine years in prison Monday for trying to hire two Santa Monica homeless men to kill his wife, the District Attorney’s Office said. Juan Carlos Cruz, 48, who hosted “Calorie Commando” and “Weighing In,” pleaded no contest Oct. 26 as a... Read more →


Wrong kind of leap

Dear EarthTalk Are the world’s amphibians still in decline and what’s being done to help them? Chris W. Stamford, CT Unfortunately yes, amphibians are still in serious trouble around the world. A recently updated worldwide population assessment by the non-profit International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that... Read more →


Lang named Miramax CEO

DOWNTOWN — Miramax announced Thursday that Michael Lang has been appointed chief executive officer, effective immediately. Lang will be based at the new Miramax headquarters in Santa Monica and will oversee the Miramax film library, which was acquired by Filmyard Holdings on Dec. 3. Lang said he has long “admired the Miramax... Read more →


Fire in the sky

NOMA — Santa Monica is known around the world as a popular tourist destination, but has its reputation reached outer space? Residents in Santa Monica and the Westside have reported seeing strange lights in the night sky on at least two occasions this month, the unidentified flying objects disappearing over the Santa Monica Bay after... Read more →


Slap on the wrist for political mailer group

DOWNTOWN — California’s Fair Political Practices Commission has sent a warning letter to the president of the group Santa Monicans for Quality Government but has declined to assess a fine for what it said were two violations of the state’s Political Reform Act. In a related development, the public integrity division of the... Read more →


Donations lagging at local Salvation Army

DOWNTOWN — For the 400 needy families that signed up for assistance with the Salvation Army’s Santa Monica Corps this holiday season, Christmas could bring some disappointment. With less than two weeks to go before the charity’s Dec. 20 deadline to collect donations, Capt. Mario Ruiz said gifts of food and toys are... Read more →


Gang member convicted in Moose Lodge shooting

DOWNTOWN L.A. — A member of the 18th Street gang, one of Los Angeles’ most notorious, was convicted Thursday of murdering five people, including two at the Moose Lodge in Sunset Park, during a crime spree that stretched more than three years, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said. William Vasquez, 30, will... Read more →


Resident creates iPhone app to find parking

DOWNTOWN — As the holiday season rolls around, finding parking in Downtown can get a little dicey. To ease anxieties, Santa Monica resident Mark Miller has created SAMO Park, a free iPhone app that helps visitors locate available parking spaces. “Over the years, I’ve noticed it’s becoming more and more tricky and... Read more →