Former TV chef pleads no contest to soliciting murder

DOWNTOWN L.A. — A former Food Network chef pleaded no contest Tuesday to soliciting two Santa Monica homeless men to kill his wife, authorities said. Juan-Carlos Cruz, who hosted “Calorie Commando” and “Weighing In,” entered his plea on the day a hearing was set to begin to determine if there was enough evidence... Read more →


New leaf blower enforcement takes effect Thursday

Gardeners who violate the Santa Monica’s ban on motorized leaf blowers will have another set of eyes watching them come Thursday when the Office of Sustainability and the Environment take over enforcement. Originally banned in the early 1990s, motorized leaf blower restrictions were difficult and costly to enforce due to the... Read more →


A kink in Civic Center joint-use plans

SAMOHI — A partnership between City Hall and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to renovate and expand Santa Monica High School with new athletic and arts facilities has hit a snag, with the initial $57 million for the project in limbo because of a provision in state law that governs Redevelopment Agency finances. City... Read more →

City Council

Group dodging campaign disclosure

CITY HALL — Despite rigorous campaign disclosure rules in Santa Monica, it’s still unclear who is backing the group responsible for the most controversial campaign mailer of the election season so far — the recently formed Santa Monicans for Quality Government (SMQG). The group, which filed a “statement of... Read more →

City Council

Council to approve Reed Park office improvements

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 →


Police: Victim ID’d estranged husband as her attacker

PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — Police say a four-year-old child is staying with relatives after her father, James Ramirez, allegedly shot the girl’s mother on a Santa Monica street corner Friday night, critically injuring her, and then was killed a few blocks away by police after he allegedly brandished his gun at officers. The... Read more →


Private schools struggle through tough times

DOWNTOWN — Despite not having to deal with statewide and local budget cuts, some private schools in Santa Monica are still feeling the financial crunch. “Less people have been able to pay tuition or full tuition, which means we've taken a hit,” said Peter Czer, assisting pastor at Lighthouse Christian Academy.... Read more →


Road advisories

Alley Renewal Program The alley south of Pico Boulevard between 22nd and 23rd streets will be resurfaced starting on Monday, Nov. 1, 2010. Work will include grinding and asphalt overlay. Please be advised that resurfacing operations will generate noise despite best efforts to keep the disturbance to a minimum. The estimated completion... Read more →


Measure Y delays cuts, won’t prevent them

SMMUSD HDQTRS — Even if voters approve a half percent sales tax increase on Nov. 2 and officials direct half of the new revenue to public schools, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District will have exhausted its reserves and will again face cuts by the 2012-13 school year, according to district officials’ latest... Read more →

City Council

Walk raises funds, awareness for suicide prevention

CITY HALL — Sarah Sly will never forget the day she walked into her backyard four years ago. On Dec. 11, 2006, she found her stepfather’s body lying in a pool of his own blood. He had shot himself the night before. “That whole day was kind of utter chaos. We didn’t really know what to do. We couldn’t make sense... Read more →


Hydro’s popularity in bloom

Dear EarthTalk What are the environmental benefits of the hydroponic growing of lettuce and other crops? Bruce Keeler Oakland, Calif. While organic agriculture is all the rage, growing by leaps and bounds to meet increased consumer demand for healthier food, another option that’s less well known but just as healthy is hydroponics,... Read more →


Local students embrace Bike It Day

DOWNTOWN Over 3,000 school-age children — over 30 percent of the total enrollment in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified school District — chose to ride a bike, a scooter or walk to school earlier this month as part of Bike It!, Walk It! Day, sponsors of the effort said Friday. The annual event, which started in 2005 at Santa... Read more →


Santa Monica police kill shooting suspect

PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — Police shot and killed a man Friday night after he allegedly opened fire on his wife at a busy intersection in Downtown Santa Monica and then shot at officers as they attempted to apprehend him a few blocks away. The man, who has been identified as James Stephen Ramirez, 33, allegedly shot his wife multiple... Read more →


Measure Y supporters shell out for campaign

CAMPAIGN ROUNDUP DOWNTOWN — Supporters of Measure Y, the proposed half percent sales tax increase, have donated $229, 541 to the campaign to pass the tax hike, compared with just $5,708 raised by opponents of the measure. With 10 days to go before election day, the pro-Measure Y campaign has nearly $91,000 on hand, according to a... Read more →


SMC, Chevron join forces on solar project

BY DAILY PRESS STAFF SMC — Chevron Energy Solutions, a unit of Chevron Corp., and Santa Monica College will hold a dedication ceremony on Oct. 29 for a newly completed solar and energy efficiency project, which is expected to save the college more than $14 million over the life of the project. The project includes a 408-kilowatt... Read more →