The Daily Press is summarizing the year’s news as it was covered in our pages for the year. Today, we are covering the first four months of the year.


A U.S. Army veteran was arrested after authorities discovered he was allegedly plotting to bomb one of several locations in Southern California, including Long Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, Huntington Beach and Los Angeles freeways as revenge for a mass shooting at a New Zealand mosque the prior month.

A driver struck a woman riding a Bird scooter as she crossed 16th Street on Montana Avenue. The woman was riding the scooter on the right side of the street on Montana, which includes a bike lane. She turned left and was struck from behind by a man driving a Toyota Yaris, suffering a head injury.

A noted community leader and activist died after a short illness. Beth Leder-Pack worked as an information analyst for the Rent Control Board for 25 years and was active in a multitude of community organizations, fighting for affordable housing and workers’ rights.

A new aircraft company has touched down at Santa Monica Airport, touting a futuristic airplane and an ambitious business plan. ICON Aircraft, which is headquartered in Northern California, opened its first showroom at Corporate Hangar 7.

The Window burger joint opened in Venice, bringing a walk-up casual atmosphere and low-cost but high-quality foods with it. East Coast-style burgers, Impossible burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, kale salads and grain bowls are on the menu.

Santa Monica High School broke ground on the Discovery Building, which is scheduled to open by the end of 2021, and will house 38 classrooms for the school’s M and O houses, including science and computer labs, three multipurpose rooms, common areas and seminar rooms.

Four new buildings will provide 188 apartments downtown and in Mid-City, including 40 designated for low-income seniors and 30 for other low-income households. 1514 7th St. and 1445-1453 10th St. will be entirely affordable, while 1235 5th St. and 1543 7th St. will be mixed-use buildings with 23 and 100 units, respectively.

A man from Huntington Beach was arrested for assaulting a parking attendant at a downtown bank. John Douglas Steuart, 57, attempted to exit the parking lot of Bank of America at 1301 4th St. without paying. When a parking attendant confronted him about paying the parking fee, Steuart hit her with his car and continued to accelerate while she lay on the ground.

Tacos Punta Cabras closed due to a dispute with its landlord over mold, water leaks and a rodent infestation.

The Santa Monica Police Department provided disciplinary records from the past five years showing that officers have mistakenly fired a gun while pursuing a robbery suspect, stolen earbuds from a store manager and attempted to get preferential treatment to adopt a puppy.

Santa Monica announced its first Pride Month. Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Place, the Third Street Promenade and surrounding businesses hosted food festivals, happy hours, storytelling time for kids and silent discos to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. used new software to take photos and measurements of curbs and sidewalks in the downtown area, creating a map that it could use to change where scooter riders leave their devices, how delivery drivers park and where Ubers and Lyfts wait for riders.

City Hall announced a plan to build affordable housing on a property it owns downtown. The City owns 1318 4th St., which is currently home to Parking Structure No. 3. The structure is heavily used but has long been slated for demolition, and the City designed Parking Structure No. 6 to replace the parking capacity that would be lost. The new affordable apartments will likely be reserved for homeless people.

President Donald Trump swung through Santa Monica. The president was on his way to a 2020 reelection campaign fundraiser in Beverly Hills. His arrival included a motorcade which brought traffic jams momentarily throughout Santa Monica.

City Council voted on regulations for sidewalk vending to comply with a new state law that requires cities to establish rules for vendors without prohibiting or criminalizing them. In addition to creating a permitting system for vendors, City Hall is looking to ban them from the beach, Santa Monica Pier, part of Palisades Park and the Third Street Promenade and direct them to other downtown areas like the Colorado Esplanade.

A former coach at a local Catholic high school alleged its athletic director verbally and physically threatened him and devalued the school’s girls’ sports programs.

The city released a six month update on the Shared Mobility Pilot Program, showing 105 scooter and bike parking zones have been stenciled on city streets and sidewalks and police have issued 1,542 citations to riders.

The School on Wheels came to the Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club to honor more than 200 volunteers who go out into communities every week helping homeless children with their school work and studies.

A Santa Monica man was sentenced to more than nine years in prison for an inter-state identity theft case and mortgage fraud case. George French Jones, Jr., 50, was sentenced to 116 months by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola in Miami, after previously pleading guilty to mail fraud and identity theft charges in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme involving two waterfront residential properties in Broward County, Florida. He was also ordered to pay over $1.8 million in restitution.

A transportation center that sells Big Blue Bus passes and parking permits opened downtown. The GoSaMo Center replaced the former Transit Store on the ground level of Parking Structure 5 at 1444 4th St.

Environmental advocates gathered in Santa Monica this week in defense of an endangered wolf species. The Center for Biological Diversity planned a rally to encourage the California Fish and Game Commission to oppose a Trump administration proposal that would remove the gray wolf from the federal Endangered Species Act.

Hollywood writers and agents developed a protracted labor dispute that included a directive from the Writers Guild of America for its members to fire their agents.

Santa Monica Police officer Rashad Riley died during a Hawaiian vacation. Riley jumped off a tall rock at the beach and was swimming back to shore when he apparently encountered trouble near the rocky area.

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM) launched a pilot program to set aside two parking spaces in front of 2nd Street restaurants HiHo Cheeseburger and Uovo for drivers contracting with food delivery apps like Postmates and DoorDash. Two spaces in Parking Structure 1 on 4th Street will also be available.

Rob Bailis left Cal Performances at UC Berkeley to serve as artistic and executive director of the Broad Stage. The performing arts space incorporates a 500-seat theater and a 100-seat black-box theater, which host concerts, plays, dance performances, operas and lectures.

The restaurateurs behind Milo & Olive opened a to-go pizza parlor on Pico Boulevard. Milo SRO, which stands for Standing Room Only, bills itself as the laid-back little sister to the ever-popular bakery and pizzeria Milo & Olive.

O’Brien’s Irish Pub celebrated its quarter-century anniversary. Owner Willy O’Sullivan, said his business has survived so long in the city due to being a lot like its owner — thriving and  changing things up when times get tough.

Two developments that sparked protests from Ocean Park residents moved forward. City Council denied appeals filed by South Ocean Avenue Residents and Unite Here Local 11 against multi-story, mixed-use buildings at 1828 Ocean Ave. and 1921 Ocean Front Walk.

City Hall will cut about 29 jobs and save $17 million in spending by mid-2021 to prepare for its coming financial shortfalls as it pays down its $448 million unfunded pension liability over the next 13 years. Even with an accelerated payment plan for the pension liability that will save $106 million in interest and fewer employees and services, the city of Santa Monica’s General Fund will still be at least $15 million in the red in eight years.

A proposal from the state assemblymember representing Santa Monica to control rising rents did not move forward this year. Assemblymember Richard Bloom canceled a public hearing on his bill to change a 1995 state law that blocks rent control on apartments built after that year and on all single-family homes.

A two-alarm fire damaged the roof of a downtown apartment building Wednesday night but there were no injuries to residents or firefighters.

Ownership at a Third Street Promenade food hall consolidated with half of its current and planned restaurants now under the same ownership. K2 Restaurants, a Los Angeles based restaurant group, already owns STRFSH, Azulé Taqueria and Supertoro in the Downtown location. The company announced that it now owns Paperboy Pizza, also located on the second floor of The Gallery.

A four-story building will replace a gift store on Wilshire Boulevard, near Santa Monica’s border with Los Angeles. The building at 3223 Wilshire Blvd. will add 53 apartments, four of which will be affordable to households earning 30 percent of the area median income, and about 5,400 square feet of commercial space to Northeast Santa Monica.

A popular Mediterranean restaurant near Santa Monica Airport opened a new location downtown. Crimson serves healthy Persian fare in a sleek space at 606 Broadway.

Previous Month: March

Come back tomorrow for Part 2: May – August

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Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...

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