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.


The SMMUSD Board of Education discussed adding security cameras around the perimeters of school campuses and requiring all campus visitors to check in through an ID verification system that runs their identity through criminal databases. The measures are intended to make the district’s schools more secure against crime and other scenarios, such as active shooter situations.

New state legislation extended some of the insurance and safety protections Santa Monica provides for dockless scooter and bike riders to all Californians. AB 1286, by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), required that cities and counties adopt and scooter and bike companies comply with safety rules like the ones set forth in Santa Monica’s Shared Mobility Pilot Program.

Council voted to shorten its often lengthy meetings by incentivizing members of the public to speak for one minute instead of two. Members of the public who address Council for one minute can speak at the beginning of the item, while those who use two minutes will speak after.

Jackie Rivera-Krouse took over the Santa Monica Farmers Market from longtime manager Laura Avery. Rivera-Krouse, who was born in Santa Monica and grew up in northeast Los Angeles, said some of her earliest memories are of the Santa Monica Farmers Market.

Two new apartment buildings were approved in downtown Santa Monica, one replacing an office building and the other filling an empty lot. One is a six-story building at 1437 7th Street with 10,000 square feet of commercial space on its ground floor and 65 apartments in its upper stories. The other is a five-story building at 1235 5th Street with about 1,800 square feet of ground floor commercial space and 23 apartments.

Fresh N’ Lean opened its first store at 705 Montana Ave. offering grab-and-go meals designed for meat eaters, vegans and those trying to lose weight. Customers can visit the store in person, order a la carte deliveries or try different meals before they sign up for one of the company’s delivery plans.

Stephen Lloyd Fader, 42, was charged with murder after stabbing his mother and father. His mother died at the scene but his father survived.

Several Santa Monica parents began a campaign to change the start of school days. The petition asks the school district to move school start times for all middle and high schools to 8:30 a.m. or later for the benefit of students’ wellbeing.

Santa Monica was spared any serious damage during a weekend storm but PCH was closed due to sporadic flooding and debris flows.

Heroic Wine Bar opened at 514 Santa Monica Blvd. serving Italian fare from award-winning chef Barbara Pollastrini in addition to a wine, cheese and charcuterie menu. All cheeses and meats at both the deli and the wine bar are imported and the wines are rated 90 points or higher.

Tyra Banks announced an attraction called Modelland at Santa Monica Place. Banks, a supermodel and television host, said she is launching a ticketed retail and dining experience at the downtown Santa Monica mall. It will be the flagship location of what she is planning to expand as a global chain.

Community Corporation of Santa Monica won $1 million in a countywide challenge to come up with housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness. CCSM is proposing using prefabricated housing units to construct permanent supportive housing, which would reduce costs by up to 25 percent and cut construction time in half.

A former mechanic for Bird alleged in a lawsuit that the company breached its agreement with the city of Santa Monica to provide safe, durable scooters. Screenshots of Bird’s internal communication show that an operations specialist asked mechanics in November not to take scooters off the road or report them as damaged if they had missing screws, grips or kickstands, loose necks, handlebars, bolts or brains or broken reflectors.

Experiential retail became a trend locally as stores began offering  customers an interactive shopping or entertainment experience that they can only get by visiting a physical store. An increasing number of retailers are opening in-store restaurants and bars, hosting free and ticketed events or giving customers the chance to interact with new technology.

The Coastal Commission approved a partial demolition and remodel of a long vacant building in one of the Santa Monica’s most desirable locations. The properties at 423 – 429 Ocean Ave are across the street from Palisades Park with ocean views. The 16 former apartments have been vacant for a decade and will be converted into 14 condominiums after the Coastal Commission required a density increase beyond limits previously set by Santa Monica.

The growth of co-working in Santa Monica accelerated rapidly as two industry giants, Spaces and WeWork, announced plans to open more than 180,000 square feet of co-working space near Bergamot Station. Spaces has signed an almost 70,000 square foot lease at the Water Garden on 26th Street and WeWork is taking over the 116,000 square foot Lantana Campus on Olympic Boulevard.

Outer, a Santa Monica-based direct-to-consumer furniture company, launched Neighborhood Showrooms, a concept that will display Outer’s outdoor furniture through a customer’s home.

Kevin Ferron was arrested and charged with attempted murder after attacking his girlfriend at their home. Arrest records show Ferron had been arrested four times in the last year, and police said he has a prior history of domestic violence.

Camron Lee, was arrested as  a person of interest in connection with the murder of De’Ommie de la Cruz. De la Cruz was celebrating a friend’s birthday on a party bus that stopped near the Santa Monica Pier in 2017 when someone began firing a gun into the crowd. De la Cruz was hit by several gunshots and died.

An advertising campaign for season nine of ‘The Walking Dead’ spooked children on the Third Street Promenade. The AMC show that explores life after the zombie apocalypse put up posters at 1201 Third Street Promenade, a building that Barnes and Noble vacated, featuring actors from the show dressed as zombies. The show hired actors to dress up as zombies and walk around the Promenade.

WISE & Healthy Aging, a nonprofit headquartered in Santa Monica, tipped off Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer that a nursing home in Westlake was improperly discharging homeless and mentally-impaired residents, resulting in a $600,000 settlement.

City Council approved the Santa Monica Pier Corporation’s request to move the Pier concert’s start date to the third Wednesday in August, which was estimated to increase attendance by about 30 percent and make Twilight more attractive to corporate sponsors.

The City of Santa Monica officially lost the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) lawsuit. The judge said future City Council elections should be determined by a seven district map. The final ruling reinforced the amended tentative ruling. City Hall appealed the decision.

Huckleberry Cafe, a comfort food cafe located off Wilshire (and 2018 Most Loved SM Breakfast/Brunch winner), celebrated its ten-year anniversary. Owners Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan said Huckleberry’s longevity and support from the community have been a surprise and they’re both thankful for the local support.

A 40-unit building at 601 Wilshire Blvd. will replace a FedEx and a defunct ticket services center and another 40-unit building at 525 Colorado Ave. will replace a one-story building and parking lot occupied by software company Carbon Five. Each will contain more than 6,000 square feet of commercial space facing the street.

The VOID opened on the Promenade offering a new virtual reality concept tied to popular movies such as Star Wars and Wreck it Ralph.

The Breeze Bike Share program lost revenue and ridership to competition from dockless scooters and bikes.

Three companies trying to take cars off the road during peak commute hours worked together to make it easier for companies to encourage their employees to carpool. Waze Carpool announced that it partnered with commuting platforms RideAmigos and Luum so employers using Waze can incentivize employees to carpool, such as by giving gift cards, paid time off, gas money or parking passes.

Big Blue Bus installed solar-powered LED signs that will show arrival times at 10 large bus shelters and 166 bus stops in Santa Monica and Los Angeles by mid-2019. The 176 shelters and stops comprise 76 percent of BBB ridership. BBB has also equipped 19 of its newest buses with free Wi-Fi and a wireless connection will be standard on all new buses.

Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library is a volunteer-run 501 3(c) non-profit that raises funds and advocates on behalf of the Santa Monica Public Library System. The group set a goal to raise about $100k to fund many programs throughout the year, including Santa Monica Reads, the Summer Reading Program, SMPL at the Beach, Soundwaves concerts, author talks, movie screenings and branch programming such as literacy improvement for kids.

The Santa Monica Police Department arrested three people and seized 21 handguns, eight long guns/rifles, over 4000 rounds of ammunition, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin in a raid triggered by local drug sales. More than $200,000 in cash was also found at the scene.

Richard Bloom, a former Mayor of Santa Monica who represents the Westside in the California State Assembly, introduced a bill that would make California the 25th state to mandate that private health insurance companies cover the costs of hearing aids for children. Bloom also announced that he introduced legislation to tax soda sold in California as a way to tackle the state’s diabetes and obesity problems.

The state senator representing Santa Monica introduced a bill that seeks to phase out single-use plastics by 2030. Sen. Ben Allen, who represents the Westside, Hollywood and the South Bay in the California State Senate, introduced legislation requiring all single-use packaging and products to be reusable, recyclable or compostable. The bill has been shelved until next year’s legislative session.

Stunt workers stepped up their campaign for recognition at the Oscars. Alex Daniels, 38-year veteran stunt coordinator and president of the Stuntmen’s Association, said the stunt community has been fighting for representation at the Oscars since at least 1991. Even with several stunt members in the Academy and several discussions and meetings, they have gained no traction in their fight.

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