Uni puff with uni, truffle, kombu honey. (Melisse)

DECEMBER

The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes returned to Calvary Baptist Church on the corner of 20th Street and Broadway. There are now 14 dioramas in the display that depicts scenes from the New Testament, including The Annunciation, Joseph’s dream, and Herod’s court, as well as the manger.

A report released by the city of Santa Monica on preventing gentrification in the Pico neighborhood recommended enhancing tenant protections and building more affordable housing rather than downzoning the neighborhood, as the Pico Neighborhood Association had called for.

Hundreds of youth and their adult supporters went on strike from Black Friday shopping to demand federal and local action in response to the climate crisis. Students, adults and organizations from across the Westside and greater Los Angeles region gathered in Santa Monica’s Tongva Park to rally before marching and conducting a “die-in” at the Third Street Promenade.

Thanks to the school-wide effort at Will Rogers Learning Community, the local middle school has completed the International Baccalaureate’s very lengthy application phase and is now an official candidate school for the Primary Years Programme.

The Santa Monica Police Department arrested a man for attempted murder but the suspect was released after the District Attorney asked for additional information before pressing charges. The suspect was arrested in connection with a fight near the beach that resulted in the victim being stabbed several times.

UCLA Medical Center, held an emergency drill that involved dozens of administrators, doctors and other staff members at the hospital. As a recipient of the Hospital Preparedness Program grant funding, UCLA Health regularly participates in statewide medical exercises in an effort to practice the hospital’s emergency activation and response procedures.

The Federal Aviation Administration found that the city of Santa Monica failed to properly document its loans to the Santa Monica Airport. FAA officials wrote in a decision that the city drafted multiple loan agreements with the airport that lacked signatures, interest rates and other loan terms. The agency also found that the city overcharged the airport to land aircraft and allowed Santa Monica College to rent airport property at a below-market rate.

To recognize the seven year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and honor the victims of everyday gun violence, local organizations held a vigil as part of a nationwide tribute. The event was hosted by Santa Monica Interfaith Community, St. Monica Catholic Church and Los Angeles Chapter of the Brady United to Prevent Gun Violence.

Longtime Santa Monica resident Sharla P. Boehm celebrated her 90th birthday with a reception Wednesday at the Santa Monica Public Library. Despite being the birthday girl, Boehm was the one gifting presents as she and her husband donated $60,000 to assist the local library branch in digitizing the city’s telephone directories, which date back to 1896 and are some of the most comprehensive records used by local history and genealogy researchers.

Almost 500 apartments — 100 of them affordable — are planned downtown, in the Pico neighborhood and near Bergamot. Four hundred and seventy five units in five buildings moved through the Architectural Review Board and the Planning Commission in a week, including two WS Communities microapartment projects and a 100% affordable project from Community Corporation of Santa Monica.

An elderly man was assaulted while walking in downtown Santa Monica. The man was walking near the intersection of Wilshire and Lincoln boulevards when a man punched him in the face, causing significant facial trauma. The suspect was later found by officers in Palisades Park and taken into custody without incident.

Police arrested a man in connection with a November assault on an elderly woman and sought the public’s help in identifying any additional victims of similar assaults. The woman was assaulted while walking home from a grocery store in Ocean Park. A man grabbed her from behind, took her to the ground and began to violently strangle her, causing her to lose consciousness multiple times. SMPD was able to identify the suspect as Kenneth Jordan Wilburn, a 28-year-old Sacramento resident.

Airbnb was forced to remove listings that violate the city of Santa Monica’s home-sharing law under a settlement it reached with the city. The settlement requires all listings to display a city license number, which are provided to hosts who register with the city and obtain a business permit and license.

City Council expressed support Tuesday for upzoning and removing barriers to housing development to accommodate the 9,000 homes the state might require Santa Monica to approve over the next decade.

Kevin McKeown was named mayor and will serve a one-year term. He replaced Gleam Davis, who served as mayor this past year. Terry O’Day will remain Mayor Pro Tempore until the end of next year.

The Shore Hotel will be forced to set aside 72 rooms at $180 per night, which usually charges $300 to $800 per night, as part of a settlement with the Coastal Commission. The rooms are intended to replace lower-cost rooms that were lost in 2011 when Sunshine Enterprises tore down two motels on the site to build the hotel without a permit from the commission. The Shore will also have to build a new 14 room micro hotel.

Major League Baseball said it would start testing for opioids and cocaine, but only players who do not cooperate with their treatment plans will be subject to discipline. Marijuana will be removed from the list of drugs of abuse and will be treated the same as alcohol as part of changes. The changes follow the death of Samohi grad Tyler Skaggs from an opioid overdose.

Spitfire Grill announced it would close after almost 30 years of service. Spitfire will remain open for a few months while the new owners finalize their paperwork for The Cloverfield.

City Council voted to support a Big Blue Bus proposal to add bus-only lanes on portions of 4th Street and Pico Boulevard during peak hours. The lanes would allow buses to travel more quickly through Santa Monica’s most congested corridors.

To honor the day-to-day efforts advocating for the betterment of humanity and their community, local Santa Monica High School and New Roads School students were recognized during the Human Rights Educators USA special Youth Engagement Recognition.

A program to guarantee Santa Monica renters legal representation would cost up to $1 million per year, officials said. The City Council voted to develop an ordinance that would provide free legal counsel to tenants faced with eviction.

The Supreme Court did not review an appellate decision that makes it harder for cities to keep homeless people from sleeping on the streets. The justices did not comment as they left in place a ruling that struck down a Boise, Idaho, ordinance.

Nine local rent-controlled tenants have secured a million dollar settlement in a lawsuit against their former landlords. In the 2016 lawsuit, the tenants alleged that their landlords, the Mink family, maintained their apartment building in an uninhabitable and unsafe condition and then illegally tried to terminate their tenancies after a fire forced them to vacate the building and failed to pay them temporary relocation benefits required under local law.

Mélisse announced it would reopen as a 14-seat restaurant with a seasonal tasting menu. Chef Josiah Citrin will also open the 99-seat restaurant Citrin in the same building.

SMMUSD staff said the district is deficit spending a combined $19 million in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 fiscal years. As a result, SMMUSD’s ending fund balance is expected to be negative $4.7 million in 2021- 2022.

The city said it will review and may consolidate its boards and commissions, which advise the City Council on matters such as urban planning, social services and sustainability. The City Council voted to adopt a swathe of recommendations from city staff that would change the rules governing boards, commissions and task forces and form an ad hoc group to review the bodies.

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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