The Daily Press is summarizing the news of the year as published in our pages. See the next month here.

Serious crime dropped 16% in 2019. After reaching a historically low level in 2014, the rate of Part 1 crimes, which include murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, theft, grand theft auto and arson, increased 29% between 2015 and 2018. But in 2019, 16% fewer Part 1 crimes were reported than in 2018.

City Council approved a water self-sufficiency plan that will double the price of water and wastewater removal by 2024. The rate increases will finance about $42 million in infrastructure projects that will allow Santa Monica to stop importing water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California by 2023. 

Bad student debt doubled over the last four years at Santa Monica College but officials were left with fewer options for collecting following the passage of the Education Debt Collection Practices Act. The most recent increase in debt, from 2017-2018 to 2018-2019, was $382,362. The Educational Debt Collection Practices Act, formerly AB1313, makes it illegal to withhold a transcript from a student in order to collect fees, mistreat a transcript request due to outstanding fees, or use a transcript as a means of debt collection from a student.

The UCLA Film & Television Archive, the second-largest repository of motion pictures and broadcast programming in the U.S., joined the UCLA Library. The Archive, which had operated under the auspices of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, will now be more closely aligned with the UCLA Library’s archival and research collections; the move positions the Archive’s holdings to be better integrated in instruction and research at UCLA, and it will expand access to the Archive through the Library’s robust digital platforms.

Samohi Seniors Morgan Jarow, playing the Sousaphone and Ian DiMundo, playing the Herald Trumpet were part of 250 Students from Southern California accepted into the Tournament of Roses Honors Marching Band, the only band to be in the parade consistently since 1930.

As it has every year since 2009, the city’s Workers’ Compensation Program once again saw an increase to its total program liabilities. The city’s Risk Management Division compiles its Workers’ Compensation Annual Report every year. Medical and indemnity payments increased 23% driven mostly by claims from the Police Department. 

The Staples store located on Wilshire Boulevard and 15th Street announced it would close. Target eventually took over the space as its second Santa Monica location. 

Santa Monica Restaurant Week returned featuring kumquats as the secret ingredient. Santa Monica’s Restaurant Week is held every year in conjunction with California Restaurant Month in an effort to highlight the many fine-dining options that are available in the area as well as the Santa Monica Farmers Market.

StoryCorps’ MobileBooth came to Santa Monica. Founded in 2003 by award winning documentary producer and MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, StoryCorps has traveled to every corner of the country to record interviews that will be passed down for generations to come.

The Santa Monica Education Foundation ended a three-week fundraising campaign that resulted in more than $213,000, which will be used to benefit the various science, technology, engineering and math programs that are currently in place on Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District campuses. A total of 286 donors contributed local education foundation’s $25,000 matching opportunity.

The Venice Mexican American Traqueros Monument Committee stepped up efforts to establish a monument at Venice’s Windward Circle that would educate visitors and help preserve the Westside’s Mexican American history.

About 18% of Los Angeles County Jail inmates could be diverted to mental health treatment programs, according to a study a local think-tank released. One in three inmates in the county jail have serious mental illnesses, or about 5,100 of the 17,000 individuals in the average daily inmate population. The RAND Corporation study found that 61% of those 5,100 individuals were appropriate candidates for community-based treatment programs and an additional 7% were potentially appropriate.

Fritto Misto moved to 620 Santa Monica Blvd. The popular restaurant has been a fixture in the city for years but their old building is scheduled for redevelopment.

A 48-year-old man pleaded no contest to shooting a man during an argument at a Venice bar. Robert Leo Mewhorter (dob 8/10/71), a transient, entered the plea to one count of attempted murder and admitted allegations of using a handgun and causing great bodily injury.

City Council voted to extend the city’s contract with Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., the downtown business improvement district, for ambassador services in Reed Park. The six-month, $207,000 contract would provide 228 service hours each week to try to mitigate the impact of homelessness on the park. 

The State of the City event offered free admission for residents for the first time after City Council approved up to $10,000 from the council’s contingency fund to cover the cost of admission for residents. 

Santa Monica’s first and only craft brewery underwent a major expansion. The owners of Santa Monica Brew Works applied to start serving food in a larger tasting room, open a weekend beer garden and add a second production facility in the brewery’s Colorado Avenue building that will more than double its brewing capacity.

Santa Monica’s largest affordable housing provider broke ground on its first building outside city limits. The LEED Platinum development from Community Corporation of Santa Monica will provide 50 apartments for low income households in Mar Vista.

Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division arrested a homeless man, Evan McLaurin-Nelson, for the attempted kidnapping of a young child in Venice Beach. The victim, a six-year-old female was with her family visiting Venice Beach when the suspect approached her and stated that he knew her and that he had to “save her.” The suspect then followed the victim until she was placed in her mother’s lap who was sitting outside of a local restaurant. The suspect reached for the child but was stopped by being forcefully pushed away by a member of the victim’s family. Several seconds later, the suspect attempted to grab the girl again. This time, the victim’s family member was able to grab the suspect and throw him to the ground. 

The Arnold Strongman USA Championship returned to the Santa Monica Pier bringing some of the strongest men in the world who will compete alongside 10 firefighters.

The city of Santa Monica began requiring electric vehicle drivers to pay to use public charging stations for the first time to help fund almost 900 new chargers by 2025. City Council unanimously approved overstay charge and supported plans to introduce charging fees.

The home of a famed local architect was put on the market for $20 million. The Landmarks Commission voted unanimously to landmark the estate John Parkinson built in 1920 on Woodacres Road and lived in until his death in 1935.

Council revised rules for construction of new single-story homes. Council has previously approved rules that limited new construction of a single-story home less than 18 feet to 50% of coverage. New construction of a single-story home more than 18 feet was limited to 45%. A new two-story home was limited to 45%. An addition to a single-story home less than 18 feet could cover up to 55% and an addition to a two-story home could also cover up to 55%. However, the rules did not specify parcel coverage rules for an existing single-story home over 18 feet with an addition. The revised rules preserved the caps on new construction at 50 and 45% and stipulated that all homes with additions, regardless of height, are limited to 55%.

Community leaders, local residents and members of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition gathered for a celebration that sought to honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. 

The head of a Chinese government expert team said that human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus, a development that raised the possibility that it could spread more quickly and widely. The late-night announcement capped a day in which authorities announced a sharp uptick in the number of confirmed cases to more than 200, and China’s leader called on the government to take every possible step to combat the outbreak.

The investigation into the actions of child molester Eric Uller continued with officers now focused on individuals who may have failed to report or stop Uller despite knowledge of accusations against him. The Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Department interviewed witnesses as part of their ongoing investigation but would not provide details of their inquiry.

Marijuana may account for at least half of the drugs sold on the dark web according to a local graduate school student. Students at the Pardee RAND Graduate School discovered while analyzing hundreds of thousands of listings that marijuana was the most-trafficked drug on the dark web, an encrypted part of the internet that is not indexed by conventional search engines. 

Parents in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District voiced concerns that the district’s sustainability efforts will fall by the wayside, following the departure of the department head. 

A student filed a lawsuit, through his mother, against the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District that alleges the district and its employees ignored ongoing incidents of physical and verbal abuse against the student and violated his civil rights.

Jaime Francisco Bertrand was arrested on Jan. 20 on a murder charge but the District Attorney’s office filed an Involuntary Manslaughter case against Bertrand during his court Hearing. The arrest stems from a fight and death that occurred on the 1100 block of 14th Street. 

The District attorney filed ten charges against a Santa Monica man who was accused of throwing several firebombs into the streets. Korie Paul Schmidt was charged with seven counts of possessing a destructive device, one count of possessing destructive device materials and two counts of possessing explosive devices with intent to destroy property.

UCLA Health, local community members and former patients gathered for an open house event that sought to celebrate UCLA Breast Center Santa Monica’s growth over the years. Attendees enjoyed refreshments, tours and the opportunity to connect with the center’s many patients and doctors.

Santa Monica High School student Rex Evans was named one of more than 4,500 candidates in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2020.

After 35 years of work in local and federal government, Assistant City Manager Katie Lichtig announced plans to retire from public service. Lichtig returned to Santa Monica in 2017 as Assistant City Manager and Chief Operating Officer. 

An Expo train struck and killed a man. According to the Santa Monica Police Department, a westbound Expo train hit a pedestrian in the intersection of Lincoln and Colorado when the victim walked in front of the train.

A helicopter carrying former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and eight others crashed in a wreck that aviation experts said may have been caused by the pilot becoming disoriented in the fog.

The Census Bureau recruited 72,000 part-time workers to count their own communities in Los Angeles County. Census takers knocked on doors to follow up with households who had not self responded to the 2020 Census.

City Council approved a second Shared Mobility Pilot Program that reduced the number of companies allowed to operate in Santa Monica over the program’s 18-month duration. Councilmembers said the city would be better able to administer the program if it concentrates its regulatory power on two to three companies that offer high-quality devices, stable pricing and systems that reduce sidewalk riding and haphazard parking.

Firefighters made a dramatic ladder rescue of a man about to jump from a burning Los Angeles apartment building and helicopters plucked people from the roof of the 25-story highrise as other terrified residents fled through smoke-choked stairwells to safety.

195 Americans evacuated from the Chinese city at the center of the new virus outbreak had three days of testing and monitoring at a California military base to ensure they do not show signs of the illness. The people flown out of China on a plane chartered by the U.S. government were quarantined.