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Bike shops were one of the businesses with unique problems caused by the pandemic. With residents forced to look for new recreation options, sales surged at local shops however stores were unable to find enough bikes to sell as inventory pipelines collapsed. Repair wait times skyrocketed as thousands of residents tried to fix old equipment. Similar shortages hit products like camping equipment, baking supplies, home office equipment and outdoor heaters as various industries reacted to pandemic restrictions. 

Businesses began closing permanently due to the pandemic. Restaurants like Ippudo Ramen, Dialogue, Enterprise Fish Co. and Panini Grill were among the eateries who didn’t survive the year while the closures also claimed various retail establishments.

Officials said they were cautiously optimistic that the County was getting back on track with efforts to reduce COVID-19 cases after a summer spike during June and July. 

A huge wildfire in mountains east of Los Angeles forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes in one of the region’s biggest blazes. 

The House Oversight Committee invited the new postmaster general to appear at a hearing to examine operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service that caused delays in mail deliveries across the country. Mail problems were a persistent concern leading up to the election and package delivery became a significant source of resident complaints in the later part of the year.

The U.S. Postal Service says it lost $2.2 billion in the three months that ended in June as the beleaguered agency — hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic — piles up financial losses that officials warn could top $20 billion over two years.

Officials said the region’s homeless crisis will get worse as the pandemic ripples through the local economy. Service providers said coronavirus shuttered in person services while endangering housing for some of the area’s most vulnerable residents.

State prison officials said as many as 17,600 California inmates would be released early due to the coronavirus, 70% more than previously estimated and a total that victims and police said includes dangerous criminals who should stay locked up.

Santa Monica Brew Works announced a series of local partnerships to produce beer inspired by local businesses. The company reintroduced a beer honoring the legacy of Rip City Skates, a shandy brewed with lemonade from Hot Dog On A Stick and a beer made with beer from Bay Cities Deli. 

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials said there were extreme disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths within the county’s affluent and impoverished areas. Officials said residents in poor communities were more likely to be in essential work capacities, have less access to healthcare and were less able to isolate themselves. 

A local man began running a 5K a day for 115 consecutive days while fundraising in the name of Breonna Taylor.

The Santa Monica Police Department arrested a man for stabbing a homeless person in Reed Park. When officers arrived at the park they saw the suspect walk towards the center of the park and stab the victim who was lying on the ground. 

A former Los Angeles Angels employee was charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs. The team reaffirmed its position that management didn’t know Skaggs was an opioid user and didn’t know any employees were providing drugs to players.

The Venice Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber in Action Committee continued connecting chamber members to local nonprofits and businesses in need of improvement through digital workshops. In one project, local artists pivoted to a virtual workshops for Clare Matrix residents after the pandemic forced them to cancel plans for a large mural on site. 

Ralph Mechur was the only incumbent who chose not to file for reelection. Mechur was a member of the SMMUSD Board and retired rather than run again. 

Employees in SMMUSD’s child care and preschool programs, as well as its special education department, were among the employees out of work due to financial problems, but local educators said the decision negatively affected students districtwide when the pandemic was already putting some student groups at a severe disadvantage.

Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, making history by selecting the first Black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket and acknowledging the vital role Black voters would play in his bid to defeat President Donald Trump.

A group of Samohi seniors left a lasting legacy with a generous parting gift- a $15,400 donation to be used for the purchase of this year’s summer reading book “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson.

The City of Santa Monica in collaboration with the People Concern housed 26 homeless individuals who were high risk for COVID in a locally owned Santa Monica motel. While homeless shelters saw some large COVID-19 outbreaks, the virus didn’t bring devastation to the homeless population as many feared. 

ZJ Boarding House, which had been a hallmark of Main Street since 1988, announced it would close its doors due to unresolved lease negotiations between Boardriders, the parent company, and the landlord. However, after several months, the two sides were able to negotiate a deal and the store announced it would reopen. 

Santa Monica’s bikeshare program, Breeze, ceased operations. The program had been in operation for five years with a mix of funding from user fees and a corporate sponsorship. The system needed significant reinvestment to continue operating and officials said money was not available to keep the system running. 

The City of Santa Monica received $108,066.05 in donations to address the coronavirus pandemic and costs associated with the May 31 riots. City Hall began accepting donations in March. Donors can give cash or goods/ services directly to the city or to the We Are Santa Monica Fund. Donations to the City can be used for city programs or distributed to non-profits. 

After the filing deadline, there were 21 residents vying for council’s four available full-term seats and one resident running for the partial-term seat.

Los Angeles County said data suggested the county was continuing to improve with regard to COVID cases. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County reached 223,131.

Local fundraisers continued to move their efforts online. The Venice Chamber of Commerce brought the experience of live art to living rooms as the Venice Art Crawl streamed its 10th anniversary. The Santa Monica Education Foundation and PTA fundraising efforts in Malibu raised $2,068,155 and $337,543 respectively for the upcoming school year. The Ed Foundation saw a 9 percent decrease in parent participation and a 5 percent decrease in money raised from businesses, which was attributed to the financial impact of the pandemic.

Joni Swenson, who had been the orchestra director at Samohi for 17 years, announced her retirement. Beloved by students, parents, and teachers alike, Swenson helped bring the Santa Monica High School symphony orchestra to concerts across the world.

The former operators of Brandy Melville Canada sued executives from Brandy Melville USA, over unfair business practices that were allegedly in retaliation for the plaintiffs’ refusal to comply with racist policies. The plaintiffs claim that in or around April 2017, Yvan Marsan representing Bastiat USA Inc., a Santa Monica-based manufacturer of fashion brand Brandy Melville, ordered the Canadian operators to shut down their Square One store because of the “ghetto” clientele.

A lawsuit against scooter company Lime alleged company officials neglected to properly maintain equipment, which led to severe injuries to riders. The lawsuit from McGee, Lerer & Associates alleged more than 40 riders suffered grievous injuries resulting from defective brakes, wheels, throttles and handlebars. The complaint also alleged that Segway manufactured defective scooters and geofencing technicalities played a role in the injuries as well.

Three council members asked for an outside agency to expedite an analysis of the City’s response to looting and riots. Councilmembers Terry O’Day, Kristin McCowan and Sue Himmelrich asked staff to promptly retain an outside expert to compile the final report after SMPD said it was unable to do so. 

SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati issued an apology after an automatic system generated passwords for students that could be considered racist. In an email sent to the community Drati said the password was removed from the system but said anyone who thinks an automatic password is inappropriate should contact officials.

Officials said every Los Angeles County voter would be mailed a Vote By Mail (VBM) ballot as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about in-person voting. VBM ballots could be returned three ways, by mail, ballot drop-off box or at a Vote Center.

Santa Monica’s famed farmer’s markets returned to local streets after a hiatus. All three markets reopened after two were forced to consolidate and eventually suspend operations due to COVID rules. 

SMMUSD partnered with nonprofit Human I-T to donate old electronics to low income families, preventing almost 2,000 lbs of e-waste from entering landfills. The program helped meet families’ elevated need for personal electronics during distance learning and advanced the District’s sustainability goals.

When restaurants reopened in June, breweries rushed to open COVID-safe beer gardens in partnership with local food vendors but they were forced to shut down indefinitely mere weeks later as rules changed. 

City officials approved new rules governing rental units that prevent landlords from offering leases less than a year in length. The adopted ordinance states leases must be longer than 365 days and rental housing units cannot be furnished. Advertising any lease of a residential rental unit that does not comply with these requirements is also prohibited and violators will be subject to fines and penalties.