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A court of appeals issued a ruling that reversed a previous order forcing Santa Monica to change the format of its city council elections. Plaintiffs in the CVRA case filed an appeal with the California Supreme Court for a final ruling. 

A man was arrested in connection with the arson of Sake House restaurant during the looting on May 31. He was charged with one count of arson, a felony offense that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years.

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars and indoor dining at restaurants to close in most areas of the state for three weeks amid a surge of new coronavirus cases. The revised stay-at-home order affected 19 counties where nearly three-quarters of the state’s roughly 40 million people live — including Los Angeles County.

Officials temporarily reclosed beaches, beach parking lots, beach bike paths, beach facilities and beach accessways over the July 4 holiday to prevent crowds from spreading COVID-19. 

A Santa Monica based charity was ordered to dissolve and its directors were prohibited from serving on any future non-profit board or handle money associated with a volunteer position. The California Attorney General announced a $7 million settlement against the Lithuanian Assistance Foundation over allegations of wrongdoing.

Local residents continued to participate and organize actions around social justice. Groups organized marches, protests and educational events throughout the area while many residents participated in vigils, town hall meetings or other events to continue discussions about institutional racism.

The School District adopted its 2020-2021 budget with the hope that extra funding would arrive from the state budget.

Santa Monica High School teacher Guadalupe Mireles-Toumayan declined an opportunity to teach at Harvard University in order to have a greater impact in her own community.

Local beaches scored well on the annual Beach Report Card issued by Heal the Bay. No local beaches were part of the Beach Bummer list this year and while Santa Monica beaches had a wide variety of grades based on conditions, all were listed as A or A+ during dry weather.

COVID-19 patients got younger as the county’s case count increased. Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said hospitalizations of people over 65 had declined while individuals between 17 and 65 were being hospitalized at an increased rate. Officials said almost 50% of new cases occurred among younger people with the most significant increase in the percentage of cases among residents between 18 and 40 years old.

Alicia Arden and attorney Gloria Allred demanded the Santa Monica Police Department investigate why no action was taken when Arden accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexually battering her at a Santa Monica hotel in 1997.

Two men were arrested in connection with the looting of downtown businesses on May 31. According to SMPD, detectives identified a vehicle related to the REI looting through social media posts that showed two suspects loading merchandise into the car.

More than 80 people applied to be an interim council member following the unexpected resignation of Councilman Greg Morena. Kristin McCowan, a native Santa Monican, was appointed to the City Council for four months to fill the vacancy.

The City of Santa Monica launched a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide eligible applicants with up to three months of rental assistance.

An employee of a local restaurant died after exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and coworkers filed a complaint with state and county regulators over safety protocols at the Santa Monica Burger King location.

California officials released another 3,100 inmates from state prisons in response to the coronavirus pandemic and in all planned to release a total of more than 10,000 inmates, or nearly 10 percent of prisoners.

Interim City Manager Lane Dilg announced the selection of 15 members of Santa Monica’s Public Safety Reform Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of individuals who are residents of or have a close working knowledge of Santa Monica and organized an input process, vetted reform proposals, and ultimately made recommendations on public safety reform for both use of force and invest/divest strategies.

Longtime restaurateur Maurice Solomon, known locally as the Deli King for his decades of service at Fromin’s Deli, died from cancer. Solomon died at age 81.

The newly constructed Fire Station 1 opened at 1337 7th Street. The new $41.2 million facility replaced SMFD’s first and oldest station located just down the street.

Founded in 1923, Fisher Lumber closed their Lincoln and Colorado Blvd location. The independent lumber and hardware store was one of the oldest retail businesses in Santa Monica.

Newsom extended the closure of bars and indoor dining statewide and ordered gyms, churches and hair salons closed in most places as coronavirus cases kept rising.

Installation of a significant sculptural artwork by Metro-commissioned artist Walter Hood resumed at the corner of 4th and Colorado. 

The 2021 Rose Parade was canceled because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on planning for the New Year’s Day tradition and the risk of spreading infections among its huge audience and participants, organizers said.

COVID-19 forced the cancellation of Open House celebrations at schools across the Westside this year, but the students of McKinley Elementary School refused to let the pandemic stop them from creating more than 100 virtual projects that aimed to help the community in a time of need.

The City’s “We Are Santa Monica Fund”, originally limited to COVID-19 community relief, expanded to permit donors to earmark their donations to advance a Black Agenda in Santa Monica. In addition, 10% of any donations that were not earmarked for a specific purpose were allocated to support projects that are part of the Black Agenda.

The final designs of the Belmar History + Art Project were revealed by the City of Santa Monica, and artist April Banks said she was is excited to begin work on a life-sized sculpture that will offer residents a glimpse into Santa Monica’s Black history. Following approval from the Santa Monica Arts Commission in June, the project features a sculpture of a shotgun house, a form of architecture that was common in Santa Monica’s Belmar neighborhood, an area of early African American settlement and a place where residents and Black businesses thrived between 1900 and 1950.

SMMUSD said it would begin the next school year utilizing a distance-learning format, but district leaders retained hope that students would be able to return to school on a full-time basis once safer at-home orders eased.

County officials linked current COVID-19 cases to the July 4 holiday and said the only way to avoid another mass shutdown was with large-scale cooperation from the public on health directives including wearing masks and limiting social activity.

SMMUSD revised its interdistrict permit policies and required an annual verification process for students who wish to retain a permit heading into future school years.

COVID-19 became the second leading cause of death countywide. COVID-19, with over 4,200 deaths so far, was on track to claim more lives in Los Angeles County than any disease except coronary heart disease — killing more people than Alzheimer’s Disease, other kinds of heart disease, stroke and COPD.

California surpassed New York for the most coronavirus cases in the country, reporting more than 409,000 infections. The surge of cases comes as California reopened much of its economy in May.

Santa Monica expanded its outdoor retail program to allow some businesses on Wilshire Blvd. to use bike and/or parking lanes for new seating.

Locals noticed dozens of chalk art pieces popping up throughout town. While some efforts were organized by artists with specific goals or themes, others were efforts by individual residents looking for a creative outlet during the pandemic. 

The Pico Neighborhood Association (PNA) and Pico Youth & Family Center (PYFC) joined forces to deliver packages of groceries and essential items to local seniors and families in need. The idea for the Pico We Care initiative came from Ashil Srivastava who is a PYFC youth leader and 11th grader at Samohi.

The reclosure of fitness centers statewide forced local fitness fanatics to get creative and move classes outdoors during the summer months to curb the spread of the  coronavirus.

The Santa Monica Police Department detained a man who exhibited mental health issues while brandishing a gun on the Santa Monica beach.