The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica reopened its Lincoln and Mar Vista Gardens centers for in-person and virtual academic support. Prior to the pandemic, the club primarily offered after school programming, but it expanded its services to include in-person learning support during the school day. 

Neighbors living on Bay Street and nearby businesses joined forces to tackle a growing encampment of homeless people who they believed were involved in drug dealing operations in the alley behind the Walgreens on Lincoln. By working with an array of local services the community members reduced the number of people living in the alley from 12 to zero without arresting the unhoused or removing their possessions.

The Santa Monica Police Department investigated the death of an elderly woman who was found on a downtown street corner. The 102 year-old woman was found on Colorado Ave. and 2nd St.

Officials announced charges were possible against Capt. Jerry Boylan over his role in the deaths of 34 people aboard the boat Conception. Boylan was eventually charged with manslaughter for each person who died. 

A new Metro task force began work to determine if the Los Angeles transit system could become fareless in the future. 

Local law enforcement agencies prepared for an intense Labor Day weekend driven by a potentially dangerous combination of heat, racial tension and ongoing virus precautions. While heat caused crowds to gather outside and triggered power outages in some areas, there were no significant problems locally. 

The Los Angeles City Council declared a fiscal emergency, paving the way to furlough about 15,000 employees as the city struggles with an economic body blow from the coronavirus pandemic. The furloughs required civilian employees to take up to 18 unpaid days off from work for the fiscal year that began in July.

Quinn Armour, a student at Samohi launched the Community Connect Club, which pairs Santa Monica High School students with local seniors for weekly check-in phone conversations.

Hotel occupancy in Santa Monica was down by 48% compared to occupancy in January through July last year, with an economic knock-on slamming hospitality workers, local businesses, and City tax revenues. Reeling in this wake, hotels rapidly reoriented to implement stringent safety protocols and market to a new demographic of drive market customers and “staycationers”.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, several restaurants opened in 2020. While some businesses operate on traditional models, others launched ghost or cloud kitchens that offered menus to online customers without a physical storefront. The team from Holy Cow BBQ expanded the farm and launched Rooster’s Chicken House as a delivery only concept. Nueva opened on the corner of Abbott Kinney and Washington offering fresh takes on Mexican classics and creative list of cócteles. The owners of American Beauty steakhouse brought their “Win-Dow” burger concept to the Boardwalk with a menu of items at $8 or less. The creators of Butcher’s Daughter launched plantbased pop-up De Buena Planta on Abbott Kinney. Abbott Kinney also housed the Post Script pop-up. Forma, home of the pasta swirled in a cheese wheel, expanded into Venice. 

City Council approved a raft of recommendations designed to promote racial equity. Among the many decisions were authorization for a new Police Commission, instituting Equity and Inclusion Officers in every City department and creation of the Santa Monica Black Lives Association (a nonprofit designed by Black community leaders to support Black Santa Monicans).

Los Angeles County health officials issued a list of restrictions for Halloween including a prohibition on traditional trick-or-treating to control the spread of COVID-19.

Around 30 of Santa Monica’s firefighters were deployed in mutual aid assignments over the past six weeks, including 15 team members fighting the Creek, Dolan, Bobcat and Valley Fires. The Santa Monica Fire Department provides engines, firefighters, incident leadership, or other specialty fire services through the state’s mutual aid system.

The Los Angeles District Attorney investigated an allegation of animal cruelty against a Santa Monica man who was filmed beating his dog.

As the pandemic increased the City’s budget deficit, firefighters agreed to a series of salary and benefit cuts to preserve emergency services for the community. Firefighters’ salaries were reduced by 2.5 percent until June 30, 2021. In the following year the reduction will be 1 percent until June 30, 2022, after which point salaries are set to revert to the base salaries of June 30, 2020. These cuts, in combination with adjustments to sick leave cashout and compensatory time off, will save the City $1,456,739 in the General Fund and $171,932 in other funds over the next two fiscal years. 

While Council approved some public safety reforms and approved other social justice measures across city departments, Council did not cut funding from the police department. While planned expansions of police duties were shelved, Council did not cut $8 million from the department’s budget as had been proposed by some activists. 

There was a 20 percent decrease in kindergarten enrollment at SMMUSD this fall compared to enrollment numbers in Oct. 2019, indicating that many parents were unable or unwilling to support their young child’s distance learning amidst the other challenges of COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District predicted a 9 percent drop in kindergarten and transitional kindergarten enrollment, due to regional demographic shifts. 

A man was arrested in connection with a string of sexual assaults at local nursing homes. According to the Santa Monica Police Department, charges were filed against 55-year-old Juan Victor Mendoza for assaults that occurred between 2012 and 2018.

Air quality warnings were issued for the Los Angeles region. Precautions included avoiding unnecessary outdoor exposure and limiting physical exertion (whether indoor or outdoor), such as exercise. The warnings were issued as a result of wildfires dropping smoke and ash into the area. 

A machete wielding man was subdued and arrested after chasing a resident through an alley. According to the Santa Monica Police Department, 53 year old Andre Joaquin Castille, possibly from West Los Angeles, was arrested after a resident saw Castille attempting to break into the back yard of a home. 

A man jumped from the 3rd floor of Santa Monica Place shopping mall and was pronounced dead on the scene.

While the official report analyzing the city’s response to the May 31 looting was delayed by at least six months, Police Chief Cynthia Renaud began touring local community groups to provide details on the delay and answer community concerns over public safety.

Forty-four people were arrested in Beverly Hills for unemployment benefits fraud. The investigations recovered 129 California Employment Development Department debit cards with a total value exceeding $2.5 million. A total of $289,000 in cash also was seized from the suspects along with seven handguns. The investigation found that people were coming into California from out of state to fraudulently obtain EDD debit cards using stolen identities.

Santa Monica’s hometown radio station, KCRW, lost 28 positions as the NPR affiliate worked to overcome a 30 percent decline in revenue.

Census officials worked to complete the count of Santa Monica residents which will determine the city’s share of the $115 billion in federal funding.

A group of property owners, landlords and management companies filed a lawsuit against the state, Los Angeles County and several cities over anti-eviction laws enacted during the pandemic. The City of Santa Monica was among the defendants as were West Hollywood, Glendale, Burbank and Beverly Hills. 

Santa Monica College announced the decision to remain online through June 2021, with the exception of select lab classes deemed essential by the California Governor’s office.

The city of Santa Monica’s expanded access to COVID-safe outdoor opportunities for residents and extended the City’s eviction moratorium.

More of California was cleared to reopen as coronavirus infection rates fell to their lowest level of the pandemic. The lifting of some restrictions in counties that showed improvement came as California tried for a second time to recover from the devastating impact COVID-19 had on business. An earlier effort to reopen more quickly backfired with a surge in cases and hospitalizations in late spring and early summer.

Despite a 1.5% decrease in total taxable sales since last year, DTSM was still able to claim $5.2 million in assets during the 2019-2020 fiscal year, nearly $1 million more than it reported last year. However, there were 28% fewer pedestrian impressions on the Third Street Promenade this year than in the year prior. Like the number of pedestrians visiting the Promenade, the average nightly room rate dropped (17% this fiscal year) as did the average occupancy rate of hotels, which decreased 23% from last year as well.

Shares of Santa Monica-based healthcare company GoodRx soared 53% on the stock’s first day of trading and by week’s end had a market capitalization of nearly $20 billion. The company, whose app helps consumers save money on prescriptions and other healthcare services, raised a total of $1.3 billion in its initial public offering — $944 million from shares sold by the company and the remainder in shares held by pre-IPO investors.

A 39-year-old woman was charged in what authorities say was an attempted kidnapping of the 9-month-old granddaughter of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana from his Malibu home. The 64-year-old Montana told sheriff ’s deputies that the girl was asleep Saturday in a playpen in his house in Malibu when a woman he did not know entered and picked up the child.

While the architects of Samohi’s Discovery Building did not initially anticipate that pandemic proofing a classroom would become one of those needs, designers reimagined how the building can accommodate socially distant, outdoor, and hybrid education models. The building is on schedule to open in Aug. 2021 and will bring 38 new classrooms, an upgraded pool, a rooftop hydroponic garden, high-tech lab facilities, and several wide and open-air common spaces to Samohi’s North Campus. 

Squeezed by limits on attendance at its theme parks and other restrictions due to the pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. said it planned to lay off 28,000 workers in its parks division in California and Florida. Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involved part-time workers but they ranged from salaried employees to hourly workers, Disney officials said.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion allowing breweries and wineries to begin outdoor service. The State of California allowed breweries and wineries to reopen for outdoor service if they partner with a third-party permitted food vendor. However, the County of Los Angeles had not permitted breweries and wineries that do not have restaurant licenses to resume service.