Vandalism: A statue of a homeless man was toppled in an act of vandalism. SMDP Photo

DECEMBER

Starting Jan. 1, the city’s new organic waste mandate will require all residents and businesses to recycle their organic waste. Santa Monica is doing this in part to meet its commitment to sustainability and also to comply with Senate Bill 1383, which set a statewide goal to decrease organic waste disposal by 75 percent and increase edible food recovery by 20 percent by 2025.

A wet December put an end to the extended wildfire season. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimated 2,569,009 acres burned statewide in more than 8,600 individual incidents recorded by the agency. Those fires burned more than 3,600 structures. Several storms rolled through the area over the month drenching the city but causing little damage. 

The Metropolis’ app irked users along Montana. The online platform has been put in place to charge residents for parking in some private lots but some users raised privacy concerns and organized a boycott over its implementation. 

The Santa Monica Police Department arrested a suspect in connection with several arsons in Downtown. Jonathan Powell, a 28-year-old homeless man, was arrested for reports of dumpster and trash can fires. 

A “bait ball” of small fish drew dolphins, porpoises, pelicans and seagulls to the area Nov. 24-26. Bait balls are formed when small fish swarm tightly together in a clump to defend themselves from predators.

A woman was reunited with her dog after the dog and her car were stolen. The theft occurred while the car was parked on Ocean Avenue; shortly after the theft, the dog’s owner and several volunteers began looking for the four-year-old black female Greyhound, who was found by a resident walking in Palisades Park. 

The U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron COVID-19 variant in a vaccinated traveler who returned to California after a trip to South Africa. Omicron is of concern to officials due to its large number of mutations in key regions of the virus, which raises the possibility of increased infectivity. The variant became the dominant version of the disease in a matter of weeks creating a surge in cases across the county. 

The Oceana Hotel narrowly lost its appeal to open its restaurant to the general public. The hotel lost at Planning Commission and again at City Hall when both bodies deadlocked, 3-3, over the idea, with both requiring a majority to pass. 

Businesses were confused over conflicting coronavirus rules with some mistakenly adopting City of Los Angeles or County rules. In Santa Monica, proof of vaccination is required to work at or visit indoor bars, breweries, nightclubs and lounges, per overarching County orders. Proof of vaccination is not required to dine indoors at restaurants; however, individual businesses may implement their own requirements. 

Reverend Eric Shafer announced his retirement after eight years as pastor at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, during which time church membership more than doubled and the church mounted several successful community initiatives. 

The upcoming 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were scheduled for Feb. 27, 2022, in the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport. The last time the SAG Awards were in town was for their second-ever ceremony, which took place at the Civic Auditorium.

The City of Los Angeles held a sanitation sweep to clear debris and trash from the sidewalks along Main, just south of Rose, after pandemic-era rules preventing authorities from clearing some items from residents who lived in vehicles expired.

King tides were predicted for local coasts. While the phenomenon had little impact on local areas, they did foretell some of the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels. 

Artist Ed Massey’s statue of a homeless man in Santa Monica was toppled, damaging the work in a way that is unprecedented for the artist. Massey said he would repair and reinstall the statue. 

DTSM recognized Hanukkah with a nightly menorah lighting ceremony on the Promenade.

Los Angeles artist, filmmaker and Santa Monica native Catherine Corman had her pandemic short film “Lost Horizon” added to the longlist for an Oscar nomination.

After a long and dreary artistic hiatus, the Broad Stage announced a star studded 2022 season that will be more diverse and community oriented than any season past.

The SMPD investigated two unrelated threats to local high schools. Samohi and St. Monica’s High School both dealt with online threats but no violence occurred at either location. At Samohi, a student made threats against the school on a private Snapchat account and was intercepted at school gates. St. Monica’s was tagged in an online threat against a third school. 

A report investigating allegations of corruption in Malibu determined the accusations were false and that the credibility of the source was questionable.

A SMC film student, Niccolo Rolim, won Best Student Film 6,000 miles across the Atlantic at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival in France. Rolim’s short film, “Broken Layers,” was SMC’s first win ever in Cannes.

DTSM hosted its second public safety town hall in partnership with the SMPD to help address resident and stakeholder concerns about the conditions Downtown and on the Promenade. 

New City Manager David White assured residents that the City would approve housing development under the newly approved SB 9 in a cautious and controlled manner. Proponents of the bill believe it will help address the state’s housing crisis, while detractors fear that its lack of affordability requirements will result in investors snapping up land parcels and building expensive new units that will further gentrification.

SMPD arrested a man on suspicion of attempting a lewd act with a child after a San Diego based activist group trapped the suspect as part of an elaborate online investigation.

It was reported that the ruptured offshore pipeline that spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil off the Southern California coast did not have a fully functioning leak detection system at the time.

The Shore Hotel was granted permission to add 14 micro hotel rooms, a cafe with beer and wine service, a restaurant with alcohol and entertainment, and a massage service. While the hotel rooms had previously been approved at Planning Commission, the extra amenities were added by Council following an appeal by the hotel. 

The Santa Monica Police Officers Association (SMPOA) and Santa Monica Firefighters Local 1109 brought some much needed holiday cheer with the city’s first Santa map. The organizations escorted Santa around the city and residents could track his progress in real time. 

The SMPOA lawsuit against the City regarding the formation of the Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission resulted in a revised ordinance that limited the powers and duties of the Commission.

The proliferation of unlicensed vendors on and around the Pier caused a slew of problems — harassment of licensed vendors, health code violations, trash and liquid dumping by the ocean and violations of fire safety regulations around the historic wooden structure. The City continued to fight the issue with expanded citations and patrols. 

Angeleno Tonia Soteros moved her eco-conscious store, Recontained, to Santa Monica. The store offers a wide range of household products in easy to refill containers at a variety of price points with a goal of making a disposable-free lifestyle as accessible as possible.

Merrihew’s Sunset Gardens celebrated its 75th anniversary. Now in its fourth generation of local leadership, the store has a new owner, Frank Slamka, who welcomed locals with food, music and friendship. 

SMMUSD said it would spend an extra $3 million on professional learning for educators and support staff in the coming years. The money comes from a massive, $1.5 billion statewide budget allocation designed to provide “professional learning for teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and classified staff.”

A UCLA School of Law Criminal Justice Program report claimed SMPD overtime calculations are out of step with broader trends but city officials said the expenses are necessary to provide the quality of service expected by Santa Monica residents.

Councilmembers voted on a series of reforms to commissions and committees that consolidated several and established new rules for the remaining bodies. 

LAUSD, which was among the first to announce mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for students, became the latest to delay a plan that would have forced thousands of unvaccinated students to return to distance learning.

The Los Angeles County Redistricting Commission approved a final version of the map laying out supervisorial districts for the next 10 years, raising the ire of current Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who said the lines would weaken progressive politics in the county. Local Assembly, State Senate and Congressional districts were also redrawn with the State assembly seeing the largest changes locally. 

A single company purchased multiple properties along Wilshire Boulevard with plans to redevelop several swaths of the street into new multi-story, mixed-use developments. Cypress Equity received demolition permits on property at 1902 Wilshire, 1904 Wilshire, 1908 Wilshire, 1914 Wilshire, 2025 Wilshire and 1153 21st Street.

Local resident Laura Goodkind, a two-time Paralympic athlete and adaptive sports ambassador, competed in the Angel City Games presented by The Hartford.

Councilmembers voted unanimously to have staff consolidate a wide range of information on services pertaining to homelessness so that gaps can be identified and direction given for supplementing resources.

Autonomous vehicle company Motional said it would expand into robot food delivery services next year.

Hot Dog on a Stick shack by the Pier was given permission to restart its long awaited redevelopment. The project was first announced in 2009 before being delayed several times. The project will make the facility slightly larger and more usable on the inside. 

Santa Monica’s City Yards was in the midst of major renovations designed to increase resident interactivity, replace outdated facilities and construct sustainable buildings.

Planning commissioners approved a permit for the Wag Hotels chain to open a kennel in Santa Monica and gave the Wilshire BevMo! permission to extend online order and delivery service to 24/7 for non-alcoholic products and until 2 a.m. for alcoholic products.

Longtime DTSM CEO Kathleen Rawson announced her departure from the position to become CEO of The Hollywood Partnership.

Local business owners obtained a temporary order from the courts to prevent demolition and redevelopment of a Downtown parking structure.

SMMUSD boardmembers asked staff to return with information about a potential series of public hearings to discuss the formation of voting districts. The move may be forced upon the district if residents file an application with County regulators as they have threatened to do in January. 

SMMUSD parents said they generally like the district’s masking policies and support vaccine mandates for students of all ages. Malibu parents had significantly different responses.

NOVEMBER