Local organizations celebrated Dia de los Muertos including activities the carousel on the Pier. The Santa Monica History Museum celebrated Día de los Muertos with a pop-up exhibit featuring ofrendas, or altars, created by students at four local schools: Santa Monica, University, Venice and Culver City High Schools. 

Elon Musk shared an unfounded conspiracy theory from the Santa Monica Observer about the attack on Paul Pelosi. While Musk deleted the tweet amid a significant criticism, the action prompted an additional wave of analysis over misinformation on Twitter and the role false news plays in the current political climate. 

Santa Monica rolled out the red carpet to welcome the Independent Film & Television Alliance’s banner event back to town this year. The American Film Market (AFM) returned for the first time since going virtual in 2020.

SMMUSD approved emergency authorization for repairs of air conditioning systems at local schools after a September heatwave put Santa Monica school’s systems to the test and proved SMMUSD’s current cooling infrastructure is unprepared for extreme heat climate change.

Longtime History Museum Executive Boardmember and former SMDP publisher Rob Schwenker was named as the Museum’s new Executive Director.

The Chamber of Commerce held one of its first events under new CEO Judy Kruger bringing together business leaders from around the City to discuss the future of business in Santa Monica in the wake of the pandemic.

Students at Samohi spent most of a day in lockdown following a bomb threat to the campus. Fake bomb threats have been an emerging problem at schools nationwide in recent years and after sweeping the campus with bomb sniffing dogs, SMPD said the threat at Samohi was also a hoax. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom halted $1 billion in state spending for local governments as he worked to reset the state’s strategy on homelessness saying the current system of sending money to local governments isn’t working. 

Pantaleone Bruno, namesake of Bruno’s Italian Restaurant, announced he would sell the business. New owners Stefano Sparato and Eric Hanson said they would keep much of the restaurant’s traditions. 

Council began drafting an ordinance to further restrict smoking in the city. In addition to the existing rules, the expansion would add the common areas of any multi-unit housing facility (except designated smoking areas) and the sidewalk, street or other public right-of-way within 20 feet of any doorway or open window of a multi-unit housing building (except when not stationary and continuously moving through the area).

Post offices in Santa Monica and across Los Angeles moved quickly to take on new hires in time for the busy holiday season. The increased urgency before letter and package shipments increased in December was also driven by a wider need to increase staffing long term. USPS announced an LA-area hiring campaign to fill more than 300 open positions with the Santa Monica Post Office looking to take on 225 new employees including 75 permanent positions and 150 seasonal jobs.

A Pacific storm that brought snow, rain and wind to California was welcomed as the state remained deep in drought.

Caroline Torosis, Jesse Zwick and Lana Negrete won seats on city council. Laurie Lieberman, Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Stacy Rouse and Alicia Mignano won seats on School Board. Sion Roy, Nancy Greenstein, Tom Peters and Barry Snell won for SMC Board. Lindsey Horvath took the seat for County Supervisor, Karen Bass won for LA Mayor, Robert Luna unseated Alex Villanueva for Sheriff and Traci Park won for CD11. Measure SMC won as did cannabis and hotel tax measures. Mayor Himmelrich’s transfer tax measure passed, defeating a competing measure backed by Councilman Phil Brock. 

Election results were longer in coming this year than in years past due to changes in the way County residents could vote. While traditional vote centers were open allowing for the normal method of voting, universal mail ballots enabled voters to send their ballot in over a massively expanded period which slowed the counting process. While it took weeks to finalize the election, only a handful of extremely close races were impacted by the process with the vast majority of initial results standing. 

The local school district hosted a town hall for parents to warn of the dangers of fentanyl amid the ongoing crisis. Officials at every level continued efforts to educate the public about the deadly drug. Fentanyl was responsible for killing 1,125 people in Los Angeles County in 2020, a staggering increase of 3,917% over the number of fentanyl deaths reported just five years earlier in 2015, when 28 people overdosed on fentanyl countywide.

A dive boat captain pleaded not guilty in federal court for a second time to manslaughter in the fiery deaths of 34 people, including two Santa Monicans, trapped below deck on his burning vessel three years ago off the Southern California coast. A federal grand jury issued a new indictment alleging Captain Jerry Boylan acted with gross negligence aboard the Conception during one of the deadliest maritime disasters in recent U.S. history. 

COVID-19 cases ticked up for the first time since July. The steady increase in cases would last through the holiday season and while a mask mandate was briefly discussed (and met with opposition from some leaders), cases didn’t require it. However, an increase in both flu cases and a previously little known disease RSV did put pressure on the health care system, specifically youth medical services as children were more likely to require help with an RSV infection. 

Bud’s Deli closed. Founder and owner Gary Wallack said the landlord of the strip mall that housed the deli raised the rent to an untenable level, forcing him out, despite attempts at negotiation.

The City of Santa Monica collected a little more than $5 million in development fees. Development Impact Fees are collected from builders to offset the effect new projects are anticipated to have on the surrounding neighborhood.

The Wyndham Hotel on Colorado temporarily closed earlier in the year for renovations and announced it would emerge as the upscale Pierside Santa Monica, a boutique hotel. Part of the renovation included converting an existing 1,202-square-foot restaurant into an extended lobby area, plus the construction of an 829-square-foot uncovered wooden deck in the adjacent public right-of-way.

Santa Monica found itself on the cutting edge of modern water infrastructure with the opening of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP). The project features some key innovations: a massive, 1.5-million gallon stormwater harvesting tank that stores water prior to treatment (meaning the city is far less limited in the amount of water it can process during storm events); can simultaneously treat stormwater runoff and wastewater generated in Santa Monica; is enabled to provide water for irrigation, dual-piped buildings and groundwater replenishment; and is poised to convert to potable water supply if and when state regulations permit.

The SMMUSD Board approved a resolution affirming that there “will be a neighborhood school” at the Muir/SMASH location “following necessary water intrusion repairs” and that a committee of parents and staff will be convened to discuss “programs and opportunities for the renewed campus.”

Regulators said they wanted to establish camping at Malibu Bluffs Park — an 84-acre park that sits at the foot of Malibu Canyon Road, below the Pepperdine University Campus and overlooking the Pacific Ocean — as early as December 2023. The MRCA, a joint powers agency that partners with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to preserve open land around the Santa Monica Mountains and open it up for visitors, announced it was preparing an environmental impact report to study adding camping to Malibu Bluffs, to the tune of eight to 12 yurts, accommodating 10-12 people per yurt; 16-20 tent cabins, accommodating six to eight people per cabin; and 18-22 tent pad sites, accommodating 6-8 people per site. 

SMPD arrested a former internet prankster on allegations he stole more than $400,000 from clients of his company that purported to sell precious metals. Cody Roeder was arrested and subsequently posted bail but SMPD said his charges stem from allegations he stole from several clients in multiple states.

A homeless man was charged with attempted murder after stabbing two people on the beach path. Jamal K. Lampitt, 26, was accused of stabbing the first victim during a botched robbery and then attacking a second victim for no known reason.

SMMUSD Superintendent Ben Drati announced his departure from the district effective January 2023 after taking a job as superintendent of Bellflower Unified School District.

The future of the former John Muir Elementary and Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) remained murky after the possibility of reopening as one “unified” school instead of two was introduced at an SMMUSD meeting. 

Lyft removed its scooters and shared bicycles from the region citing a lack of longterm commitments from area municipalities. 

Hundreds of soccer fans packed local establishments for the World Cup. Several bars and restaurants opened at all hours to accommodate fans from all countries. 

Santa Monica College held its annual GIVING THANKS(giving) event. The event distributes food to those who need it and included Krispy Kreme donuts and chocolate chip cookies, upbeat music, SMC cheerleaders and a reflection on thankfulness, complete with postcards students were encouraged to mail offering thanks to loved ones.

A new one-stop shop for all things beauty and fashion opened in at the corner of 14th Street and Wilshire Boulevard. A longtime passion project of founders Karlene and Baron Shelton, Lashing All Over the City offers eyelash extensions, facials and a selection of beauty products, clothing, and accessories.

Santa Monica’s Community Response Unit (CRU), responded to 443 emergency calls for service from the beginning of July to the end of September, 302 involved individuals experiencing homelessness, up significantly from the 88 calls that came in between April and June. The unit launched by the Santa Monica Fire Department in September 2021 as a new type of unit to respond to 911 calls from vulnerable individuals and help connect them with services.

The City Council adopted a statement apologizing to Santa Monica’s African American residents and their descendants for historic discrimination. As part of the motion, Council directed the City Manager to commit to programs, policies, and investments that can educate the public about this history of discrimination and its ongoing consequences, and to ferreting out and overturning systemically racist policies to ensure that the pain caused by several decades of racial injustice and discrimination against blacks and other people of color is mitigated to the extent possible.

The Laemmle Theaters, a family-run art house cinema chain became the focus of a new film directed by filmmaker Raphael Sbarge. Titled ‘Only in Theaters,’ the documentary dived into Laemmle’s storied history and explores the future of movie theaters in a rapidly changing landscape.

A pair of traffic accidents left one man dead and another two injured over the Thanksgiving weekend. In the first accident, a car hit and killed a bicyclist at about 4 p.m. on the Pacific Coast Highway. In the second a drunk man drove his car off the bluffs but both he and his passenger survived. 

The city of Los Angeles began debates on a new plan to remove RV campers from streets. The council asked for a report back in 60 days on a strategy that includes securing interim shelter for people living in RVs, incentives for voluntary relinquishment of RVs used as dwellings, expanding Safe Parking programs to include oversized RVs in 24-hour Safe Parking programming and demolishing RVs after the resident moves into interim or permanent housing.

The Santa Monica Police Department closed several streets near the 2500 block of Kansas Ave. after a man experiencing a mental health episode was seen with a gun. According to SMPD, officers responded to the scene when a family member called out of concern. After briefly barricading himself in his home, the suspect surrendered peacefully.

Santa Monica’s popular skating rink, ICE reopened downtown after a two-year Covid- induced hiatus as part of the annual Winterlit events. The rink opened with free skating, a live DJ, food and freebies. 

October.December.