Split Council votes 4-3 to participate in litigation over new ‘zero bail’ system:
A contentious closed session during an Oct. 10 meeting of Santa Monica City Council concluded with a 4-3 vote to join a lawsuit over Los Angeles County’s newly implemented Zero Bail system. Integrated into the county on Oct. 1, every police agency must follow the new system that largely eliminates the need for cash bail while evaluating the severity of the crime, a suspect’s risk to the public and repeat offenses. The most serious crimes such as murder do not qualify for pre-arraignment release. The city will join a group of cities that filed a lawsuit to delay implementation of the policy, with councilmembers Phil Brock, Cristine Parra and Oscar de la Torre voting to join, along with Mayor Pro Tempore Lana Negrete. Mayor Gleam Davis, as well as councilmembers Caroline Torosis and Jesse Zwick, voted against joining the suit.
Homelessness, economic recovery hot topics for policy influencers:
The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce held the first Santa Monica Chamber Policy Conference Oct. 12 at the RAND Corporation, bringing together leaders in their respective fields to talk issues pertinent to locals. Several panels tackled topics like homelessness, safety and economic recovery. The morning keynote address was given by Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, followed by the panels and a lunchtime address from Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis.
City Hall wants new security guards for the Santa Monica Pier:
On Oct. 11, the City of Santa Monica sent out a Request for Proposal inviting qualified companies to compete for a private security contract on the Santa Monica Pier. The initial term for the private security company is for one year, with four one-year renewals of the deal possible. Private security guards have worked the Pier since 2011, first from Allied Security, followed by CA Panther taking over in January 2022. The CA Panther contract was extended through Dec. 31 of this year, providing time to find a longer-term contract.
Santa Monica emergency services tested as hostage situation simulated on the Pier:
The Santa Monica Pier was shut down on the morning of Oct. 12, giving space for a large-scale training exercise involving local emergency services such as the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD). The training acted out real-life shootout and hostage scenarios, just days after SMPD jumped into action on the Pier to arrest a man who climbed the Ferris Wheel claiming to have an explosive device. Officers were not told beforehand what the training scenario would be, keeping them on their toes throughout the exercise.
Heal the Bay honored for past, present victories:
Local environmental group Heal the Bay received the Pongo Environmental Award for Environmental Organization on Oct. 14, highlighting the group’s efforts in shifting policy and creating conversation around protecting local waterways and coastline. The organization recently co-sponsored legislation, signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, that will prohibit public agencies and restaurants from watering “nonfunctional turf” with potable water.
Family, loved ones take on walk to remember:
The American Cancer Society (ACS) will host its “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk on Saturday, with the path including the Santa Monica Pier, Ocean Avenue and Palisades Park. The annual walk raises funds for the ACS, with “Team MammoGraham” one of the top fundraising units. The group was started by Susie Graham in 2020 after her own breast cancer diagnosis, and is now in the hands of Graham’s cousin, Christina Coleman, after Graham’s passing in 2022.
Recycling start-up Ridwell expands to Santa Monica:
After a successful expansion in other metro areas, Seattle-based recycling start-up Ridwell has expanded to Santa Monica. A subscription to Ridwell provides a pick up service for all waste items that are not included in the Blue Bin set of recyclables. Ridwell has grown to 80,000 members since its inception in 2017, increasing its userbase throughout cities like Seattle and Denver.
Fred Segal opens on Montana Ave.:
Fred Segal, a famous Los Angeles fashion brand, is coming back to Santa Monica with a new store at 1533 Montana Ave. The brand had two stores at 5th and Broadway in the past, eventually selling one of the stores in 2012 and having the other space closed in 2014. Montana Avenue Merchants Association member Jane Walker said that the new store is a “perfect fit” on the avenue.
School Board scopes out safety plan:
During its Oct. 19 meeting, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education voted to approve the Comprehensive School Safety Plan for each district school. Each safety plan includes roles and responsibilities for faculty and staff members during an emergency, as well as emergency procedures and evacuation locations.
Project learning students continue successful path:
Testimonies by students within Santa Monica High School’s project-based learning (PBL) pathway were recently featured in the book “Learning to Leave: How Real-World Training Transforms Education” by authors Elliot Washor and Scott Boldt. The PBL pathway is now in its 5th year, giving students 20% of their week to explore partnership and mentorship programs in the greater Santa Monica and West Los Angeles communities.
Homecoming ceremony spotlights Samohi’s best:
During halftime of the Samohi Vikings’ Oct. 13 football contest, a special Homecoming ceremony was held with performances from the school’s pep and cheerleading squads, as well as the “Greenies” hype team. Seniors Joshua Tang and Kara Best were selected as Samohi Homecoming King and Queen during the proceeding.
Four Pepperdine students dead in Malibu crash:
A Malibu resident killed four people and injured two others on the evening of Oct. 17 after losing control of his car. The crash occurred around 8:30 p.m., with four female adults pronounced dead at the scene and two others taken to the hospital. The driver was identified as Fraser Michael Bohm, 22, of Malibu, and was arrested for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Bohm was subsequently released pending the results of the investigation.
Go Get Em Tiger claws its way into local coffee scene:
Go Get Em Tiger has been a strong addition to the Montana Ave. dining scene since its opening in 2022, making coffee drinks with its own sourced coffee beans, as well as featuring protein-rich breakfast food. Cafe General Manager Cassandra Santos has made a quick rise through the ranks, starting as line cook last year before transitioning to kitchen manager and eventually the GM position.
The state of real estate in Santa Monica:
A combination of high interest rates, taxes, cost of living expenses and general instability are starting to weigh on the Santa Monica real estate market, according to local realtors. While a real estate crash is not expected, there are early signs of a softening market, such as an increase in the number of days homes are for sale and fewer homes selling at or above their listed price.
Council rejects proposal for lottery form of outreach regarding future use of airport land:
At the Oct. 10 meeting of Santa Monica City Council, councilmembers rejected a public lottery form of public outreach to determine the future of land use at the Santa Monica Airport. A 4-3 vote by council instead asks Boston-based company Sasaki, initially selected to undertake design work for the land, to include a standard public outreach element when they present their proposal to City Council next month.
Widespread speech condition fought head-on with workshop:
The American Institute for Stuttering (AIS) held two events over the weekend to open up lines of communication for those interested in speech therapy. On Oct. 21, AIS hosted a one-day “jumpstarter” workshop at its Santa Monica clinic, located at 1250 6th Street. On Oct. 22, the organization observed International Stuttering Awareness Day with an outing on the 3rd Street Promenade, engaging visitors with facts about “common misconceptions” of the condition.