The OPEN Daily » Santa Monica Essential Guide to L.A. Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:34:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Swimmers, surfers warned as high surf pounds California Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:25:49 +0000 California Storm

File: Fierce winds trailing a daylong storm churn the Pacific Ocean off the Los Angeles community of Playa del Rey on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/John Antczak); Credit: John Antczak/AP

Large surf is expected along much of the Southern California coast and beachgoers are warned of dangerous waves and rip currents.

The National Weather Service says waves along the Central Coast could hit 12 feet, while sets topping 8 feet are expected in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Swimmers and surfers are urged to stay near lifeguards and never turn their backs on the ocean.

Meanwhile Southern California’s spring heat wave continues. Forecasters say temperatures could hit the mid-80s this week across greater Los Angeles.

This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at

Continue reading: Latest News | 89.3 KPCC

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Santa Monica’s Mitu company launches ’11for11Million’ fund to help immigrants Wed, 12 Apr 2017 19:46:09 +0000 Photo via
Photo via

Photo via

A Santa Monica-based, Latino-oriented digital media company announced what it calls a global social movement Wednesday aimed at raising millions of dollars to provide legal assistance to the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.

The company, mitu, introduced the “11for11Million” campaign, encouraging “every global citizen” to donate $11, with all of the money going to  the National Immigration Law Center and United We Dream, both of which provide legal services and advocate on behalf of immigrants.

“As the voice of Latino and multicultural youth in America, it’s our responsibility to leverage mitu’s influence to support issues affecting our community. Empowering and inspiring through authentic storytelling is what mitu does best,” mitu President/co-founder Beatriz Acevedo said. “With this campaign, we stand in solidarity with our 11 million undocumented brothers and sisters who are facing the fear and reality of deportation during these challenging times.”

The campaign is a response to steps taken under President Donald Trump’s administration to crack down on illegal immigration, including efforts to hire more border patrol and immigration-enforcement agents and speed up the process of deportations, according to the company.

The firm will highlight the effort during a “Conversation with America” event Wednesday night at USC, hosted by actress/comedian Cristela Alonzo and featuring a panel of immigrant advocates, including Acevedo.

According to mitu, the company hopes to build a “network of support” for people living in the country illegally and help keep families intact.

“These are incredibly difficult times for immigrants in the U.S.,” said Lucy Flores, mitu vice president of public affairs. “Mitu not only values the contributions of all immigrants to our country, but we also stand firm in our commitment to elevate their voices at every opportunity.”

—City News Service

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Josiah Citrin Brings Fancy Pants Hot Dogs to Santa Monica Wed, 12 Apr 2017 19:42:28 +0000

Mac ‘n’ cheese-topped hot dogs for all

It wasn’t too long ago that chef Josiah Citrin’s cooking could only be experienced in his white-tablecloth establishment Melisse, with the hefty $$$$ price tag that went with it. It seems as though the once exclusively fine dining chef has taken a walk on the casual side, first with the opening of Charcoal before the rapid expansion of his hot dog chain, Dave’s Doghouse.

Roving Westside reporter Toddrickallen caught wind of LA’s first freestanding branch of the elevated hot dog chain that’s taking over the former Santa Monica Electric Co. at 2428 Main St. Attached to the building is a rendering pending design review, with confirmation on the budding chain’s website.

Dave’s Doghouse first opened in Arizona by Citrin’s cousin David Cheren. Since then, the specialist in the casual game day favorite opened two stands within Staples Center (near sections 102 and 111), and additional branches in Phoenix and Atlanta. A pending ABC license hints that Westside diners should be able to sip a cold beer alongside a mac ‘n’ cheese-topped dog.

Dave’s Doghouse Santa Monica
2428 Main St
Santa Monica

Continue reading: Eater LA

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Santa Monica 17-Year-Old ID’d as Girl Whose Body Was Found Along L.A. River in Long Beach Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:55:06 +0000 Police on Tuesday released the identity of a teenager whose body was discovered along the bank of the Los Angeles River in Long Beach the week before.

An investigation was underway in Long Beach after a body was discovered along the Los Angeles River embankment on April 6, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)

The corpse was reported around 1:30 a.m. Thursday and recovered from near the edge of the water near where West Ocean Boulevard crosses over the river.

The victim has been identified as 17-year-old Leslie Hernandez of Santa Monica, a tweet from the Long Beach Police Department announced. Officers originally reported the victim appeared to be a woman in her 30s.

The teen’s death is being investigated as a possible drug overdose, officials said.

Officers who recovered the body told KTLA on Thursday the body showed no sign of trauma, but coroner’s officials had not yet determined an official cause of death.

A witness said someone in an SUV dumped the body and drove away, but police could not confirm that report.

However, investigators did pull over an SUV near the 710 and 91 Freeway interchange and interviewed, but did not arrest, the occupants, authorities said.

No further details were immediately available.

Continue reading: KTLA

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Trump Administration Suspends Controversial Sanctuary City Crime Reports Due to Errors Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:17:08 +0000 The Trump administration has suspended its weekly reports aimed at putting political pressure on sanctuary cities.

U.S. President Donald Trump waits for a meeting with CEOs in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus on April 11, 2017. (Credit: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration called for the so-called “declined detainer” report, and the Department of Homeland Security issued the first one three weeks ago.

The reports name and shame jurisdictions that did not comply with immigration officials’ requests — called “detainers” — to detain suspected deportable immigrants for an extra 48 hours beyond when they could otherwise be released.

There were only three reports published before the practice was suspended. DHS says it is conducting a review to ensure greater accuracy.

Complaints came in instantly about the reports. Several of the cities and jurisdictions mentioned on the list said they had been included in error, and DHS issued some corrections that spokesman David Lapan characterized as “data processing” errors. Other jurisdictions say they feel bound by court rulings to decline requests without a warrant.

Immigration advocates also criticized the list for singling out the criminals among undocumented immigrants without acknowledging the contributions of the broader population to their communities.

When asked about the pushback, Lapan did not say that the move was a result of the response from cities and advocates, but did say a “dialogue” had been opened, as was partially the hope of the report.

“There is no time frame associated with that (suspension) because it’s based on a desire to make sure that we have quality data that the information that we’re publishing is as accurate as we can be,” Lapan said. “And so (it will take) as long as it takes to get to that level of comfort that the secretary believes what we have is as good as it can be.”

Lapan said mistakes that had been made “were really data processing type things” but that “this review’s broader than that.”

“Now having a few reports under our belts, so to speak, we’ve issued them, we’ve identified that there have been some data processing errors, there have been some other issues,” he said. “That’s why the decision was made. Let’s take a pause and make sure that we look at this holistically, and make sure that we’re getting it as accurate as possible.”

In the three weeks of reports, DHS issued about 3,000 detention requests a week and recorded a decreasing number of declined detainers, from more than 100 in the first week to 47 in the second.

But the statistics were also confusing: The declined detainers did not necessarily relate to the week’s requests; some recorded in a given week dated back to 2013 and earlier, but were simply entered into DHS systems during the week in question.

ICE also would release a list of 10 cities each week that it said denied detainers and noted how many were sent to those cities, with no explanation of its methodology for selecting them.

Continue reading: KTLA

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Zumper Analysis Shows Santa Monica as Most Expensive City to Rent In Fri, 07 Apr 2017 04:56:55 +0000 The Zumper Los Angeles Metro Report analyzed over 30,000 active listings in March across 20 metro cities to show the most and least expensive cities and cities with the fastest growing rents.

Zumper Rent Graph

Continue reading: | The Santa Monica Mirror Online

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Best Coffee Shops In Santa Monica Tue, 04 Apr 2017 20:45:14 +0000 Los Angeles is all about craft coffee shops these days. So, skip Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee and visit these Santa Monica coffee shops that take this daily beverage to the next level.
o 31 Best Coffee Shops In Santa Monica

(credit: Sandee T./yelp)

2214 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(424) 322-2710

Lo/Cal exudes cool. And, you’ll feel it as soon as you walk through their massive doors. Situated on Pico, the coffee shop specializes in brewing Stumptown blends. What makes this coffee shop different though is their incredible cold brew coffee on draft. Brewed without heat over a long period of time, they create it by steeping coffee in room temperature water over the course of 12 hours and then filtering it to create a smooth, sweet and delicious cold brew. The perfect way to describe it is that it looks and tastes like a mix of Guinness beer with coffee, but without the alcohol and more than double the caffeine kick. You can also order up their Nitro cold brew, which is a creamy cold brew that’s simply delicious. If you’re not into cold brew, don’t fear though, as they offer any type of coffee you desire. From lattes to espresso and plain old hot coffee, you can get a delicious cup whatever your preference. Lo/Cal also has shelves which feature goods from Lemon Bird and Isabella’s Cookie Company, as well as a great selection of tasty fresh juices and old-style sodas. The shop is open every day until 5pm.

o 4 Best Coffee Shops In Santa Monica

(credit: Melissa N./yelp)

Caffe Luxxe
925 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 394-2222

With locations in Santa Monica and Brentwood, Caffe Luxxe is dedicated to offering the best coffee and pastries in a European style cafe. The shop is the brainchild of Gary Chau and Mark Wain who quit their jobs in 2006 to work together. It’s surely paid off. This cafe brings European style to Santa Monica’s most popular streets and has become a staple of the area. Through their love of European culture, you can feel the influence once you step into this coffee shop, which also serves up pastries, savory items, as well as gift items. Created to bring luxury coffee to Los Angeles, this coffee shop was one of the first to bring artisanal espresso and brewed coffee to the area as well. They take their coffee very seriously here, too.

o1 Best Coffee Shops In Santa Monica

(credit: Cara G./yelp)

Dogtown Coffee
2003 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 310-3665

Serving up rustic and healthy breakfast throughout the day as well as lunch, Dogtown Coffee is located in the landmark Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions space on the corner of Main and Bay Street in Santa Monica. With a surfing and skateboard vibe, Dogtown considers itself a community hangout spot where people can meet up. Featuring walls of skateboarders and surfers, as well as skateboards for sale, Dogtown is a casual spot to grab both healthy food options, and great coffee, and smoothies. While you can order up any type of coffee, including espresso and lattes, as well as just a regular cup, their popular cup is a caramel latte.

o 12 Best Coffee Shops In Santa Monica

(credit: C C./yelp)

The Refinery
413 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 986-2776

Featuring artisanal blends, this cool industrial space serves coffee with passion from friendly baristas. Located on Santa Monica Boulevard between 4th and 5th, The Refinery serves a fine selection of coffee which is brewed to order. Make sure to also order up some of their tasty pastries to go along with your cappuccino, latte, espresso or cup of regular coffee. The shop also offers up free wifi and free two hour parking. It’s a lively spot where people love to hang out, do work, and meet up with friends.

o 2 Best Coffee Shops In Santa Monica

(credit: Joi R./yelp)

Funnel Mill
930 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-1617

This low key coffee shop, which is set on the popular Broadway thoroughfare in Santa Monica, is known for their rare selection of coffee and tea. The store has gained a steady following from locals because of this. With free wifi, comfortable couches and Asian inspired decor, Funnel Mill serves up their brew on elegant silver trays. Prices are reasonable, but if you really want to step it up, you can order up coffee for $75! Yes, you heard it right. They offer bags of coffee which range from $12 to $75, and cups are usually around $4 on up. The name of the game here is variety though. You’ll find rare coffee finds from around the world, including Sumatra, Panama, Jamaica and Costa Rica.

Continue reading: CBS Los Angeles

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Santa Monica Shotgun House Receives an LA 2017 Preservation Award Tue, 04 Apr 2017 20:10:05 +0000 The Los Angeles Conservancy has selected eight recipients for the organization’s 2017 Preservation Awards, including Santa Monica’s last surviving shotgun house. The annual designations, which celebrate "outstanding achievement in the field of historic preservation," are chosen from across Los Angeles County and include physical structures, organizations, and…

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Irate Customer Goes On Racist Rampage at Santa Monica Poke Restaurant Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:59:30 +0000

She eventually got thrown out of the brand new Mainland Poke in Santa Monica

It was a moody first week for Mainland Poke in Santa Monica, as the summery newcomer faced an epic tirade from a disgruntled customer over the weekend. The internet lit up with the exchange, which (of course) was all captured on video.

Reddit, LiveLeak, and the Daily Mail first picked up on the evening fracas over the weekend, wherein a woman paying for her poke became incensed at a younger couple in line that was apparently being too affectionate. Some verbal jabbing back and forth quickly escalated into much more, with the woman berating staff members and eventually being coaxed to leave. Along the way, she accused the couple of engaging in prostitution, and threatened to call the police.

That is, not before turning on an entirely different customer on her way out the door, telling a man in line that she is “American” and that he should “go back to whatever land” he came from, among other things. It’s a rather distasteful showing from the unnamed woman, and is obviously hard to listen to and very NSFW due to the language used.

Of course, this is sadly not the first time racism has intersected with the restaurant industry. Recently an episode of Food Network’s Pioneer Woman came under fire for some offensive language, and for years well-meaning restaurant reviews around the country have often been inadvertently written and read through some pretty narrow cultural glasses. And that’s to say nothing of Paula Deen.

Eater reached out to Mainland Poke founder Ari Kahan for a statement, and received the following back:

At Mainland Poke Shop, we believe in the value of diversity and equality. In addition to providing great food and service, we strive to create an environment that welcomes all. The incident that occurred on March 30th at our Santa Monica location is ugly, plain and simple. We in no way condone any speech or behavior that makes anyone feel uncomfortable. We’ve been in touch with the couple, and want to assure our community that we have zero tolerance for hate.

Continue reading: Eater LA

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Tacos Punta Cabras Reportedly Pushed Out of Santa Monica Space by New Landlord Mon, 03 Apr 2017 17:59:21 +0000

But they’re opening up again not far away

Out of nowhere it seems that Westside Mexican food specialist Tacos Punta Cabras has ceased to be. The place now sports a big fat “closed” notification on its Yelp page, and a recent Facebook post confirms the shutter.

So what happened? It seems — as usual — a lease agreement is to blame, with owners Josh Gil and Daniel Snukal weighing in to say that they simply “had to move.” If that sounds a little too even-handed, it’s worth checking out Gil’s Instagram page where he adds that the “new landlords gave us no other choice.” Here’s the full Facebook statement:

Luckily though, it seems that not all is lost in the Tacos Punta Cabras world. A sign in the restaurant’s window reportedly tells readers that there are plans for a new location at 10th and Broadway, still in Santa Monica. That’s backed up by Gil’s own Instagram post as well as the above Facebook note, which obviously also notes the addition of parking (always a massive issue with the first location) as well as beer and wine.

This isn’t the first time that Gil and Snukal have run into leasing issues. The pair previously ran a short-lived burger stand in Downtown as well, but that fell through for similar reasons only six months in. Now it’s onward and upward with the new space in Santa Monica, though there’s no official timetable as of yet.

Continue reading: Eater LA

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Closing Santa Monica Airport is about protecting residents’ health, not NIMBYism Fri, 31 Mar 2017 03:56:13 +0000 To the editor: Missing from this editorial is any reference to the environmental impacts that Santa Monica Airport has on its neighbors. (“Santa Monica can’t be a slumlord to its airport for the next decade,” editorial, March 27)

For more than three decades neither the city of Santa Monica nor…

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Terrorism Allegations Raised in Hit & Run Death Near Santa Monica City Hall Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:35:12 +0000 3/21: Santa Monica suffered yet another fatality automobile accident Tuesday afternoon at 4:20, this time a few yards away from the headquarters of the Santa Monica Police Department. A sedan hit a male pedestrian in the parking lot between The Santa Monica courthouse and the Rand corporation. A 40-year-old man who had just paid a traffic fine, was paying for parking at an electronic kiosk….

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Take a Look Through Santa Monica’s Newly Opened Ishihara Park Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:50:32 +0000

One month ago, the City of Santa Monica celebrated the opening of Ishihara Park, a linear green space in the Pico Community.

Located along 2.35 acres of land bounded by Exposition Boulevard, Dorchester Avenue and Stewart Street, the park was built as a buffer between the light rail maintenance facility of Metro’s Expo Line and the surrounding neighborhood.

Landscape architecture firm Mia Lehrer + Associates designed the project, which is intended to showcase "ecology, history, community health and well-being."  The park is broken into several distinct components, including a children’s play area, shaded seating and a community garden.

Ishihara Park was named in onor of George Haruyoshi Ishihara, a Japanese-American World War II veteran and 50-year resident of Santa Monica until his passing in 2009.

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City of Santa Monica joins lawsuit against President Trump Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:33:38 +0000 President Trump signing his Jan. 25 executive orders. Photo: @realdonaldtrump


President Trump signing his Jan. 25 executive orders. Photo: @realdonaldtrump

President Trump signing his Jan. 25 executive orders. Photo: @realdonaldtrump

Santa Monica has joined Los Angeles and 32 other cities and counties across the country in asking a federal court to halt President Trump’s executive order threatening the cut-off of federal funds from so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions,” it was announced Wednesday.

The coalition filed a “friends of the court” brief in San Francisco federal court to support the county of Santa Clara’s pending lawsuit against the president, arguing the executive order is unconstitutional and that the public would suffer irreparable harm unless the order is halted nationwide.

The cities and counties argue that the executive order unfairly intrudes on the independence of local governments by threatening to withhold funding authorized by Congress if they do not follow Trump’s unilateral instructions.

The coalition maintains that the Jan. 25 order, which threatens to block federal funding for jurisdictions that fail to enforce federal immigration law, is unlawful and unconstitutional on its face.

“Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States,” the order states. “These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic.”

An analysis by the UCLA Undocumented Legal Services Center cites multiple reasons why the order may exceed executive authority or be deemed unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court has ruled on several occasions that under the 10th Amendment, the federal government cannot require states and local officials to carry out any federal regulatory program,” according to the analysis.

Congress would have to act to carry out the executive order, since it controls the federal budget.

Courts have ruled that conditions imposed on federal funds must be related to the purpose of the federal funds at stake — so, for example, holding back federal transportation dollars based on a lack of immigration enforcement might not stand up to legal scrutiny.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has said that enforcing immigration law is the federal government’s responsibility.

“My deputies will not detain or arrest any individual solely on suspicion of illegal presence in the United States,” McDonnell said in January.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has also focused on building community trust to help fight crime and said he will not break that trust by helping to deport immigrants.

Legislators in more than a half-dozen states have introduced laws inspired by the executive order that aim to block state funding to sanctuary cities.

–City News Service

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Dog Gets CPR, Oxygen Mask After Firemen Rescue Him From Burning Santa Monica Apartment Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:50:25 +0000 3/21/17: Santa Monica Firemen rescued a dog who had been overcome with heat and smoke, from a fire in a 2 story apartment building across 7th Street from the main entrance to Santa Monica High School. From the SMFD’s press release: During the fire fight, Firefighters searching the interior for victims discovered an unresponsive dog that was overcome by heat and smoke. The dog was quickly…

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Santa Monica Joins Other Cities in Taking Legal Action Against President Trump’s Travel Ban Wed, 22 Mar 2017 07:59:54 +0000 On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City filed a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in the federal district court in Seattle, where six States have challenged President Donald Trump’s second attempt at restricting travel into the United States from six majority-Muslim nations is being heard. The City of Santa Monica joined the filing and Mayor Ted Winterer joins mayors from across the nation in sharing the announcement.

“The revised travel ban continues this administration’s unconstitutional actions that do not align with Santa Monica values or the values of our great country,” said Mayor Ted Winterer. “Santa Monica is proud to stand with other cities, including our neighbors in Los Angeles and West Hollywood, in saying no to hate and reaffirming our ideals.”

Santa Monica, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Central Falls (RI), Gary, Ithaca, Jersey City, Madison, Minneapolis, Montgomery County (MD), Oakland, Portland, Philadelphia, Saint Paul, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara County, Seattle, Skokie, South Bend, and West Hollywood, presented the local government position to the district court, which is considering the States’ emergency motion to apply its existing injunction to the new executive order. The brief explains the vital contribution that immigrants make to our cities and country, points out that classifications based on religion and natural origin are presumptively invalid, and argues that the travel ban is misguided and unconstitutional.

The executive order restricting immigration prohibits people from six countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—from entering the U.S. for 90 days and halts the admission into the U.S. of people granted refugee status for 120 days while the Trump administration revises immigration screening procedures.

The  brief was prepared with the pro bono assistance of several attorneys of the law firm Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP, which has offices in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

The City has an online hub of information and resources on immigration, including the City’s resolution embracing diversity. Visit Santa Monica will participate in the U.S. Conference of Mayors National Immigration Day on Tuesday, March 21. Follow along using #MayorsStand4All.

Continue reading: | The Santa Monica Mirror Online

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Pedestrian killed in Santa Monica parking lot; driver arrested Wed, 22 Mar 2017 07:48:07 +0000

A 21-year-old man suspected of driving under the influence struck a pedestrian in a Santa Monica parking lot Tuesday, killing him, before fleeing the scene and smashing into a parked vehicle, authorities said.

After the crash, the driver, identified as Absadi Kidane, got out of the vehicle and led officers on a brief foot pursuit that ended when he was arrested after a struggle, according to Santa Monica police Lt. Saul Rodriguez.

Authorities were first notified about 3:30 p.m. when witnesses reported a driver who sped into the Santa Monica Civic Center parking lot at 1821 Main St., Rodriguez said.

The driver entered from 4th Street, headed west and plowed into the pedestrian, who was standing at a pay parking booth.

He continued driving, police said, and hit the parked car along Main Street.

Kidane was taken into custody in the 300 block of Pico Boulevard.

Officers found the pedestrian unresponsive, and he died at a hospital. His name was not released, but Rodriguez said he was about 40 years old.

Kidane was booked into Santa Monica jail on suspicion of homicide, vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, felony hit-and-run, and resisting arrest. He was being held in lieu of $2-million bond.

Anyone who saw the crash or has additional information is asked to contact Santa Monica police at (310) 458-8491.

Twitter: @MattHjourno

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Big SoCal Earthquake Could Cause Beach Areas to Sink Up to 3 Feet in Seconds, New Study Finds Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:18:41 +0000 One of Southern California’s most dangerous faults caused land on the Orange County coast to sink between 1½ feet to 3 feet in a matter of seconds during prehistoric earthquakes, according to a new study that suggests the seismic risk is greater than previously believed.

“It’s not just a gradual sinking. This is boom — it would drop. It’s very rapid sinking,” said the lead author of the report, Robert Leeper, a geology graduate student at UC Riverside who worked on the study as a Cal State Fullerton student and geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

The study of the Newport-Inglewood fault focused on the wetlands of Seal Beach. But the area of sudden dropping could extend to other regions in the same geologic area of the Seal Beach wetlands, which includes the U.S. Naval Weapons Station and the Huntington Harbour neighborhood of Huntington Beach.

Leeper and a team of scientists at Cal State Fullerton had been searching the Seal Beach wetlands for evidence of ancient tsunami. Instead, they found buried organic deposits that they determined to be the prehistoric remains of marsh surfaces, which were they say were abruptly dropped by large earthquakes that occurred on the Newport-Inglewood fault.

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Continue reading: KTLA

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Santa Monica Police Look for Man With Autism Who Went Missing After Running L.A. Marathon Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:54:33 +0000 Police in Santa Monica are asking the public to help find a man with autism who went missing after running in the L.A. Marathon.

Romario Snow, 21, was last seen just before 2 p.m. Sunday near Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, near the marathon finish line, according to the Santa Monica Police Department.

Snow was photographed at the start of the marathon and was wearing a navy blue shirt and black shorts. Police said he may be wearing a light brown sweater.

Authorities said Snow has brown eyes, brown hair and weighs 158 pounds. He is 5 feet, 8 inches tall.

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Santa Monica Police Look for Man With Autism Who Went Missing After Running L.A. Marathon Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:43:19 +0000 Police in Santa Monica are asking the public to help find a man with autism who went missing after running in the L.A. Marathon.

Romario Snow, 21, was last seen just before 2 p.m. Sunday near Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, near the marathon finish line, according to the Santa Monica Police Department.

Snow was photographed at the start of the marathon and was wearing a navy blue shirt and black shorts. Police said he may be wearing a light brown sweater.

Authorities said Snow has brown eyes, brown hair and weighs 158 pounds. He is 5 feet, 8 inches tall.

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Continue reading: KTLA

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Santa Monica High School freshman dies after falling from apartment building while on LSD Tue, 21 Mar 2017 01:52:14 +0000

A 15-year-old Santa Monica High student died over the weekend after trying the drug LSD and falling from an apartment building, school officials said Monday.

In a letter addressed to parents and family members, Principal Antonio Shelton said that Andre Zuczek died after suffering major brain trauma.

The letter said Zuczek’s family wanted to share the full circumstances of his death “so that other parents may be spared from losing a child to drug use.”

A statement from Zuczek’s family said he and some friends tried LSD, commonly referred to as acid, on Saturday.

“Things went badly very quickly as Andre had what is though to be a ‘bad trip,’ and fell from a third-floor apartment,” the statement said. “He was rushed to the hospital where doctors tried very hard to save him.”

The statement called on community members to talk about Zuczek and his death with their children and families.

“In sharing, please be aware that hearsay and gossip can be very hurtful and can add more sorrow to the grief we are all feeling at this time,” the statement said.

Shelton said counselors were available to students needing support as they grieve.

Twitter: @MattHjourno

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Norovirus outbreak continues at Santa Monica schools Mon, 20 Mar 2017 07:18:41 +0000 Nearly two months after a norovirus outbreak began during a class trip to Yosemite, students in Santa Monica are still falling sick with the stomach bug, according to school and public health officials.

Cases appear to be falling, but 100 students still contracted norovirus last week in the Santa…

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Expo-Adjacent Courtyard by Marriott Debuts in Santa Monica Fri, 17 Mar 2017 16:45:05 +0000

Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio (GP-US) has announced the grand opening of a new Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Santa Monica.

Located at the corner of 5th Street and Colorado Avenue, the six-story building features 136 guest rooms above approximately 3,500 square feet of ground-floor restaurant space and an underground parking garage.  Guests also benefit from a slew of amenity spaces, including a cantilevered pool deck.

Situated directly across the street from Metro’s Downtown Santa Monica Station, the hotel features a large cut out above its second floor, providing views of the busy Expo Line terminus below.

The project comes from OTO Developmenta, a South Carolina-based real estate firm that specializes in hotels.

OTO and GP-US are collaborating on a similar Hampton Inn & Suites across the intersection.

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Woman acquitted in slaying of Santa Monica model may sue police, court says Tue, 14 Mar 2017 22:51:58 +0000

A federal appeals court decided Tuesday that a woman acquitted of killing a model and aspiring actress in 2008 may sue a Santa Monica police detective for allegedly dissuading a defense witness from testifying during the murder trial.

A panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided 2 to 1 to reinstate the lawsuit by Kelly Soo Park, who was acquitted of the strangling murder of model Juliana Redding in her Santa Monica residence.

Park, who now faces fraud charges in a separate case, contended in her suit that Santa Monica police Det. Karen Thompson intimidated a witness who would have implicated someone else in Redding’s killing.

The suit, which U.S. District Judge S. James Otero had dismissed, dealt with Park’s attempt during the 2013 murder trial to implicate John Gilmore, the victim’s boyfriend, as the actual killer.

The court alleged Gilmore had a history of domestic violence and had previously assaulted Redding.

Park’s suit said that Melissa Ayala, Gilmore’s former girlfriend, planned to testify that Gilmore had choked her three times and had mentioned Redding’s killing during one of the incidents.

Ayala eventually decided to invoke her 5th Amendment right not to testify only because Thompson had intimidated her, the suit said.

“Park was deprived of her principal and apparently sole defense — that a third party was guilty of the murder — due to Thompson’s alleged interference with Ayala’s testimony,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter appointee, wrote for the majority.

Prosecutors argued that Gilmore had been ruled out as a suspect. They based their case against Park on DNA found throughout the victim’s home, including on Redding’s neck.

They argued that Park attacked Redding at the behest of a doctor who had previously dated the victim and who was upset that the victim’s father had pulled out of a business deal.

Defense lawyers countered that Park’s DNA could have been transferred from somewhere else to the murder scene.

Although Park and Redding did not know each other, both had been in the home of the doctor who allegedly arranged the attack.

In a partial dissent, Judge Ferdinand F. Fernandez said Thompson never threatened Ayala or tried to prevent her from testifying.

“I recognize that Thompson entered dangerous territory when she decided to talk to Ayala and tell her that she was not required to speak further to Park’s investigators,” wrote Fernandez, who was appointed by President George H. W. Bush.

That decision “may not have been wise,” Fernandez said, “but it was not disastrous.”

He said that Ayala refused to testify because she was facing criminal charges in another case.

“The district court was not required to accept the fantasy … that Ayala would have blithely incriminated herself were it not for the conversation she had with Thompson,” Fernandez wrote.

The court did not decide whether the detective had immunity from such suits, leaving that call to the district judge.

Twitter: @mauradolan

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Santa Monica’s massively popular Twilight Concert Series will return with fewer shows Mon, 06 Mar 2017 19:51:27 +0000

The party will start in June

Santa Monica’s ultra-popular Twilight Concert Series will return this year with a new, shorter schedule “to cut back on the exponential costs” of producing the popular summer event, says the Santa Monica Daily Press.

The usual 10-concert lineup will be cut to eight shows, and the performances will take place in June—not July—so as not to add onto the city’s high tourist season.

Part of what’s made the concert series so costly is the security. To deal with bigger crowds, concert organizers have hired more Santa Monica Police Department officers to provide security.

According to the Daily Press, in 2007, just 16 officers were needed. But with crowds swelling to an estimated 40,000 attendees at some of last year’s shows, 150 officers were booked, and many of them clocked overtime hours.

As part of a plan to reduce costs for the event, concert organizers are looking to “increase the ratio of private security to sworn officers,” because the former is less expensive.

Even with all these changes, concert organizers say the series will still be the same exciting experience it has always been. The executive director of the concert series, Jay Farrand, told the Daily Press, “From the standpoint of the crowd, we are still committed to amazing talent, fun activities, and the same iconic summer tradition we’ve always had.”

Continue reading: Curbed LA

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