Author: vinceechavaria

City Council bans unattended winter displays from coastal park

For the first time in nearly 60 years this December, Palisades Park in Santa Monica will be without any type of free-standing winter displays, including one that has traditionally depicted the birth of Jesus Christ. The Santa Monica City Council voted 5-0 June 12 to no longer allow for private, unattended winter displays to be erected in Palisades Park. Council members Pam O’Connor and Bobby Shriver were not in attendance. The council’s vote deleted the exception that has enabled such displays to be placed only in Palisades, which overlooks the ocean, during the holiday season. Included in the ban are the 14 Nativity scene displays of life-size figures depicting events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ, which have been installed consistently since 1953. Other winter displays that have gone up over the years, including one with a menorah and banners with atheist messages, will also no longer be allowed. City officials stressed that such expressions of religion and speech will not be removed from the city, as groups could still erect booths on private property, as part of a community event, or with an attendant during the day. “The ordinance before you tonight is by no means… an attempt to oust religion from the city or oust the Christmas story or Nativity scenes, and would not have that effect,” City Attorney Marsha Moutrie told the council. The recommendation came...

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Venice: Residents press on in fight for historic post office as move to new facility looms

More than a year after the U.S. Postal Service first announced plans to transfer retail services from the historic Venice Post Office to a facility across the street, the federal agency is scheduled to officially make the move this month. The Postal Service has announced that retail operations at the 1601 Main St. post office will be relocated to a newly remodeled carrier annex building at 313 Grand Blvd., which will be open to the public beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, June 18. The retail lobby of the Venice Post Office will be closed as of Saturday, June 16 as a result of the consolidation. Post Office Box operations will be transferred at the end of the day June 15 and customers will be able to retrieve their mail the following day at the new location. Postal Service officials say mail delivery will not be impacted for residents and businesses and P.O. Box customers’ numbers will be unchanged. The parking lot at the new site has been reconfigured with a new entrance to accommodate the retail operations, and four customer service windows have been installed in the building, compared with five at the old post office, Postal Service spokesman Richard Maher said. The Postal Service has put the Work Projects Administration-era post office on the market, receiving multiple bids on the property prior to the May 18 deadline, and...

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Police arrest man suspected in 32-year-old murder of teenager

Santa Monica police have arrested a 53-year-old man in Pennsylvania in connection with the fatal shooting of a teenager in Santa Monica more than three decades ago. Patrick David Salmon, who is suspected in the murder of 16-year-old Joaquin Mansion in the 700 block of Marine Street in Santa Monica on May 21, 1980, was arrested May 17 at his home in Shaler Township, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Santa Monica police detectives and members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office made the arrest, along with Shaler Township police, Allegheny County police and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office. Evidence allegedly identifying Salmon as the gunman in the 1980 homicide was located at the home and he was taken into custody, Santa Monica police Sgt. Richard Lewis said. Salmon is currently being held in Allegheny County Jail awaiting extradition to Santa Monica. With the arrest, Santa Monica police believe they have solved one of the oldest cold cases at the department, said Det. Larry Nicols, one of two detectives who worked on the investigation. “It’s fantastic; it’s the highlight of someone’s career,” Nicols said of making an arrest in a cold case that has spanned over 30 years. Nicols said Mansion was killed in a poorly operated home invasion robbery. Police believe Salmon allegedly entered the home, demanded money from several people inside and when he didn’t receive...

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Venice: Residents press on in fight for historic post office as move to new facility looms

More than a year after the U.S. Postal Service first announced plans to transfer retail services from the historic Venice Post Office to a facility across the street, the federal agency is scheduled to officially make the move this month. The Postal Service has announced that retail operations at the 1601 Main St. post office will be relocated to a newly remodeled carrier annex building at 313 Grand Blvd., which will be open to the public beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, June 18. The retail lobby of the Venice Post Office will be closed as of Saturday, June 16 as a result of the consolidation. Post Office Box operations will be transferred at the end of the day June 15 and customers will be able to retrieve their mail the following day at the new location. Postal Service officials say mail delivery will not be impacted for residents and businesses and P.O. Box customers’ numbers will be unchanged. The parking lot at the new site has been reconfigured with a new entrance to accommodate the retail operations, and four customer service windows have been installed in the building, compared with five at the old post office, Postal Service spokesman Richard Maher said. The Postal Service has put the Work Projects Administration-era post office on the market, receiving multiple bids on the property prior to the May 18 deadline, and...

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City to explore proposal for automated parking structure near Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Abbot Kinney Boulevard is one of the notorious areas of Venice that has been plagued with parking problems. Whether it is during the highly popular First Friday event, dinner time on weekends or busy shopping days, residents and businesses say there is simply not enough parking near the eclectic boulevard of restaurants and boutiques. “It’s definitely a disaster,” said Don Novack, co-owner of Hal’s Bar and Grill, describing the area parking situation. “The neighbors complain that there is nowhere for them to park in front of their homes, and businesses are constantly complaining that their clients can’t get to them.” In recent years additional parking spots have been provided in lots off of Electric Avenue. Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl has worked to create 115 metered parking spaces on city-owned lots under a plan spearheaded by former Councilwoman Pat Russell. The city is soon expected to add to the area parking supply with construction on four city-owned parcels on Electric between Venice Boulevard and Santa Clara Avenue, but Rosendahl believes more parking would still be needed. “What we’re looking at is ways to meet the parking issues on Abbot Kinney,” the councilman said. One option that has been proposed to Rosendahl by Novack and associates is for the construction of an automated parking structure on one of the Electric lots between California and Santa Clara avenues. The project would...

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