Category: News in brief

News in brief

  Compiled by Michael Aushenker and Joe Piasecki VA super-volunteer Lee Lodawer, 1924–2014 Lee Lodawer never went to war, but she fought to the end for those who did. A five-day-a-week volunteer for the Veterans Administration’s West Los Angeles Medical Center for more than a decade, Lodawer died on Oct. 31 at age 90. Lodawer, a longtime Marina del Rey resident, began volunteering at the VA after marrying World War II Air Force veteran Isadore “Izzy” Lodawer in 1977. Lee would work at a reception desk; Izzy, the medical library. “They were just so cute. They would have lunch...

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News in brief

Compiled by Gary Walker Campaign cash complaint headed to D.A. Allegations that Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor accepted illegal campaign contributions from developers whose projects she voted to approve have been referred to the Public Integrity Division of the L.A. County District Attorney’s office, Santa Monica City Attorney Marcia Moutrie said. The Transparency Project, a local activist group with ties to slow-growth O’Connor opponents Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City, filed a complaint on Oct. 8 that detailed 24 contributions that potentially violate the Santa Monica Taxpayer Protection Amendment. Also known as the Oaks Initiative, the 2000 voter-approved law prohibits city officials from accepting campaign cash from those to whom they have awarded public contracts or land use approvals. Moutrie said referring the case to the D.A.’s office does not imply her office has reached any conclusions about the allegations. “Any complaint against a council member or city official we routinely forward to the district attorney,” Moutrie said. City campaign finance records show that O’Conner voted in favor of the Hines Lantana Media Campus and two other projects before accepting contributions from executives of companies affiliated with those projects. O’Connor told The Argonaut earlier this month that she may have made mistakes because she did not employ a full-time treasurer, but characterized the accusations as politically motivated. Playa Vista man accused of child molestation A 38-year-old man accused...

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News in brief

— Compiled by  Gary Walker  and Joe Piasecki Driver accused of boardwalk rampage headed to court The man accused of killing an Italian tourist and running down several others in August 2013 while driving his car through the crowded Venice boardwalk may soon get a trial date. Prosecutors will meet with the attorney representing Nathan Louis Campbell, who is charged with murder and 17 counts of assault with a deadly weapon, during a pretrial conference on Oct. 30 at the Airport Courthouse. “It will be a formal hearing in court to set a new trial date,” Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila said. Campbell, who turned himself into Santa Monica police the day of the tragedy, has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, public defender Phillip Dube, has said Campbell, 38, did not intend to kill Gruppioni or injure the other victims.   Friends of Ballona to honor Gray Davis The nonprofit advocacy group Friends of the Ballona Wetlands will honor former California Gov. Gray Davis — whom they credit with saving the wetlands and turning it into a state ecological preserve — at its 9th annual Moonlight on the Marsh celebration. The event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Marina del Rey Marriott Rooftop Bayview Ballroom, 4100 Admiralty Way. In 2003, the Davis administration committed $140 million in state funding to purchase 300 acres of wetland....

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News in Brief

Officers honored one year after Santa Monica College shootings City and campus police officers who responded to last year’s shooting rampage that culminated at Santa Monica College were recognized for exemplary service during the Santa Monica Police Dept.’s biennial awards ceremony on May 21. A year ago Saturday, roving 23-year-old gunman John Zawahri killed five people and injured several others before being shot dead by police at the college. Santa Monica College Police Capt. Raymond Bottenfield, who was off-duty when he responded to the campus shootings, received a medal of valor. On the day of the shooting, Bottenfield and...

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News in Brief

Compiled by Gary Walker and Joe Piasecki Beachgoer struck  by county work truck A 49-year-old woman was hospitalized in serious condition after she was struck by a Los Angeles County Dept. of Beaches and Harbors maintenance vehicle on May 14. According to Beaches and Harbors officials, the driver was a veteran employee of the department’s beach maintenance division who had gone to investigate several large pieces of debris that had accumulated near the shoreline at the Via Marina Peninsula. The Nissan Xterra SUV that the county employee was driving struck the woman, who was lying face down in the sand, at about 10:30 a.m. as he was leaving the shore. Officials said the victim was alert and oriented after the incident, which remains under review. The driver “will not be handling beach driving duties until further notice,” said Beaches and Harbors spokeswoman Carol Baker. Los Angeles police officers interviewed the driver for several hours before releasing him, Baker said. Lifeguards from the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division and Los Angeles City Fire Department paramedics also responded to the scene. School wins state accolades Playa del Rey Elementary School has been named a California Distinguished School for 2014, officials announced last Thursday. Playa del Rey Elementary is one of 22 Los Angeles Unified School District schools to receive the state award for significantly improving standardized test scores for...

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