The Argonaut begins its review of the previous year in our local community.

This week, we’ll look back on the local highlights that took place in January through June.

Next week, we’ll review the local stories that made The Ar-gonaut during July through December.


Sixty-four swimmers — six to 86 years old — began the new year by swimming in the ocean off Venice Beach during the 45th Annual Venice Penguin Club Swim New Year’s Day.

They were greeted by a high surf with five-foot swells and turbulent water that was 59 degrees.

The new year saw a flurry of new lawsuits. ARSAC (Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion) and the City of El Segundo filed suits against the City of Los Angeles regarding the proposed Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) master plan Alternative D.

Later in the month, Los Angeles County, Inglewood and Culver City would also file a joint lawsuit against the LAX plan.

By year’s end Los Angeles would have a new mayor, the ARSAC president would find herself on the city Board of Airport Commissioners and the plaintiffs would sign an agreement to end the LAX lawsuits against the City of Los Angeles.

The City of Santa Monica unveiled a schematic design indicating possible development of Airport Park adjacent to the Santa Monica Airport.

The city received a $1.5 million grant from the state for synthetic turf for sports fields at the $5.4-million, 8.3-acre park on non-aviation land at the airport.

Venice Family Clinic named Dr. Karen Lamp medical director.

A memorial service was held January 18th for Harold Benjamin, a Marina del Rey resident who had founded the Wellness Community for people affected by cancer. He was 80 when he died December 23rd, 2004.

Colony Capital — a Los Angeles-based equity real estate firm — purchased the 18-story, 450-unit Water Terrace tower north of the Marina on Marina Pointe Drive for $305 million and announced plans to sell the apartment units as condominiums.

Memorial services for Marina Peninsula resident Diane Bush were held at the Boys & Girls Club of Venice January 15th. Bush died January 10th at the age of 67.

She had been on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club and the Venice Action Committee, had served as chair of the Ocean Front Walk subcommittee, been active on Beach Art projects at Venice Beach and Mothers Beach in the Marina, served on the Venice High School School Based Management Council and been active with LEARN (Los Angeles Educational Alliance for Restructuring Now).

She also participated in the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Area Community Based Police Council and the Marina Peninsula Neighborhood Association.

The U.S. Postal Service announced that it would close its Marina Processing and Distribution Center and consolidate operations into a larger processing and distribution center in South Los Angeles.

Through most of the year various community groups would advocate keeping the center open and later offer their own plans on how the parcel should be redeveloped.

The Postal Service turned the parcel over to a real estate brokerage firm in mid-September, which sought bids for the site until November 1st. At year’s end, the real estate firm had not determined which of approximately 30 bids would be accepted.

On January 11th, the Santa Monica City Council ordered its staff to develop an unfenced off-leash dog park on Santa Monica State Beach.

An $800,000 fire January 20th, took 80 firefighters to extinguish at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Glencoe Avenue on the Los Angeles-Culver City border.

By year’s end, the small business building was still fenced and no rebuilding at the site had begun.

On January 19th, the Santa Monica Community College District broke ground on a new Madison Campus visual and performing arts complex at 1310 11th St., Santa Monica.

Actor Dustin Hoffman, a Santa Monica College graduate who had chaired a capital campaign to raise funds for the complex, assisted in the ground breaking.

The complex is expected to be completed in 2007.


Mayor James Hahn said he wanted the city to include in its city budget $7.5 million that would give each Neighborhood Council in the City of Los Angeles $100,000 to fix city streets within its Neighborhood Council boundary. The proposal died when Hahn lost his re-election bid later in the year.

Santa Monica named Jessica Cusick new city cultural affairs manager.

The Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) said that because the FAA wouldn’t get revenue from the proposal, Los Angeles Airport couldn’t let a portion of airport land near St. Bernard High School in Playa del Rey be used for community youth soccer and softball fields.

The City of Los Angeles broke ground February 10th for a new playground at Oakwood Recreation Center on California Avenue in Venice.

Demolition of the 60-year-old main wing of Saint John’s Health Center began February 15th. The site is being redeveloped because of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. A four-story, 275,000-square-foot facility will be built on the main wing site.

Dr. Peter Galier, an internal medicine specialist, was reelected chief of staff at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.

A proposal by Assemblyman Mike Gordon to establish an off-leash dog park on the beach on one mile of Dockweiler State Beach adjacent to Hyperion Treatment Plant in Playa del Rey drew strong protest from County of Los Angeles officials.

Gordon would die later in the year. His proposal is before the State Legislature on a “two-year” status. The bill did not gain passage the first year, 2005, but will be back for reconsideration in 2006.

Rita Walsh, a Playa del Rey resident who had been active in community activities, including local chamber events, died February 15th. She was 83.

Samuel Alderson — the inventor of crash test dummies similar to those used in auto safety tests — died in Marina del Rey February 11th. He was 90.

The Del Rey Yacht Club ran its 18th Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta International Yacht Race during the month with three PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) classes that began February 16th, 17th, and 18th, and a Salsa Division for cruising yachts that also had three classes and left the Marina February 11th.

The Puerto Vallarta event is run in odd-numbered years.

A City of Los Angeles proposal to have a lottery drawing for sites on the western side of Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach drew jeers and opposition at the first lottery drawing February 26th.

The city claimed it needed to gain some control over the chaos among throngs that wanted to “take over” the west side of the boardwalk to promote whatever they were promoting at the moment.

A team from Venice High School won the Science Bowl Regional Competition sponsored by the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power February 26th and moved forward to a national competition in Washington, D.C.


Clyde Vernon Grant, Jr., one of the founders of the Westchester Family YMCA, died March 1st. He was 93.

Bill Rosendahl received 46 percent of the vote March 8th in the Los Angeles City Council 11th Council District primary. Flora Gil Krisiloff received 42 percent and Angela Reddock received 14 percent of the votes.

Only 25 percent of registered voters in the 11th Council District voted in the primary.

Rosendahl and Krisiloff faced each other in a May 17th runoff, with Rosendahl winning.

Antonio Villaraigosa and James Hahn placed first and second in a primary election for mayor of Los Angeles. Villaraigosa would defeat Hahn in the May 17th runoff.

Two were shot to death during a private party at the Moose Lodge on Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica March 5th. A third victim was wounded.

Local officials opposed plans to split the 310 telephone area code into 310 and a 424 area code overlay during a March 9th California Public Utilities Commission hearing, but the change in the local area code was later approved and is set to be activated during 2006.

The County Board of Supervisors March 8th banned smoking on Marina Beach, called Mothers Beach.

Venice residents argued whether a statue by Venice artist Robert Graham should be placed in Venice’s Windward Circle.

Marina del Rey yacht clubs officially opened the 2005 yachting season with Opening Day ceremonies March 19th and 20th.

The Westchester High School boys basketball team won the state championship with a win over Serra High School of San Mateo at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento March 19th.

Santa Monica director of planning and building Suzanne Frick resigned to become Long Beach director of planning and building April 18th.

The county christened a new Fire Boat 110 for the county Marina Fire Station 110 March 16th.


Sheriff’s Lt. Mary Campbell was promoted to captain and assumed the command of the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, succeeding Sheriff’s Capt. Sam Dacus, who assumed a new position with the Sheriff’s Department Court Services in the Central District of the county.

The Santa Monica Courthouse officially opened a $4.4 million annex April 1st that replaced three aging trailers that were used for almost 25 years.

Twelve-year-old Ryan Lambert of Mar Vista won the annual Marina del Rey Halibut Derby with a 36-pound halibut.

The County Board of Supervisor approved exclusive negotiations between the county and The BoatYard and Westrec Marina Management, Inc. for a long-term ground lease and redevelopment of the only fuel dock in Marina del Rey at the Main Channel end of Bora Bora Way.

The ground lease would allow development of new adjunct facilities, a restaurant and a public promenade. It was urged that a proposed oyster bar on the site be downgraded to a take-out restaurant.

Nancy Iben was named clinical director for the Airport Marina Counseling Service.

Philip M. Parlett was installed exalted ruler of the Westchester Elks Lodge.

Mary Wilcox was elected president of the Mar Vista Woman’s Club for the 2005-2006 year that would begin July 1st.

Jens O. Rivera was named general manager of the Los Angeles International Airport.

Colorado Center in Santa Monica announced it would be renamed Yahoo! Center after Yahoo! signed a 229,726-square-foot lease with Equity Office and was scheduled to begin moving into the center during the month.

Santa Monica Citywide Reads — a program designed to encourage everyone in the city to read the same book and then get together to discuss the book — began its month-long program April 12th.

The selected book this year was The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Get-togethers for those who had read the book were scheduled at libraries, coffee shops and book stores through May 19th.

A series of fights among students at Santa Monica High School April 15th brought police to the school campus and led to a lockdown by school officials.

The Santa Monica City Council and Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District finalized an agreement for the city to provide the school district $6 million a year for five years in exchange for use of school facilities.

Shelley Luce was appointed executive director of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.

Loyola Marymount University picked Rodney Tenton head men’s basketball coach.

Charles Segal, an avid sailor and sailboat salesman, died after falling overboard from a 24-foot sailboat about a mile west of the Marina breakwater during the opening night of the annual California Sunset Series April 20th. He was 46.

Former county supervisor Deane Dana died of a heart attack April 21st. He was 78.

He had represented the local Fourth Supervisorial District between 1980 and 1996.

A 400-pound, six-foot male sea lion was lifted 40 feet out of an intake pool April 27th after spending ten days at the City of Los Angeles Scattergood Generating Station in the southern portion of Playa del Rey.

A field training officer of the Los Angeles International Airport Police Division, Tommy Scott, was killed April 29th when he attempted to stop a pedestrian who stole the officer’s patrol car near the airport and drove it over a sidewalk curb and into a fire hydrant with the officer holding onto the vehicle door.

The Westchester Woman’s Club moved out of its clubhouse on Alverstone Avenue April 30th after the property was acquired by the adjacent Westchester Family YMCA.

A Santa Monica High School team placed in the top 16 at the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. April 30th.

A Venice High School team also went to the Science Bowl but was eliminated in earlier rounds.


Los Angeles airport commissioner Miguel Contreras died May 6th. He was 52. He was executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

St. Joseph Center raised more than $385,000 at its 20th Annual Dinner Dance and Auctions in Beverly Hills May 7th.

Susan Wagner, a former deputy to former Los Angeles Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, died May 9th. She was 52. She had been an active volunteer with the Los Angeles Police Department and was associated with St. Joseph Center in Venice.

The longest-serving civilian employee of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Marlene Greenfield, celebrated 55 years of employment with the City of Los Angeles and 50 years of employment with the LAPD May 1st.

Antonio Villaraigosa was elected mayor of Los Angeles and Bill Rosendahl was elected councilmember of the City Council’s 11th District in the May 17th Los Angeles city runoff election.

In the election, city voters overwhelmingly voted to oppose a merger of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Police into the Los Angeles Police Department. The merger proposal, Measure A, was opposed by 64.6 percent of city voters.

City voters did approve Charter Measure B, which allows the recalling of city officials before their terms are completed.

Dozens of wounded Iraq War veterans began a two-month bike ride from Mothers Beach in Marina del Rey across the country May 21st to support fellow veterans of the Iraq War.

The 26th Annual Venice Art Walk drew thousands of art fans and the curious to Venice art studios May 22nd. Other events, such as a live auction, an “On the Fringe” art and architectural tour and an exhibit of “site specific” installations on walkways and bridges of the Venice canals were held in conjunction with the Venice Art Walk.

The events benefited the Venice Family Clinic, the nation’s largest free clinic.

Small businesses in Santa Monica grossing $40,000 or less annually will be exempt from city taxes, the Santa Monica City Council voted May 25th.

A ten-year veteran officer of the Santa Monica Police Station — Ricardo “Rick” A. Crocker — was killed by a grenade in combat in Iraq May 26th. He was 39.

The county began a new Marina del Rey water shuttle schedule May 27th. The water shuttle had been running Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

But Marina officials said demand for the water shuttle on Fridays had been low and the shuttle was placed on a “schedule by call” for Friday evenings. Those wishing to use the water shuttle Fridays were asked to call a cell phone number for the boat operator.


Eddie Guerboian of Readers Fine Jewelers was installed chairman of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce for the 2005-06 year June 2nd.

New U.S. Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff made his first visit to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) since assuming the position in February.

Congresswoman Jane Harman warned Chertoff that LAX remains a “top terrorist target.”

“Lords of Dogtown,” a film about the Venice-Santa Monica skateboard scene, opened in theaters nationwide June 3rd.

The administrator and principal of Westchester Lutheran School, William “Bill” Smith, died June 4th.

Although the County Small Craft Harbor Commission had no quorum, the two commissioners present — chairman Harley Search and commissioner Russ Lesser — gave “informal vocal approval” to an assignment of the Marina parcel containing the Harbor House Restaurant and Edie’s Diner to The Waterfront-Marina del Rey, LLC.

County counsel Tom Faughnan said that was all that was necessary to move the matter forward to the full Board of Supervisors for approval.

Critics questioned the “approval without a quorum” process.

Governor Arnold Schwar-zenegger drew rants, cold shoulders and audience members who turned their backs on him as he delivered the commencement address at Santa Monica College June 14th.

Schwarzenegger had attended the college as a student.

A six-foot chain-link fence installed by the City of Los Angeles to protect a newly installed synthetic turf soccer field at the Mar Vista Recreation Center drew criticism at a Mar Vista Community Council meeting June 14th.

The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center in Westchester — a 248,000-square-foot entertainment and retail complex — was sold for $95 million to Irvine-based Passco Real Estate Enterprises, Inc.

Cedric Sutherland of CORT Business Services was installed president of the Westchester/ LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce June 17th.

Barbara Yamamoto, community relations director of Los Angeles World Airports — the City of Los Angeles agency that operates the city’s four airports — was named the chamber’s honorary mayor.

Santa Monica opened its first skatepark, The Cove, in Memorial Park June 17th.

Assemblyman Mike Gordon, whose district included the Marina and Venice, died June 25th from complications from a brain tumor that was first diagnosed in February. He was 47.

Venice Centennial celebrations got under way with a parade and opening ceremonies June 26th.

Various events through Venice in the coming weeks and months would note the 100th anniversary of the founding of Venice by Abbot Kinney in 1905.

USA Today noted the celebration with a page-wide headline:

“Venice, Calif. celebrates 100 years of attitude.”

The Santa Monica Municipal Bus Lines’ Big Blue Bus began “Rapid Blue” bus service along Lincoln Boulevard between Santa Monica and Los Angeles International Airport June 27th.

Next week: Looking back at July through December 2005.