Last week, The Argonaut looked back at what happened in our local area during the first six months of 2005.

This week, we review the last six months of the year in our local area.


A lively diversity symbolized the beachfront installation of new Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl July 2nd at Venice Beach.

Music ranged from tunes from The Rocky Horror Show by the Great American Yankee Band to Japanese taiko from the Venice Japanese Community Center.

Newly installed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also attended.

City of Los Angeles firefighters held a torch run through the city July 9th, beginning at City Fire Station 95 in Westchester.

The goal was to raise funds for a Fallen Firefighters Memorial being built in Hollywood.

The Boys & Girls Club of Venice opened a new thrift shop at 13347 Washington Blvd., between Walgrove and Centinela Avenues, to raise funds for the youth club.

The annual Fourth of July parade in Westchester drew 50 units that included lots of flags, children and patriotic floats.

The County Board of Supervisors approved $850,000 in funds July 5th to help pay for a new $3.7 million patrol boat for the County Sheriff’s Department in Marina del Rey.

The patrol boat is designed to respond to any terrorist attacks to aircraft departing from Los Angeles International Airport over Santa Monica Bay.

The City of Santa Monica Big Blue Bus began a new Rapid Bus service on ten miles of Lincoln Boulevard between Santa Monica and Los Angeles International Airport.

The Rapid Bus runs from 6 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Santa Monica had increases in its domestic and international travel volume, according to the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau.

While overnight visitors to Santa Monica represented only 11 percent of the city’s visitors, they contributed nearly half of all visitor spending in the city during the year.

In response to terrorist attacks in London that killed more than 50 aboard three underground rail lines and a double-decker bus July 7th, officials at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) announced that they would increase security at the airport.

County Small Craft Harbor commissioners were told during a July 7th meeting that they have no authority to delay supporting or opposing an item on the commission agenda.

At issue was a proposal to allow the County Board of Supervisors to enter into exclusive negotiations for an option and long-term lease for development of a dry-stack boat storage facility and a parking lot in Basin H.

“It is not the purview of your commission to opine on the value of a project, Marina deputy director Kerry Silverstrom told the commission.

“Why do we talk about it here if it doesn’t matter?” asked Commissioner Russ Lesser.

The Los Angeles Clippers announced that they would build a $20 million training center on two acres of Playa Vista.

The new training center would be built at the intersection of Centinela Avenue and the new Bluff Creek Drive.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a suit to block City of Los Angeles ordinances regulating Venice Boardwalk artists, performers and vendors.

The Los Angeles City Council voted July 12th to support a State Assembly bill that recognizes equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

An earlier Assembly bill recognizing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples failed but similar language was put into a new Assembly bill.

A 35-year-old man was contained inside an X-ray room at Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center Marina campus for about seven hours on Lincoln Boulevard July 14th.

Police had earlier brought the man to the hospital for medical treatment after the man attempted to commit suicide while in custody of police at the Pacific Community Police Station.

The man allegedly threatened officers inside the X-ray room, but officers were able to isolate the man and a crisis team was later able to get the man to leave the X-ray room.

Playa del Rey attorney Valeria Velasco was nominated by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villa-raigosa July 25th to serve on the City of Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners.

Velasco had been president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC).

Later in the year the full City Council would confirm her nomination.

The City of Los Angeles canceled its DASH summer beach shuttle on very short notice because of lack of ridership, according to the project manager for DASH Downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl joined fellow councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel July 26th in urging a “clean money system” in campaigns that would include full public financing of election campaigns.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Thornton was honored at a retirement party July 26th at Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club. Thornton spent 33 years with the county.

The Los Angeles City Council president appointed Councilman Bill Rosendahl to chair the City Council Committee on Education and Neighborhoods that deals with city Neighborhood Councils and to membership on the City Council committees overseeing Los Angeles International Airport, environmental issues, city budget and juvenile justice.

Coast Guard Lt.(jg) Nathan Swardson assumed the command July 28th of the Coast Guard cutter Halibut, moored in the Marina.

Members of ARSAC (Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion) July 29th picked Jennifer Dakoske-Koslu of Playa del Rey to be the association president, succeeding Val Velasco, who had been appointed to the City of Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners.

Frank Gleberman, a financial planner who was active in Marina del Rey boating and chamber of commerce activities, died July 30th at his home in Villa Marina East. He was 67.

He had been California Yacht Club commodore, chaired the annual Marina del Rey In-the-Water Boat Show, been president of local chambers of commerce and served as chamber honorary mayor.

He had also served as area chairman of the 1989 PGA Championship at Riviera Country Club and served on numerous advisory groups.

Robert Feist, RavensWork Studio owner, was named president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce.

Geralds Ace Hardware in Westchester closed July 31st. The store had been owned by Zev Edelstein and his family since 1954. He sold the store because he wanted to relax in retirement.


Santa Monica city manager Susan McCarthy informed the Santa Monica City Council August 1st that she would resign in November. She left in December.

Fire caused $1.5 million in damage at the Santa Monica City Yards August 3rd. Four city garbage trucks were destroyed and several others damaged.

Two Loyola Marymount University student athletes were among four persons killed in a one-vehicle accident August 5th, while the students were en route to a vacation at Lake Havasu, Arizona.

Adam Bacon, a 21-year-old men’s cross-country runner, and Jessica Hanson, a 20-year-old women’s soccer player, suffered fatal injuries when the van in which they were riding experienced a left rear tire failure and rolled over on Interstate 40 about 40 miles west of Needles.

The Santa Monica City Council August 9th okayed a new route for 5-k and 10-k runs in the city that includes areas of the beachfront.

Routes near Santa Monica College are now unusable because of new medians in the middle of Pico Boulevard, the City Council was told.

Such events must be held only on Saturdays and Sundays and begin no sooner than 7 a.m. and be finished by 11a.m. There must be at least eight weeks between races, the city community use administrator told the council.

The first access area to the Ballona Creek Bike Trail Improvement Project — a bike path that extends approximately eight miles through the Cities of Los Angeles and Culver City and connects with the Beach Bike Path in Playa del Rey — was dedicated August 18th.

The project is part of a larger effort to improve the area surrounding Ballona Creek and its adjacent wetlands and link Ballona Creek to the Baldwin Hills area.

Frank Underwood died August 28th. He was 74.

Underwood had been a longtime community leader in the Villa Marina community and served on the board of the Del Rey Neighborhood Council.

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) unanimously approved August 25th a plan for a new 424 area code overlay on top of the existing 310 area code.

Telephone customers in the 310 area code could begin using the new 11-digit 310 area code calling December 31st.

On July 23rd the 11-digit 310 area code requirement for calls made within the 310 area code will go into effect and after that time, customers failing to add 1-310 to outgoing calls will not be able to have such calls connected.

Beginning August 26th, 2006, telephone companies will begin distributing new 424 area code numbers to new customers within the present 310 area code.

About 60 firefighters responded August 31st to a fire that broke out in the top floor of the four-story Westgate Center office building on Pershing Drive in Playa del Rey. Two fire captains suffered smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion.


Thirty-five members of the Westchester-Playa del Rey community joined founders of the Westchester/Playa del Rey PART (Parents Achieving Results Together) Education Foundation to package more than $6,500 worth of donations to the seven Westchester and Playa del Rey public schools.

The Education Foundation was formed in April.

The Santa Monica Community College District board of trustees approved a $324 million budget September 7th for fiscal year 2005-06, which began July 1st.

Ruth Galanter, former Los Angeles City Council member who represented the then-local Sixth District, was named a “Distinguished Scholar” at Loyola Marymount University.

The university said Galanter will lecture at LMU during the 2005-06 year, assist professors, speak in class, help develop courses and supervise students enrolled in independent research courses.

Joe Herman, former principal of Westchester High School, died September 11th. He was 82.

In 1950, Herman was one of the first teachers at Westchester High School when the school opened its doors at the present site of Orville Wright Middle School.

Between 1957 and 1985, he was an administrator for the school district. He served as Westchester High principal between 1967 and 1975.

The Santa Monica City Council approved an ordinance September 13th to establish a bus-only lane on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica.

City officials said they hoped to have the bus-only, curb lane on Lincoln Boulevard extend south to Westchester and Los Angeles International Airport.

Santa Monica city attorney Marsha Moutrie told the council that Lincoln Boulevard is a state highway and under the jurisdiction of the state, so the city ordinance merely expresses the wishes of the city.

The California Coastal Commission approved removal of 90 palm trees planted illegally in Playa del Rey by Los Angeles World Airports — the City of Los Angeles agency that operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The airport had planted the trees without the required coastal permits. Critics complained that the trees were not native to the area, would harm sensitive plants and insects in the adjacent dunes area and were “unsightly.”

The Los Angeles Triathlon, September 11th, began with an ocean swim off Venice Beach and continued with a run down Venice Boulevard to downtown Los Angeles.

Ted Lieu, a Democrat and Torrance City Council member, won 60 percent of the vote in an open primary September 13th to succeed Mike Gordon, the 53rd District assemblyman, who died in June.

Because Lieu won more than 50 percent of the vote, he avoided a runoff that would have been held November 8th.

The U.S. Postal Service September 16th put on the market the 20-acre parcel that had been the site of the former Marina Mail Processing Center at Jefferson Boulevard and Alla Road.

DeDe Audet, an Oxford Triangle resident, was elected president of the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council in elections held Saturday and Sunday, September 10th and 11th, at Venice High School.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development September 13th gave the City of Santa Monica more than $700,000 over a two-year period to help combat longtime homelessness in the city.

Grace Cheng Braun was named president and chief executive officer of WISE Senior Services, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit organization serving seniors throughout the Los Angeles area.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky appointed Flora Gil Krisiloff to be his senior field deputy in Venice and the Westside.

Krisiloff was unsuccessful in the earlier Los Angeles City Council 11th District runoff, but had been supported for the City Council position by Yaroslavsky.

Classes began September 14th for the Westside Neighborhood School, which had moved its campus to a much larger site on Beethoven Street in the Del Rey area north of Playa Vista.

The school was earlier called the Westchester Neighborhood School when it was in smaller facilities on Arbor Vitae Street in Westchester.

A fire in Pedals, a restaurant in the Shutters on the Beach Hotel in Santa Monica, caused approximately $225,000 in damage September 24th.

The fire was confined to the kitchen ventilation system. While some guests were forced to evacuate, no one was injured.

Cyclists riding in the Arthritis Foundation Fifth Annual Amgen California Coast Classic Tour from San Francisco to Santa Monica honored Santa Monica resident Scott Bleifer, who was killed while riding his bicycle on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu September 10th.

The race began in San Francisco in late September and arrived in Santa Monica in early October.


Anita Varghese was named news editor of The Argonaut, effective October 1st. She joined the newspaper in March 2004 as a reporter and earlier was a reporter and copy editor for the Houston Chronicle.

Kim Day left her position October 7th as executive director of Los Angeles World Airports — the City of Los Angeles agency that operates and manages the city’s four airports.

Day was succeeded by Lydia Kennard, who had formerly held the same position. Kennard’s appointment was effective October 8th, pending a subsequent approval by the Los Angeles City Council.

The Heal the Bay Santa Monica Pier Aquarium received a $100,000 grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation that would allow Heal the Bay to open an interactive and educational microscope lab at the aquarium.

Two Los Angeles city firefighters were injured during a $300,000 fire in a vacant commercial building on Thatcher Avenue in the Oxford Triangle area of Venice October 6th.

City of Santa Monica officials confirmed that a dead crow found in the city in late September had tested positive for the West Nile disease.

City officials and community leaders turned out for ceremonies in mid-October to note the construction of the new $8 million City of Los Angeles Fire Station #62 that is being built on Venice Boulevard at Inglewood Boulevard in Mar Vista.

Construction began in the early summer and is expected to be finished by the fall of 2006.

The Santa Monica City Council revised the city ordinance defining sexually-oriented businesses October 11th.

The ordinance “would not necessarily make any adult businesses currently in the city illegal,” said city attorney Marsha Moutrie.

“What it does is make it easier for residents and city staff to determine whether a business is an adult business that is subject to restrictions,” she said.

An environmental study concerning the proposed Route 90 linkage into the Marina scheduled to start in November 2005 could take one-and-a-half to two years, the County Small Craft Harbor Commission was told October 12th.

The study is required before any work can begin on a connection road between the State Route 90 and Admiralty Way.

The proposed road linkage has been under discussion since the early 1980s, when the late Supervisor Deane Dana talked about such a connection.

More than 75 people from 30 agencies held a drill conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning response at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for a worst-case scenario of a passenger with bird flu (avian influenza) arriving at LAX.

A 45-year-old Transportation Security Administration screener at Los Angeles International Airport was charged with stealing $300 from a passenger’s purse that was going through a screening machine in the Tom Bradley Terminal at the airport.

The incident was captured on videotape. The screener later admitted she took the money and was terminated.

Police alleged that the screener had an outstanding warrant on a 1991 theft.

While the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and a developer moved forward with plans to construct a mixed-use project at the 3.18-acre MTA bus yard in Venice bordered by Pacific Avenue on the west, Main Street on the east, Thornton Place on the south and Sunset Avenue on the north, neighbors objected to the plan, which would have 14 individual buildings varying in size from three to five floors, 30 to 56 feet in height.

The developer — RAD Jefferson, LLC — would exchange the Venice site for a 4.66-acre site on Jefferson Boulevard and National Boulevard in West Los Angeles, where the developer would build a state-of-the-art facility for the MTA.

Santa Monica resident Tim Kittleson was named chairman of the board of the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Kittleson has been in the film industry for 25 years and has had executive positions with the UCLA Film and Television Archive, the American Film Marketing Association and the American Film Market.

He replaced Bill Crookston.

The Santa Monica City Council decided to delay until January 2006 an interim ordinance modifying zoning regulations for Santa Monica auto dealerships so city staff could get more input from auto dealers.

The County Department of Beaches and Harbors told the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Marina Chamber of Commerce Affairs Committee that the county wants lots of public input on its major proposed project at Mothers Beach in the Marina.

Dusty Crane, Marina marketing specialist, said the county will return to the chamber committee with updated plans in early 2006.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) officials released a final environmental impact report (EIR) for a project to move a south runway at the airport 55 feet toward El Segundo.

Physical copies of the EIR were made available to the public at libraries in Westchester, Venice, Mar Vista and the Marina.

Los Angeles Councilmembers Bill Rosendahl and Jan Perry called for a special panel to deal with homelessness in Los Angeles.

A three-judge panel of the California Second Appellate District Court of Appeal ruled unanimously October 25th, to vacate a City of Los Angeles decision approving mitigation measures concerning a dewatering system placed under Playa Vista basements to pump groundwater so that methane mitigation systems would work properly and pipes used to vent methane gas would be clear of debris.

Environmentalists who were plaintiffs in a suit against Playa Vista argued that the dewatering could pollute groundwater.

Plaintiffs and Playa Vista officials differed on what the decision meant to the progress of Playa Vista construction.


The 26th Annual American Film Market, a yearly independent film trade show, featured a lengthy list of independent films in Santa Monica between November 2nd and November 9th.

Although voters in a special statewide election November 8th voted down all eight statewide propositions on the ballot, voters in the county approved Los Angeles Unified School District Measure Y, a $3.985 billion school bond issue with 65.74 percent support. The school bond required support of 50 percent plus one of those voting.

The County Sheriff’s Department christened a new patrol boat November 8th that will be moored at the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station.

The patrol boat was named J. Ortiz to honor Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Ortiz, killed in the line of duty in June.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will be one of 15 major airports in the country to receive a new advanced runway safety system to help combat potential runway collisions, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced.

A former Transportation Security Administration airport scanner pleaded no contest to a charge that she took $300 from an airline passenger’s purse that was going through an airport scanning machine. The 45-year-old scanner was ordered to repay the passenger her $300 and was sentenced to ten days in jail or ten days of work performed for Caltrans.

The U.S. Postal Service received 30 bidders for its 20-acre Marina Processing Center property near Home Depot at Jefferson Boulevard and Alla Road in the Del Rey area.

Postal officials said they would sort through the bids, setting no deadline for a decision. None of the 30 bids was from a government agency or community group.

The Waterside at Marina del Rey shopping center celebrated the opening of the redeveloped retail center November 17th to 20th.

The Venice Grass Roots Neighborhood Council November 17th called on the owner of Lincoln Place apartments in Venice to stop eviction of tenants.

The apartment owner has indicated that it plans to demolish the apartments and redevelop the site.

The Pico Farmers Market in Santa Monica returned to Virginia Avenue Park November 12th. The farmers market had to be relocated for two years because of redevelopment of the park.

The Santa Monica City Council November 22nd appointed San Diego city manager P. Lamont Ewell to succeed city manager Susan McCarthy, who retired December 8th.

A fire that burned two acres of bluffs in the northern end of Palisades Park in Santa Monica November 27th was believed to have been started by a homeless man cooking.

A lawsuit against the county and FantaSea Yachts was filed by the Coalition to Save the Marina and Hans Etter, alleging the defendants failed to disclose alleged violations on an application for a conditional use permit for a parcel in the Marina.

Santa Monica police issued an alert on possible gang violence in the Pico area after an outbreak of graffiti in the neighborhood.


Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced December 1st that a group of airport-adjacent cities, the county and community organizations was close to an agreement to end lawsuits against the $11 billion Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) expansion plan.

The agreement was called “an agreement to agree” in the future, but allowed several projects at LAX that had been stalled to proceed.

Santa Monica celebrated the reopening of Virginia Park December 4th after a two-year project that redesigned the park at Pico Boulevard and Virginia Avenue.

The Santa Monica Community College District board of trustees named San Jose City College president Chui Tsang president of Santa Monica College.

He will succeed Piedad Robertson, who left the college district in January to become president of the Denver-based Education Commission of the States.

Tsang will begin his role as Santa Monica College president February 27th.

The community college trustees also elected Nancy Greenstein chair and Susan Aminoff vice chair of the trustees for 2006. Their terms began December 5th.

Ross Wood won the sweepstakes award in the 43rd Annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade December 10th with a 44-foot sailboat, Gallorosso.

Wood had never owned a boat, but went fishing with his sons a few months before the boat parade and decided to buy a boat, then later entered the boat parade.

Among his awards was a trip to Tokyo to judge a boat parade, The Illuminated Boat Parade and Contest, in Tokyo Bay.

The boat parade drew 42 registered entries, according to Cindy Williams, president of the volunteer organization, The Marina del Rey Holiday Parade, which puts on the event every year.

Frank Fetta, conductor of the Marina del Rey Summer Symphony, was grand marshal and the parade theme was “Star Light, Star Bright.”

The Santa Monica City Council December 13th approved a $200,000 contract with former county supervisor Ed Edelman to lead efforts to end homelessness in Santa Monica.

The County Board of Supervisors took the first step December 13th to reacquire two parcels adjacent to Burton Chace Park that might be added to the park for expansion of public facilities at the park.

Supervisor Don Knabe came to the Marina December 15th for his annual “State of the Marina” address and expressed optimism for the national, state and local economies.

He pointed to three large redevelopment projects in the Marina — at Fisherman’s Village, in the Mothers Beach area and at Burton Chace Park — and assured chamber members that they would have lots of opportunity for input in the projects.

The year-end was greeted with high surf, strong winds and rain. Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton warned residents and visitors near the beach in Venice and the Marina Peninsula to be ready to evacuate if heavy flooding from a high surf occurred.

In a written high surf alert, Bratton said evacuation plans were in place, including refuge sites with the American Red Cross.

Surfers said the waves up to 15 feet during high tides were among the largest seen locally in decades.

Marina officials closed the Marina entrance for several hours during high tides.