This week, The Argonaut begins its review of the previous year in our local community, looking back on the highlights in the news from January through June.

Next week, The Argonaut will review the local highlights from July through December.


A storm that hit Southern California in the last week of December brought heavy rains but caused no flooding in the local area.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief William Bratton issued a high surf advisory at the end of December warning of possible flooding conditions after beaches in Venice and along the Marina Peninsula received large swells ranging from ten to 15 feet.

The new 104,000-square-foot Santa Monica Main Public Library, at 601 Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica, celebrated its grand opening January 7th.

Construction began in 2001 and cost $73.9 million. Key features of the library include multiple entrances, garden spaces and window walls.

The library also houses the 140-seat Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium, the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum and the Friends of the Library store.

The County Board of Supervisors voted to approve an agreement made between the county, the City of El Segundo and other plaintiffs regarding settling a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles regarding a Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Master Plan proposal.

Airport officials said the tentative agreement among the plaintiffs allowed the airport to proceed with plans to move the airport’s south runway 55 feet south.

In a 50-page ruling, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge upheld a City of Los Angeles decision in 2004 to approve The Village at Playa Vista, the second phase of the Playa Vista project.

The decision upholds the creation of a neighborhood retail center, public parks and 2,600 residential units.

Jon Hodge, the planetarium director at Santa Monica College (SMC) for 26 years, died of cancer January 4th, at age 57.

In tribute, his colleagues at the SMC Earth Sciences Department arranged to have an asteroid named after him. Asteroid 18117 is now called Jonhodge.

Mary K. Dasaro, a 23-year-old Loyola Marymount University graduate, was found stabbed to death in her Westchester home January 18th, after she had called police to report that her former boyfriend was trying to enter the house.

Dasaro was a substitute kindergarten teacher at the Westwood Charter School in Los Angeles.

The suspect in the homicide, who was identified as Dasaro’s former boyfriend, was found later the same day after police said he had set fire to his vehicle. The suspect died of his injuries January 20th.

The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval to a settlement of lawsuits filed against the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Master Plan January 18th.

The lawsuits had been filed by opponents of former mayor James Hahn’s Alternative D LAX expansion plan.

The final approval meant that Los Angeles World Airports, operator of LAX and other regional airports, could begin construction on the South Airfield Improvement Project and modernization of Tom Bradley International Terminal.

The Venice Community Housing Corporation awarded a California Wellness Foundation a $150,000 grant over three years for gang prevention and intervention programs.

The grant targets at-risk youths 12 to 24 years old who live primarily in Venice and Mar Vista.

Actor Chris Penn, brother of Oscar Award-winning actor Sean Penn, was found dead inside his ocean-side home in Santa Monica January 24th.

An autopsy later determined that he died as a result of a heart condition.

Among films Penn starred in are Footloose and Reservoir Dogs.

The Santa Monica City Council adopted an ordinance January 24th, that prohibits new retail frontage on two of three blocks on the Third Street Promenade.

City officials said the ordinance was approved in an effort to preserve existing downtown restaurants.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a revised ordinance January 31st, regulating vending and “public expression” on the west side of the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

The ordinance was revised after the City Council repealed parts of the law following a civil rights lawsuit that was filed by vendors opposed to the ordinance.


A 28,000-pound crane mounted on a truck fell on its side on the Santa Monica Pier February 1st, temporarily closing vehicular traffic to the pier.

No injuries were reported and minimal damage was done to the pier in the accident.

The Federal Aviation Administration awarded $56.5 million in new grants February 2nd, to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for runway safety improvements and soundproofing nearby homes.

A $29.5 million grant was given to help pay for the southward relocation of one of four runways at LAX, which will make space for the construction of a new center taxiway.

The FAA also awarded $27 million to LAX to soundproof homes in El Segundo, Inglewood and Lennox.

An undercover Santa Monica police officer was shot in the wrist during an incident in the Pico Neighborhood February 2nd.

Officer Walter Ramirez, who was treated at the UCLA Medical Center and released later the same day, was a four-year veteran of the Santa Monica Police Department.

The suspect in the shooting was charged by the county District Attorney’s Office with attempted murder.

A 23-year-old Venice man was shot to death by Santa Monica police after authorities said he carjacked a vehicle in Santa Monica February 9th, and fired a shotgun at officers during a pursuit that ended in Venice.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene in the 500 block of Santa Clara Avenue in Venice.

No officers were injured in the incident.

Los Angeles City firefighters battling a fire at a single-family home on Ramsgate Avenue in Westchester February 14th, found an elderly woman dead inside the home.

No other injuries were reported in the fire, which fire officials said was accidental.

Revised plans for a mixed-use project called The Waterfront that would replace the Harbor House and Edie’s Diner restaurants and a county parking lot in Marina del Rey were unveiled at a meeting of the Marina Affairs Committee of the Westchester/ LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce (which was to change its name later in the year to LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce).

Plans were proposed to develop the site into 292 residential units and 34,300 square feet of restaurant and retail space.

A 29-year-old man suffered smoke inhalation when a fire caused $200,000 in damage to a three-story apartment complex in Marina del Rey February 17th, county fire officials said.

The man was taken to a local hospital for treatment and released. No other injuries were reported.

The county Marina del Rey Design Control Board gave conceptual approval with conditions February 16th, to a proposed Marina Beach Residence Inn at Admiralty Way and Via Marina.

The proposed Marriott Residence Inn development would have 147 suites to be operated as an extended stay hotel.

The building height was proposed to be 45 feet high, with four to five stories.

John Deasy, superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District since 2001, was selected for the top post at Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland.

Deasy left the local school district in May to assume the new position in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, which is less than 30 miles east of Washington, D.C.

The Santa Monica City Council hired Federal Network Services Incorporated to install 123 security cameras on the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade.

The cameras cost $1.2 million and the annual system maintenance will be $110,000.

The security system is connected to the city’s computer network and aids the Santa Monica Police Department in detecting and investigating suspicious criminal activity, including acts of terrorism.

After 20 years of service with the Boys & Girls Club of Venice, including ten years as its chief executive officer, J.R. Dzubak announced he would leave the club to become the regional service director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Pacific Division.

The Santa Monica City Council adopted a resolution February 28th, in support of establishing an off-leash dog beach pilot program at the Santa Monica State Beach.

Councilmembers directed city staff to write a letter to the California State Senate, expressing the City Council’s position favoring State Assembly Bill 359, which would bring an off-leash dog beach pilot program to Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey.

A Los Angeles man was sentenced by a county Superior Court judge to five years in jail after a jury found him guilty on all 52 counts stemming from his arrest for videotaping women in a public restroom at Venice Beach.

The Santa Monica City Council approved a schematic design and community use plan February 28th, for the former Marion Davies estate on Santa Monica State Beach at 415 Pacific Coast Highway.

City officials desire to build a public beach club at the former estate with a pool, a pool house, an event house, boardwalks, sports courts, gardens and landscaping.

Eddie Lopez, a 15-year-old Santa Monica High School student, was shot to death in the Pico Neighborhood February 28th.

Lopez and two friends were standing outside a convenience store at Pico Boulevard and 26th Street when the shooting occurred.

The suspect in the shooting was still at large at the end of the year.


Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl announced that the owners and tenants of the Lincoln Place apartment complex in Venice would return to the negotiating table to try to find a resolution to the crisis there.

Apartment Investment and Management Company, the owners of Lincoln Place, agreed to halt all eviction proceedings until the end of May.

More than 2,000 classmates, teachers and staff from Santa Monica High School, as well as representatives from the City of Santa Monica and residents attended a memorial service March 2nd, at the high school for student Eddie Lopez, who was shot to death February 28th.

Another memorial service was held at night March 2nd, at St. Monica Catholic Church, where Lopez was a member of a youth group.

Albert James Landini, Jr. was approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors March 7th, to represent Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s third district as a member of the Small Craft Harbor Commission.

Landini, a resident of the Marina del Rey area, was previously an associate zoning administrator with the City of Los Angeles Planning Department for 15 years.

The Westchester High School Comets boys basketball team captured its seventh Los Angeles City Section Championship in the last eight years with a 68-58 victory over Taft High School of Woodland Hills at the Los Angeles Sports Arena March 4th.

The Marina del Rey Design Control Board announced at a meeting March 16th, that it would conduct evening meetings beginning April 27th, because of high attendance at special evening meetings to discuss proposed new projects in Marina del Rey.

A Santa Monica woman who taught at a private school in Culver City was killed March 15th, when a car drove onto the sidewalk on National Boulevard in Culver City, striking the teacher and injuring eight students.

Carrie Phillips, 24, a teacher at Turning Point School in Culver City, was pronounced dead at the scene and eight students from the group of 15 students sustained moderate injuries.

Department of Neighborhood Empowerment general manager Greg Nelson announced March 21st, that he would retire after more than four years of overseeing the Neighborhood Council system of the City of Los Angeles.

He had been credited with creating the citywide system of Neighborhood Councils and had worked for the city for 34 years.

A revised City of Los Angeles ordinance prohibiting commercial vending activity on the west side of Ocean Front Walk in Venice and regulating the time, place and manner of “public expression” activities went into effect on the Boardwalk March 25th.

Under the ordinance, vending activity — defined as selling, offering for sale, exposing for sale, soliciting offers to purchase or bartering — on the west side of the Boardwalk is prohibited.

The City of Los Angeles Planning Department agreed that Seaglass Holdings, LLC should be required to prepare a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a proposed development in the area known as Toes Beach in Playa del Rey.

The study examines the potential traffic and environmental impacts for the proposed mixed-use development.

Former TV game show host Peter Tomarken and his wife, Kathleen were killed March 13th, when their small plane crashed in the water about 200 yards off the Santa Monica shore shortly after takeoff.

Tomarken, 63, and his wife, 41, who had taken off from Santa Monica Airport on a volunteer medical transportation flight bound for the San Diego area, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The plane crashed into Santa Monica Bay and was located in 19 feet of water, south of Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica.

Tomarken became a TV personality in the 1980s as the host of game shows such as the popular Press Your Luck, which ran from 1983 to 1986.

A federal lawsuit on behalf of Westchester Lutheran Church and School charging a violation of constitutional liberties was filed against the City of Los Angeles March 9th, in Los Angeles Federal Court by Advocates for Faith and Freedom attorney Robert Tyler.

The suit alleged that the restrictions in the City of Los Angeles conditional use permit for the modernization of the school violate First Amendment freedom of religion provisions, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, which expanded building rights for churches.

Local community members who attended a public scoping meeting at Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey March 9th, were told that construction for a link of the Marina Freeway access expressway into the Marina is not expected to begin until 2011.

In a Wheel of Fortune show that aired March 6th, Marina del Rey resident Carla Bruckner won $46,850 in cash and prizes.

Bruckner, a five-year resident of the Marina, also won a trip to Boston valued at $7,100.


Several cyclists came up with an idea for a tribute to honor the 33 airplane crew members killed in the planes hijacked on September 11th, 2001 — a cross-country bicycle ride.

The “Airline Ride Across America” started at Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey — near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the destination of three of the hijacked planes — and the ride ended at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

John Haag — called a “quiet leader” of the Venice Beatnik literary scene and later the politics of peace and freedom — died at age 75.

The poet and co-founder of the Peace and Freedom Party died April 1st, after years of failing health.

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved a concession agreement with T-Mobile USA to provide public broadband wireless Internet (WiFi) access at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

An accidental fire that broke out at the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey April 6th, caused over $1 million in damage to two boats docked there.

Two other boats suffered approximately $30,000 in exterior damage. No one was injured in the fire.

Investigators believe the accidental fire originated below deck in the bilge area of The Great Escape, and spread to adjacent boats, including Eyes of Love.

The body of Richard Lee Creviston was discovered April 6th, floating between two boats along the 1800 dock of G basin at 13575 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey.

Creviston was a liveaboard and appeared to be a victim of accidental drowning, according to County Sheriff’s Department officials.

Santa Monica police recovered $115,000 worth of marijuana from a storage unit allegedly rented by a man, after nearby residents complained of a strong odor.

Lawrence G. Williams, 44, was the renter of the storage unit and was booked at Santa Monica Jail for cultivation of marijuana and possession for sale of marijuana on April 5th, police said. He was released on $100,000 bail.

Police allegedly recovered 53 mature marijuana plants and 109 immature marijuana plants from the storage unit, totaling over 145 pounds of marijuana.

Lack of funding has delayed proposed construction until 2015 on the Marine Freeway (State Route 90) connector road project (to Admiralty Way).

The California Coastal Commission approved a proposal from the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors to construct a 9,000-square-foot youth aquatic center for the county’s year-round youth recreation programs at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey.

The proposal was made by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and will cost $3.8 million.

County officials hope to have the new aquatic center open by spring 2008.

Six new signs identifying the Mar Vista boundaries at main commercial entrances into the community were installed by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Santa Monica police arrested Donald Joseph Brower, 49, who allegedly attempted to make an explosive device inside his camper at the beach parking lot north of the Santa Monica Pier on April 14th.

Due to the information received about a possible explosive device inside the camper, police contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad.

Bomb squad deputies entered the camper, where they located the alleged destructive device and “made it safe.”

Brower was arrested and booked in Santa Monica Jail. His bail was set at $500,000.

Tony Ciancimino resigned as executive director of the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce (later re-named the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce).

Christina Davis was promoted to executive director from her position as chamber member services and communications director.

Betty Factor, the co-founder with her husband of the Mar Vista Family Center in Del Rey that promotes early childhood and family development, died at 82.

She died April 24th due to complications of cancer at the Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.

An evening meeting of the Marina del Rey Design Control Board April 27th drew 125 people, most of them opposed to the Marina Public (Mothers Beach) Strategic Plan.

Local residents said they want the Marina Beach area — a public area for recreational and boating use maintained by taxpayer funds — to remain a public area for recreational use and not be turned into an area of personal enrichment for local private developers.


Venice stakeholders approved a new set of bylaws for the community’s Neighborhood Council.

The name of the council was also changed from the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council to the Venice Neighborhood Council.

The Los Angeles Airport Police (a division of Los Angeles World Airports) officers represented police agencies from the State of California at an annual National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial event in Washington, D.C. May 12th through 15th.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) began a valet parking service on May 10th, in the Central Terminal Area.

Broadway Elementary School in Venice expanded its instructional program to include sixth grade for the 2006-2007 school year.

Marlene Canter, president of the Los Angeles Unified School District school board and the representative for local board District 4, was honored as top female executive director by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Sighting of some rarely seen northern right whale dolphins and Dall’s porpoises were sighted in local waters was reported by the Ocean Conservation Society, which is based out of Marina del Rey.

A Fisherman’s Village redevelopment plan was presented to the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce.

Marina del Rey residents wanting to preserve the Marina for what they say is its primary purpose — boating and recreation — protested various proposed construction projects, including a freeway into the Mari- na, on May 13th.

David Asper Johnson —founder, editor and publisher of The Argonaut — died on May 17th, at age 68.

Johnson had battled a rare blood disease for some time.

Longtime Argonaut production director Carol Hector was named to succeed David Asper Johnson as editor, publisher and owner of The Argonaut.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are now permitted in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, including Marina del Rey.

The Mar Vista Community Council joined in unanimous support of proposed State Assembly Bill (AB) 2501, authored by Assemblyman Ted Lieu.

AB 2501 would require Santa Monica Airport to monitor and record the taxi and idle times of jet operations for one year as well as make the data available to the public.

This data could help address pollution problems near Santa Monica Airport.

AB2501 also passed on the Assembly floor.

Grant Elementary School in Santa Monica turned 100 years old.

Carlos Carias, an air freight handler at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), died shortly after being found beneath machinery at a cargo facility at LAX. He was 54.

Nicole Brookman, a sixth-grade student at Crossroads Middle School in Santa Monica, collected 662 books and donated most of them to the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation’s new learning center in Santa Monica.

Erikk Aldridge was named chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club in Venice, replacing J.R. Dzubak.

Pepe, an eight-year-old Jack Russell terrier, was rescued by firefighters after going over the edge of a cliff in Palisades Park in Santa Monica while chasing a squirrel.

Pepe was reunited with his owner, Brandon McMillan, who was also rescued while clinging on the side of the cliff below Palisades Park. He had gotten stuck on the bluffs after attempting to rescue Pepe.

Karl Pan was appointed deputy executive officer of finance and chief financial officer for Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the city agency that operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and three other Southern California airports.

Sophia Sarlo of Venice won the Interscholastic Surfing Federation State Championship in women’s shortboarding.

A new 4.8-mile carpool/ high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on Interstate 405 (San Diego Freeway) opened May 23rd.

The new HOV lane starts at State Route 90 (Marina Freeway) and continues to the Century Freeway (I-105) south of Los Angeles International Airport.

Motorists driving vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) can now fill up at a newly upgraded public access fueling station at 1701 Stewart St. in Santa Monica.

The Los Angeles Unified School District school board approved an incentive program to recruit and retain highly qualified math, science and special education teachers.

The California State Assembly approved a bill granting additional powers and authority to the Airport Police, a division of Los Angeles World Airports.

Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts Jr. announced that he was stepping down from his position after 15 years to oversee the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Airport Police Division.

LAWA is the City of Los Angeles agency that operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and three other Southern California Airports, and is the nation’s largest airport law enforcement security organization.

The Venice Pier was reopened May 25th. It had been closed since large waves pounded the pier December 21st, 2005, and caused enough damage for the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks to close the pier and deem it structurally unsafe.

The Santa Monica College board of trustees voted unanimously to approve an agreement to operate a summer school at Compton College.


Heal the Bay issued its 16th annual Beach Report Card for 2005-06, which indicated that Los Angeles County had the state’s lowest grades, with the five most polluted beaches in the state and seven of the top ten most polluted beaches.

Agustin Contreras, a 17-year-old Venice High School student, was shot to death during an apparent gang-related fight on a parking lot at the high school shortly after school ended June 5th.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Pacific Community police interviewed witnesses and searched for the sus- pect who allegedly shot Contreras in the chest.

Contreras was not involved in gangs, police said.

Faced with impending eviction proceedings, the remaining tenants at the Lincoln Place apartment complex in Venice were given three more months to consider relocation.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl was appointed as the city representative on the reactivated Southern California Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA) board.

A fire broke out in an engine of a Boeing 767 jetliner undergoing maintenance at Los Angeles International Airport. No one was injured.

The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey rejected a Los Angeles Department of Transportation proposal to widen a section of Sepul- veda Boulevard in Westchester.

The Gateway “beautification” Project to the Historic Venice Canals held a groundbreaking ceremony.

A multi-agency law enforcement taxi “sting operation” conducted at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) resulted in 54 drivers being cited for mechanical and equipment violations, as well as some taximeters allegedly rigged to boost fares.

Kyle Bernard Jackson Jr., the 20-year-old son of a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Captain Kyle Jackson, pleaded not guilty to felony charges related to an alleged armed robbery of a Westchester boutique.

Artist Steve Schauer — known for gallery exhibitions of his steel, glass and light wall construction works and later forays into conceptual art and social interventions, and who called himself Southern California’s Art Warrior — passed away June 6th, at age 53.

He was a charter artist of the Patricia Correia Gallery.

The new Fire Station No. 5 opened at 8900 Emerson Ave., Westchester.

The $9.3 million Station 5 — nearly two-and-a-half times the size of the original station — serves the communities of Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Del Rey, LAX and Loyola Village.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a plan for the City of Los Angeles to provide emergency medical and fire dispatch services to the City of Santa Monica.

The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office settled a lawsuit that it brought against three men for allegedly trying to frighten a female tenant into vacating her rent-controlled apartment at 2710 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a motion presented by Councilman Bill Rosendahl, calling on a host of city agencies to identify additional funding options for at-risk youth programs in the Venice and Del Rey communities.

In a move to settle disputes over law enforcement jurisdiction at Los Angeles International Airport, the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles World Airports Police Division reached an agreement that specifically outlines each of their responsibilities in securing the airport.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the settlement June 27th, when a memorandum of agreement was signed by LAPD Police Chief William Bratton, Los Angeles World Airports executive director Lydia Kennard, Los Angeles Police Commission president John Mack and city Board of Airport Commissioners president Alan Rothenberg.

Under the agreement, the LAPD is the primary agency responsible for reporting and investigating crimes, while the Airport Police Division is responsible for making arrests, conducting preliminary investigations and completing crime reports.

Four Santa Monica residents filed a lawsuit against the City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica City Council, two city commissions and the Santa Monica Community and Cultural Services Department for approving a public beach club at the former Marion Davies Estate, at 415 Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica.

The Santa Monica City Council did not approve the recommended action by former Santa Monica Police Chief James Butts, Jr. to issue an emergency order allowing the placement of security cameras on the Santa Monica Pier in response to homeland security concerns.

Instead, the council directed that the Landmarks Commission first review the way the cameras would be installed on the landmark Santa Monica Pier Carousel Building and report back to the council.