Compiled by Gary Walker

Chef Joe Miller died last
week from complications of
a September heart attack

RIP Chef Joe Miller: Venice lost one of its greats last Wednesday. Chef Joe Miller, whose eponymous Joe’s Restaurant helped reinvigorate Abbot Kinney’s culinary scene in the early 1990s and won a Michelin Star before closing down in 2016, died from complications of a heart attack at 60 years old. Locals remember Chef Joe as a dedicated business owner who was a generous contributor to local charitable causes. He also operated Bar Pintxo in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Offers Cash Assistance for Low-Income Renters Over 65: The city of Santa Monica will begin taking applications on Monday, Nov. 4, for a cash assistance program designed to help renters over age 65 meet their basic needs. The Preserving Our Diversity pilot program makes as much as $2 million dollars available over the next year to hundreds of Santa Monica seniors who have lived in a rent-controlled apartment since before Jan. 1, 2000, and have an annual household income of no more than $36,550 for a one-person household or $41,800 for a two-person household.

Applicants can call the Santa Monica Housing Authority at (310) 458-8743 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday or apply online at santamonica.gov/pod. The city is hosting two registration workshops on Wednesday, Nov. 6 — one from 10 a.m. to noon at Virginia Avenue Park and the other from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Santa Monica Main Library.

Bridge Housing Lawsuit Is Still Active: A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has called a Dec. 11 hearing to consider arguments in a lawsuit attempting to block construction of the 154-bed temporary homeless housing facility slated for the former Metro bus yard on Main Street. The Venice Stakeholders Association alleges the city is in violation of CEQA laws requiring more extensive environmental review; specifically at issue will be a new state law taking effect Jan. 1 that will exempt government-funded homeless shelter and housing projects from CEQA review.

A recent statement by Venice Stakeholders Association President Mark Ryavec claims that Judge Mitchell Beckloff “indicated that he had drafted a tentative ruling that would throw out the city of Los Angeles’ environmental review” of the project. Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, said no such ruling was issued. L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin’s office said the facility is still slated to open near the end of this year or early next year.

Gang Members Charged in Fatal Santa Monica Party Bus Shooting: Prosecutors have filed charges against two alleged gang members related to a November 2017 shooting that broke out between occupants of different party buses parked near Santa Monica Pier, killing 28-year-old Compton resident Falconer De La Cruz and injuring three others.

Both suspects were identified while in criminal custody for unrelated matters, according to a Santa Monica Police Department bulletin. One suspect is charged with homicide and related weapons charges; the other with attempted murder and related weapons charges.

No More Camping in the Playa del Rey Post Office: The U.S. Postal Service has announced that the lobby of the post office at 215 Culver Blvd. will be closed on weekends effective Nov. 18, ending around-the-clock customer access due to safety concerns about overnight camping.

“After much consideration and review, it has been determined that the safety and security of our customers and employees is paramount,” USPS spokeswoman Evelina Ramirez told The Argonaut. “In reaction to reported homeless and vagabonds taking temporary occupancy in the lobby, early closure of the lobby has been elected to prevent these activities and eliminate any damages to mail or to the facility.”

Former Women’s Club HQ Nears Historic Status: Historic preservation activists are celebrating a recent vote by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission recommending historic cultural monument status for a building that once housed the Monday Women’s Club of Venice.

Sue Kaplan, one of two Venice residents who made a presentation before the commission, said the residence at 566 E. San Juan Ave. is crucial to preserving the heritage of African-American women in Oakwood. “It was there that women in the 1920s and 1930s engaged in cultural, social and political activities at a time when they were prevented from joining clubs where white women were members,” Kaplan noted.

The Los Angeles City Council must grant final approval of historic monument status.

Mar Vista Town Halls Will Address Homelessness & Public Safety: Residents of Mar Vista have an opportunity to voice concerns and hear about city plans to address homelessness during a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, in the Daniel Webster Middle School Auditorium (11330 Graham Place). Representatives from housing and social services organizations, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority will take part in a panel discussion. L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin is expected to offer an informal presentation. Click here to RSVP.

A second town hall about public safety issues, this one involving the council office and LAPD representatives, is scheduled for the following Wednesday, Nov. 13, in the same location. RSVP here.

Band Steps Off to Victory: Congratulations to the Santa Monica High School Viking Marching Band, which placed first in both band and color guard and won overall music effect sweepstakes honors at the Oct. 19 Baldwin Hills Filed Tournament.

Managing Editor Joe Piasecki contributed to this column.

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