People in Los Angeles have come to expect the unexpected, and 2013 proved no exception for Westsiders.
Who could have predicted the deadly shooting rampages at Santa Monica College in June and at LAX in November, a driver mowing down pedestrians on Ocean Front Walk in August or the plane crash at Santa Monica Airport?
But along with those tragedies also came triumphs — student athletes winning championships and places in the record books, a summer season jam-packed with lively cultural events, openings of new public parks and playgrounds and milestone moments for community organizations among them.
Other events appeared to set the agenda for things to come.
April’s groundbreaking for the Runway at Playa Vista signals the beginning next year of a whole new neighborhood, with some 220,000 square feet of retail space and 420 planned apartments rising up from the ground.
The closing of the Ships Store in April was a harbinger of increased development and other big changes ahead for Marina del Rey.
The fate of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium remains in question after officials mothballed the venue in June.
Digital entrepreneurship continued to play a larger role in the Westside business landscape, with Santa Monica hosting Silicon Beach Fest in June and Venice hosting its first TED talk in September.
No one knows for sure where the future leads, but all signs point to a busier, savvier Westside caught in a tug of war between preservation and change.
— Joe Piasecki


Jan. 6:     Flames shoot into the sky during an unplanned
release of natural gas from a Southern California Gas
Co. storage field in Playa del Rey

Jan. 7:     The LAPD stations officers at public schools over
security concerns in the wake of the Dec. 14 Sandy
Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Jan. 8:     More than 400 people gather at the Proud Bird
restaurant in Westchester for a hearing on plans to
move LAX’s north runway, most in attendance
denouncing the proposal

Jan. 10:     Fourteen employees of the Nordstrom Rack
in Westchester are held hostage during an
armed robbery

Jan. 21:     A review panel finds a Santa Monica College police
officer used inappropriate force when he pepper-sprayed
students during an April 3, 2012, board of trustees
meeting but also faults some students for
“unacceptable” conduct

Jan. 22:     The Santa Monica City Council votes to postpone
possible removal of Paul Conrad’s “Chain Reaction”
sculpture until Feb. 1, 2014

Jan. 26:     Gretchen Galanis, 17, is named Youth of the Year by
the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica

Jan. 28:     News of the Annenberg Foundation’s plan to build a
nature education and pet adoption center in the Ballona
Wetlands ignites controversy


Feb. 5:     Mark Boal, who wrote the screenplay for “Zero Dark
Thirty,” touts First Amendment freedoms during a visit
to Loyola Marymount University

Feb. 7:     The California Coastal Commission approves a
temporary zipline attraction on Venice Beach
(installation occurs June 27; takedown on Sept. 2)

Feb. 14:     New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives $1 million
to a group supporting LAUSD board candidates,
including Mar Vista’s Kate Anderson, who was
challenging local board member Steve Zimmer

Feb. 16:     Marina del Rey nonprofit Full Disclosure Network stands
up for public television in a tribute to President
George Washington

Feb. 16:     Marina del Rey hosts the 84th annual Midwinter Regatta

Feb. 21:     Argonaut reporter Gary Walker moderates a Los Angeles
City Council candidate forum at Mark Twain
Middle School

Feb. 21:     Kimberly Woodruff, a high school senior, is named
Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Club of Venice

Feb. 27:     The California Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal
by operators of digital billboards who had been ordered
to remove them


March 5:     Mike Bonin wins a seat on the Los Angeles City Council
and Steve Zimmer wins a second term on the
LAUSD board

March 9:     Marina del Rey Opening Day ceremonies mark the
beginning of yachting season

March 11:     The LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce celebrates
its 60th anniversary and later celebrates the milestone
with a party at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey

March 14: Rikki Barker retires from her role as general manager
of The Argonaut

March 16: The Westchester Lutheran School cheer squad wins its
second international cheer championship in two weeks
at Knotts Berry Farm

March 17: Santa Monica’s Julie Weiss crosses the Los Angeles
Marathon finish line in her hometown, marking the
completion of 52 marathons in 52 weeks in an effort to
raise funds for pancreatic cancer research

March 20: The Marina del Rey Historical Society hosts a
screening of “Marina del Rey: a history,” a documentary
created by Pat Reynolds, Nautical News columnist for
The Argonaut and publisher of The Mariner

March 28: Conservationists celebrate the return of the California
gnatcatcher, a threatened songbird, to Playa del Rey
(the first hatchlings arrive in May)

March 30: A driver crashes a Bentley into the Esprit condominiums
on Marquesas Way in Marina del Rey
(the complex sells for $225 million in June)


April 6:     The Tecopa Music & Arts Festival moves to
Marina del Rey Hotel

April 11:     The Ships Store, a fixture on Panay Way for more
than 40 years, announces it will close

April 13:     The Venice Farmers Market hosts the second annual
Venice Beach Surf & Skate Fest

April 15:     Runway at Playa Vista breaks ground on construction
of some 220,000 square feet of retail (including a
Whole Foods), 35,000 square feet of office space and
420 apartments

April 19:     A week after state Sen. Ted Lieu (D- Torrance)
introduces a bill to increase penalties for “swatting”
— making a false report of an emergency at a target’s
home — a phony report of a shooting brings
emergency crews to Lieu’s home

April 20:     The fifth annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase
offers tours of local eco-friendly landscapes
on Earth Day

April 21:     In its first Westside occurrence, CicLAvia turns a
15-mile stretch of Venice Boulevard into a bikes-only
thoroughfare for a few hours of fun

April 25:     The grand opening of the Marina del Rey Farmers
Market draws a crowd to Mother’s Beach


May 4:     Venice High School holds a “storytelling memorial”
for former teacher and coach Bill Fairbanks, who died
on April 7 at age 77

May 6:     LMU breaks ground on a $110-million life
sciences building

May 11:     Author Doris Kearns Goodwin and SpaceX cofounder
Tom Mueller deliver commencement addresses at LMU
while Westchester residents gather outside to protest
increased student parking on local streets

May 17:     Placido Domingo conducts the operetta Dulce Rosa
at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica

May 18 and 19: In a busy weekend for Venice, Saturday’s third
annual Venice Spring Fling is followed Sunday by the
34th annual Venice Art Walk & Auctions at Google’s
Main Street offices

May 19:     Pyewacket wins the California Cup Regatta in a
nail-biter on Santa Monica Bay

May 20:     Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for the definitive
Venice band The Doors, dies at age 74

May 21:     Eric Garcetti defeats Wendy Greuel in the
Los Angeles mayoral election

May 22:     Metro greenlights a future Crenshaw/LAX line light
rail stop at Hindry Avenue in Westchester

May 24:     The Rotary Club of Westchester’s 58th annual book
sale features more than 50,000 titles


June 1:     Heal the Bay and the Black Surfers Collective host
Nicolás Gabaldón Day in Santa Monica in honor of
the surfer who broke down color barriers

June 7:     Six people, including the gunman, are killed and four
others are injured during a shooting rampage at
Santa Monica College

June 9:     Venice angler Tim Sheridan takes top prize at the
38th annual Marina del Rey Halibut Derby with
a 33.5-pound catch

June 19:     Santa Monica hosts Silicon Beach Fest, a weekend of
panels and entertainment focused on the Westside tech
entrepreneurship community

June 20:     The newly renovated Tom Bradley International
Terminal debuts at LAX

June 24:     The U.S. Supreme Court denies review of a court
decision preventing the city from confiscating
belongings that homeless people leave on the streets

June 25:     Playa Vista’s Courtney Corrin, 15, breaks a national
freshman long jump record with a mark of 21 feet

June 29:     The U.S. Postal Service moves out of the historic
1930s post office on Fifth Street in Santa Monica

June 30:     The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium is mothballed
with an uncertain future

July 1:    Mike Bonin sworn in to the Los Angeles City Council

July 2:     Bonin calls for the city to stop ticketing cars parked
at broken meters

July 4:     Mayor Eric Garcetti leads the Westchester Fourth of
July Parade, in which Westchester Lutheran School
takes top prize for its float depicting a soaring eagle

July 8:     A $3-million upgrade project begins in Marina del Rey

July 11:     Venice band Terraplane Sun launches the 29th
annual Twilight Concert Series on Santa Monica Pier

July 12:     After months of uncertainty, new rules confirm that
bonfires can continue at Dockweiler Beach in
Playa del Rey

July 12:     Star Wars-themed charity run Course of the
Force passes through Santa Monica on its way
to Comic-Con in San Diego

July 13:     Santa Monica opens its first universally
accessible playground at South Beach Park

July 17:     Janet Zaldua takes over as executive director of
the Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau

July 18:     The California Coastal Commission confirms an
investigation of a drainage system that was installed
in the Ballona Wetlands


Aug. 3:     A car rips through the Venice boardwalk, striking
pedestrians in an apparent attack that leaves one
woman dead and 16 others injured; the driver later
pleads not guilty to charges of murder and hit-and-run
as city officials rethink boardwalk safety measures

Aug. 8:     A team from the Boys & Girls Club of Venice captures
the junior division title the 2013 Reviving Baseball in
Inner Cities World Series

Aug. 8:     Josh Garrett, a Santa Monica College exercise
physiology professor, completes a 2,655-mile trek
between Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Coast Trail
that he undertook to promote vegan diets
and animal rights

Aug. 14:     Mayor Eric Garcetti replaces all members of the Board
of Airport Commissioners except for Playa del Rey
resident Valeria Velasco

Aug. 17:     TAG Gallery in Santa Monica begins its California
Open 2013, juried by KCRW art critic Edward Goldman

Aug. 24:     Activists in Venice host an overnight Community
Sleep Out in support of the homeless

Aug. 24:     The Westchester 14-and-under Babe Ruth baseball
team captures its first league World Series
championship in its 57-year history

Aug. 28:     The Los Angeles City Council distinguishes art from
commercial speech in new pro-mural ordinance


Oct. 7:     The LMU Board of Trustees ignites controversy by
voting to eliminate elective abortion coverage from its
employees’ health insurance plans

Oct. 15:     More than 200 people gather to protest plans for a
medical marijuana clinic on Centinela Avenue in Mar
Vista, the city later winning a court injunction to keep
it from opening

Oct. 19:     Some 8,000 people attend the inaugural Festival
Supreme, a comedy event at Santa Monica Pier
organized by actor Jack Black and Tenacious D
band mate Kyle Gass

Oct. 22:     LMU archives 3,450 hours of public affairs
programming created by former broadcaster and
past L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl

Oct. 29:     Locals at a town hall meeting come out against traffic
barriers and police surveillance cameras in the wake of
the Venice boardwalk tragedy

Oct. 29:     Kris Kristofferson performs songs and discusses his
late friend Johnny Cash at a Writers Bloc event in
Santa Monica


Nov. 1:     An airport security officer is killed and several people
are wounded during a shooting rampage inside
Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport

Nov. 10:     Outlaws Bar & Grille in Playa del Rey closes its doors
after 29 years, prompting neighbors’ concerns about
redevelopment planned for the area

Nov. 18:     Restaurant worker Guillermo Carmona-Perez, 24, is
found stabbed to death at the intersection of Pacific
Avenue and Washington Boulevard; Mercedes Grill
and Baja Cantina later hold fundraisers for the
18-month-old child he left behind

Nov. 19:     The Venice Neighborhood Council decides not to call
for more city oversight of short-term vacation rentals

Nov. 22:     Poet Wanda Coleman, who found a creative home
among Venice artists, dies at age 67

Nov. 27:     County officials contemplate an $11-million overhaul
of Marina del Rey’s Oxford Basin that would create
a park-like setting


Dec. 3:     Sebastian Ridley-Thomas wins an open state Assembly
seat in a special election that draws a measly 6.87%
turnout of registered voters

Dec. 3:     The Neighborhood Council of Westchester – Playa
postpones a decision on the proposed Legado Del Mar
development for another two months

Dec. 6:     Actress Anjelica Houston, a Venice resident, and
Councilman Mike Bonin throw the ceremonial switch
during the second annual Venice Sign Lighting
on Windward Avenue

Dec. 14:     The 51st annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade
features two grand marshals — former Los Angeles
Lakers coach Phil Jackson and his fiancée, team
President Jeanie Buss

Dec. 19:     Filmmaker Dan Abrams discusses his plans for a
hotel on Abbot Kinney Boulevard

What were your milestone moments of 2013?
Send letters to joe(at)argonautnews.com