FROM Barbara Stinchfield
Has the Grinch Stolen Santa Monica’s Nativity Scenes? Complaints about over-regulation led Santa Monica to be called “The People’s Republic,” although it’s too prosperous to deserve the label. Now it might lose another designation: “The City of the Christmas Story.” This year, Atheists forced a lottery for spaces in Palisades Park, where life-sized nativity scenes have been displayed for almost 60 years. So, Santa Monica held a lottery. Out of 21 possible spaces, the Atheists won 18 and the Christians just 3. One other space went to Jews to put up a Menora. How have Christians reacted? Hunter Jameson is chair of the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee, composed of 13 churches and the Santa Monica Police Officers Association…
Design by Committee Two weeks ago, landscape architect James Corner attended the splashy opening of Phase II of The High Line , the disused elevated rail-line that he and his firm James Corner Field Operations helped convert into the now famous park in the sky on the Lower West Side of Manhattan. Last week he was in Santa Monica before the City Council presenting the latest design for their new civic park: Town Square and Palisades Garden Walk . But can Corner deliver anything as exciting as the High Line, especially on a site in a quiet part of Santa Monica without any interesting topography or industrial relics to play with? Even worse—could this design-by-committtee process result in a watered-down concept? Santa Monica's cultural services director Barbara Stinchfield, landscape architect Stephen Billings, and columnist Frank Gruber give their thoughts on Corner's design and the community reaction to it. Then local residents Alex Webb, Nina Fresco, Cosmo Bua, Louise Steiner, Richard McKinnon, Genise Schnitman, and Grace Phillips, plus city councilmembers Gleam Davis and Bob Holbrook, chime in about their hopes and dreams for the park. You can see the design presentation online and as part of the exhibition New Park Design in Los Angeles in Hollywood. Banner image: Sketch of the Palisades Garden Walk, designed by James Corner Field Operations Ted Bardacke and others look over Corner's plans for the parks Ralph Mechur and others look at the model of the parks Orange bags with notes on the design were placed on the site by Santa Monica residents ' Merry Norris and others discuss the park plans Lisa Switkin, Fred Fisher, James Corner and Barbara Stinchfield stand on the park's site James Corner and Barbara Stinchfield at the community comment event
Russian probe gets jolt from Yates and Clapper Senate hearing Intelligence officials have long since concluded that Russia interfered in last year's US election. After yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, what more do we know about the threat to future elections and how it's being handled by the Trump Administration?
Healthcare debate now shifts to the Senate Both parties are celebrating yesterday's House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. House Republicans are cheering because they were able to pass it. Democrats are happy because they think it's so bad. We look at the details… and the politics.
Concern deepens amid Trump's controversies President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates.