Living La Vida Local



Didja know..

Plastic outnumbers the plankton in our ocean by 600%?
– Think about  “zero waste” biodegradable and/or recyclable products.

It takes 500 years for Styrofoam® to break down?
– Cities such as Santa Monica  have voted to ban all nonrecyclable restaurant or prepared food-service packaging in the city, including Styrofoam®.

Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour?
– Clothing companies now make fleece garments from them.

The air in the average home is 6-10 times worse than the air outside?
– There is an effective alternative to every chemical product that is fouling your air.

The bleaching of paper products creates dioxin, known to cause many health problems?
– Toilet paper, diapers, tissue, towels and coffee filters whitened without chlorine bleach (or left naturally unbleached) are readily available.

The equivalent of one third of all household energy consumption in California is used to move water around the state?

– A waterless urinal saves 40,000 gallons of water per year, also saving energy.


I just received one of your mass-marketing e-mails about Southern California real estate.  I was looking through your website and found the Santa Monica Landmarks website.  I lived in the Penthouse Apartments at 101 Ocean Avenue from 1965 to 1971 and often walked our dog up Adelaide Drive.  What a trip to see -- and recognize -- all those lovely old houses again on your website!
By the way, we moved to Ocean Avenue before they built those horrendous towers between Adelaide and San Vicente.  There was a big vacant lot at the corner of Adelaide and Ocean Avenue, and this funky, two-story, U-shaped apartment building called, I believe, Moon Manor at the other end of the block that was probably built in the 20's or 30's.
I'll never live in Santa Monica again, but it's nice to know that some of its charm still exists.
Thanks for the pictures,


I used to live in Santa Monica and loved the house at 401 Ocean Ave. I was searching for information on it and found your wonderful landmark site  with its pictures and history. I tried to copy an image of the house, but it was too small. I would be very grateful if I could get images via email from you that I could enlarge, or snapshots. These would be for my personal enjoyment, not for publication or use on the Internet. I would be happy to pay any expense involved. I live in San Pedro now and am retired.
With Many thanks,
Jeanette Gabriel
Art Historian
Former Curator LACMA


Our non profit historical foundation is housed in a 1929 hacienda built by Mexican opera and film star, Jose Mojica.  The building permit lists Merrill Baird as the architect.  (However Baird’s SM office was a drafting office and he did not become a licensed architect for several more years.)  John Byers owned one of the lots that the residence occupies at the same time as the hacienda was being constructed.
Without solid evidence, we believe that the house was actually designed by Byers and that he used Baird as his drafting service to produce the working drawings and oversee construction.  Unfortunately Baird died in 1970 and AIA records on him didn’t start until he became a licened architect member of AIA.
We’re curious as to where you found the detailed background info on John Byers and hope that the source may shed some light on our hacienda.
If you like classical music played in an historic setting, please let us know and we’ll put your e-mail on our events list.  We also have wonderful historic lectures and show classic films.


Hello,  I found an old copy  of  SM Daily Press(May 2004).  It had your column in it and a list of Santa Monica Res. RE Transactions. We still read your column. Does anyone still publish that list of sales?  It was very informative.  Thank you for any info you may have.
- Kenneth L.


Q: My wife and I bought our home two years ago. On the mortgage papers, I am the only person on the hook, but both our names are on the title. I would like the house title to be in my name alone. I didn't talk to my wife about this. How can I change the title to have my name alone on the house?
- Dave L., Los Angeles
A: You are unable to do anything without your wife’s signature. To remove her name from the home's recorded title, she will have to sign a quitclaim deed to you.


Q:  My daughter and a co-worker purchase a townhouse in Mar Vista. The coworker has gotten another job and will be moving out of state. My wife and I are going to buy her out so our daughter can avoid selling and trying to purchase again in such an expensive area. To remove the co-worker’s name from the deed and mortgage do we need an attorney? Or can we sign something in a government office to get her name off the deed?
--Dan W., Mar Vista

A: The departing co-worker's name will always remain on the mortgage obligation until the loan is either paid off or refinanced. Real estate columnist Bob Bruss points out, “If you contact the lender, the lender might demand a stiff assumption fee, or even demand payment in full because of the title transfer. If I were in your shoes, I would not contact the lender.”
To remove the departing co-worker's name from the title, when the co-workers receives your payment for their equity share, they should sign a quitclaim deed to you and your wife. The transaction can be handled through an escrow officer – but a better choice is a local title insurance officer or real estate attorney because you should obtain an owner's title insurance policy. The title insurer or attorney will then record the quitclaim deed.
An owner's title insurance policy for the half interest you are acquiring is wise so you don't want to get stuck with the departing co-owner's liens (if any), perhaps for unpaid income taxes or judgments, etc., which might have attached to her half of the property.