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SM Lends Aid, Continues to Function in Wake of Terrorist Attacks

By Teresa Rochester and Jorge Casuso

Sept. 11 -- Santa Monica prayed, grieved, gave blood and tried to make sense of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. ground Tuesday, while trying to conduct business as usual.

City offices remained open, schools were in session and the City Council will hold its regularly scheduled meeting tonight. Santa Monica Airport, however, remained closed throughout the day on orders from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Several major commercial destinations in downtown Santa Monica closed their doors. Santa Monica Place, which has approximately 140 shops and restaurants, closed for the day, as did some of the national retail chains on the Third Street Promenade, including the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy.

Pacific Park, the amusement zone on the pier, as well as the arcade, also shut down.

RAND, an internationally renowned think tank that deals extensively in global policy, also shut its doors.

In an email, City Manager Susan McCarthy assured staff that the City was "staying in close contact" with Federal, state and regional authorities, adding that "nothing suggests that Santa Monica has a high enough profile to be an attractive target.

"Because one of the objectives of terrorists is precisely to cause panic, destabilize government and disrupt the economy," McCarthy wrote, "I ask that if at all possible you continue to take care of the public's business today."

City officials, including police and fire department heads, held numerous meetings during the day to insure Santa Monica was well prepared in the wake of terrorist attacks that leveled the World Trade Center in New York City and a section of the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

"We have received no intelligence to indicate that any buildings in Santa Monica would be targets of this activity," Police Chief James T. Butts Jr. wrote in a message posted on the Police Department's web site.

Butts noted that police would "evaluate the need to institute a police tactical alert as events unfold. Our intelligence officers are in constant contact with sources in the intelligence community to receive updated information."

As of 4 p.m. nearly 500 people had streamed into American Red Cross of Santa Monica to donate desperately needed blood for the victims of the deadly attacks, which left an untold number of people dead and scores of others injured.

The number of donors overwhelmed the local Red Cross facility, which only has eight beds.

"We can't handle that many," said JoAnn King of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross' blood mobile lessened the burden on the facility, she said. The mobile will be stationed at the Red Cross parking lot on 1450 11th Street until 7 p.m. tonight.

Blood donations are still needed. King said it was best for potential donors to call 1-800-448-3543 to schedule an appointment.

The Red Cross also is accepting monetary donations. Donors can designate where they want the money to go. Checks need to be made out to American Red Cross and mailed to P.O. Box 1008, Santa Monica, CA 90406.

As Santa Monicans prepared for an interfaith prayer service at 6:30 p.m. on the steps of City Hall, Fire Department Chief James Hone made his way to Riverside, where he will board a military flight to New York to assist search and rescue efforts.

Hone is recognized as an expert in search and rescue, writing procedures and curriculum on the subject, said SMFD spokeswomen Jill Barnes.

Hone, who worked on the search and rescue mission for victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, was asked to go to New York by the state office of emergency services. He will serve in a supervisory role and is expected to be in New York for at least ten days, Barnes said.
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