That warning the other day was among hundreds that have been issued in a culturally tumultuous crackdown by Santa Monica officials against violators of a city ordinance, rarely enforced till now, that bars congregating on traffic medians.
The target is increasingly loud, littering and generally intrusive groups of exercisers who gather from dawn until dusk along the Fourth Street median. The ocean view, the air and for some the architectural spectacle have transformed the area into a huge outdoor gym rimmed by multimillion-dollar homes.
In the last six months, park rangers, dispatched by the Santa Monica Police Department in response to complaining neighbors, have stationed themselves on the corner of Fourth Street and Adelaide Drive during much of the day, at the ready to break up any unauthorized kickboxing. “I agree with the residents that they should not be rousted out of bed by a professional gym instructor at 6 in the morning saying, ‘One, two, three, four!’ ” said Bobby Shriver, a Santa Monica city councilman (“Recently re-elected with an even greater margin than I won by last time!”), who lives on Adelaide Drive but says he did not request the enforcement.
Since the patrols began, the city has issued eight citations for the flouting of the median law — the fine is $158 — and has given warnings, which are generally heeded, to about 600 people a month.