Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

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Umbrella Man Is No Match For Police Taser

Police in Santa Monica this week put a Taser to use against an umbrella man, and the result was so textbook that the video of the event should be used for police training.

Santa Monica police Sgt. Jay Moroso says it happened about 8 p.m. outside a Starbucks at 7th Street and Montana Avenue in the tony north end of the city.

The department received a complaint about a man "bothering people" at the coffee shop, he said. A witness also told police the same guy was running in and out of traffic.

Two police arrived and the man took an aggressive stance, swinging the big green Starbucks table umbrella defiantly.

The officers ordered the man to drop the umbrella several times. He did not comply and continued swinging the umbrella toward the officers. The officers saw that the man appeared to be agitated and tried to calm him down. He continued to swing the umbrella. One officer brandished his Taser and told the man that he would use his Taser on him if he did not put the umbrella down. The subject still would not comply.

That's when the Taser was "deployed," police said. The suspect had a minor scratch from the talons of the Taser went into his back, but otherwise "he did not sustain other injuries." They took him to a hospital to be checked out. During the officer's contact with the subject, he made statements which led them to place a psychiatric evaluation hold on him.

SMC Board Names New Director of Community Relations

The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Wendy Zahler to serve in an interim capacity as the College's Director of Community Relations. Zahler was appointed to the position by the Board at its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 4.

Zahler stepped into her new post at SMC on March 5.

"It is a great pleasure to welcome Wendy to the Santa Monica College community," said SMC President and Superintendent Dr. Chui L. Tsang. "SMC will benefit immensely from her experience in developing frameworks to support educational and motivational ventures, and from her skills in communicating and facilitating agreements across many perspectives."

Zahler, an attorney and a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese, brings to SMC extensive experience in public relations and event development, production, and management for high-profile clients in local, national, and international arenas.

Zahler has been Director of Business Affairs since 2004 for Marianne Williamson, the internationally recognized, six-time New York Times bestselling author. Zahler's activities ranged from negotiating contracts and speaking engagements to initiating lecture series and weekly online seminars. Zahler also orchestrated the October 2013 event for Williamson that served to announce her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives, and launched her congressional campaign.

Since 2010, Zahler has also been Director of Engagements and Director of Special Projects for renowned inspirational speaker Michael Bernard Beckwith, Founder and Spiritual Director of The Agape International Spiritual Center. Zahler's efforts included identifying, securing, and managing all aspects of Beckwith's national and international speaking engagements, as well as promoting the center within the larger spiritual and lay communities.

From 2002 to 2006, Zahler provided business and legal consulting to MyTop International, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Beijing MyTop Group, a Beijing-based high-tech conglomerate maintaining core businesses that included computer software and hardware, telecommunication and network products, digital precision machinery, and network systems integration.

Zahler's prior positions include working as Vice President and General Counsel to TopGroup Consulting and Business Services, Inc. – in Cleveland, Ohio, and Houston, Texas – where she redefined corporate objectives, implemented business solutions such as the Passport America Program to assist Chinese businesses with their entry into the U.S. market, and designed and implemented corporate strategies to represent U.S. companies in achieving business objectives in China.

Zahler also has many years of experience in conducting significant fundraising and development projects for nonprofit organizations, and in providing executive-level searches and general business consulting to for-profit enterprises. She is also the former Vice President of Legal Affairs for QualChoice Health Plan, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of University Hospitals Health System, Cleveland, Ohio.


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