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Friday, January 23, 2015  
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Santa Monica Rent Board Could Create Tenant Buyout Agreements Library
January 23, 2015 -- The Santa Monica Rent Control Board could soon be the place to go to review buyout agreements between landlords and tenants. 

Construction of Santa Monica Apartment Building Appealed
January 23 , 2015 -- Neighbors have appealed approval of a 10-unit apartment complex on a steep, vacant hillside off Ashland Avenue in Santa Monica, saying the building will cause more traffic and other hazards in an increasingly congested area.

Santa Monica Residents Can Get Free Rain Barrels
January 23 , 2015 -- City officials are rolling out the barrels—rain barrels, that is, making them available free to Santa Monica residents.

Santa Monica Earns A Grade for Curbing Smoking
January 22, 2015 -- Santa Monica -- which has long implemented measures to curb smoking -- received an A grade on the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2015 report, the organization announced Wednesday.

Council Expected to Select New Santa Monica Planning Commissioner
January 22, 2015 -- The short-handed Santa Monica Planning Commission could be made whole again next Tuesday when the City Council is scheduled to appoint a new member to the powerful board that approves permits, reviews major projects and helps guide planning policy.

Santa Monica’s Saint John’s Health Center Ranks Among Nation’s Best Hospitals
January 22, 2015 -- For the ninth year in a row Providence Health and Services, Southern California, which operates Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, has received an award of excellence from a national consumer ratings company, the hospital announced Tuesday.

State Gives Initial Approval to Santa Monica College’s Four-Year Degree Program 
January 21, 2015 -- Calling it a “landmark move for public higher education,” the California Community Colleges Board of Governors gave initial approval Tuesday to 15 colleges to develop bachelor’s degree programs, including Santa Monica College.

New Santa Monica Mayor Delivers State of City Address
January 21, 2015 --In his first State of the City speech, Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown on Tuesday outlined six “game-changing” trends he believes will shape Santa Monica in 2015 and years to come.

New Chair, Vice Chair Picked for Santa Monica College Trustees Board
January 21, 2015 -- Non-international students likely won’t face a tuition hike anytime soon, thanks to an improving economy, according to the Santa Monica College Board’s newly elected chair.

Council Approves Plan for More Workers at Santa Monica City Hall
January 20, 2015 -- The City Hall workforce will soon get a little larger following last Tuesday’s decision by the Santa Monica City Council to create nearly 32 full-time equivalent jobs.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board to Take Up Fred Korematsu Day
January 20, 2015-- A day after the nation celebrated civil right's leader Dr. Martin Luther King, the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education will vote Thursday on a resolution honoring a relatively little-known Asian American civil rights leader whose state holiday is later this month.

Santa Monica OPCC Launches Pilot Program With St. John’s Health Center
January 20, 2015-- A month-old partnership between the homeless services provider Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) of Santa Monica and Saint John’s Health Center is yielding mutual benefits while speeding up services to homeless patients, officials said.

County to Adopt Mission Statement Benefiting Foster Children
January 20, 2015--For the first time, every department in L.A. County government will have a clear policy statement on the treatment of children in the county’s care, thanks to a proposal by a Santa Monica-area supervisor approved last week.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Votes for a Mechur Return
January 16, 2015 -- Ralph Mechur’s brief hiatus from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education came to an end Thursday. Board members voted 4 to 2 for Mechur to fill the vacant seat on the seven-member governing panel.

Council Approves Rules Changes for Fitness Groups in Parks, Delays Fee Increases
January 16, 2014 -- Private fitness instructors operating in certain local parks and Santa Monica State Beach don’t have to worry just yet about paying a higher rate to conduct business.

Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation Receives Large Donation
January 16, 2014 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) announced Thursday that it received a $450,000 donation from Santa Monica resident Judi Lynne, making it one of the largest contributions the local education fundraising group has received in its 33-year history.

Santa Monica Celebrates Martin Luther King Day
January 15, 2015--Santa Monica residents can celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with music and inspirational speakers as events kick off this weekend in honor of King’s birthday.

Council Approves Santa Monica Water-Use Reductions
January 15, 2014 -- Santa Monica residents and businesses will have to start reducing their water usage in April as compared to their consumption in 2013 or face fines, which will be implemented beginning in October.

Officials Hope Downward Trend Continues in This Year’s Santa Monica Homeless Count
January 15, 2015--A decrease in homeless people counted on Santa Monica’s streets and in local shelters last year — the first drop in the numbers in five years — is a hopeful sign for the 2015 count coming up in two weeks, OPCC’s executive director said Wednesday.

Orchestra Santa Monica Celebrates Mozart’s Birthday
January 15, 2015--Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on Jan. 27, 1756, but Orchestra Santa Monica will perform at an early birthday concert in tribute to the composer this weekend, orchestra officials announced.

Santa Monica Applies for $17 Million From MTA for Transit Projects
January 14, 2015 --Santa Monica City Council members Tuesday approved applications for more than $17 million in Metropolitan Transportation Authority grants to complete five local transit projects, including $1.1 million for a new bike path connection to the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica Officials Still Identifying Quake-Vulnerable Buildings
January 14, 2015 -- City officials are still working to identify buildings in Santa Monica that might collapse in a major quake—the first phase of a comprehensive seismic safety program that’s been delayed as officials double-check potentially vulnerable structures against existing building permits, an official said this week.

City Council Approves Contract for Emergency Solar Towers
January 14, 2015--When a major earthquake or other disaster strikes, electricity will be one of the first things to go — so how will first-responders be able to see in the dark?

Holocaust Museum Presentations Explore Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe
January 14, 2015--Two upcoming presentations focusing on anti-Semitism in Europe —coincidentally organized before the recent attack at a Paris Jewish market by Islamic extremists — will explore anti-Semitic movements past and present, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum officials announced.

January 15, 2015--Santa Monica Applies for $17 Million From MTA for Transit Projects
Santa Monica City Council members Tuesday approved applications for more than $17 million in Metropolitan Transportation Authority grants to complete five local transit projects, including $1.1 million for a new bike patch connection to the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Could Pick New Member This Week
January 13, 2015 -- Ralph Mechur, who lost his bid for re-election to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board in November, will attempt to return to the governing panel the same way he joined it in 2007 -- as an appointee filling a vacant seat.

Five Santa Monicans Elected as 50th Assembly District Democratic Delegates
January 13, 2015--Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown is among five local residents who’ll represent the 50th Assembly District as delegates to the state Democratic Party Central Committee, a party official announced Monday.

Nativity Scene Ban Means Less Work for Santa Monica City Staff
January 13, 2015 -- Winter has become a more relaxed season for City workers in Santa Monica as the years pass since the council approved a measure in 2012 that effectively banned the historic religious displays showing the Christmas story in Palisades Park.

Fees for Private Fitness Classes at Santa Monica Parks Are Working, Officials Say
January 12, 2015--A year-old pilot program that imposed fees on private fitness instructors who hold their classes at Santa Monica’s public parks has reduced the number of such classes while cutting down on complaints from regular park users, a City staff report released this week said.

Santa Monica Could Increase Number of City Jobs and Reduce Outsourcing
January 12, 2015 -- At a council meeting last August, City employees and union leaders spoke negatively about Santa Monica City Hall as a place where in-house jobs were disappearing, and outsourcing was becoming too common.

“Rosie” Author Kicks off Book Tour at Santa Monica Library
January 12, 2015 -- Bestselling author Graeme Simsion will share thoughts with writer and actress Annabelle Gurwitch during a conversation at 7 p.m. Monday night at the Santa Monica Public Library.

Santa Monica Apartment Project Gets Go-Ahead
January 9, 2015 -- Construction of a ten-unit apartment complex on a vacant hillside off Ashland Avenue in Santa Monica won the approval of the City’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) on Monday despite the protest of neighboring residents, who could appeal the project.

Mandatory Water-Use Reductions and Penalties on Santa Monica Council Agenda
January 9, 2015 -- City Council members will consider mandatory water-use limitations for Santa Monica customers at their meeting next Tuesday.  Violations of these restrictions could garner stiff penalties for water customers.

Santa Monica Police Roll Out Bike Safety Patrols
January 9, 2015 -- Santa Monica police will roll out extra bicycle-safety patrols Saturday in an ongoing campaign to curb collisions involving cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, police said.

High Tech Programs Suggested to Reach Santa Monica Residents
January 8, 2015 -- A “hack-a-thon” to brainstorm hi-tech ways of dealing with Santa Monica’s community problems is one of a variety of suggestions Santa Monica officials are noting as a way to increase “civic engagement” in the city.

Keeping ‘Big Oil’ out of Santa Monica Bay Among Environmental Group’s 2015 Goals
January 8, 2015 -- The Santa Monica-based water quality watchdog and activist organization Heal the Bay has set several goals for this year as part of its 2015 Action Plan. Topping the list that appears on its website is “Keeping Big Oil out of Santa Monica Bay.”

Dried Up Christmas Tree Blamed For Santa Monica Apartment Fire
January 8, 2015 -- A fire that left a Santa Monica man with second-degree burns when he tried to throw a burning Christmas tree out his apartment window was caused by the tree being too dry and a possible short in the decorative lights, Fire Chief Scott Ferguson said Wednesday.

Santa Monica’s Gould Among State’s Top-Earning City Managers
January 7, 2015 -- When Rod Gould’s tenure as Santa Monica City manager ends later this month, he will leave as one of California’s highest-paid persons in the profession. 

Santa Monica Skating Champ Gliding Toward Olympic Dream
January 7, 2015 -- Think of Santa Monica and fun-in-the-sun activities like swimming, surfing or rollerblading probably come to mind. But competitive ice skating?

Storytelling Performance Slated for Santa Monica Festival
January 7, 2015 -- SHINE Storytelling kicks off the New Year on Saturday, January 24, with a special performance as part of the 6th annual “Fireside at the Miles,” a Santa Monica cultural festival at the historic Miles Memorial Playhouse.

Big Blue Bus Officials Get Low Spanish Response to Expo Survey
January 6, 2015--Although more than 50 percent of riders of the city’s Big Blue Buses are Latino, few Spanish speakers completed a recent online survey that officials will use to set future bus routes in the city, a BBB official said.

Santa Monica Airport Commissioners, Attorney Spar on Legality of Emission Regulations
January 6, 2015--Airport Commissioners voted 3-1 last month to send a proposed ordinance to the Santa Monica City Council calling for the prohibition of airplanes that they say commit too much pollution. 

Marion Davies Birthday Bash
January 6, 2015 -- Charlie Chaplin comes every year, as does Joan Crawford. And of course 1930s-era gossip columnist Hedda Hopper wouldn't miss it for the world.

Santa Monica Expo Line on Track for 2015
January 5, 2015--By around the middle of next year, the bulk of the construction work will be completed on the $1.5 billion second phase of Metro’s Exposition Line linking Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles.

Santa Monica Makes Best, Worst Lists in 2014
January 5, 2015--If there’s one thing that 2014 proved it’s that Santa Monica is a city of several distinctions — good and bad.

Santa Monica Film Fest Returns to Downtown
January 5, 2015--The Santa Monica International Film Festival returns to Downtown this month with screenings of 22 independent films at two local theaters, organizers announced.

Top Ten Santa Monica Stories of 2014
December 29, 2014 -- 2014 could prove to be a transitional year for Santa Monica. On the political front, slow-growth advocates took control of City Hall, Bob Holbrook stepped down after a record 24 years on the City Council and the ouster of Santa Monica’s newly hired communications officer set off a legal and public relations battle that will resonate into the new year.

Santa Monica Dance Studio Gets Council Protection for Relocation
December 29, 2014--City officials plan to look the other way as The Pretenders Dance Studio moves into a new building on Broadway and Ninth Street in Santa Monica that is zoned residential.

Kuehl Wants to Expand Internship Program for Former Foster Chilldren
December 29, 2014 -- Santa Monica-area Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is challenging managers in all 88 cities in the county, as well as the heads of several regional agencies, to duplicate a successful county program that provides internships for former foster children.

Santa Monica Landmark Could Open as Brain Surgery Center
December 24, 2014--A landmark-designated building on Arizona Avenue off 22nd Street in Santa Monica could soon open for specialized brain surgery, despite being located in a residential area.

Annual Homeless Count to Begin Soon
December 23, 2014--Santa Monica officials are gearing up again for the annual count of the city’s homeless population, looking for at least 250 volunteers to search every block of the city during the wee hours of Jan. 28

Santa Monica College Seeks to Launch New design Program
December 24 – Santa Monica College has announced it will submit a proposal to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Interaction Design, or the field of making websites, apps and other technology user-friendly.

Faster Way to Test Water Around Santa Monica Pier
December 23 -- A faster way of testing water quality could come to Santa Monica Pier soon, following development of a sophisticated new computer model that forecasts conditions for beaches within the hour, according to Heal the Bay officials.

Santa Monica Council Supports Affordable Housing Protection Measures
December 23, 2014 -- Two measures endorsed last week by the Santa Monica City Council could give added protection to low-income residents and others needing affordable housing.

Losing Candidates File for Open School Board Seat
December 23, 2014 -- Three of the candidates who ran unsuccessfully for the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board in November are taking a second shot, vying this time to be appointed to an open seat on the seven-member board.

City “Hungry” to Challenge Abusive Landlords, Santa Monica Attorney Says
December 22, 2014 -- The City Council last Tuesday unanimously approved measures intended to strengthen Santa Monica’s Tenant Harassment Ordinance.

Santa Monica Council OKs Hike in Bus Line’s Security Services Contract
December 22, 2014--The Santa Monica City Council voted last week to boost the City's contract for security services for the Big Blue Buses by $384,000, putting the total of the 4-year pact at more than $2 million.

Public Input Sought for Santa Monica’s Reed Park Improvements
December 22 -- Reed Park, one of the oldest parks in Santa Monica, is in the final phase of an overhaul, and the public can weigh in how best to improve the one-acre lawn in the northeast section of the popular park.

Nine Candidates Apply for Open Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Seat
December 19, 2014 --Tom Larmore, a prominent land-use attorney and civic leader, is taking his first stab at public office as one of nine hopefuls vying for an open seat on the Santa Monica- Malibu School Board.

Santa Monica Council Makes In-House Selection for Interim City Manager
December 19, 2014 -- Veteran Santa Monica municipal employee Elaine Polachek was named interim City manager on Tuesday. She will assume the role at the end of January when Rod Gould officially steps down. 

Pico Residents Celebrate Christmas in Santa Monica with 'Las Posadas'
December 19, 2014 -- It's a 400-year-old Hispanic tradition kept alive among Latino enclaves much like Santa Monica's, whose residents are re-enacting “Las Posadas” each night through Christmas Eve at St. Ann Catholic Church on Colorado Avenue.

Santa Monica Council Moves Forward with Water Rate Hike Plan
December 18, 2014 -- While nobody expressed excitement about it, the majority of the City Council on Tuesday voted to move forward with a plan to raise Santa Monica’s water rate by nearly 80 percent over the next five years.

Santa Monica Could Require Lobbyists to Register
December 18 -- The Santa Monica City Council Tuesday directed staff to craft an ordinance that would require all lobbyists and others involved in municipal business to register with the City.

Holiday Celebration at Santa Monica’s Miramar Draws Big Crowd
December 18, 2014 -- Some 900 people turned out under the historic Moreton Bay fig tree at Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica for a community holiday celebration that included cookie decorating, hair braiding, mini manicures, a bounce house and a ginger bread house display.

Promenade Increases Police Presence During Christmas
December 17, 2014--With a little more than week left before Christmas, now is the time when shoppers rushing to buy last-minute gifts should be on extra guard against thieves who specifically target the distracted and prey on people who get careless, Santa Monica police warned this week.

Santa Monica Police Try to Put Brakes on Holiday Violations
December 17, 2014 --During the holidays, Santa Monica police are taking measures to help put the brakes on accidents involving impaired drivers; prevent collisions involving motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and deter alcohol sales to minors, police officials said Tuesday.

Santa Monica Board Member Wants Jewish Holidays Recognized on School District Calendar
December 17, 2014 -- Christmas is the only religion-based observance noted on the holiday closure list in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School’s official calendar. The dates for the Jewish observances of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are on the list, but the names do not appear. Instead, the term “local holiday” is used.

Santa Monica, Malibu School Board Members Battle for Committee Appointment
December 16, 2014 -- Unlike the selection of Santa Monica’s mayor, the school board president is usually chosen without any drama. This was the case again last Thursday when Laurie Lieberman was the only person nominated for the position, and was elected through a unanimous vote of her peers on the board.

Santa Monica Consumer Watchdog Warns Against Gas Price Increase
December 16, 2014--Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog on Monday released a report warning that oil industry officials plan to use “artificially inflated” gas prices, bogus refinery slowdowns and other tactics in a bid to derail the state’s new climate protection measures set to go into effect next month.

Santa Monica Police Activities League’s annual toy wrap party
December 16, 2014--Third-grader Judah Gardner went straight for the cars and games he’d like to get for Christmas, picking out presents from a stack during the Santa Monica Police Activities League’s annual toy wrap party Monday night at Santa Monica Place.


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