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Santa Monica City Council Tackles Old and New Items in First Meeting of 2011  

By Ann K. Williams

January 10, 2011 -- The Santa Monica City Council will return to the dais for the first time after the holidays Tuesday to a mixed plate of the new, the revisited and the deferred.

An update to the City's Plan for Homeless Services will get top billing. The report, originally dated for the December 7, 2010 meeting, lets the public know how Santa Monica's efforts to bolster the county and federal safety net have been working.

Last year, the city funded services like Chryalis and the CLARE Foundation, provided permanent low-cost housing, and supported the police department's Homeless Liaison Program and the Homeless Community Court, reaching 7,036 homeless Santa Monicans last year, according to city staff.

Council members are now being asked to hold a public hearing on the report, and review and adopt the update.

They're also being asked to review community development and cultural grants for the next few years.

The Community Development Program is coming to the city with a five-year plan to fund non-profit housing and human services agencies. Currently, the program is giving out $7.6 million a year to provide things like child care, mental health services, housing for the homeless and senior centers.

This year, the city has given more than $200,000 in art and cultural grants, and the Cultural/Art Organizational Support Program (OSP) is asking the council to continue its generosity. OSP's plans for the next two years include awards designed to enhance “Santa Monica’s arts and culture ecosystem.”

Parking structure number six is up for discussion again.

The lot on Second Street is slated to be demolished and replaced with a sustainable structure bigger than the last – expanding to three stories underground to nine stories high – if council gives its okay.

Whether or not adding 350 new parking spaces will satisfy Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) guidelines on traffic will be up for debate.

Council members are coming back to work refreshed and ready with ideas of their own, a review of councilmember discussion items suggests.

Kevin McKeown, armed with a sheaf of letters, wants the council to direct staff to draft tighter regulations on campaign disclosures, specifically gifts from developers whose projects come before the city council.

Councilmember Bobby Shriver thinks the direct election of the mayor is an idea worth exploring. Currently the mayor is elected by the council.

And Mayor Richard Bloom and Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis want the city to join “Mayors for Peace,” a group of cities who are working to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Altogether, a promising evening of lively politics.

The public portion of the meeting, as usual, will start at 6:30p.m. The council will meet at Santa Monica City Hall, 1685 Main Street on Tuesday, January 11, 2011.

Please check full text of the agenda.

 


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