Santa Monica Lookout
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Santa Monica Has a Fine for That?

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica PierHarding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP


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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

December 11, 2014 -- The recently created Santa Monica Open Data Portal features a variety of facts and figures for numerous subjects, including municipal employee compensation, police activity and the monetary value of local trees.

Another interesting feature is a list of the many fines the City can issue.

There are hundreds of reasons a person can be fined in this city -- ranging in cost from 15 cents for one-day overdue children’s book at the library (yes, that cost rises each day afterward) to $5,000 for certain repeated taxicab franchisee violations.

Do you own a hog, cow or goat without a permit? That’s a $100 fine if you get caught. Are you piling up more than 100 pounds of manure or fertilizer in a residential area without approval? That’s going to cost you $250.

Operating a newspaper rack without a permit (luckily, not a problem for The Lookout) will cost a violator $500.

The same fine amount can be handed out for various other violations, including smoking in an elevator or public restroom, failure to obtain a permit for a liquidation sale and trimming trees without a permit.

Having too many yard sales (more than two per year) can also get you in trouble with a $100 fine. Attaching unauthorized material to a City-owned tree carries the same penalty.

While the hundreds of ways one can be fined in Santa Monica is  useful information to learn before doing much of anything in this city, it is far from the most popular information in the web-based portal.

The most popular feature on the portal, according to the website's counter, has been the location and description of where police were called for service. Next on the list is the municipal salaries.

Also popular on the site is the list of the more than 35,000 trees in Santa Monica’s so-called urban forest. Each tree is identified by type and location. Monetary values are also placed on them.

The least popular section of the database is the parking rates in the city. Only two people have looked up this information as of Tuesday.

Perhaps the parking rates in Santa Monica are already common knowledge, or maybe people are figuring out other ways to move throughout the city that do not involve parking a vehicle once the destination is reached.

This database went public last month, and had a soft opening earlier in the years. It was designed as a method “to further [the City's] mission of being accessible and transparent to the people we serve,” according to the website.


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