Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- APRIL 2019

Planning Commission Set to Recommend Outright Ban on 'Micro Units' in Santa Monica
April 30, 2019 -- The Planning Commission on Wednesday is expected to recommend an all-out ban on market rate "micro units" planning officials say threaten to undermine Santa Monica's housing policies.

City Asks Appeals Court To Expedite Voting Rights Ruling
April 30, 2019 -- The City of Santa Monica on Monday asked the California Court of Appeal to expedite its ruling in the voting rights lawsuit to assure a Council election is held in November 2020 as scheduled.

Fire Breaks Out in Santa Monica Highrise
April 25, 2019 -- Fire irrupted on the roof of a 15-story apartment building on Ocean Avenue Wednesday night forcing the evacuation of tenants while firefighters fought the blaze, Fire Department officials said.

Santa Monica College Symposium Focuses on Pico Neighborhood
April 25. 2019 -- With rental prices soaring, Santa Monica's Pico Neighborhood is rapidly changes, a topic that will be explored during a symposium at Santa Monica College (SMC) next month.

New Budget Strategy to Result in Better Government at Lower Cost, Officials Say
April 24, 2019 -- Santa Monica's municipal workforce will shrink by nearly 30 full-time employees and voters could be asked to approve new taxes in an effort to rein in a rising pension debt, City officials said Wednesday.

Pico Library Offers 'Out of This World Experience' Saturday
April 24, 2019 -- "Outer Space" is the theme of Santa Monica’s Annual Arts & Literacy Festival, which will celebrate the Pico Branch Library's 5th birthday on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Virginia Avenue Park.

EXTRA City Should Immediately Boost Annual Pension Payments, Report from Top Finance Official Recommends
April 23, 2019 -- Facing an unfunded pension liability of some $448 million that could "balloon," the City should immediately escalate the payments it currently makes using general fund money, according to a report issued Monday by Santa Monica's finance director.

SMC Launches "Micro-Scholarship" Program to Aid Transfer Students
April 23, 2019 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) students can start adding to their scholarship fund as early as their first semester under a new program announced by school officials last week.

Santa Monica Lawmaker's Sugary Drinks Tax Delayed Until Next Year
April 22, 2019 -- Assemblymember Richard Bloom's bill that would levy a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks to fight obesity has been shelved until next year, the former Santa Monica Mayor annouced Monday.

Development Plan for Downtown Santa Monica Spurring Housing, Report Says
April 22, 2019 -- A total of 1,762 units have been proposed under the Downtown Community Plan (DCP) approved two years ago, which foresees 2,500 new multi-family units built through 2030, according to a status report from planning staff..

Owner of 2 Apartment Units Faces Tenant Harassment Charges
April 22, 2019 -- The City Attorneys office last week filed a criminal complaint charging the owner of a two-unit rent-controlled apartment with five counts of tenant harassment.

Council Set to Endorse New Mission Statement for Planning Commission
April 8, 2019 -- In a sign of the times, the Planning Commission likely will have an updated mission statement the City Council is expected to endorse Tuesday night.

Funds Raised for Family of Drowned Santa Monica Police Officer
April 18, 2019 -- More than $16,000 were raised on the first day of a fundraising drive to aid the family of Santa Monica Police Officer Rashad Riley, who drowned Friday afternoon off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Santa Monica Opens New Transit Center
April 18, 2019 -- On Monday, public transit passengers and motorists began heading to the City's new transit center in Downtown Santa Monica to purchase everything from bus passes to parking permits.

City Program Gives Unlicensed Santa Monica Businesses Chance to Register
April 17, 2019 -- Santa Monica businesses that have been operating without a license can have the lion's share of their penalties reduced under the City's Business License Compliance Assistance Program (CAP).

SMC Debate Team Wins National Championship
April 17, 2019 -- There's no debating it, the Santa Monica College (SMC) Speech and Debate Team is the best in the nation. Team captain Shaindi Schwebel (center) took first place in International Public Debate at the Phi Rho Pi national speech and debate tournament in Reno, Nevada this month.

Leading Constitutional Law Scholar and Longtime Santa Monica Resident Dies at 89
April 16, 2019 -- Kenneth Karst, an influential constitutional law scholar at UCLA who lived in Santa Monica for nearly 50 years, died last Tuesday. He was 89.

Santa Monica Arts Foundation Announces Leadership Award Winners
April 16, 2019 -- Six local arts leaders will be recognized by the Santa Monica Arts Foundation next week for their support of the city's "vibrant" cultural scene.

Santa Monica's Historic Black Beach Could Be Headed for National Designation
April 15, 2019 -- A stretch of Santa Monica Beach that was once a gathering place for black Angelenos could find a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sustainable Quality Awards to Recognize Santa Monica Businesses, School District
April 15, 2019 -- A popular beach cafe and a local online peer-to-peer resale marketplace are the winners of the 24th annual Sustainable Quality Awards grand prizes this year.

Santa Monica College Planetarium Looks Back at Apollo 10 "Dress Rehearsal"
April 15, 2019 -- Less than two months before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 21, 1969, Charlie Brown and Snoopy came within 10 miles of the lunar surface carrying three astronauts.

Santa Monica Lawmaker's "Granny Flat" Law Getting Update
April 12, 2019 -- A 2016 law authored by Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom that makes accessory dwelling units (ADU), or "granny flats," easier to build is headed for some updates.

Man Leaps to His Death from Downtown Parking Structure
April 12, 2019 -- A man jumped to his death from a public parking structure in Downtown Santa Monica early Friday morning, marking the third such suicide in less than a year.

Santa Monica Launches Dashboard to Gauge Progress Toward Goals
April 12, 2019 -- It takes Santa Monica police an average of 4 minutes and 37 seconds to respond to a call for service, and 39 percent of the city's seniors have a library card. These are some of the statistics that can be found on Santa Monica's new online dashboard.

Santa Monica City Council Paves Way for New Sidewalk Vending Program
April 11, 2019 -- By the time the busy summer season rolls around, street vendors will be peddling their goods on Santa Monica sidewalks that were previously off limits.

Santa Monica's Annenberg Beach House to Celebrate 10th Anniversary
April 11, 2019 -- It braved an earthquake that shook the foundation of what was left of the storied beach estate and legal threats from wealthy neighbors wary of its rebirth.

Santa Monica to Replace Downtown Parking Structure with Affordable Housing
April 10, 2019 -- The site of a public parking structure Downtown will be used to provide affordable housing for Santa Monica's homeless and live-work spaces for artists.

Santa Monica Lawmaker's Tax on Sugary Drinks Passes Key Committee
April 10, 2019 -- Assemblymember Richard Bloom's bill taxing sugary drinks was approved by the Health Committee Tuesday, nearly four years after the same committee soundly defeated a similar measure by the former Santa Monica mayor.

City Wins Conviction Against "Flagrant and Persistent Violator" of Vacation Rental Laws
April 10, 2019 -- A Santa Monica landlord who illegaly rented more than a dozen housing units as vacation rentals was convicted Friday of violating the City's homesharing laws.

Santa Monica Set to Expand 30-Year-Old Sidewalk Vending Program
April 8, 2019 -- The City Council on Tuesday is expected to expand Santa Monica's sidewalk vending program to conform to a state law meant to boost economic opportunities for immigrant and low-income communities.

OPINION -- Rents in Santa Monica: The Other Side of the Coin
April 8, 2019 -- A considerable portion of our rental units are owned by individuals and small enterprises, and Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR) has stolen their wealth to pass it on to others, says Kip Dellinger, a prominent tax analyst.

Santa Monica to Hold First SaMo PRIDE Celebration in June
April 5, 2019 -- Miles of Santa Monica streets will light up with rainbow colors in June as the city holds its first SaMo PRIDE, a month-long celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.

Man Charged in Santa Monica Residential Robbery
April 5, 2019 -- A man who robbed a Santa Monica resident at gun point in his Sunset Park home was charged on Friday with residential robbery, police said.

Santa Monica Firefighters Extinguish Heavy Flames at Coogie's Cafe
April 5, 2019 -- Coogie' s Cafe -- a local staple in the Mid City neighborhood and one of Santa Monica's last affordable old-fashioned diners -- was damaged by fire Thursday night.

Santa Monica Businesses to Begin Receiving 100 Percent Green Energy
April 4, 2019 -- Starting next month, Santa Monica businesses will begin receiving 100 percent green power through the city's new default energy provider, City officials said Thursday.

City to Remove Excess Pavement from Santa Monica Airport Runway
April 4, 2019 -- After meeting with some turbulence from pilots, the City Council last week paved to way to convert the pavement left after the Santa Monica Airport runway was shortened to hydroseed.

SMC’s 'Shape Shifter' Wins Award at Golden State Film Festival
April 4, 2019 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) student film "Shape Shifter" -- which tackles the topic of body image -- won Best Student Short Film at the second annual Golden State Film Festival last month.

Santa Monica Police Arrest Motorist Who Struck Parking Attendant Downtown
April 3, 2019 -- A Huntington Beach man suspected of ramming his vehicle into a Santa Monica parking attendant last month was arrested by police on Monday.

Santa Monica Explores Proposal to Bring Back Minority Families Displaced in the 1950s
April 3, 2019 -- Members of black and Latino families displaced generations ago by the Civic Center and 10 Freeway would be given priority for affordable housing under a proposal by Santa Monica Council member Kevin McKeown.

Santa Monica's Repair Cafe to Help Fix Household Items Saturday
April 3, 2019 -- If you have broken jewelry, a computer that won't turn on or a wobbly chair leg, the City can help you fix it on Saturday free of charge. The Repair Cafe takes place from noon to 4 p.m. at the Camera Obscura Art Lab in Palisades Park.

Man Wanted for Kansas Murder Smoked Out by Santa Monica Police
April 2, 2019 -- A man wanted for a Kansas murder two years ago was arrested by Santa Monica Police last month after they approached him for violating the city's smoking ban.

Santa Monica College's Chemistry Club Wins Major Recognition for Second Straight Year
April 2, 2019 -- For the second straight year, the world’s largest scientific society recognized Santa Monica College's Chemistry Club with its highest student honor last month.

Santa Monica Hires New Assistant City Clerk
April 2, 2019 -- When the next Santa Monica election rolls around Nikima “Niki” Newsome will be charged with making sure everything runs smoothly. Newsome was hired as the City's new Assistant Director of Records and Election Services/Assistant City Clerk.

Santa Monica's Newer Renters Pay More Than Double What Long-Time Tenants Pay
April 1, 2019 -- Santa Monica has become a city separated by a rental divide, with some tenants paying triple what their next-door neighbors pay for a similar unit.

Santa Monica-Malibu School District Adopts Sustainability Plan
April 1, 2019 -- From serving locally grown foods to teaching students green practices, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District will begin implementing a Sustainability Plan that has been more than a year in the making.

LETTERS -- Protect the Local Landlady
The landlady is subjected to direct verbal insults and random acts of violence, and yet there are no local laws to protect her, writes former Santa Monica Rent Board member Robert Kronovet.
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