Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

Santa Monica Council Tweaks Public Input Rules
February 28, 2019 -- Worried about curtailing public testimony, the City Council on Tuesday rejected any major changes to its public input polices. Instead, it unanimously voted to allowed speakers who cut their comments from 2 minutes to 1 to choose to speak first on an item.

Santa Monica Conservancy Celebrates Architect Julia Morgan's Legacy
February 28, 2019 -- Julia Morgan, California's first female architect, designed at least 700 buildings. On Sunday, the Santa Monica Conservancy will commemorate Morgan's legacy at the guest house and pool she designed in Santa Monica.

Pico Youtth and Family Center to Host 10th Annual Fundraiser Saturday
February 28, 2019 -- The Pico Youth and Family Center (PYFC) will host its 10th Annual Art for Hearts Fundraiser on Saturday to support underserved youth, the organization announced.

Santa Monica Council Votes to Spend $100,000 on 'Wellbeing Summit'
February 27, 2019 -- It's won global awards for the City and grants totaling well over $1 million. The City manager's office has a $200,000-a-year "czar" and staff dedicated to improving it. But what is wellbeing?

City Seeks Public Input on "Climate Action" Plan
February 27, 2019 -- Members of the public have until April 1 to weigh in on the City's plan to dramatically reduce Santa Monica's carbon footprint.

EXTRA Major Santa Monica Landlord Dealt Two Critical Rulings in Quest to Regain Properties
February 26, 2019 -- A major Santa Monica apartment owner won't get back the properties he claimed had been fraudulently taken by investors, two Superior Court judges ruled in separate cases on Friday.

Santa Monica Mayor Discusses City's Appeal in Voting Rights Suit
February 25, 2019 -- The day after the City Council voted unanimously to appeal a Superior Court decision that the City of Santa Monica had violated the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), Mayor Gleam Davis shared her views with The Lookout.

Letters from LA's Distant Past, Robotics Discussed at SMC's Spring Literary Talks & Readings Series
February 25, 2019 -- Santa Monica College's 18th annual Spring Literary Talks & Readings series features a presentation titled "Creating Robots that Care" by award-winning robotics designer Maja Mataric. The series, which features distinguished authors discussing and reading from their works, kicks off Tuesday.

Council Set to Boost Fines for "Pot Shop" Violators
February 22, 2019 -- Worried that the default $75 fine will do little to deter the illegal retail sale of medicinal marijuana, the City Council is expected to boost the penalty on Tuesday to $1,000.

EXTRA Santa Monica Council Votes to Appeal Voting Rights Ruling
February 21, 2019 -- The City Council on Thursday unanimously voted to appeal a Superior Court ruling last week that found Santa Monica's at large election system discriminates against Latino voters.

Santa Monica City Attorney Lane Dilg's Report Recommending the City Council File an Appeal in Voting Rights Lawsuit
February 21, 2019 -- The City contends that the trial court "left unresolved a number of significant legal issues and that its rulings on both the CVRA and Equal Protection claims cannot be supported by the facts," City Attorney Lane Dilg wrote.

Santa Monica City Council to Explore How to Shorten Meetings
February 21, 2019 -- Known for its lengthy meetings, the Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday is scheduled to vote on ways to streamline public testimony, including limiting a speakers' time under certain circumstances.

Santa Monica Lawmaker Introduces Comprehensive Bill to Phase Out Single-Use Plastic
February 21, 2019 -- Santa Monica remained at the forefront of the fight to ban plastics in California with a comprehensive bill introduced Thursday by State Sen. Ben Allen that would phase out the sale and distribution of single-use plastics by 2030.

OPINION -- One Councilmember We Can Trust Is Better than Seven We Can’t
February 21, 2019 -- History will show that Santa Monica’s fake liberal establishment pursued an ego-driven legal adventure that failed in thwarting a positive change in our election system, writes Oscar de la Torre.

LETTERS -- Santa Monica Needs to Appeal Voting Rights Decision
February 21, 2019 -- Santa Monica has changed and creating a gerrymandered district won't remedy last century’s discrimination, writes former Rent Board member Joel Koury.

Santa Monica Councilmembers' Political Futures Could be Shaped by Thursday's Vote
February 20, 2019 -- When the City Council votes Thursday on whether to appeal the voting rights lawsuit against the City, the decision could help determine some of the members' political futures.

Santa Monica Hires New Criminal Chief
February 20, 2019 -- Santa Monica has hired a criminal prosecutor from LA to head the City Attorneys Criminal Division, which prosecutes a wide variety of crimes, City officials announced this week.

Man Pleads Not Guilty of Stabbing Mother to Death in Santa Monica Home
February 20, 2019 -- A 42-year-old man pleaded not guilty Wednesday in the fatal stabbing of his mother and the stabbing of his father in their Sunset Park home last month.

City Likely Faces Uphill Battle in Voting Rights Case, Experts Say
February 19, 2019 -- (UPDATED) The City of Santa Monica faces an uphill battle if the Council votes on Thursday to appeal last week's Superior Court decision in the voting rights case filed by Latino plaintiffs, election experts told the Lookout.

Santa Monica Police Make Major Bust
February 19, 2019 -- A drug dealing investigation that began in Santa Monica led to the arrest last week of three suspects and the seizure of a large cache of weapons, drugs and cash, police said Tuesday.

EXTRA Council Could Decide Thursday on Appeal in Voting Rights Lawsuit
February 19, 2019 -- The City Council could decide at a special meeting on Thursday whether to appeal last week's Superior Court ruling in a voting rights case filed by Latino plaintiffs.

Judge Orders Special District Elections for Council in Final Ruling
February 15, 2019 -- In her final ruling, the judge in the voting rights lawsuit against the City has ordered a special district-based election on July 2 for all seven council seats. Candidates not elected through district-based elections "are prohibited from serving" after August 15.

Santa Monica's Tourism Industry Recognized with Economic Excellence Award
February 15, 2019 -- Santa Monica's booming tourism industry -- which pumped $66 million in bed taxes alone into the City's coffers last year -- has been recognized with an Economic Excellence Award from the Chamber of Commerce.

Santa Monica Big Blue Bus System Offers Free Wi-Fi, Improved Stops
February 15, 2019 -- Passengers aboard 19 Santa Monica buses can now access free Wi-Fi service that will soon be available on all of the fleet's newest 40-foot buses, agency officials announced Thursday.

Former Santa Monica Resident on FBI's Most Wanted List Killed by Agents
February 14, 2019 -- A former Santa Monica resident who was one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives was fatally shot by FBI agents in North Carolina Wednesday.

Man Charged with Attempted Murder in Brutal Beating of Girlfriend
February 14, 2019 -- The Los Angeles District Attorney's office has filed attempted murder charges against a man suspected of beating his girlfriend unconscious in a Santa Monica apartment last week.

Santa Monica Police To Crack Down on Traffic Violations that Endanger Pedestrians, Bicyclists
February 14, 2019 -- Police will conduct operations on Friday and again on Monday to enforce traffic laws that help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe.

Santa Monica Coalition Pauses Political Activities
February 13, 2019 -- The Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) -- which helped usher in a slow-growth movement more than a decade ago -- has terminated its political action committee.

City Council Quickly Dispatches Low-Key Agenda
February 13, 2019 -- In a swift meeting with no hot-button issues, the City Council on Tuesday cast a series of unanimous votes that drew little or no public testimony.

Santa Monica Place Celebrates Chinese Year of the Pig
February 13, 2019 -- Those who adhere to the Chinese Lunar New Year can ring in what promises to be a year of wealth and fortune at Santa Monica Place on Saturday.

Challengers Easily Outspend Incumbents in Santa Monica Council Race With Mixed Results
February 12, 2019 -- Two challengers outspent the three incumbents by more than $60,000 in a relatively quiet race for three open seats on the Santa Monica City Council November 6.

Arrest Made in Fatal 'Party Bus Shooting' Near Santa Monica Pier
February 12, 2019 -- A suspect was arrested early Friday morning in connection to the 2017 murder of a woman in a party bus near the Santa Monica Pier, police said Tuesday.

Man Arrested for Attempted Murder of Girlfriend in Santa Monica Apartment
February 12, 2019 -- A man was arrested Friday for attempted murder after brutally beating his girlfriend in an apartment in Santa Monica's Wilmont Neighborhood, police said.

Transportation Funding, Bed Taxes Help Offset Revenue Decreases, Finance Officials Say
February 11, 2019 -- The City Council on Tuesday is expected to tweak its midyear budget to reflect an estimated net increase of $800,000 in expenditures, according to a Finance Department report.

Santa Monica College Planetarium Presents 'Scouting the Moon'
February 11, 2019 -- The image of man bouncing on the hard surface of the moon seems natural, but before Apollo 11 landed, there were dire and fantastic preditions of what could happen.

Major Santa Monica Developer Tries to Get Properties Back
February 8, 2019 -- Neil Shekhter and his affiliated companies will ask a Santa Monica Superior Court judge to rescind the 2016 sale of nine NMS properties claiming the buyers “were not bona fide purchasers,” his attorney said.

Santa Monica Poised to Allow Free Meter Parking for CAVs with Expired Decals
February 8, 2019 -- Santa Monica could become the first California city to extend free metered parking to Clean Air Vehicles (CAVs) with decals that have expired.

Federal Judge Dismisses Voting Rights Claim Charging Racial Gerrymandering
February 7, 2019 -- A federal judge this week rejected a challenge to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) filed by the former mayor of Poway, one of the cities that switched to district elections after being threatened with a lawsuit.

Scaled-Down Pier Concert Series Needs to Grow, Staff Says
February 7, 2019 -- Santa Monica's down-scaled "Twilight on the Pier" concerts may have been too successful in drawing smaller crowds last year and need a schedule change, according to City officials who manage the series.

OPINION -- 'Shaping a Changing World'
February 7, 2019 -- In her State of the City Address Wednsday night -- "Shaping a Changing World" -- Mayor Gleam Davis looked at Santa Monica's immediate and long-term future.

City Resolves 11 Section 8 Income Discrimination Complaints
February 6, 2019 -- City prosecutors announced Wednesday they have resolved eleven housing discrimination complaints filed by tenants who were turned down because they were using Section 8 vouchers.

Santa Monica Lawmaker Introduces Bill Lifting Restrictions on Animal Blood Banks
February 6, 2019 -- Under a bill proposed by Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom, animal blood banks would no longer have to rely on confined dogs and cats.

LETTERS -- Alternative 'Facts' About Voting Rights Case 'Truly Dangerous'
February 6, 2019 -- In his most recent letter to the editor Joel Koury attempts to create an alternate reality by proclaiming what he calls “facts,” writes plaintiffs' attorney Kevin Shenkman.

Supermodel Tyra Banks Announces Fashion Theme Park at Santa Monica Place
February 5, 2019 -- Supermodel and tv personality Tyra Banks announced Tuesday she plans to open a 21,000-square-foot fashion theme park at Santa Monica Place later this year.

Santa Monica Education Foundation Raises $150,000 During Week-Long Match
February 5, 2019 -- Nearly 800 donors -- spurred by a a $25,000 matching grant from The Fairmont Miramar Hotel -- donated a total of $150,119 to the Santa Monica Education Foundation during a week-long match campaign, Foundation officials announced last week.

Services Sunday for Long-time Santa Monica Activist Rose Kaufman Who Died Last Month at Age 105
February 5, 2019 -- Services for community activist Rose Kaufman, who became a champion for seniors in the city that was her home for six decades, will be held at the Santa Monica Synagogue on Sunday.

PART II: Councilmember Jara's Cross Examination in Voting Rights Lawsuit
February 4, 2019 -- In her testimony in the voting rights lawsuit against the City newly appointed Councilmember Ana Jara provided insight into her views and positions. This is the second and last installment of excerpts from her testimony on September 10, 2018.

Santa Monica Prosecutors Help Win Settlement Against Direct Marketer
February 4, 2019 -- A task force of local prosecutors that included the Santa Monica City Attorneys office has reached a settlement potentially totaling $8.4 million with one of the world’s largest direct marketing companies, City officials announced Monday.

OPINION -- Is Ana Jara Really an Independent Voice on the City Council?
February 4, 2019 -- Elected by a majority of sitting council members, Ana Jara’s appointment to the Santa Monica City Council hardly exemplifies the democratic process, says an anti-union watchdog group.

LETTERS -- Voting Rights Attorney Stands to Make Millions
February 4, 2019 -- Only in an alternate universe can someone suing our schools claim that they are helping to improve them, says former Rent Board member Joel Koury.

Community Corp of Santa Monica Wins $1 Million Innovation Grant
February 1, 2019 -- Santa Monica's biggest affordable housing provider has received a $1 million innovation grant for a "design toolkit" that allows pre-fab housing to be built easily on any lot.

LETTERS -- Stop Violating the Law and Ignoring Residents
February 1, 2019 -- If you want us to “stop suing [you],” ok; no problem. Just stop violating the law and ignoring residents when they point out your violations, writes attorney Kevin Shenkman.

LETTERS -- Scooter, Bike Riders: Uninformed or Scofflaws?
February 1, 2019 -- Have rental scooter and electric bike riders not been told that it is illegal to ride on sidewalks or are they just scofflaws? writes a Santa Monica resident.

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