Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- DECEMBER 2020

OPINION -- Two Seats, One Position: Why I Haven’t Resigned from the School Board
December 31, 2020 -- My career on the School Board started with a demand for racial justice and after 18 years of service, it will end with a demand for racial justice, transparency and accountability, writes City Council and School Board member Oscar de la Torre.

Santa Monica Police to Be Paid Overtime Related to May 31 Riots
December 30, 2020 -- The City Council on Tuesday voted to pay Santa Monica police lieutenants and captains $85,000 in overtime for hours worked related to the May 31 riots.

City Granted Extension to Submit Voting Rights Brief
December 29, 2020 -- The California Supreme Court on Monday granted the City's request for a 60-day extension to submit its responding brief in the voting rights lawsuit filed by Latino plaintiffs.

Santa Monica Shatters Weekly Coronavirus Case Record Yet Again
December 28, 2020 -- For the fourth straight week, Santa Monica topped its record for weekly coronavirus cases with 365 cases confirmed last week, according to County Health Department data.

NEWS ANALYSIS -- Council Challengers Win Among Homeowners, Share Tenant Vote
December 28, 2020 -- Three challengers in the race for four full-term City Council seats cemented their win by sweeping Santa Monica's single family neighborhoods and making a strong showing in the Pico Neighborhood.

Santa Monica Developer Offers 23 Properties for Sale
December 23, 2020 -- Santa Monica's biggest residential developer will put 23 proposed projects totaling some 2,100 residential units for sale next month, a source familiar with the offering confirmed Wednesday.

McClure Tunnel to Close Overnight Starting Next Month
December 23, 2020 -- A $6.3 million project to upgrade the lighting system and install a queue warning system will cause overnight closures of the McClure Tunnel in Santa Monica, Caltrans announced this week.

OPINION -- Thank You for Going to Work So We Can Stay Home
December 23, 2020 -- The COVID-19 pandemic has gotten much, much worse, but our brave essential workers kiss their families and head out the door every day, writes Mayor Sue Himmelrich.

City Extends Eviction Moratorium, Allows Appointed Boards to Meet
December 22, 2020 -- The City on Tuesday extended its moratorium on residential evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent through the end of March and required landlords to email the City Attorney copies of any eviction notices.

Plaintiffs File Opening Brief in Voting Rights Case
December 22, 2020 -- The plaintiffs in the voting rights lawsuit against the City filed their opening brief with the State Supreme Court on Monday urging it to adopt voting districts without "further delay."

EXTRA -- Santa Monica Keeps Shattering Its Weekly Coronavirus Records
December 21, 2020 -- Santa Monica continued shattering local coronavirus records -- with 316 cases confirmed last week -- as Los Angeles County enters its third week of lockdown.

Santa Monica Seeks Contributions to Feed the Needy
December 21, 2020 -- Santa Monica is accepting contributions through December 31 to help feed the city's needy during the holiday season, City officials announced last week.

LETTERS -- Man in the Middle
December 20, 2020 -- I do not welcome being placed in the middle of Councilman de la Torre’s feud with the School Board. Nor do I endorse my appointment to his vacated seat as a condition of his resignation, writes school board runner up Jonathan Feldman.

LETTERS -- All About de la Torre
December 19, 2020 -- With Oscar de la Torre, it has always been about De la Torre, and as a Councilmember it’s going to be all about him and little about the best interests of Santa Monica.

De la Torre Refuses to Give Up School Board Seat
December 18, 2020 -- The week after being sworn in as a City Councilmember, Oscar de la Torre threw a wrench into Thursday night's School Board meeting when he refused to relinquish his seat.

Plenty of Reasons to Hit Local Stores This Holiday Season
December 17, 2020 -- While many shoppers are hunkering down and going online this holiday season, there are plenty of reasons to safely hit the local stores and share the cheer -- and tax revenues.

Brew Works Pays Tribute to Bay Cities' Famous "Godmother" Sandwich
December 17, 2020 -- When beer lovers hoist the latest edition of Santa Monica Brew Works (SMBW) beers celebrating iconic local establishments, they'll get a hint of the toasty taste of Bay Cities Deli's famous bread.

LETTERS -- We Have Achieved Liberty
December 17, 2020 -- With the demise of SMRR's political machine we usher in the hard won triumph of a new council that serves the residents.

Apartment Owners Sue City Over Leasing Requirements
December 16, 2020 -- The owners of 32 apartment buildings and projects in Santa Monica filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday challenging the City's new restrictions on residential leases.

Shore Hotel to Pay $1 Million Under Settlement with DA
December 16, 2020 -- The owner of the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica will pay a total of $1 million in penalties and restitution for building a high-priced hotel with a permit for moderate priced lodgings.

EXTRA -- New Council Kills Plaza Project
December 15, 2020 -- More than seven years of negotiations on The Plaza project ended Tuesday after three newly-elected City Council members cast their first significant vote.

Cornoravirus Cases See Record Surge During Latest Lockdown
December 15, 2020 -- Santa Monica reported a record 244 COVID-19 cases last week, reflecting a countywide surge that persists despite some of the strictest health orders in the nation.

Dilg to Leave City Manager Post
December 14, 2020 -- Interim City Manager Lane Dilg -- who has steered the City through the coronavirus pandemic -- announced she would leave her post next spring, City officials announced Monday evening.

Neighboring Condo Residents File Lawsuit to Halt Miramar Project
December 14, 2020 -- Residents of an oceanfront condominium tower have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the redevelopment of the neighboring Miramar Hotel approved by the City Council in September.

EXTRA -- Former Santa Monica Mayor Bob Holbrook Is Dead at 79
December 11, 2020 -- Former Santa Monica Mayor Bob Holbrook -- whose love for his native city steered his positions during a record 24 years on the City Council -- died on Friday after a long illness. He was 79.

OPINION -- Addressing Systemic Racism in Santa Monica
December 11, 2020 -- We cannot remain dependent on the perfect storm of extraordinary circumstances or the tokenism of the establishment to attain representation on our City Council, says voting rights plaintiff Maria Loya.

Santa Monica to Reopen Playgrounds as Local COVID-19 Cases Reach Record Levels
December 10, 2020 -- After getting the green light from Los Angeles County public health authorities, Santa Monica will reopen playgrounds on Friday under revised guidelines as local coronavirus cases reach record levels.

Santa Monica Police Arrest Suspect in Attempted Bank Robbery
December 10, 2020 -- Santa Monica police officers on Tuesday arrested an Indiana man who attempted to hold up the Wells Fargo Bank in Ocean Park, one of five bank robberies in the Los Angeles region this week.

Himmelrich Elected Santa Monica Mayor as 'Change Slate' Takes Power
December 9, 2020 -- Councilmember Sue Himmelrich was elected mayor of Santa Monica for two years on Tuesday in a clear display of power by the newly seated council.

School District Seeks Applicants to Fill Vacant Board Seat
December 9, 2020 -- The School District is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the School Board created when Oscar de la Torre won a City Council seat.

OPINION -- Senator Ben Allen's Statement at the Start of the New Legislative Session
December 9, 2020 -- We must get through this pandemic and fully restart our economy again as quickly as possible. But the big issues we faced as a state still loom large.

Santa Monica Shatters Weekly Record for COVID-19 Cases, Deaths
December 8, 2020 -- In the midst of the latest coronavirus crackdown, Santa Monica reported a record 197 confirmed cases and five deaths last week, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

LETTERS -- The Hypocrisy of the ‘Districting as Voting Rights’ Squad
December 8, 2020 -- The champions of the Santa Monica Voting Rights lawsuit and cause remain curiously silent about the effective disenfranchised school election voters in Malibu.

Santa Monica Police Arrest Major Meth Dealer
December 7, 2020 -- A suspected "high-level" supplier for numerous Santa Monica drug dealers is behind bars after an undercover investigation by Santa Monica police and federal agents.

The Anatomy of a Drug Bust
December 7, 2020 -- The following account of Guadalupe Edwin Zuniga's arrest for narcotics dealing is based on a criminal complaint filed by DEA Special Agent Michael Sier on Thursday in U.S. District Court.

OPINION -- This Is Why Malibu Needs Its Own School District
December 7, 2020 -- Malibu has no electoral power in SMMUSD. We can’t vote candidates in. We can’t vote them out.

City Staged Takeover of Artist Community, Lawsuit Contends
December 4, 2020 -- A staged takeover of Santa Monica's once-thriving artist community has left programs languishing and artists paying record-high rents, according to a lawsuit filed against the City last month.

SMC Presents 'Nevertheless, She Persisted'
December 4, 2020 -- The Santa Monica College Concert Chorale and Chamber Choir will present “Nevertheless, She Persisted,” a free webcast concert on December 18.

Santa Monica Rents Drop Nearly 13 Percent, New Report Finds
December 3, 2020 -- Rents in Santa Monica dropped by nearly 13 percent over the past year, as the coronavirus shutdown hit high-priced cities with high-tech work forces the hardest, according to a report by Apartment List.

New Council to Be Seated, Mayor Picked Tuesday
December 3, 2020 -- The City Council on Tuesday will accept the official results for the November 3 election before three new Council members and two incumbents are sworn in and a new mayor elected.

EXTRA -- Stop Fighting Lawsuit, Voting Rights Act Sponsor Urges City Council
December 2, 2020 -- The sponsor of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) urged Santa Monica's newly elected City Council on Tuesday to end the lawsuit filed by Latino activists and "put itself back on the right side of history."

OPINION -- City Council Should "Put Itself Back on the Right Side of History"
December 2, 2020 -- With its new composition, the Santa Monica City Council has an opportunity to now put the mistakes of its predecessors behind it by ending the voting rights legal battle, writes Retired State Sen. Richard Polanco.

Residents Feel More Empowered After Council Election, Poll Finds
December 1, 2020 -- Nearly half of Santa Monica voters chose "someone new" in last month's City Council race and think reducing homelessness should be the Council's top priority, according a to poll released Tuesday.

Kuehl Dines Out After Approving Ban on Dining Out
December 1, 2020 -- Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl made national headlines on Monday when she dined at a Santa Monica restaurant hours after voting to ban dining out to help curb a surge in coronavirus cases.

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