Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

EXTRA -- Appeals Court Issues Tentative Opinion in Favor of City in Voting Rights Suit
June 30, 2020 -- A California Appeals Court on Tuesday issued a tentative opinion finding that Santa Monica's at-large election system does not intentionally discriminate against Latino voters. If finalized, it would reverse a lower court ruling ording Santa Monica to hold District elections.

Police Seek Suspect in Police Car Fire During Protests
June 30, 2020 -- Police are looking for a suspect involved in setting a police car on fire during violent protests in Santa Monica on May 31. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the suspect's arrest.

Santa Monica Beaches, Pier Closed Over Holiday Weekend
June 30, 2020 -- Santa Monica beaches, as well as the Pier, will be closed over Independence Day weekend, with LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva saying his department would take a "Care First, Jail Last" approach.

EXTRA -- Santa Monica Surpasses 400 Coronavirus Cases, as County Cases Top 100,000
June 29, 2020 -- Confirmed coronavirus cases in Santa Monica reached 401 on Sunday, as the County surpassed 100,000 reported cases. The 41 cases reported in Santa Monica last week was the highest weekly tally since a record 52 cases were confirmed during the first week of June.

Santa Monica Bars, Restaurants Can Only Serve Drinks With Meals
June 29, 2020 -- Bars, pubs and breweries in Los Angeles County must close down once again or serve drinks only to those who order sit-down meals, under an order issued Sunday by Governor Gavin Newsom.

LETTERS -- Public Needs Full, Transparent Police Investigation
June 29, 2020 -- When it comes to investigating the police actions on May 31, the public is entitled to a full and transparent investigation. That's not what it's getting.

Council Approves Drastically Reduced Budget, Carves Out Funding for 'Black Agenda'
June 26, 2020 -- The City on Tuesday approved a $613.6 million budget decimated by the coronavirus shutdown that provides last-minute funding for "racial justice initiatives" in the wake of nationwide protests against police.

Body Found in Park Was 11th Public Suicide in Santa Monica in Two and a Half Years
June 26, 2020 -- The death of a Santa Monica man whose body was found in a local park early Monday morning has been ruled a suicide, the 11th committed in a public space in two and a half years.

Santa Monica Businesses Go Outdoors
June 25, 2020 -- Santa Monica's shopping districts will begin looking a little more like bazaars after the City on Thursday gave merchants and restaurants the go-ahead to expand in front of their businesses.

Santa Monica Pier Begins 'Phased Reopening'
June 25, 2020 -- More than three months after shutting down during the coronavirus emergency, the Santa Monica Pier began a phased reopening Wednesday that requires visitors to wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

Fireworks Are Illegal in Santa Monica, Fire Officials Warn
June 25, 2020 -- There may not be a fireworks display in Santa Monica this year, but that's no reason to celebrate Independence Day by setting off one your own, Fire Department officials warn.

EXTRA -- Union Protests Fully Reopening Hotels, Cites Health Concerns
June 24, 2020 -- As Santa Monica hotels begin to fully reopen under a recent County order, the local hotel union is protesting the decision, saying it puts hospitality workers in danger during the coronavirus pandemic.

Santa Monica Seeks Applicants for Advisory Committee on Police Reform
June 24, 2020 -- The City of Santa Monica is seeking applicants for a newly created committee to help come up with proposals for police reform, City officials announced Wednesday.

Council Opens Application Process to Fill Morena's Seat
June 23, 2020 -- The City Council on Tuesday paved the way to replace Greg Morana by appointing a new member to serve for approximately three and a half months before facing reelection.

Epic Library Fire Subject of Santa Monica Reads
June 23, 2020 -- Bookworms undergoing withdrawal after libraries closed during the coronavirus emergency can only imagine what it would be like if they didn't reopen for seven years.

Council to Decide Fate of 'The Plaza' Project
June 22, 2020 -- (UPDATED) The City Council postponed until July 14 a decision on whether to continue negotiations on The Plaza mixed-use project Downtown after opponents submitted legal arguments to stop the proposed development on City owned land.

Coronavirus Cases Decrease in Santa Monica for Second Straight Week
June 22, 2020 -- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Santa Monica dropped for a second straight week, bucking a countywide trend that saw cases spike as test results approach one million, according to County Health Department data.

NEWS FLASH -- Man found Dead Near Gun in Virginia Avenue Park
June 22, 2020 -- Santa Monica police found the body of a man near a handgun in Virginia Avenue Park in the Pico Neighborhood early Monday morning.

COVID-19 Impacts, Homelessness Top List of Voter Funding Priorities
June 19, 2020 -- Along with reducing homelessness, helping the City cope with the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 are the top funding priorities for local voters, according to a poll for the City taken last month.

PART I: Santa Monica Police Could Have Prevented Looting Spree, Former Top Officials Say
PART II -- What Went Wrong?

Santa Monica College Establishes George Floyd Scholarship
June 19, 2020 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) announced a new endowment Friday named in honor of George Floyd, the black man killed by police in Minneapolis last month.

Police Arrest Suspect in May 31 Looting Spree
June 18, 2020 -- Santa Monica police on Thursday announced the arrest of a suspect who took part in the wild looting spree that swept through the city's Downtown area on May 31.

LETTERS -- No Need for Elected Officials
June 18, 2020 -- Why have elected officials on the Council when you can just keep appointing fellow members of their choice? Just think of the money SMRR and the developers could save every election.

Council to Launch Process on Tuesday to Replace Morena
June 18, 2020 -- The City Council on Tuesday is expected to open the application process to replace outgoing Council member Greg Morena, paving the way for the fourth current member initially chosen by the Council.

Santa Monica Extends Eviction Moratorium Another Month
June 17, 2020 -- The City on Wednesday extended its eviction moratorium to July 31 for tenants who can show they were unable to pay rent due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus crackdown.

EXTRA!!! Morena to Resign from City Council
June 17, 2020 -- Greg Morena will resign from the Santa Monica City Council next Wednesday after learning his position prohibits him from renegotiating a lease with the City after his family owned restaurant shut down during the coronavirus emergency.

Santa Monica Sees Drop in Coronavirus Cases as County Deploys 'Contact Tracers'
June 16, 2020 -- Confirmed coronavirus cases in Santa Monica dropped to 30 new cases last week as more than 1,500 Los Angeles County "tracers" were deployed to contact those who have tested positive.

Oral Arguments Set for June 30 in Santa Monica Voting Rights Case
June 15, 2020 -- More than four years after Latino activists filed a lawsuit challenging Santa Monica's election system, an Appeals Court panel will hold its final hearing in the case this month.

Santa Monica College Cancels 28th Annual Fireworks Display
June 15, 2020 -- For the first time since 1991, Santa Monica will not hold an Independence Day fireworks display this year as a result of the ongoing coronavirus emergency. The event had been scheduled for Saturday, June 27.

OPINION -- Revelations for the Class of 2020
June 15, 2020 -- Understand that each and every one of you, once you find your purpose, has the power to change yourselves and the world we live in, School Board member Oscar de la Torre told the Samohi graduating class last week.

Santa Monica's Homeless Population Sees 8 Percent Drop
June 12, 2020 -- Santa Monica's homeless population dropped by 8 percent this year, from 985 individuals in 2019 to 907, based on a census conducted on the night of January 22.

OPINION -- Interim City Manager Lane Dilg's Comments at Tuesday's City Council Meeting
June 10, 2020 -- As your Interim City Manager, I respond to the resounding call of this moment by affirming, without reservation and with humility for the progress we have yet to make, that Black Lives Matter.

Council to Consider Charging for Candidate Statements
June 9, 2020 -- Local candidates will have to pay $1,700 if they want the City Clerk to distribute their candidate statements to voters, according to a proposed resolution the City Council will take up today.

OPINION -- Local 11's Dues Collection From Out-of-Work Employees Sparks Congressional Action
According to Unite Here Local 11 co-president Kurt Petersen, 95 percent of the union’s members have been laid off amid the coronavirus crisis. But that doesn’t mean Local 11 has slowed down its commitment to collecting dues payments.

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Saw Record Spike Last Week
June 8, 2020 -- Santa Monica saw its biggest spike in reported coronavirus cases last week -- with 52 new confirmed cases following a record low eight the previous week. That brings the total number of coronavirus cases confirmed to 306 in the city of 93,000.

Santa Monica Won't Press Charges Against "Peaceful Protesters" Arrested During Last Week's Unrest
June 8, 2020 --Santa Monica will not be prosecuting demonstrators arrested for violating curfews or refusing to disperse during the protests May 31 over the police killing of George Floyd, City officials announced Monday.

Santa Monica Councilmember Calls for Independent Probe of Police Actions During Looting Spree
June 8, 2020 -- The City Council on Tuesday will take up a request from Councilmember Sue Himmelrich to review the police response to a looting spree that damaged more than 200 Santa Monica businesses on May 31.

OPINION -- Chiefs Kneeling with Protesters Shows "A Complete Failure of Leadership"
June 8, 2020 -- When Chiefs of Police get down on their knees with protesters, they are abandoning their oath to Serve and Protect all citizens without any appearance of bias, retired SMPD Captain writes.

Pharmacy Owner Assaulted During Looting Gets Help Picking Up the Pieces
June 5, 2020 -- Like hundreds of local businesses, Santa Monica Homeopathic Pharmacy saw its reopening plans smashed in a matter of hours during a spasm of lawlessness Sunday. Instead, owner Steve Litvak found himself picking up the pieces after being assaulted.

OPINION -- A Message to Santa Monica from Police Chief Cynthia Renaud
June 5, 2020 -- Broken windows can be replaced and buildings can be repaired, but the lives of Santa Monicans, peaceful protestors, my officers, and even the looters, would have been impossible to restore if lost that day.

Police Did Not Expect Looting, Demonstrations Sunday, Chief Says
June 4, 2020 -- Santa Monica police did not expect the demonstrations and looting that swept through the city on Sunday, Police Chief Cynthia Renaud told the Lookout, adding that there was "no specific or credible information that there was a threat to the city."

Police Faced "Terrible Dilemma" During Looting Rampage, Mayor Says
June 4, 2020 --- In his first public exchange since violence erupted in Santa Monica Sunday, Mayor Kevin McKeown defended the Police Department's decision not to confront those who looted Downtown stores.

LETTERS -- Where Were the Cops?
June 3, 2020 -- The looters had a plan; the cops didn’t. They were confronting protesters on Ocean Avenue who were legally rallying while scores of looters scoured stores then poured the stolen goods into waiting vehicles.

LETTERS -- Home Ownership is the Only True Solution
June 3, 2020 -- There is no substitute for hard work; there is no substitute from merit-based performance. Let's keep building our confidence and grow our nation's love and strength.

Santa Monica Public Library Announces Reopening Plans
June 3, 2020 -- The Santa Monica Public Library on Wednesday announced plans to safely re-open some of its facilities during the ongoing coronavirus emergency.

Santa Monica Imposes Curfew Wednesday Night
June 3, 2020 -- For the fifth straight night, Santa Monica imposed a curfew Wednesday as the city recovers from looting and sporadic violence that erupted Sunday as thousands of protesters descended on the city.

Santa Monica Sees Weekly Spike in Coronavisus Cases
June 2, 2020 -- There were 27 new cases of the coronavirus confirmed in Santa Monica last week, up from a record low eight cases the previous week, according to data from the Los Angeles County Health Department.

More Than 150 Santa Monica Businesses Report "Significant Damage" from Sunday's Violence
June 2, 2020 -- More than 150 local businesses sustained "significant damage" during a spree of looting and violence that made Santa Monica a focal point during nationwide protests on Sunday.

Petition Circulates to Recall Santa Monica Police Chief After Rampant Looting
June 1, 2020 -- A petition to remove Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud had garnered more than 11,000 signatures by 3 p.m. Tuesday, less than two days after bands of looters began sweeping freely through the city's Downtown meeting no resistance from law enforcement.

EXTRA! -- Santa Monica Demonstration Turns Violent, Looters Ransack Stores
June 1, 2020 -- Protests over the killing of George Floyd turned violent in Santa Monica on Sunday, as looters ransacked stores, demonstrators faced off with police and fires were set in different parts of the city.
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