Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

EXTRA -- Two Big Blue Bus Drivers Test Positive for Coronavirus
March 31, 2020 -- Two Santa Monica Big Blue Bus (BBB) drivers who last operated buses on three routes March 20 tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, agency officials announced today.

Two New Coronavirus Cases Confirmed in Santa Monica as County Sees Record Surge
March 31, 2020 -- After 26 coronavirus cases were reported in Santa Monica over the past four days, there were two cases confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the total for the beach city to 49.

Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Approach 50
March 30, 2010 -- Two weeks after Santa Monica's first coronavirus case was confirmed, the local case count reached 47 on Monday, with six new cases reported over 24 hours, according to data from the LA County Public Health Department.

Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Jump to 41
March 29, 2020 -- Thirteen new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Santa Monica this weekend, marking the biggest 48-hour spike since the first case was detected two weeks ago.

City Extends Closures Through April, Schools Shuttered Until Further Notice
March 27, 2020 -- All public spaces and City facilities in Santa Monica will remain closed through at least April 30, and local public schools will remain shuttered until further notice, City and School District officials announced.

Santa Monica Sees Spike in Coronavirus Cases as County Closes Area Beaches
March 27, 2019 -- The number of coronavirus cases in Santa Monica rose by seven to 28 on Friday, as County health officials temporarily closed area beaches and hiking trails.

District Attorney Warns of Census Scams
March 27, 2020 -- In addition to being on the lookout for cornonavirus scams and price gauging, LA County residents should beware of scammers posing as census takers, the District Attorneys office said Friday.

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Seem to Level Off as County Cases Spike
March 26, 2020 -- Three new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Santa Monica Thursday, as Los Angeles County saw more new cases over a 24-hour period than over the previous three days.

As Coronavirus Spreads, Santa Monica Takes Steps to Keep Homeless Safe
March 25, 2020 -- Portable hand-washing stations are cropping up in strategic locations and public restrooms are staying open longer as Santa Monica tries to help curb the spread of coranavirus among its homeless population, City officials said Wednesday.

Two New Cases of Coronavirus in Santa Monica, As Trend Slows
March 25, 2020 -- After a two-day surge saw confirmed cases of the coronavirus more than double to 16 in Santa Monica, County Health officials reported two new cases over a 24-hour period.

EXTRA -- State Housing Officials Find "Plaza" Project Exempt from Surplus Land Act
March 24, 2020 -- (Updated) California housing officials on Tuesday paved the way for the City to resume negotiations with developers of the proposed "The Plaza at Santa Monica" project, saying it is exempt from the State's recently expanded Surplus Land Act.

Santa Monica Ranks 6th Countywide in Confirmed Coronavirus Cases
March 24, 2020 -- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Santa Monica rose from 12 to 16 in 24 hours, making it the sixth most infected area in Los Angeles County.

Public School Students Can Sign Up for Free Internet During Coronavirus Emergency
March 24, 2020 -- Students enrolled in local public schools, which have shuttered during the coronavirus emergency, are eligible for free high speed internet service, District officials announced Tuesday.

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica See Steepest Daily Rise
March 23, 2020 -- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Santa Monica rose from seven to 12 during a 24-hour period, the steepest rise since the virus was first detected in the beach city one week ago.

City to Fine Those Who Violate Emergency Coronavirus Orders
March 23, 2020 -- Those who violate orders to stay at home, shut down non-essential businesses, halt tenant evictions or keep away from the Santa Monica Pier during the coronavirus emergency face fines of as much as $1,000 per citation.

Seven Coronavirus Cases Confirmed in Santa Monica, Culver City Resident Dies
March 22, 2020 -- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Santa Monica rose to seven as of noon Sunday, and one resident of nearby Culver City was among five deaths so far in Los Angeles County.

Santa Monica Closes Beach Lots
March 22, 2020 -- Santa Monica closed its beach parking lots Sunday after thousands flocked to the city's coastline in defiance of State orders to stay at home and not gather in large groups during the coronavirus emergency.

Santa Monica's Coronavirus Count Reaches Four as Californians Ordered to Stay Home
March 20, 2020 -- The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Santa Monica reached four on Friday, one day after Californians were ordered to stay at home.

Santa Monica College Student Tests Positive for Coronavirus
March 20, 2020 -- A Santa Monica College student has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first confirmed case of the virus at the school, SMC officials said Thursday.

Small Apartment Owners Ask City to 'Share Financial Burden' When Tenants Can't Pay Rent
March 19, 2020 -- Santa Monica'a small landlords are asking the City to "share the financial burden" after the City manager issued an emergency order barring evictions for non-payment of rent during the coronavirus emergency.

Santa Monica College Declares State of Emergency
March 19, 2020 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees on Tuesday declared a state of local emergency and authorized the school's superintendent to take the necessary actions to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

Santa Monica Expands Eviction Protections to Business Tenants, Suspends Bus Fares, Late Fees
March 18, 2020 -- The City of Santa Monica on Tuesday expanded its eviction protections to business tenants and suspended parking restrictions, bus fares and late penalties on City bills during the coronavirus emergency.

Two New Cases of Coronavirus Confirmed in Santa Monica
March 18, 2020 -- Los Angeles County health officials confirmed two new cases of the coronavirus in Santa Monica Wednesday, bringing the total to three.

First Coronavirus Case Confirmed in Santa Monica
March 17, 2020 -- Los Angeles County Health officials on Monday confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Santa Monica but gave no details about the case.

City Suspends Street Sweeping, Preferential Parking Regulations
March 17, 2020 -- Santa Monica suspended street sweeping and preferential parking regulations Monday night to make it easier for residents to stay at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

District Closes Schools Through April 20
March 17, 2020 -- The School Board voted Monday to close District Schools for five weeks in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The emergency resolution includes three weeks of regular session and two previously scheduled weeks of spring break.

OPINION -- Local 11 Uses Coronavirus Concerns to Push Its Own Agenda
March 17, 2020 -- Local 11 is merely repackaging its usual policy pushes in an effort to take advantage of the panic surrounding this public health scare.

Santa Monica Closes Restaurants to Sit-in Diners
March 16, 2020 -- Following Los Angeles' lead, the City of Santa Monica on Monday banned restaurants from serving food for consumption on their premises effective at noon. It also closed all movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades, as well all gyms, fitness centers, spas and salons.

Santa Monica Man Charged for Attempting to Kill Father
March 16, 2020 -- A 19-year-old Santa Monica man was arrested early Sunday morning for attempting to kill his father in an apartment building in the Wilmont neighborhood.

Santa Monica Closes Pier, City Hall
March 16, 2020 -- City Hall is closed, so is the Santa Monica Pier, as the City ramped up efforts this weekend to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus. The City also halted water shutoffs and late penalties for water bills and parking tickets, and instituted eviction protections against tenants affected by the virus.

City Declares Local Coronavirus Emergency, Apple, Universal Music Shutter
March 14, 2020 -- Apple has closed all its stores outside China, including its Promenade outlet; Universal Music Group evacuated its Santa Monica headquarters, and the City proclaimed a local emergency in response to the coronavirus.

Santa Monica Apple Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus
March 13, 2020 -- An employee on leave from the Apple store in Downtown Santa Monica has tested positive for coronavirus, company officials said Friday.

Potential Coronavirus Exposure at Three Santa Monica Schools, District Officials Say
March 13, 2020 -- School District officials announced late Thursday that there may have been potential exposures to coronavirus at three Santa Monica schools.

Local Public Schools Close, City Postpones Board Meetings, Events
March 13, 2020 -- The City of Santa Monica has canceled all public gatherings, and local public schools will close through at least Monday after it was learned a parent of students was exposed to coronavirus.

City Council Begins Clearing Path for Nearly 9,000 New Housing Units
March 12, 2020 -- In what one Council member characterized as "taking baby steps," the City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to allow most large housing projects to be approved by planning staff effective immediately.

UPDATE -- Local Schools Boost Efforts to Prevent Coronavirus Spread
March 12, 2020 -- The School District has cancelled the annual Stairway of the Stars concerts and Santa Monica College (SMC) will cancel classes Friday as it transitions to remote teaching to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, officials said.

SMC, School District Prepare Plans for Remote Classes as Coronavirus Declared Pandemic
March 11, 2020 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) and School District officials announced Wednesday they have plans in place to switch to online teaching as the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic.

Police on Lookout for Traffic Violations that Put Pedestrians, Bicyclists At Risk
March 11, 2020 -- Santa Monica police will conduct the first of six operations on Friday to enforce traffic laws that help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe, Department officials said.

EXTRA -- Santa Monica to Pay $42.6 Million to Alleged Victims of Sexual Abuse
March 10, 2020 -- The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pay a total of $42.6 million to settle claims filed by two dozen individuals who allege they were sexually abused while participating in a City run youth program.

Community Groups Urge Santa Monica Council to Reject Housing Targets
March 10, 2020 -- Nine community groups on Tuesday urged the City Council to appeal the "unattainable, irrational, and environmentally unsustainable" housing targets mandated by the State.

SPECIAL REPORT -- Santa Monica Scrambles to Meet Housing Targets Other Cities Are Opposing
March 9, 2020 -- As Santa Monica revs up to meet its State mandate to add nearly 9,000 new housing units over eight years, other cities have taken a much more cautious, if not contentious, approach.

LETTERS -- Where's the Analysis?
March 9, 2020 -- Left unrestrained by public outrage, large, dense Soviet-style housing projects will spring up in every corner of Santa Monica. Why this rush to annihilation?

Police to Conduct DUI Checkpoint Friday
March 9, 2020 -- In an effort to curb the number of motorists who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Santa Monica traffic officers will conduct a DUI Checkpoint Friday from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location.

Santa Monica Expected to Hire "Child Protection Officer" in Wake of Sex Abuse Allegations
March 6, 2020 -- Santa Monica is poised to hire a consulting firm for $625,000 over four years to serve as a "child protection officer" to help safeguard against sexual abuse at City-run youth programs.

Marathon Crowds to Descend on Santa Monica Sunday
March 6, 2020 -- On Sunday, some 20,000 runners will race through Santa Monica for the final three miles of the Los Angeles Marathon, offering a boost for local shops and a wayfinding challenge for residents.

EXTRA -- Council Could Immediately Streamline Permit Process to Spur Housing Development
March 5, 2020 -- The City Council could vote Tuesday to eliminate hearings for many large housing projects in an effort to issue permits for some 1,100 units a year, up from 200. The proposed emergency action comes after the State dramatically hiked Santa Monica's mandated housing target late last year.

Santa Monica Legislator Proposes Changes to LA County's Voting System
March 5, 2020 -- Following reports of widespread voting problems, Santa Monica State Senator Ben Allen announced Thursday that he is introducing legislation to improve Los Angeles County's voting system.

Consumers Should Beware of Price Gauging Under Coronavirus State of Emergency
March 5, 2020 -- As health-related supplies fly off store shelves amid growing fears of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office is asking consumers to beware of illegal price gauging.

WS Communities Secures $157 Million Loan for Market-Rate SRO Developments
March 4, 2020 -- Santa Monica's largest residential developer has received a $157 million loan to build ten apartment buildings Downtown. They include six market-rate single room occupancy (SRO) developments that triggered a legal battle with the City.

Santa Monica Joins Westside Cities to Prepare for Coronavirus
March 4, 2020 -- Santa Monica joined four other Westside cities Wednesday to prepare for potential cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as Los Angeles County declared a public health emergency.

Disabled Tenant Sues Santa Monica Landlord For Refusing Housing Voucher
March 3, 2020 -- A disabled 72-year-old tenant sued her Santa Monica landlord Monday for refusing to accept a housing voucher needed to pay the rent-controlled apartment she has occupied for 38 years.

Santa Monica Hands Out More 'Wellbeing Microgrants'
March 3, 2020 -- Santa Monica recently awarded eight Wellbeing Microgrants that include funding for "dog walking meetups" and "axis awareness classes," City officials announced last week.

Superintendent’s Message: Budget Realignment and Our High-Quality Schools
March 3, 2020 -- I understand how difficult it can be to talk about or hear about budget realignment or budget reduction. I ask that we all please keep our eyes on the facts provided by the school district and that we not spread misinformation.

Gargiulo's Sentencing Delayed After Defense Questions Credibility of Key Witness
March 2, 2020 -- Michael Gargiulo, who was convicted last August of killing and mutilating two Los Angeles area women and attacking a third in Santa Monica, won a reprieve in his sentencing Friday.

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