Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

Santa Monica Curfew Takes Effect Tonight
May 30, 2020 -- Following the City of Los Angeles' lead, Santa Monica imposed a curfew Saturday from 8 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. Sunday to ensure public safety, as violent protests spread in the region and across the nation.

Santa Monica Lifts Ban on Dining Out, Getting a Haircut
May 29, 2020 -- For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit Santa Monica two and a half months ago, customers can get their hair cut at local salons and barbershops, and diners can enjoy a sit-down meal at local restaurants.

Santa Monica Coronavirus Cases Continue Slowing Trend
May 29, 2020 -- Seven coronavirus cases have been reported in Santa Monica this week, furthering a slowing trend as houses of worship and offices reopen and stores allow customers inside.

One in Ten Santa Monica Rent Control Tenants Failed to Pay Full Rent Last Two Months, Survey Shows
May 28, 2020 -- As rent becomes due Monday, a survey found that approximately 10 percent of Santa Monica rent control tenants did not pay their full rent in April and May due to the coronavirus emergency.

OPINION -- Save Our Playgrounds, Save Santa Monica
May 28, 2020 -- Santa Monica needs to stop spending public funds on politically-driven campaigns that do not directly serve our small community. It’s time for a new Save Our Playgrounds campaign.

City Restores $6.4 Million in Budget Cuts; Free Playground Program, Crossing Guards Axed
May 27, 2020 -- The City Council on Tuesday approved $6.4 million to restore programs slashed after the coronavirus shutdown battered the local economy but did not include a popular free playground program and school crossing guards.

School District Seeking Applicants for Two Oversight Committees
May 27, 2020 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is seeking qualified candidates to serve on its Citizen's Bond Oversight and Financial Oversight committees.

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Petition to Hear Voting Rights Appeal
May 26, 2020 -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a petition to take up a case challenging the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) at the center of a districting lawsuit against Santa Monica.

EXTRA -- Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Dropped to Record Low Level Last Week
May 26, 2020 -- There were eight new coronavirus cases confirmed in Santa Monica last week, the lowest weekly tally since the pandemic struck the beach city more than two months ago.

City Releases Plan to Restore Programs Slashed Due to Coronavirus Shutdown
May 22, 2020 -- Two major afterschool programs will be up and running, park recreational facilities restored and vulnerable renters will be assured of staying in their homes under City programs the Council is expected to restore Tuesday.

Man Shot During Reported Burglary at North of Montana Residence
May 22, 2020 -- (UPDATED) A man was shot and injured during a reported burglary at an empty property in an upscale North of Montana Neighborhood Thursday night, Santa Monica police said.

SMC Distributes More Than $6 Million to Students Hardest Hit By COVID-19 Shutdown
May 21, 2020 -- Returning Santa Monica College (SMC) sophomore Joselyn Acosta is using her coronavirus relief money to turn her gas back on and pay her electric bill. She is one of an estimated 5,000 SMC students expected to qualify for $6.1 million in direct emergency funding.

Emergency Order Allows Select Boards and Commissions to Meet Remotely
May 20, 2020 -- The City on Tuesday issued a supplemental emergency order that allows specified appointed boards and commissions to resume limited meetings via teleconference.

OPINION -- A Time for Engagement
May 20, 2020 -- As we now see glimmers of hope in the first stages of phased reopening, our life as one community is equally visible. We must rebuild together, writes Interim City Manager Lane Dilg.

Rent Board Sets Annual Adjustment, Explores Freeze
May 20, 2020 -- The Santa Monica Rent Control Board asked staff on Thursday to explore the possibility of a rent freeze before voting to allow landlords to increase rents by 1.4 percent next month.

Emergency Rule Suspending Evictions Ripe for Abuse, Property Rights Firm Contends
May 19, 2020 -- (UPDATED) A major property rights advocacy firm is seeking the repeal of an emergency rule suspending evictions in California, claiming it "creates the perverse incentive" for all tenants to refuse to pay rent.

LETTERS -- Property Owners Are SMRR's Next Target As Funding Dries Up
May 19, 2020 -- SMRR cannot stop spending money, and after they bleed the businesses and the apartment owners and hotel guests, the last group left are homeowners with money.

Claim Seeks Nearly $11 Million in Waived Interest on Behalf of Landlords
May 19, 2020 -- A claim filed on behalf of Santa Monica landlords is seeking $10.9 million in interest the City allegedly barred landlords from collecting on rent payments delayed by the impacts of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Dipped Last Week
May 18, 2020 -- The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Santa Monica dipped to 58 last week, five fewer than the previous week, while six patients of local nursing homes and three Santa Monica residents who had the virus died.

LETTERS -- Missing the Forest for the Trees
May 18, 2020 -- As our political leaders determine the best way to limit death from the coronavirus, they should give serious consideration to how many people will be killed by the quarantine.

LETTERS -- Enough Already with the Edicts
May 18, 2020 -- We do not need this continuing stream of non-scientifically based authoritarian edicts from politicians or bureaucrats.

Santa Monica Police Seek Help Finding Missing Senior
May 18, 2020 -- UPDATE: Santa Monica police reported Monday that Marina Godwin has been located. She is unharmed and doing well.

Santa Monica Woman Arrested for Selling Unapproved COVID-19 Test Kits
May 15, 2020 -- A Santa Monica woman was arrested Tuesday for selling COVID-19 test kits that have not been approved by federal regulators, according to Los Angeles police.

Santa Monica Orders Residents to Wear Face Coverings Outdoors, Confirmed Cases at 224
May 14, 2020 -- Following the County's lead, all Santa Monica residents must wear cloth face coverings in public as the City on Thursday extended the coronavirus emergency and all associated orders to June 30.

Council Relaxes Business Requirements to Boost Economic Recovery
May 14, 2020 -- The City Council on Tuesday made it easier for small local businesses to open and reopen in Santa Monica's business districts after the coronavirus shutdown by loosening requirements.

SPECIAL REPORT -- Coronavirus Shutdown Forced Inevitable Cuts, Fiscal Expert Says
May 13, 2020 -- The sudden and drastic budget cuts the Santa Monica City Council is making were inevitable, even without a coronavirus shutdown, according to a prominent member of a disbanded citizen's budget advisory committee.

SMC Seeks Applicants for Citizens Bond Oversight Committee
May 13, 2020 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) is seeking business representatives to help oversee the implementation of bond measures that are funding capital improvement projects.

Are Council Members Willing to Give Up Their Salaries? Here Are Their Responses
May 12, 2020 -- As the City sent 30-day layoff notices to 156 Santa Monica employees Monday, the Lookout asked Council members if they would be willing to give up their salaries during the fiscal crisis spurred by the coronavirus shutdown.

17 New Coronavirus Cases, Three Deaths Reported in Santa Monica So Far This Week
May 12, 2020 -- A total of 16 Santa Monica residents and one nursing home staff member tested positive for the coronavirus Monday and Tuesday, as Los Angeles County Health officials reported three deaths.

Developer of Water Garden, Ocean Towers Dies
May 11, 2020 -- Jerome H. "Jerry" Snyder -- a prominent Los Angeles developer who helped trigger Santa Monica's transformation into a high-tech center -- died Friday in his Bel Air home after a brief battle with cancer. He was 90. Snyder's major projects included the Water Garden and Ocean Towers.

Coronavirus Cases Spiked in Santa Monic Last Week; Seven Deaths Reported
May 11, 2020 -- Coranavirus cases spiked in Santa Monica last week, with 63 confirmed cases and seven reported deaths, five of them in local nursing homes.

Free Coronavirus Tests Offered at Santa Monica College, as County Results Approach 215,000
May 8, 2020 -- A walk-up facility that offers free coronavirus tests for those with appointments opened at Santa Monica College (SMC) on Thursday, as Los Angeles County neared 215,000 test results.

OPINION – An Open Letter to the Santa Monica City Council from Kevin Shenkman, Attorney for the Pico Neighborhood Association
May 8, 2020 – Drop the ill-conceived appeal now, and we will work with you on implementation of the district elections, and we will be reasonable in accommodating the City’s payment of our attorneys’ fees.

LETTERS -- Retiring City Planner's Parting Thoughts
May 8, 2020 -- Have the folks upstairs stopped for a moment to consider the impacts of their methodology on employees who avoid the ax?

City Issues Emergency Order Limiting Hours for Heavy Construction
May 8, 2020 -- An new order issued by the City on Friday limits the hours certain construction can take place and temporarily lifts a ban on plastic bags under the coronavirus emergency.

SMRR Proposes Business Tax Hikes, Chamber Stunned
May 7, 2020 --- Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR) on Monday proposed hiking taxes on select businesses to help the city recover from the steepest and swiftest economic downturn in its 145-year history.

Select Stores to Reopen for Curbside Service Friday
May 7, 2020 -- Santa Monicans can once again purchase "nonessential" items such as books, music, clothes and toys at a select number of stores that will reopen Friday for "curbside pickup."

City Council Slashes Up to 247 Full-time Jobs; Cuts Will Be Felt at All Levels
May 6, 2020 -- The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday voted to quickly lay off as many as 247 full-time employees, resulting in sweeping cuts to programs and services. The beach city's 93,000 residents will feel the immediate impact of the cuts.

Three New Coronavirus Deaths Confirmed in Santa Monica, With Two at Third Nursing Home
May 6, 2020 -- A Santa Monica resident and two residents of local nursing homes who tested positive for the coronavirus were among the 58 deaths confirmed by Los Angeles County health officials on Tuesday.

SPECIAL REPORT -- Housing Fund Mostly Off Limits to Budget Cuts, City Official Say
May 5, 2020 -- The City of Monica has enough money available in its Housing Trust Fund to avert many of the budget cuts the City Council is expected to make Tuesday. But it would have to sacrifice one of its top funding priorities -- the creation of affordable housing -- to help bridge the massive budget gap caused by the coronavirus shutdown.

OPINION -- The $1 Million Question: Who Sits on City's New Economic Recovery Task Force?
The Revised City Budget now includes $1 million for a new Task Force to speed economic recovery in Santa Monica. $1 million to a committee that has had no public process or public vetting.

Man Stabbed at Downtown Santa Monica Train Station
May 4, 2020 -- A man was stabbed inside the Expo train station in Downtown Santa Monica early Saturday morning in what officials believe was in incident involving two homeless individuals.

Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Approach 300 When Nursing Homes Are Included
May 4, 2020 -- Los Angeles County Health Department data indicates that there have been a total of 282 coronavirus cases in Santa Monica, with 40 percent of those in local nursing homes.

LETTERS -- Santa Monica Forward Manifesto Calls for More Crowding
May 4, 2020 -- In the midst of a pandemic in which crowding has become a factor, Santa Monica Forward (SMF) has put out a 20-page manifesto urging our city to create more density.

EXTRA! -- City Plan Eliminates Nearly 500 Jobs, Scraps Programs, Shutters Facilities
May 1, 2020 -- Slammed with a projected deficit of $224 million by July 2022, the City Council on Tuesday is expected to eliminate nearly 500 positions, shutter facilities and drastically scale back programs and services.

Coronavirus Crisis Fuels Development Debate
May 1, 2020 -- The financial crisis triggered by the cornavirus shutdown is reigniting a longstanding debate between pro-development and slow-growth forces in Santa Monica.

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