Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

Council Approves Miramar Hotel Redevelopment
September 30, 2020 -- The Miramar Hotel's redevelopment plan won City Council approval Tuesday, less than three weeks after the Planning Commission recommended the ambitious project be swiftly approved.

COVID-19 Cases in Santa Monica Inch Up After Major Drop
September 29, 2020 -- Coronavirus cases in Santa Monica have inched up over the past two weeks after falling to the lowest level since May, according to data released by the Los Angeles County Department of Health.

OPINION -- The Artful Dodgers
September 29, 2020 -- The most important role of City Council is the financial health of the city. The proposed Miramar Hotel redevelopment project leaves needed money on the table at a time of financial crisis.

EXTRA -- Cartoon Ad Opposing Miramar Project Sets Off Firestorm
September 28, 2020 -- An anti-Miramar cartoon ad that depicts hotel owner Michael Dell as a greedy billionaire counting his money has ignited a firestorm in Santa Monica, with politicians and activists denouncing it as anti-Semitic.

Santa Monica Police Arrest Two Suspects in REI Looting
September 28, 2020 -- Police have made two more arrests in connection with the highly publicized looting of the REI store in Downtown Santa Monica during the riots that broke out in the upscale beach city on May 31.

OPINION -- Miramar Redevelopment Plan Embraces Santa Monica's History and Future
September 28, 2020 -- Our design team has created a world-class project that reflects the values and aspirations of today’s Santa Monica and will be a new architectural jewel for our Downtown.

OPINION -- Something's Not Right
September 28, 2020 -- The super-sized Miramar Hotel would essentially double in size, and much of that 130-foot tall hulk would be 60 luxury condos to pay for the project.

Slow-Growth Group Sues City to Halt Plaza Negotiations
September 25, 2020 -- A prominent slow-growth group filed a lawsuit against the City on Friday in an effort to halt negotiations over a mixed-use hotel development on publicly owned land Downtown.

Chamber Endorses Council Incumbents, Cites "Stability"
September 25, 2020 -- Saying "consistency and stability" are needed during "an unstable economic time," the Chamber of Commerce on Friday endorsed all five City Council incumbents.

Council Challengers Narrow Traditional Fundraising Gap
September 24, 2020 -- If early fundraising is any indication, the race for four full-term seats on the Santa Monica City Council could be a close one, with a slate of challengers giving incumbents a race for the money.

Santa Monica College Planetarium Presents Two Ways of Peering at the Universe
September 24, 2020 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) planetarium next month will explore two vastly different ways of peering at the universe -- by using binoculars and through the lens of the Hubble telescope.

Voting Rights Lawsuit Pits Progressive Leaders Against Santa Monica
September 23, 2020 -- A voting rights lawsuit against Santa Monica is pitting some of the nation and state's leading progressive organizations against a City that prides itself on its liberal policies.

OPINION -- Councilmember Should Not Vote on Miramar Project, Watchdog Group Says
September 23, 2020 -- Especially for a public entity, actual, apparent and the appearance of conflicts are each destructive of public trust and good governance. Here, we believe we have them all, writes the chair of the Santa Monica Transparency Project.

Councilmember Seeks Opinion on Potential Conflict in Miramar Vote
September 22, 2020 -- City Councilmember Gleam Davis has asked the City Attorney whether she should recuse herself from voting on the Miramar project the Council will consider Tuesday night.

Santa Monica College to Conduct Classes Online Through Mid-June
September 22, 2020 -- For the next nine months, Santa Monica College (SMC) will continue offering its classes and support services primarily online, as its six campuses remain closed due to the continuing coronavirus emergency, college officials announced Monday.

Santa Monica Paves Way for Events at City Sites
September 21, 2020 -- Santa Monica on Monday paved the way for outdoor events at City sites that include concerts, drive-in movies and "commercial fitness activities." The order also extends the City’s eviction moratorium through the end of the year.

Weekly Coronavirus Cases Hold Steady in Santa Monica
September 21, 2020 -- Coronavirus cases in Santa Monica held steady for a second straight week after falling to a low not seen since May, according to data released by the County Health Department Sunday.

Coronavirus Emergency Makes Voting Easier Than Ever
September 18, 2020 -- This year, far fewer voters than usual will walk into their polling place on election day, enter a booth and punch a ballot. Most will likely mail or drop their ballots off days or weeks before November 3. Voting in California has never been easier.

OPINION -- Here’s Why This Is a Highly Unusual Council Race
September 18, 2020 -- In Santa Monica, City Council members enjoy the safety of incumbency. Yet only one of the four incumbents running for a 4-year seat identified themselves as a councilmember on the ballot.

Lawsuit Seeks Reimbursement For Unpaid Rent During COVID Emergency
September 16, 2020 -- A group of rental companies has sued eight Southern California cities -- including Santa Monica -- seeking reimbursement for unpaid rent deferred during the coronavirus emergency.

Santa Monica Installs Drop-Off Kiosk for Prescription Drugs
September 17, 2020 -- Santa Monicans don't have to wait until next month's annual Drug Take Back Day to safely dispose of unused or expired prescription medications. The City and Police Department have installed a permanent medicine disposal drop-off kiosk in front of the Public Safety Facility.

Man Commits Suicide at Santa Monica Place
September 16, 2020 -- A man jumped to his death from the third floor of Santa Monica Place Wednesday morning, marking the fifth public suicide in the beach city this year.

"The Attempt" Becomes Fifth SMC Film to Screen at Cannes
September 16, 2020 -- A Santa Monica College (SMC) student film based on an assassination attempt that took place in Berlin a century ago will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Nine in Ten Renters Expected to Pay Full Rent by End of Month, Nationwide Survey Finds
September 15, 2020 -- Nine in ten U.S. renters paid their rent in full last month and are expected to do the same in September, although many will once again pay late, according to a nationwide survey by Apartment List.

Man Charged With Sexual Assaults On Elderly in Santa Monica
September 15, 2020 -- A 55-year-old man arrested by Santa Monica police last week has been charged in connection with a series of sexual assaults against elderly patients at local nursing homes.

Weekly Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Drop to Lowest Level Since May
September 14, 2020 -- The number of weekly coronavirus cases in Santa Monica dropped to the lowest level in nearly four months, with 17 new cases reported last week, according to data from the Los Angeles County Health Department.

Planning Commission Urges Council to Fast-Track Miramar Redevelopment
September 14, 2020 -- The Planning Commission voted 6 to 1 last week to support the proposed redevelopment of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and urged the City Council to fast-track one of the most ambitious projects in Santa Monica history.

OPINION -- Santa Monica City Council Enacts New Chinese Exclusion Law
September 14, 2020 -- Santa Monica's new rental housing ordinance, which requires that a lease be for at least one year, bars property owners from renting to foreign students, making it clearly unconstitutional.

Three School Playgrounds Open to Public Saturday
September 11, 2020 -- Three Santa Monica elementary schools will open their playgrounds to the community starting Saturday under an agreement between the School District and the City.

Education Foundation Raises Nearly $250,000 for Santa Monica Schools
September 11, 2020 -- The Santa Monica Education Foundation raised nearly $250,000 from more than 300 donors during a one-week back-to-school match, Foundation officials announced Friday.

City Council Takes Major Steps to Reform Policing
September 10, 2020 -- In an unprecedented move that gives citizens more control over policing, the City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to create a Police Commission, revise the department's use of force policies and explore ways to change the role of law enforcement.

Police Request Help Finding Robbery Suspects
September 10, 2020 -- Police are asking for the public's help in finding three suspects involved in a robbery in Downtown Santa Monica last month.

OPINION -- 5 Seats, 22 Candidates – Your Vote
September 10, 2020 -- A plethora of City Council candidates have registered to compete with incumbents to represent our city in the trying times ahead. Here is a quick guide from the Santa Monica Transparency Project.

Secretary of State, Original Backers of Voting Rights Law Support Plaintiffs' Appeal in Santa Monica Case
September 9, 2020 -- The California Secretary of State and the original backers of the state's voting rights law have filed letters on behalf of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the City.

McKinnon Fails to Win Reappointment to Planning Commission
September 9, 2020 -- Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon -- who ran twice for City Council as a slow-growth advocate -- failed to win re-appointment on Tuesday when the City Council filled two vacancies on the powrful board.

OPINION -- Miramar Project Not a Good Deal for Santa Monica
September 9, 2020 -- The gentrifying impact of the proposed Fairmont Miramar Hotel redevelopment with 60 luxury condos for the super-wealthy is a direct challenge to Santa Monica's inclusive character.

Slow-Growth Group Backs Three Challengers in Race for Four Council Seats
September 8, 2020 -- Blasting incumbents for ushering in "unsustainable growth" and pushing the City into "financial chaos," a prominent slow-growth group on Tuesday announced it will back three challengers in the race for four full-term Council seats.

New Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Remained Steady Last Week
September 8, 2020 -- Coronavirus cases remained steady in Santa Monica last week, as large crowds flocked to local beaches during Labor Day weekend despite warnings from public health officials.

EXCLUSIVE -- Santa Monica Police Thwarted Looters Tuesday Night, Captain Says
September 4, 2020 -- The lines of cars that exited the freeway one recent weekday evening reminded Police Captain Candice Cobarrubias of weekend nights when Santa Monica's Downtown economy was humming.

Council Incumbents Split on Police Endorsement
September 4, 2020 -- Two of the four City Council incumbents vying for four full-term seats have chosen not to seek the backing of the Santa Monica Police Officers Association (SMPOA), which has given candidates a powerful election boost for generations.

O'Day Appeals SMRR Endorsement Vote
September 3, 2020 -- Councilmember Terry O'Day on Wednesday challenged actions by Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR) leadership he said illegally denied him the powerful group's endorsement.

USDA Extends Free Meals for School District Students
September 3, 2020 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District will continue providing free meals to all students through the end of the year, District officials announced Thursday.

New State Eviction Moratorium Sets Guidelines Through January
September 2, 2020 -- Under a law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday, California renters are protected from eviction through January 31, as long as they pay at least 25 percent of their rent and show financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency.

County Health Officials Issue Warning Against 'In-Person Gatherings'
September 2, 2020 -- If you plan a backyard barbecue this Labor Day weekend, make sure not to invite any friends. That's the warning issued on Tuesday by Public Health officials who listed examples of "in-person gatherings" that are not permitted.

Santa Monica Police Boost Patrols After Instagram Threat
September 1, 2020 -- Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud boosted patrols Tuesday evening after a threatening story was posted on Instagram one day after a Black bicyclist was killed by Sheriff's Deputies in South Los Angeles.

Santa Monica College Kicks Off Fall Semester Online
September 1, 2020 -- Santa Monica College kicked off its Fall semester Monday with nearly 3,000 classes conducted mainly online, as the school's six campuses remain closed with few exceptions due to the COVID-19 emergency.
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