Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Asteroids, Women Astronauts and the Theory of Relativity
July 31, 2023 -- In August, the Santa Monica College (SMC) planetarium will explore the struggles of women astronauts and present a math-free explanation of Einstein's theories of relativity.

Council Expands Uses, Heightens Security in Promenade Area
July 31, 2023 -- Santa Monica's struggling Third Street Promenade got a much-needed boost last week that should have visitors dancing in restaurants and enjoying movies on a rooftop.

Planning Appointments Expose Council Rift
July 28, 2023 -- (UPDATED) A divided City Council went 10 rounds Tuesday night before appointing three Planning Commissioners, two of them incumbents.

COVID Cases, Deaths Remain at Near Record Lows
July 28 -- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases reported in Santa Monica over the past two weeks remained at a near record low, and no new deaths were reported, according to LA County Health data released Thursday.

Celebrate National Night Out on Tuesday
July 28, 2023 -- More than 1,000 potential "superheroes" are expected to gather on the City Hall lawn Tuesday evening to celebrate National Night Out, an annual event promoting police-community relations.

Council Ends Negotiations to Sell Civic Auditorium for Affordable Housing
July 27, 2023 -- The City Council on Tuesday terminated negotiations with Community Corp, Santa Monica's biggest affordable housing developer, to buy the historic Civic Auditorium.

City Hires Communications Manager
July 27, 2023 -- A former newspaper reporter who most recently served as spokesperson for Long Beach Utilities has been hired as the City's communications and public information manager.

Travel Overspending Stirs Heated Council Debate
July 26, 2023 -- Councilmember Phil Brock's over-budget travel spending triggered a heated debate at Tuesday night's Council meeting that devolved into personal and political attacks.

Police To Hold Traffic Safety Operations
July 26, 2023 -- The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) will conduct a traffic safety operation focused on enforcing laws that impact motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Council Delays Fines for Leaf-Blower Violations
July 25, 2023 -- Gardeners in Santa Monica can continue using gas-powered leaf blowers for half a year without fear of being fined after a crackdown approved by the Council goes into effect next month.

LETTERS -- Hotel Union Should Take Its Bad Ideas Elsewhere
July 25, 2023 -- Tourism has bounced back in Santa Monica, with the number of visitors doubling over last year. Leave it to Unite Here Local 11 to cloud this sunny news.

Pressure Builds for Open Hearing on Civic Auditorium
July 24, 2023 -- History is repeating itself and only "a resident revolt" like the one that saved the Pier 50 years ago can secure the future of Santa Monica's iconic Civic Auditorium, the city's leading slow-growth group warned Sunday.

Monthly Poll Finds Most Support "Pretextual Stops," Oppose More Taxes
July 24, 2023 -- A monthly poll of civically engaged Santa Monica residents found most support "pretextual" traffic stops by police but strongly oppose using AI cameras to distribute parking tickets.

Civic Auditorium Back on Closed Session Agenda
July 21, 2023 -- After causing an uproar at this week's City Council meeting, closed door negotiations with the School District and Community Corporation to purchase Santa Monica's historic Civic Auditorium will take place on Tuesday.

Freeway, PCH to Close for Emergency Bluff Work
July 21, 2023 -- Unstable land in a portion of the Santa Monica Bluffs will force the emergency closure of major access roads in and out of the city on Tuesday and Wednesday, City officials announced Friday.

Individual with COVID Attended Tuesday's Council Meeting , City Officials Say
July 20, 2023 -- During a record low level of COVID-related hospitalizations, Santa Monica officials announced Thursday that an individual who attended Tuesday's City Council meeting had tested positive for the virus.

Santa Monica Poised to Crack Down on Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
July 19, 2023 -- For nearly a quarter century, gardeners have been blowing off a 1990 Santa Monica law that bans all motorized leaf blowers. On Tuesday, the City Council is poised to crack down on gas-powered blowers and authorize the use of electric ones.

Hotel Union Submits Ballot Initiative for Country's Highest Minimum Wage
July 19, 2023 -- The hotel workers union on Tuesday filed a ballot initiative requiring Santa Monica hotels to pay their workers at least $30 per hour, which would make it the highest minimum wage in the nation.

Brock's Actions: A Welcome Sign of Citizen Involvement or a Potentially Dangerous Example?
July 18, 2023 -- Councilmember Phil Brock's run-in with a homeless man on the Promenade Sunday -- which made local headlines -- has raised concerns over his involvement in the man's arrest and the message it could send.

Hotels, Workers Union Still Deadlocked
July 18, 2023 -- (UPDATED) Two weeks after the hotel workers union staged its first wave of strikes, which included walkouts at five Santa Monica hotels, negotiations remain deadlocked.

Santa Monica Taps Interim Transportation Director
July17, 2023 -- Deputy City Manager Anuj Gupta will head the Department of Transportation (DOT) while the City conducts a nationwide search for a permanent director.

Councilmember Brock Attacked on The Promenade
July 17, 2023 -- Councilmember Phil Brock, a vocal supporter of boosting public safety efforts, was attacked on the Third Street Promenade Sunday afternoon by a man who appeared to be homeless, the Councilmember told The Lookout.

COVID Hospitalizations Hit Record Low
July 14, 2023 -- The number of patients in Los Angeles County hospitalized with COVID dropped to its lowest level since the pandemic began 40 months ago, according to Public Health data released Thursday.

Suspect in 2021 Carjacking Sentenced
July 14, 2023 -- A suspect involved in a series of armed robberies that targeted restaurant valet drivers was sentenced to 18 years in prison for a 2021 kidnapping and robbery in Santa Monica.

Three Planning Commissioners Seek Reappointment
July 13, 2023 -- Three Planning Commissioners with a total of 28 years on Santa Monica's most visible and powerful board are seeking to be reappointed by the City Council Tuesday for another four years.

Prosecutors Won't Seek Death Penalty in Bulger's Killing
July 13, 2023 -- Prosecutors won't seek the death sentence against the Mafia hitman and the Massachusetts gangster charged with the 2018 beating death of former Santa Monica resident and Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger in a federal prison.

$1.5 Billion Biennial Budget Restores Cut Services
July 12, 2023 -- With projected revenues expected to slowly continue growing, the Santa Monica City Council last month approved a biennial budget that totals nearly $1.5 billion and restores cut services.

Red Cross Seeks Blood Donors Amid Shortage
July 12, 2023 -- The Red Cross is seeking blood donors this month to prevent a critical blood shortage as its supply rapidly dwindles, the organization announced.

SMPD Seeks Council Approval to Use Military Grade Ammunition
July 12, 2023 -- The City Council on Tuesday will take up a Police Department request to use military grade ammunition in patrol rifles that is deemed safer to use in populated urban areas.

Santa Monica to Prep for More Ballot Funding Measures
July 11, 2023 -- The City Council on Tuesday is expected to take initial steps to place funding measures on the 2024 ballot after voters approved a slew of new taxes last year.

Hotel Workers Stage Second Wave of Walkouts
July 10, 2023 -- Less than one week after returning from a three-day walkout at five Santa Monica hotels, union workers staged a second wave of strikes at hotels near LAX on Monday.

Police Reform Commission Takes Up Identity Profiling
July 10, 2023 -- Blacks were involved in a disproportionate number of traffic stops in Santa Monica last year compared the the size of their population, according to a report that will be presented to the Police Reform Commission on Tuesday.

Armed Woman Surrenders to Police After 5-Hour Standoff
July 9, 2023 -- An armed woman barricaded inside a Downtown Santa Monica motel room surrendered to police Sunday evening after a five-hour standoff.

Two Teens Shot at Beach Party
July 8, 2023 -- Two teenage girls were shot by a lone gunman at a large party near the southern border of Santa Monica beach Friday night, according to police.

Hotels File Unfair Labor Charges Against Workers Union
July 6, 2023 -- The bargaining group for 44 hotels in LA and Orange counties has filed unfair labor practice charges against the hotel workers union alleging it violated the law by striking over claims unrelated to the employees' contracts.

Police Thwart Suicide Attempt at Palisades Park Bluffs
July 6, 2023 -- For the third time since March of last year, police thwarted a suicide attempt Wednesday morning in the area around Palisades Park.

Santa Monica Hotel Rates Second Highest in California
July 5, 2023 -- Santa Monica was the second priciest summer destination in California for hotel stays this year, according to a survey by

Hotel Union Strike Ends, More Could Follow
July 5, 2023 -- Several thousand hotel workers, including those at five Santa Monica hotels, returned to work on Wednesday after what union officials warn is "just the first wave of strikes and disruption."

City Wins Injunction in Housing Discrimination Case
July 4, 2023 -- A family living in a Santa Monica rent-controlled apartment has been paid more than $1 million in a housing discrimination case, while the City won injunctions against the building's owner and manager, City officials said Tuesday.

Workers Strike at 5 Santa Monica Hotels
July 4, 2023 -- Workers at five Santa Monica hotels remained on strike for a third straight day on Tuesday as labor negotiations reached a standstill at some four dozen hotels in the Los Angeles region.

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