archiveSanta Monica Lookout
The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- December 2014

Top Ten Santa Monica Stories of 2014
December 29, 2014 -- 2014 could prove to be a transitional year for Santa Monica. On the political front, slow-growth advocates took control of City Hall, Bob Holbrook stepped down after a record 24 years on the City Council and the ouster of Santa Monica’s newly hired communications officer set off a legal and public relations battle that will resonate into the new year.

Santa Monica Dance Studio Gets Council Protection for Relocation
December 29, 2014--City officials plan to look the other way as The Pretenders Dance Studio moves into a new building on Broadway and Ninth Street in Santa Monica that is zoned residential.

Kuehl Wants to Expand Internship Program for Former Foster Chilldren
December 29, 2014 -- Santa Monica-area Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is challenging managers in all 88 cities in the county, as well as the heads of several regional agencies, to duplicate a successful county program that provides internships for former foster children.

Santa Monica Landmark Could Open as Brain Surgery Center
December 24, 2014--A landmark-designated building on Arizona Avenue off 22nd Street in Santa Monica could soon open for specialized brain surgery, despite being located in a residential area.

Annual Homeless Count to Begin Soon
December 23, 2014--Santa Monica officials are gearing up again for the annual count of the city’s homeless population, looking for at least 250 volunteers to search every block of the city during the wee hours of Jan. 28

Santa Monica College Seeks to Launch New design Program
December 24 – Santa Monica College has announced it will submit a proposal to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Interaction Design, or the field of making websites, apps and other technology user-friendly.

Faster Way to Test Water Around Santa Monica Pier
December 23 -- A faster way of testing water quality could come to Santa Monica Pier soon, following development of a sophisticated new computer model that forecasts conditions for beaches within the hour, according to Heal the Bay officials.

Santa Monica Council Supports Affordable Housing Protection Measures
December 23, 2014 -- Two measures endorsed last week by the Santa Monica City Council could give added protection to low-income residents and others needing affordable housing.

Losing Candidates File for Open School Board Seat
December 23, 2014 -- Three of the candidates who ran unsuccessfully for the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board in November are taking a second shot, vying this time to be appointed to an open seat on the seven-member board.

City “Hungry” to Challenge Abusive Landlords, Santa Monica Attorney Says
December 22, 2014 -- The City Council last Tuesday unanimously approved measures intended to strengthen Santa Monica’s Tenant Harassment Ordinance.

Santa Monica Council OKs Hike in Bus Line’s Security Services Contract
December 22, 2014--The Santa Monica City Council voted last week to boost the City's contract for security services for the Big Blue Buses by $384,000, putting the total of the 4-year pact at more than $2 million.

Public Input Sought for Santa Monica’s Reed Park Improvements
December 22 -- Reed Park, one of the oldest parks in Santa Monica, is in the final phase of an overhaul, and the public can weigh in how best to improve the one-acre lawn in the northeast section of the popular park.

Nine Candidates Apply for Open Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Seat
December 19, 2014 --Tom Larmore, a prominent land-use attorney and civic leader, is taking his first stab at public office as one of nine hopefuls vying for an open seat on the Santa Monica- Malibu School Board.

Santa Monica Council Makes In-House Selection for Interim City Manager
December 19, 2014 -- Veteran Santa Monica municipal employee Elaine Polachek was named interim City manager on Tuesday. She will assume the role at the end of January when Rod Gould officially steps down. 

Pico Residents Celebrate Christmas in Santa Monica with 'Las Posadas'
December 19, 2014 -- It's a 400-year-old Hispanic tradition kept alive among Latino enclaves much like Santa Monica's, whose residents are re-enacting “Las Posadas” each night through Christmas Eve at St. Ann Catholic Church on Colorado Avenue.

Santa Monica Council Moves Forward with Water Rate Hike Plan
December 18, 2014 -- While nobody expressed excitement about it, the majority of the City Council on Tuesday voted to move forward with a plan to raise Santa Monica’s water rate by nearly 80 percent over the next five years.

Santa Monica Could Require Lobbyists to Register
December 18 -- The Santa Monica City Council Tuesday directed staff to craft an ordinance that would require all lobbyists and others involved in municipal business to register with the City.

Holiday Celebration at Santa Monica’s Miramar Draws Big Crowd
December 18, 2014 -- Some 900 people turned out under the historic Moreton Bay fig tree at Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica for a community holiday celebration that included cookie decorating, hair braiding, mini manicures, a bounce house and a ginger bread house display.

Promenade Increases Police Presence During Christmas
December 17, 2014--With a little more than week left before Christmas, now is the time when shoppers rushing to buy last-minute gifts should be on extra guard against thieves who specifically target the distracted and prey on people who get careless, Santa Monica police warned this week.

Santa Monica Police Try to Put Brakes on Holiday Violations
December 17, 2014 --During the holidays, Santa Monica police are taking measures to help put the brakes on accidents involving impaired drivers; prevent collisions involving motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and deter alcohol sales to minors, police officials said Tuesday.

Santa Monica Board Member Wants Jewish Holidays Recognized on School District Calendar
December 17, 2014 -- Christmas is the only religion-based observance noted on the holiday closure list in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School’s official calendar. The dates for the Jewish observances of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are on the list, but the names do not appear. Instead, the term “local holiday” is used.

Santa Monica, Malibu School Board Members Battle for Committee Appointment
December 16, 2014 -- Unlike the selection of Santa Monica’s mayor, the school board president is usually chosen without any drama. This was the case again last Thursday when Laurie Lieberman was the only person nominated for the position, and was elected through a unanimous vote of her peers on the board.

Santa Monica Consumer Watchdog Warns Against Gas Price Increase
December 16, 2014--Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog on Monday released a report warning that oil industry officials plan to use “artificially inflated” gas prices, bogus refinery slowdowns and other tactics in a bid to derail the state’s new climate protection measures set to go into effect next month.

Santa Monica Police Activities League’s annual toy wrap party
December 16, 2014--Third-grader Judah Gardner went straight for the cars and games he’d like to get for Christmas, picking out presents from a stack during the Santa Monica Police Activities League’s annual toy wrap party Monday night at Santa Monica Place.

Rent Board Chair Fears New Water Rules Could Lead to Tenant Harassment
December 15, 2014 -- In an effort to conserve water in Santa Monica, financial penalties are expected to go into effect soon for excessive use. This concerns Rent Control Board Chairman Todd Flora, who fears such rules could lead to tenant harassment.

Santa Monica Proposes to Reconfigure Bus Routes for Light Rail
December 15, 2014 -- The coming of the Metro Rail Expo to Santa Monica will prompt big changes for the city’s Big Blue Bus system, including a host of new or improved north-south routes, according to a proposal that will go before the City Council Tuesday.

Santa Monica’s First Young Adult Book Festival Coming This Year
December 15, 2014 -- Santa Monica will hold the city’s first young adult book festival this April to showcase local talent and highlight the genre’s strong ties to Hollywood, City officials announced Friday.

City Staff Again Recommends Significant Santa Monica Water Rate Hike
December 12, 2014 -- Members of the Santa Monica City Council had a skeptical reaction in October when presented with a proposal for a nearly 80 percent water rate hike over the next five years.

Santa Monica College Leads in Transfers, Again
December 12, 2014 -- For the 24th year in a row, Santa Monica College ranked first statewide in transfers to University of California campuses, with a marked increase in the number of minority students making the jump, officials said Thursday.

Santa Monica Council Tells Hermosa Beach to Reject Oil Drilling Proposal
December 11, 2014 -- Other than the installation of new elected officials and the selection of Kevin McKeown as mayor, there was only one item on the City Council agenda Tuesday night, and it didn’t even involve Santa Monica -- at least not directly.

Santa Monica Has a Fine for That?
December 11, 2014 -- The recently created Santa Monica Open Data Portal features a variety of facts and figures for numerous subjects, including municipal employee compensation, police activity and the monetary value of local trees.

Santa Monica College Students Win Prestigious Film Awards
December 11, 2014 -- Two Santa Monica College student filmmakers have taken home awards from the international Best Shorts Film Competition, which receives entries from around the world, officials announced Tuesday.

McKeown Named Santa Monica Mayor, Vazquez to Take Top Spot Next Year
December 10, 2014 -- In what was expected to be a clash between the newly elected slow growth City Council majority and others turned into a show of solidarity Tuesday night as Kevin McKeown was chosen unanimously by his colleagues to serve as mayor of Santa Monica after 16 years on the dais.

Medicinal Marijuana Petition to Begin Circulating Next Month
December 10, 2014 -- With their first attempt up in smoke, medical marijuana proponents are gearing up again to collect signatures for a law to allow dispensaries in Santa Monica, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club Get New Leader
December 10, 2014 -- After a months-long search, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica selected a new chief executive officer who brings national experience and a long stint in the Oxnard area to the job, club officials announced Tuesday.

Vazquez Could be First Latino Mayor in Santa Monica History
December 9, 2014 -- If Councilmember Tony Vazquez is elected mayor Tuesday night, as some political observers expect, he will become the first Latino mayor in Santa Monica since its founding in 1875.

Santa Monica Police Take Steps to Curb Bicycle Accidents
December 9, 2014 -- With holiday crowds increasing, Santa Monica police on Saturday will have extra officers patrolling areas where traffic collisions are most frequent, police officials said.

Santa Monica Nativity Scene Returns to Mt. Olive Church
December 9, 2014 -- Although it continues a legal fight to return its Christmas display to a public park, the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee will once again bring its nativity displays to a local church beginning this Sunday and continuing through January 1, a spokesman for the group said.

Santa Monica Unemployment Rate Above National Average, Below County
December 8, 2014 -- National unemployment was at 5.8 percent in November, just as it was in October, according to information released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whether Santa Monica was above or below that rate in November will be determined later this month when the State releases its statistics.

Santa Monica Wins Environmental Sustainability Award
December 8, 2014 – The City of Santa Monica has received the 2014 Cool Planet Award from a collaborative effort between Southern California Edison and The Climate Registry, acknowledging the bayside city’s efforts in energy policies and sustainability.

Santa Monica Library to Host Genetically Modified Organisms Discussion
December 8, 2014 – The Santa Monica Public Library next week will host a screening of the documentary “GMO OMG” and a discussion of the impacts of Genetically Modified Organisms.

Santa Monica Selected as a Host Town for 2015 Los Angeles Special Olympics
December 5, 2014 –Santa Monica will serve as a Host Town for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015), Santa Monica and Special Olympics officials announced Thursday during an event at ICE at Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Elected Officials Make History
December 5, 2014 – This week, for the first time, two former Santa Monica elected officials took the oath of office at the State Capitol in Sacramento. 

Santa Monica Promenade Mourns Loss of Beloved Regular
December 5, 2014 –  A public memorial service for Brandon Cramer, an autistic Santa Monica resident who was a beloved fixture on the Third Street Promenade, will be held this Sunday at 10 a.m. in front of Barney's Beanery.

Officials Warn Against Going into Santa Monica Water
December 4, 2014 -- The California storm that washed over Santa Monica this week didn’t cause major backups or spills in the city or to its bay, but officials were still warning beach-goers to stay out of the water due to possible contamination.

Santa Monica Officials Hail ‘Year of Notable Progress’ for Public Projects
December 4, 2014 -- Tongva Park/Ken Genser Square and the Pico Library were among Santa Monica’s major capital improvement projects (CIPs) completed in the recent fiscal year, which stretched from July 2013 to June 2014.

Downtown Santa Monica Announces Board Member Appointments
December 4, 2014 -- Juan Matute, a well-known champion of public transportation, has been appointed to the Board of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM), the agency that runs the City’s central business District.

Santa Monica Holiday Shopping Season Off to Busy Start
December 3, 2014 -- Lines of shoppers didn’t wrap around the block on Black Friday in Santa Monica, but merchants and their representatives say the holiday season got off to a busy start.

Speculation Surrounds Pick for New Santa Monica Mayor
December 3, 2014 – Three slow-growth advocates could be in the running to become Santa Monica’s next mayor when a newly seated City Council meets next Tuesday night, according to political observers.

Mini Theater to Perform at the Santa Monica Library
December 3, 2014 – The Santa Monica Library is hosting artist Yulya Dukhovny as she performs “Star in a Glass Jar,” a miniature theater production inspired by traditional Japanese storytelling, on Saturday at 12 p.m. in the Library’s Multipurpose Room.

Environmental Warning Labels Could Be Forced on Santa Monica Gas Pumps
December 2, 2014 -- A future visit to a Santa Monica gas station could include a lesson on environmental protection. 

Santa Monica Transfer Station Sent Back to the Drawing Board
December 2, 2014 -- An $8 million temporary bus transfer station to make visiting the future light rail station in Downtown Santa Monica easier and more pleasant was sent back to the drawing board by the City Council last week.

Santa Monica Team Receives Award in International Film Festival
December 2, 2014 –The Santa Monica College (SMC) film program was the only film school from the U.S. to receive an award from one of the most respected student film festivals in the world, the 2014 FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH in Germany.

School Board Appointing Ben Allen’s Successor Will Avoid $1 Million Election
December 1, 2014 -- A majority of the Board of Education must agree on a replacement for former member Ben Allen next month, or the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District would have to pay for an election that could cost approximately $1 million.

Green Bike Lanes Rolling Out on 2nd Street
December 1, 2014 --  It will soon be easier to cross Downtown by bike. Green bike lanes are being added to Second Street from Colorado to California avenues as part of the City’s Bicycle Action Plan.

Santa Monica Library Receives Top Rating
December 1, 2014 -- For the fifth year in a row, the Santa Monica Public Library is once again the only Southern California library to earn the prestigious five-star rating from the national Library Journal (LJ) Index of Public Library Service.

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