Santa Monica Stories of 2015
December 28, 2015 --There was
lots of change in Santa Monica during 2015. Rick Cole became the new person
in charge when he was appointed City manager in June and Tony Vazquez
made history by becoming the first Latino mayor in December. A former
mayor, Judy Abdo, lost her post on the powerful Santa Monicans for Renters’
Rights Steering Committee. And there’s a new way to ride bikes in
Santa Monica with the Breeze program.
Group Fights Santa Monica Minimum Wage Proposal
December 28, 2015 -- A new group
is launching an 11th-hour petition drive to end an exemption for unions
in Santa Monica's proposed minimum wage law set to go to the City Council
January 12, the Lookout has learned.
Monica Public Library to Celebrate 125th Birthday
December 28, 2015 –- It
started 125 years ago as a tiny reading room next to a local drug store.
Next month, the Santa Monica Public Library will usher in the new year
with an anniversary celebration marking its evolution into a 21st Century
system of five high-tech libraries with a budget of more than $12.3 million.
Car Thief Leads Police On Chase That Ends In Santa Monica
December 24, 2015 -- Perhaps trying
to score a last-minute holiday gift, a man armed with a knife car-jacked
a Maserati on a busy West Los Angeles street Thursday then fled from pursuing
police until he finally crashed into a parked car in Santa Monica, police
Seek Clues in Death of Whale Found in Santa Monica
December 24, 2015 -- Experts are
looking for clues in the death of a newborn gray whale washed ashore on
Santa Monica Beach Tuesday, calling it was a rare and baffling incident.
Monica Council Poised to Approve Minimum Wage Early Next Year
December 22, 2015 -- The Santa
Monica City Council is poised to join the wave of local governments raising
the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 and also is deciding whether to
take the advice of staff by hiking the minimum hourly wage for all hotel
workers to $15.37 by 2017.
Monica-Malibu Schools Fundraising Group Announces $25,000 Donation
December 22, 2015 -- The Santa
Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF), which raises funds for the
School District received early holiday gift from a Health-care giant,
Foundation officials said.
Music Stand-Outs Take Seats on Elite National Ensemble
December 22, 2015 -- Three young
Santa Monica High School musicians were among 673 hand-picked students
from high school music programs throughout the country who recently got
to rehearse and perform in a one-of-a-kind national honor program, the
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District announced.
Monica Weighs Noise Ordinance Against Free Speech Rights
December 21, 2015 -- Santa Monica
is taking yet another look at its noise ordinance, which was recently
amended earlier this year, to ensure the revised law doesn't impinge on
peoples' rights to loudly protest on public streets in commercial zones.
Alcohol Tasting Gets Santa Monica Commission Scrutiny
December 21, 2015 -- A trip to
the Santa Monica Ralphs on Cloverfield Boulevard off Olympic Boulevard
could soon include a wine tasting in addition to traditional grocery shopping.
Monica College Now Offering Technical Theatre Certificate
December 21, 2015 -- Students
interested in careers as stage technicians, sound engineers, set designers
and other theater crafts now have a path to those careers through Santa
Monica College's new technical theatre program.
Monica Will Add Fencing Around Expo Rail Tracks
December 18, 2015 -- Fencing will
go up around the Expo Light Rail Line, City Council members have decided
this week, several days after the Santa Monica's first train derailment
last week at Colorado Avenue and 7th Street.
Monica Cops Launch Hunt for Drunk Drivers This Weekend
December 18, 2015 -- If you're
planning to enjoy dinner in the beach city this weekend you may want to
refrain from that glass of wine, as Santa Monica police will be out to
bust DUI drivers.
Monica Commissioner Has Harsh Words for ‘Bad Apple’ Landlord
December 18, 2015 -- Rent Control
Board member Todd Flora used cleaned-up profanity at the Dec. 10 meeting
to describe a Santa Monica landlord who had illegally charged extra rent
to a tenant on Bay Street because she had a roommate.
of Litigation Prompts Santa Monica Council Action
December 17, 2015 -- Threatened
with litigation, the Santa Monica City Council Tuesday agreed to a motion
meant to give the developer of a long-debated 270-bedroom hotel on Wilshire
Boulevard a stronger chance of coming back -– for a third time --
with blueprints that pass muster.
Monica Consumer Group Says California Drivers Paid $10 Billion More than
December 17, 2015 -- Just how
much more did Californian drivers allegedly overpay for their gas in 2015?
Monica Council Designates Stretch of San Vicente Historic District
December 17, 2015 -- Santa Monica’s
iconic stretch of San Vicente Boulevard between Ocean Avenue and 7th Street
will soon be designated the San Vicente Boulevard Courtyard Apartments
Monica Blvd. Mixed-Use Project up for Commission Review
December 16, 2015 -- The Planning
Commission on Wednesday will consider a proposal for a 25,000-square-foot
mixed-use development on Santa Monica Boulevard off Stanford Street.
Monica Council Hires Help For Workers Comp
December 16, 2015 -- Santa Monica
is rehiring its outside technical consultant to help in the ongoing battle
to rein in the City's escalating workers' compensation costs, which amounted
to more than $7 million last fiscal year alone.
Monica Library Offers Family Holiday Events
December 16, 2015 -- Old-fashioned
games, a tiny toy theater and plenty of movies are in store for the holidays
at the Santa Monica Public Library.
Residents To Demand Santa Monica Dump At-Large Voting
December 15, 2015 -- In what could
be the first step leading to a lawsuit under the California Voting Rights
Act, Pico Neighborhood residents have scheduled a news conference Tuesday
to denounce Santa Monica's at-large elections system and demand the City
switch to district voting.
Monica Council Set to Pay more than $400,000 for Outside Anti-Corruption
December 15, 2015 -- The City
Council Tuesday night will consider an independent review of Santa Monica’s
anti-corruption law that could cost taxpayers more than $400,000.
Monica-Malibu School Board Re-Elects President, Selects New Vice President
December 15, 2015 -- Preparing
for a year that could usher in major changes to Santa Monica-Malibu public
schools, the School Board last week re-elected Laurie Lieberman as president
and voted to install Ralph Mechur as vice president.
Monica Council Sends Hotel Design Back for More Revisions
December 14, 2015 -- Saying the
project's design is not up to Santa Monica's standards and image, City
Council members approved a motion sending a proposed hotel on Wilshire
Boulevard back to the developer for further work.
Monica Home Up for Historic Designation
December 14, 2015 -- Planning
staff is recommending that the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission on Monday
deny a landmark designation for a 1925 Tudor Revival-style home that initially
piqued the commission’s interest.
Set Make Appointments to New Santa Monica Pier Board
December 14, 2015 -- After putting
off a decision at their last meeting due to an over-booked agenda and
an unexpectedly high number of nominees to review, Santa Monica City Council
members are again scheduled to appoint seven members to the new Santa
Monica Pier Corporation Board.
Test Train Collides with 18 Wheeler in Santa Monica
December 11, 2015 -- Santa Monica
police are investigating the cause of a collision shortly before noon
Thursday between a Metro test train and a large truck at the intersection
of Colorado Avenue and 7th street, police said.
Note: This story was updated- Santa
Monica Council OKs Five-Story Mixed-Use Development on Lincoln
December 11, 2015 --
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a five-story, 78,000-square-foot
development proposed at the site of a former Norms Restaurant on Lincoln
Boulevard and Colorado Avenue, a major intersection in the city.
Approves $2 Million for Santa Monica Expo Transit and Safety Projects
December 11, 2015 -- Along with
$150,000 for emergency phones and security cameras for the new Expo Bike
Path, City Council members this week approved $1.5 million for the construction
of a mini-transit hub specifically to serve vehicles dropping off and
picking up passengers of the Expo Light Rail Station at 4th Street.
Events and More This Weekend In Santa Monica
December 11, 2015 -- Police and
firefighters will hand out candy canes at the City's 23rd annual Candy
Cane Drive, part of a slew of events and activities happening in the beach
city this weekend.
Monica Sued Over Airport Landing Fees
December 10, 2015 -- Aviators
filed a class action lawsuit Monday against the City alleging that landing
fees at Santa Monica Airport – which were doubled in 2013 –
were illegally adopted by the City Council.
Monica’s Miramar Holiday Celebration Gathers Estimated 9,000 Pounds
December 10, 2015 -- A crowd of
about 800 gathered for this year’s annual “Under the Fig Tree”
holiday celebration at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel Sunday, donating an
estimated 9,000 pounds of non-perishable food for Santa Monica’s
Monica Joins Coalition to Curb Greenhouse Gases
December 10, 2015 -- Santa Monica
has added another item to its “green” resume: It is now a
member of a sprawling global coalition of cities attempting to make steep
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, officials announced this week.
Monica Moves to Bolster Emergency Medical Response
December 9, 2015 --The Santa Monica
City Council on Tuesday bolstered the City's response to medical emergencies
with the addition of two refurbished rescue ambulances and a new director
of medical services for the Fire Department.
Monica Warns Fuel Companies at Airport
December 9, 2015 -- After suffering
a major setback in their battle to regain control of Santa Monica Airport,
City officials are moving forward on other fronts, including increasing
the pressure on owners of fuel tanks for aircraft to clean up contamination.
Nonprofit Will Help Support Santa Monica Animal Shelter
December 9, 2015 -- Similar in
function to the support and fund-raising group, Friends of Santa Monica
Public Library, a new nonprofit organization of volunteers has officially
been sanctioned to work on behalf of the City's animal shelter.
Hotel Project Heads Back to Santa Monica Council
December 8,2015 -- More than three
years after the Santa Monica City Council approved a development agreement
for a nearly 300-room hotel on the 700 block of Wilshire Boulevard, the
governing body will again be asked to vote on the project on Tuesday.
Santa Monica Mayor Cites Major Accomplishments
December 8, 2015 -- From raising
the minimum wage citywide to regaining control of the municipal airport
and curbing development, Mayor Kevin McKeown has spent a busy year
confronting “non-stop” issues that will help shape the
future of Santa Monica.
Monica Middle School Students Score High in Mock Trial Competition
December 8, 2015 -- Two Santa
Monica student teams argued their way into the top 20 in a countywide
mock trial competition that concluded last Wednesday, local School District
officials announced this week.
Rules Santa Monica Airport Must Stay Open
December 7, 2015 -- Frustrated
elected officials reacted angrily to a Federal Aviation Administration(FAA),
decision that Santa Monica Airport must continue to operate as a commercial
aviation facility for the next eight years.
Monica Bike Riding on the Rise
December 7, 2015 -- A report to
the Planning Commission on Wednesday about bicycle riding in Santa Monica
showed some good progress as City officials work toward a goal of lessening
the amount of vehicle traffic.
Monica Students Busy Spreading Holiday Cheer
December 7, 2015 -- Performing
and visual arts students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
will be busy this holiday, spreading cheer at several free and low-cost
performances, District officials announced.
Monica Affordable Housing Development First to Connect to Fiber Optic
December 3, 2015 -- In a pilot
project, the City of Santa Monica has connected an affordable housing
building to the City’s fiber optic network, an attempt at closing
the “Digital Divide” between those who can’t afford
the internet and those who can.
Monica Officials Release Early Bike Share Ridership Numbers
December 3, 2015 -- The City of
Santa Monica’s $10 million-plus bike share program, the first of
its kind in Los Angeles County, has logged in 2,218 renters since its
rollout in August, a far cry from the total the system is hoped to attract
but a big enough number to please City officials.
Orders Santa Monica Coin Dealer to Pay $2 Million
December 3, 2015 -- The City Attorneys
office has obtained a $2 million judgement against a Santa Monica-based
coin dealer accused of running a nationwide "bait and switch"
scam, City officials announced Thursday.
Separation from Santa Monica a "Democratic Imperative"
December 3, 2015 -- If anything
came out of the most recent Board meeting of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified
School District, it was the resolve of Malibu for its own district, and
the distressing recalcitrance of the Santa Monica majority. ("Santa
Monica School Board Members Support Malibu Split, Questions Remain,"
December 2, 2015)
Santa Monica City Manager Settles Conflict-of-Interest Lawsuit
December 2, 2015 -- Former Santa
Monica City Manager Rod Gould has quit his consulting job as part of the
settlement of lawsuit filed by local activists claiming he violated the
City's anti-corruption law.
Monica School Board Members Support Malibu Split, Questions Remain
December 2, 2015 -- The five Santa
Monica residents on the local school district board in attendance at the
Nov.ember 19 meeting said they support the formation of a Malibu school
district, but they only want it to happen if it would not harm education
in either city.
Anniversary of Display of Santa Monica Nativity Scenes to Start
December 2, 2015 -- With a losing
court battle firmly behind it, Santa Monica's nativity scenes display
will celebrate its 63rd anniversary this year at its new location, Mount
Olive Lutheran Church, although organizers said they’ll go back
to their longtime home at Palisades Park briefly for opening ceremonies.
Public Safety Number One Priority When Expo Trains Arrive
December 1, 2015 -- Saying public
safety is the number one concern, Santa Monica's city manager is mobilizing
key departments to make sure the City is “absolutely ready”
for the expected spring arrival of the Expo Light Rail Line.
Monica City Officials Attend Paris Climate Summit December
1, 2015 -- A delegation of Santa Monica City officials is attending
the United Nations Conference on Climate Change near Paris this week to
showcase a municipal project to create an all-electric City bus fleet
Monica College Top in Transfers for 25th Consecutive Year
December 1, 2015 -- For the 25th
year in a row, Santa Monica College has been ranked California’s
top community college for the number of students who transferred into
the University of California system.