archiveSanta Monica Lookout
The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- January 2015

EXTRA!! Santa Monica’s Vidiots Not to Close
January 30, 2015 -- Four days after announcing it would close after 30 years of operation, Santa Monica’s iconic and much-beloved independent video store, Vidiots, said Thursday afternoon it would not shut down after all.

Santa Monica City Manager Gould Bids Farewell
January 30, 2015 -- Rod Gould’s final months as Santa Monica’s city manager featured controversy, but none of that was on display Tuesday night when c
ouncil members praised him at his last meeting.

Santa Monica Council Ponders Options to Deal with Non-Compliant Developer
January 30, 2015 -- For the second consecutive year, the drug company Agensys has not met its end of a development agreement (DA) with the City regarding the property at 1800 Stewart Street. Frustrated City Council members learned Tuesday night that litigation is an option if non-compliance continues.

PUBLIC NOTICE: Important Message to SMMUSD Parents from the Superintendent Regarding Measles Immunizations
January 30, 2015 -- As you may be aware, we received confirmation from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday that a Samohi freshman baseball coach had been diagnosed with measles. We notified Samohi families that evening.

VA Secretary Endorses Former Santa Monica Mayor’s Idea for Housing Homeless Veterans
January 29, 2015--Four years after helping spearhead a class-action lawsuit to force the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide housing at its Westwood campus for homeless vets, former two-term Santa Monica City Councilman Bobby Shriver stood at a podium next to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Wednesday and beamed.

Union Head Opposes Santa Monica Fire Chief’s Staffing Plan
January 29, 2015 -- Capt. James Altman, who heads the union representing Santa Monica firefighters, had harsh words for Chief Scott Ferguson at the Tuesday night Council meeting about the hiring of six rescue ambulance paramedics for a pilot program.

Record-Breaking 54 Nominations Announced For Santa Monica Sustainability Awards
January 29, 2015--A record-breaking 54 nominations have been received for the 2015 Santa Monica Sustainable Quality Awards (SQA), a milestone in 20-year history of the awards, officials announced Wednesday.

Dry Santa Monica Spends Big on Rain Barrel Rebates
January 28, 2015 -- Despite the state’s drought, Santa Monica’s rain barrel rebate program has shelled out more than $150,000 over the past three years in reimbursements to residents, City records show.

Owner of Santa Monica Pony Rides Scores Legal Victory
January 28, 2014 -- The owners of the popular pony rides removed from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on Main Street won a legal victory last week when a Superior Court Judge refused to dismiss their case against a leading opponent, their attorney said Wednesday.

New Website to Debut at Meeting on Santa Monica Civic Auditorium’s Future
January 28, 2015 --An interactive website that lets residents create possible land-use scenarios for the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium -- and analyze their potential costs -- will be used for the first time at a workshop this weekend to gather public feedback on the building’s future, officials said.

Aviation Advocacy Groups File Brief in Santa Monica Lawsuit
January 27, 2015 -- In a move that should come as no surprise, two major aviation advocacy groups recently filed an amicus brief to support the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the latest legal challenge by the City of Santa Monica about the future of the local airport.

Santa Monica College Newspaper Archive Now Online
January 27, 2015 -- A drive is underway at Santa Monica College to collect scrap metal for the war effort, student body elections have been scrapped, and services are being held for students serving overseas. Those were among the stories that made headlines in The Corsair on May 27, 1942.

Santa Monica May Apply or Runoff Grants
January 27, 2015 -- Santa Monica City Council members are scheduled to decide whether the City should apply for more than $5 million from the state for two storm water runoff projects.

Apartment Project Opponents Frustrated by Santa Monica Planning Process
January 26, 2015 -- Jane Dempsey, a longtime Santa Monica resident, remembers coming together with neighbors back in the early 1990s to fight a proposed mixed-use complex on Lincoln Boulevard near Ashland Avenue.

Council Agenda Features Updates of Two Major Santa Monica Projects
January 26, 2015 -- The City Council Tuesday is scheduled to discuss two major municipal projects totaling more than $160 million slated for City-owned land and give staff direction on what steps to take next.

Santa Monica History Museum Elects New Board Members
January 26, 2015 -- The Santa Monica History Museum reached back to the city’s roots in choosing a new chair for its board, Ricardo Bandini Johnson.

Santa Monica Planning Commission Selection Postponed
January 26, 2015 -- The Santa Monica City Council will not choose a candidate to fill the vacant Planning Commission seat on Tuesday as previously scheduled. The selection has been postponed until the second week of February at the earliest.

Santa Monica Rent Board Could Create Tenant Buyout Agreements Library
January 23, 2015 -- The Santa Monica Rent Control Board could soon be the place to go to review buyout agreements between landlords and tenants. 

Construction of Santa Monica Apartment Building Appealed
January 23 , 2015 -- Neighbors have appealed approval of a 10-unit apartment complex on a steep, vacant hillside off Ashland Avenue in Santa Monica, saying the building will cause more traffic and other hazards in an increasingly congested area.

Santa Monica Residents Can Get Free Rain Barrels
January 23 , 2015 -- City officials are rolling out the barrels—rain barrels, that is, making them available free to Santa Monica residents.

Santa Monica Earns A Grade for Curbing Smoking
January 22, 2015 -- Santa Monica -- which has long implemented measures to curb smoking -- received an A grade on the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2015 report, the organization announced Wednesday.

Council Expected to Select New Santa Monica Planning Commissioner
January 22, 2015 -- The short-handed Santa Monica Planning Commission could be made whole again next Tuesday when the City Council is scheduled to appoint a new member to the powerful board that approves permits, reviews major projects and helps guide planning policy.

Santa Monica’s Saint John’s Health Center Ranks Among Nation’s Best Hospitals
January 22, 2015 -- For the ninth year in a row Providence Health and Services, Southern California, which operates Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, has received an award of excellence from a national consumer ratings company, the hospital announced Tuesday.

State Gives Initial Approval to Santa Monica College’s Four-Year Degree Program 
January 21, 2015 -- Calling it a “landmark move for public higher education,” the California Community Colleges Board of Governors gave initial approval Tuesday to 15 colleges to develop bachelor’s degree programs, including Santa Monica College.

New Santa Monica Mayor Delivers State of City Address
January 21, 2015 --In his first State of the City speech, Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown on Tuesday outlined six “game-changing” trends he believes will shape Santa Monica in 2015 and years to come.

New Chair, Vice Chair Picked for Santa Monica College Trustees Board
January 21, 2015 -- Non-international students likely won’t face a tuition hike anytime soon, thanks to an improving economy, according to the Santa Monica College Board’s newly elected chair.

Council Approves Plan for More Workers at Santa Monica City Hall
January 20, 2015 -- The City Hall workforce will soon get a little larger following last Tuesday’s decision by the Santa Monica City Council to create nearly 32 full-time equivalent jobs.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board to Take Up Fred Korematsu Day
January 20, 2015-- A day after the nation celebrated civil right's leader Dr. Martin Luther King, the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education will vote Thursday on a resolution honoring a relatively little-known Asian American civil rights leader whose state holiday is later this month.

Santa Monica OPCC Launches Pilot Program With St. John’s Health Center
January 20, 2015-- A month-old partnership between the homeless services provider Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) of Santa Monica and Saint John’s Health Center is yielding mutual benefits while speeding up services to homeless patients, officials said.

County to Adopt Mission Statement Benefiting Foster Children
January 20, 2015--For the first time, every department in L.A. County government will have a clear policy statement on the treatment of children in the county’s care, thanks to a proposal by a Santa Monica-area supervisor approved last week.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Votes for a Mechur Return
January 16, 2015 -- Ralph Mechur’s brief hiatus from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education came to an end Thursday. Board members voted 4 to 2 for Mechur to fill the vacant seat on the seven-member governing panel.

Council Approves Rules Changes for Fitness Groups in Parks, Delays Fee Increases
January 16, 2014 -- Private fitness instructors operating in certain local parks and Santa Monica State Beach don’t have to worry just yet about paying a higher rate to conduct business.

Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation Receives Large Donation
January 16, 2014 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) announced Thursday that it received a $450,000 donation from Santa Monica resident Judi Lynne, making it one of the largest contributions the local education fundraising group has received in its 33-year history.

Santa Monica Celebrates Martin Luther King Day
January 15, 2015--Santa Monica residents can celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with music and inspirational speakers as events kick off this weekend in honor of King’s birthday.

Council Approves Santa Monica Water-Use Reductions
January 15, 2014 -- Santa Monica residents and businesses will have to start reducing their water usage in April as compared to their consumption in 2013 or face fines, which will be implemented beginning in October.

Officials Hope Downward Trend Continues in This Year’s Santa Monica Homeless Count
January 15, 2015--A decrease in homeless people counted on Santa Monica’s streets and in local shelters last year — the first drop in the numbers in five years — is a hopeful sign for the 2015 count coming up in two weeks, OPCC’s executive director said Wednesday.

Orchestra Santa Monica Celebrates Mozart’s Birthday
January 15, 2015--Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on Jan. 27, 1756, but Orchestra Santa Monica will perform at an early birthday concert in tribute to the composer this weekend, orchestra officials announced.

Santa Monica Applies for $17 Million From MTA for Transit Projects
January 14, 2015 --Santa Monica City Council members Tuesday approved applications for more than $17 million in Metropolitan Transportation Authority grants to complete five local transit projects, including $1.1 million for a new bike path connection to the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica Officials Still Identifying Quake-Vulnerable Buildings
January 14, 2015 -- City officials are still working to identify buildings in Santa Monica that might collapse in a major quake—the first phase of a comprehensive seismic safety program that’s been delayed as officials double-check potentially vulnerable structures against existing building permits, an official said this week.

City Council Approves Contract for Emergency Solar Towers
January 14, 2015--When a major earthquake or other disaster strikes, electricity will be one of the first things to go — so how will first-responders be able to see in the dark?

Holocaust Museum Presentations Explore Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe
January 14, 2015--Two upcoming presentations focusing on anti-Semitism in Europe —coincidentally organized before the recent attack at a Paris Jewish market by Islamic extremists — will explore anti-Semitic movements past and present, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum officials announced.

January 15, 2015--Santa Monica Applies for $17 Million From MTA for Transit Projects
Santa Monica City Council members Tuesday approved applications for more than $17 million in Metropolitan Transportation Authority grants to complete five local transit projects, including $1.1 million for a new bike patch connection to the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Could Pick New Member This Week
January 13, 2015 -- Ralph Mechur, who lost his bid for re-election to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board in November, will attempt to return to the governing panel the same way he joined it in 2007 -- as an appointee filling a vacant seat.

Five Santa Monicans Elected as 50th Assembly District Democratic Delegates
January 13, 2015--Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown is among five local residents who’ll represent the 50th Assembly District as delegates to the state Democratic Party Central Committee, a party official announced Monday.

Nativity Scene Ban Means Less Work for Santa Monica City Staff
January 13, 2015 -- Winter has become a more relaxed season for City workers in Santa Monica as the years pass since the council approved a measure in 2012 that effectively banned the historic religious displays showing the Christmas story in Palisades Park.

Fees for Private Fitness Classes at Santa Monica Parks Are Working, Officials Say
January 12, 2015--A year-old pilot program that imposed fees on private fitness instructors who hold their classes at Santa Monica’s public parks has reduced the number of such classes while cutting down on complaints from regular park users, a City staff report released this week said.

Santa Monica Could Increase Number of City Jobs and Reduce Outsourcing
January 12, 2015 -- At a council meeting last August, City employees and union leaders spoke negatively about Santa Monica City Hall as a place where in-house jobs were disappearing, and outsourcing was becoming too common.

“Rosie” Author Kicks off Book Tour at Santa Monica Library
January 12, 2015 -- Bestselling author Graeme Simsion will share thoughts with writer and actress Annabelle Gurwitch during a conversation at 7 p.m. Monday night at the Santa Monica Public Library.

Santa Monica Apartment Project Gets Go-Ahead
January 9, 2015 -- Construction of a ten-unit apartment complex on a vacant hillside off Ashland Avenue in Santa Monica won the approval of the City’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) on Monday despite the protest of neighboring residents, who could appeal the project.

Mandatory Water-Use Reductions and Penalties on Santa Monica Council Agenda
January 9, 2015 -- City Council members will consider mandatory water-use limitations for Santa Monica customers at their meeting next Tuesday.  Violations of these restrictions could garner stiff penalties for water customers.

Santa Monica Police Roll Out Bike Safety Patrols
January 9, 2015 -- Santa Monica police will roll out extra bicycle-safety patrols Saturday in an ongoing campaign to curb collisions involving cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, police said.

High Tech Programs Suggested to Reach Santa Monica Residents
January 8, 2015 -- A “hack-a-thon” to brainstorm hi-tech ways of dealing with Santa Monica’s community problems is one of a variety of suggestions Santa Monica officials are noting as a way to increase “civic engagement” in the city.

Keeping ‘Big Oil’ out of Santa Monica Bay Among Environmental Group’s 2015 Goals
January 8, 2015 -- The Santa Monica-based water quality watchdog and activist organization Heal the Bay has set several goals for this year as part of its 2015 Action Plan. Topping the list that appears on its website is “Keeping Big Oil out of Santa Monica Bay.”

Dried Up Christmas Tree Blamed For Santa Monica Apartment Fire
January 8, 2015 -- A fire that left a Santa Monica man with second-degree burns when he tried to throw a burning Christmas tree out his apartment window was caused by the tree being too dry and a possible short in the decorative lights, Fire Chief Scott Ferguson said Wednesday.

Santa Monica’s Gould Among State’s Top-Earning City Managers
January 7, 2015 -- When Rod Gould’s tenure as Santa Monica City manager ends later this month, he will leave as one of California’s highest-paid persons in the profession. 

Santa Monica Skating Champ Gliding Toward Olympic Dream
January 7, 2015 -- Think of Santa Monica and fun-in-the-sun activities like swimming, surfing or rollerblading probably come to mind. But competitive ice skating?

Storytelling Performance Slated for Santa Monica Festival
January 7, 2015 -- SHINE Storytelling kicks off the New Year on Saturday, January 24, with a special performance as part of the 6th annual “Fireside at the Miles,” a Santa Monica cultural festival at the historic Miles Memorial Playhouse.

Big Blue Bus Officials Get Low Spanish Response to Expo Survey
January 6, 2015--Although more than 50 percent of riders of the city’s Big Blue Buses are Latino, few Spanish speakers completed a recent online survey that officials will use to set future bus routes in the city, a BBB official said.

Santa Monica Airport Commissioners, Attorney Spar on Legality of Emission Regulations
January 6, 2015--Airport Commissioners voted 3-1 last month to send a proposed ordinance to the Santa Monica City Council calling for the prohibition of airplanes that they say commit too much pollution. 

Marion Davies Birthday Bash
January 6, 2015 -- Charlie Chaplin comes every year, as does Joan Crawford. And of course 1930s-era gossip columnist Hedda Hopper wouldn't miss it for the world.

Santa Monica Expo Line on Track for 2015
January 5, 2015--By around the middle of next year, the bulk of the construction work will be completed on the $1.5 billion second phase of Metro’s Exposition Line linking Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles.

Santa Monica Makes Best, Worst Lists in 2014
January 5, 2015--If there’s one thing that 2014 proved it’s that Santa Monica is a city of several distinctions — good and bad.

Santa Monica Film Fest Returns to Downtown
January 5, 2015--The Santa Monica International Film Festival returns to Downtown this month with screenings of 22 independent films at two local theaters, organizers announced.

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