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The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- February 2016

Santa Monica City Council Approves 5 Percent Hike in Water Rates for This Year
February 26, 2016 -- The Santa Monica City Council Tuesday approved a 5 percent hike in City water rates after its officials said unanticipated savings – despite the severe drought -- meant customers could avert the even bigger increase of 9 percent originally given the nod last year.

Trains To Roll Into Santa Monica For First Time In 50 Years On May 20
February 26, 2016 -- Ready or not, the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Expo Light Rail Line, a historic passenger train link to Los Angeles, will start rolling into the Beach City on Friday, May 20, Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez announced Thursday.

Police Wrap Up Another Traffic Safety Operation In Santa Monica
February 26, 2016 -- Santa Monica police took a suspected drunk driver off the streets while screening more than 300 vehicles at a recent sobriety checkpoint, one of seven traffic safety crackdowns since the first of the year.

Santa Monica Council Weighs in on Blueprint for Pedestrian Safety
February 25, 2016 -- The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday had a message for pedestrians who become frustrated waiting for traffic signals or worry they could be struck by vehicles crossing the city's busy streets.

Lead in Santa Monica Drinking Water Highly Unlikely, City Report Says
February 25, 2016 -- A lead contamination crisis like the well-publicized one affecting Flint, Mich.’s drinking water supply is “highly unlikely” to happen in Santa Monica, according to a report prepared by City Water Resources Manager Gil Borboa that was issued to the City Council on Monday.

Santa Monica Arts Foundation Gives Leadership Awards
February 25, 2015 -- A patron, an activist and a teacher were the winners of the fourth annual Leadership Awards from the Santa Monica Arts Foundation, organization officials announced last week.

Santa Monica to Replace Aging Fire Department Training Center
February 24, 2016 -- City of Santa Monica officials are burned out on the aging temporary trailers used to help train local firefighters.

Metro to Set Official Start Date for Expo Line in Santa Monica
February 24, 2016 -- The head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority on Tuesday was set to officially declare construction of the long-awaited Expo Line to Santa Monica completed, clearing the way for a start date for service to be set in the next 30 days, a spokesperson said.

Santa Monica Library Picks "Station Eleven" as Choice for READS Series
February 24, 2015 -- The post-apocalyptic mystery novel "Station Eleven" is the Santa Monica Public Library's choice for its 14th annual Santa Monica READS program, library officials announced last week.

Santa Monica Consumers' Group Claims Win For Allstate Customers
February, 23, 2013 -- Following challenges Consumer Watchdog filed under a California's voter-approved insurance reform law, Allstate customers with homeowners' insurance policies will get an overall 12.6 percent rate reduction, effective this month, the Santa Monica-based nonprofit announced.

Santa Monica Police Chief James Keane 1979 to 1991

Former SMPD Chief James Keane Dies Unexpectedly February 23, 2016 -- James F. Keane, who served as chief of the Santa Monica Police Department from 1979 until his retirement in 1991, died unexpectedly Friday during an afternoon outing, department officials announced Monday.

Santa Monica City Poised to Cut Hike in Water Use Rates Prompted by Drought
February 23, 2016 -- The City of Santa Monica is poised to cut – by nearly half – the increases in water rates it originally proposed for customers, with officials saying costs for the City’s anti-drought campaign are coming in under budget, at least for now.

Activist Wants City Attorney Chosen by Santa Monica Voters
February 22, 2016 -- AIDS Walk Los Angeles founder and 32-year Santa Monica resident Craig Miller’s recent victory in his long dispute with the local government over nonprofit advertising on the Big Blue Bus has not persuaded him to call off another fight.

Santa Monica To Share Breeze Bike Program With Venice
February 22, 2016 -- Santa Monica's Breeze program will pedal outside the City in the first inter-city expansion of the county's only bike share system.

Planetarium at Santa Monica College Continues Gemini Series on Final Frontier
February 22, 2016 -- With more people looking skyward these days since last year's “The Martian,” Santa Monica College's John Drescher Planetarium's continuing retrospective on the 50-year anniversary of the Gemini missions offers plenty to satisfy new and veteran skywatchers alike.

Online Residents' Organization Submits Ballot Measure Tying Development to Electorate
February 19, 2016-- Residocracy, a relatively new player in Santa Monica's decades-old development wars, on Thursday submitted a ballot measure that would give voters the ultimate say on future large-scale construction projects in the City.

Big Dean’s Cafe Plans Expansion, Receives Santa Monica Commission Scrutiny
February 19, 2016 -- Located just south of the Santa Monica Pier since the 1970s, Big Dean’s Cafe will soon nearly double in size when it expands its operation to an adjoining space in the building that formerly housed a souvenir shop.

League of Women Voters' 3-Year Study On Higher Education To Be Discussed In Santa Monica
February 19, 2016 -- Former Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board member and now California state Sen. Ben Allen will join a a panel of education experts to discuss “Higher Education: Where We Are Today,” a three-year study by the League of Women Voters California.

Santa Monica OKs Nonprofit Ads On Big Blue Buses
February 18, 2016 -- Nonprofits trying to get their causes to wider audiences now have a new forum to do so on the sides of Santa Monica's Big Blue Buses, ending a 15-year ban.

Santa Monica Activists Seek Change Through Ballot Measure
February 18, 2016 -- Many Santa Monica residents received a Valentine’s Day greeting in their email Sunday morning from slow-growth activist group Residocracy.

Santa Monica College Gallery Hosts Raymond Saunders Exhibit
February 18, 2016 -- Recent works by artist Raymond Saunders, who is known for multi-media works that explore social and political themes, are the subject of an exhibition at Santa Monica College that opened Tuesday.

Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Makes Major Route Changes in Final Light Rail Preparations
February 17, 2016 -- With the Expo Light Rail line due to make its debut this spring in Santa Monica, the Big Blue Bus starts a second round of major changes to its routes on February 21, part of an effort to make it as easy as possible to get to and from the trains, officials said.

Structure Coming to Santa Monica Property Vacant Since 1993
February 17, 2016 -- A spot of nothingness for more than two decades on Pico Boulevard near the Santa Monica city line will soon be filled with a building featuring office and retail.

Nobel Laureate to Highlight Santa Monica College Literary Series
February 17, 2016 -- A Nobel laureate, a historian and two ethnic writers will be featured during Santa Monica College's Spring 2016 Literary Talks & Readings scheduled to begin next week.

New Planning Guide for Downtown Santa Monica Envisions No Major Redevelopment
February 16, 2016 -- Less than 15 percent of Santa Monica's already “built-out” Downtown will be redeveloped in the next 20, with most new projects adding more open space, affordable housing and infrastructure and mobility improvements, according to a planning document released Friday.

Santa Monica’s Shore Hotel Could Face Enforcement Action
February 16, 2016 -- With the family owner of the Shore Hotel believing the Santa Monica facility is operating with proper permits and the California Coastal Commission saying otherwise, this dispute could soon escalate in and out of the courtroom.

City Removes 1980 Mural at Santa Monica Park
February 16, 2016 -- Crews began removing a 36-year-old mural that decorated the entrance stairwell at Josyln Park as part of a project to repair the stairwell. But a nearby plaque dedicated to a beloved resident will go up at a new location in the park, officials said.

Council Adopts Plan Prioritizing Fixing Civic Auditorium, Calls for Parks Study
February 12, 2016 -- After hearing from 100 speakers, City Council members voted this week to seek out qualified companies that can create a viable revitalization plan for the Civic Auditorium but took no action on a sports field proposed for a section of the surrounding property.

Santa Monica Rent Board Picks New Commissioner
February 12, 2016 -- Anastasia Roark Foster, a 10-year resident of Santa Monica, is the newest commissioner on the Rent Control Board. She was appointed by a 3-0 vote on Thursday.

Some 26,000 Runners Expected As LA Marthon Ends In Santa Monica
February 12, 2016 -- As many as 26,000 runners will tackle this weekend's 31st annual L.A. Marathon “Stadium to the Sea” course from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica, with thousands more cheering them on along the way.

Revised Downtown Santa Monica Plan Set for Friday Release
February 11, 2016 -- In response to criticism, City staff has created a shorter and more readable version of the document that will guide planning in Downtown Santa Monica. It will even have a new name when it is released in updated form on Friday.

City Reduces Speed Limits On Some Santa Monica Streets, Increases Others
February 11, 2016 -- In a new ordinance approved this week, 10 Santa Monica streets feeding into neighborhoods will see reduced speed limits, but two others linking to thoroughfares will get higher speed limits even though they contain segments with homes.

Suspected Killer Gives Up In Santa Monica
February 11, 2016 -- A man wanted in Washington State on suspicion of shooting a man to death outside a convenience store last week was in custody at the Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles on Wednesday, after walking into the Santa Monica Police Department and surrendering Tuesday night, said police.

City is “Squeezing” Santa Monica Airport Aviation Tenants, FAA Complaint Charges
February 10, 2016 -- A group of aviators and businesses at the Santa Monica Airport has filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accusing the City of financially “squeezing” tenants in an effort to close the century-old airport.

Santa Monica Considers Charging City Employees for Parking to Help Meet Anti-Congestion Goals
February 10, 2016 -- The City is considering imposing a parking fee on those who work for Santa Monica’s largest employer – the City itself.

Clare Foundation to Hold Women in Recovery Forum
February 10, 2016 -- Women in revovery will be the topic of CLARE Foundation's 3rd Annual Forum on the State of Addiction this month, the Santa Monica agency announced Tuesday.

Supporters Look to Add Sports Field to New Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Site
February 9, 2016 -- After more than a decade in play, the issue of locating a sports field for use by schools and others at the Santa Monica Civic Center site when it is finally redone is back in the public eye, with supporters saying they’ve been kept from their goal far too long.

New Survey Finds Santa Monica One of Most Expensive Cities in California for Apartment Rentals
February 9, 2016 -- Santa Monica is one of the most expensive larger cities in California in which to rent an apartment, with a one-bedroom unit closing in on $3,000 a month --a 7 percent increase from 2014 and not too far behind San Francisco, among the priciest cities in the nation. First of a series on housing

Santa Monica College Kicks off Black History Series Next Week
February 9, 2016 -- A fighter pilot who was a member of the prestigious all-black Tuskegee Airmen during World War II will launch Santa Monica College's 2016 Black History Series on Thursday, February 18.

VA's West LA Campus Plan Includes 1200 Housing Units
February 8, 2016 -- A new draft master plan that will serve as a framework for how Veterans Administration officials will expand services for veterans at the agency's West Los Angeles Medical Center includes building 1,200 housing units on the 388-acre campus.

Santa Monica’s Shore Hotel Controversy Returns to Coastal Commission
February 8, 2016 -- A battle over Santa Monica hotel pricing and the extent of the people’s right to low-cost beachside accommodations (and if it’s even possible) continues this week at a session of the California Coastal Commission.

Santa Monica College Students Heading to Honolulu for Prestigious Arts Festival
February 8, 2016 -- Student performers in a Santa Monica College theater department production of “M. Courage” have been invited to showcase their talents at the 48th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Hawaii this week.

Santa Monica City Council to Appoint Tourism Board Members
February 5, 2016 -- A pier official, a hotel owner and a community organizer are among six applicants vying for a City Council-appointed seat on the Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, Inc.

Commission Approves Santa Monica Preschool Despite Opposition
February 5, 2016 --The owners of Meadow Preschool, expected to open in Santa Monica next year on 26th Street between Arizona Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, will have to convince some neighbors the new facility won’t be a bother.

Santa Monica Nonprofit Urges Action On Prescription Drug Abuse
February 5, 2016 -- Doctors and pharmacists in California already must register at a database that tracks drug prescriptions, but a Santa Monica consumers' group is urging state lawmakers to take the next step by requiring physicians to check the database before prescribing opiates.

State Senator Ben Allen Tackles California Teacher Shortage
February 4, 2016 -- State Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, on Tuesday joined two other California lawmakers proposing new bills to reverse a critical shortage of teachers statewide by providing money for residency programs and other incentives to enter the field.

Santa Monica Considers Putting the Brakes on Driving Speeds
February 4, 2016 -- Drivers in Santa Monica will need to start slowing down soon if the City Council decides to apply the brakes next week on several City streets.

Santa Monica City Hall Trees Get Pruning
February 4, 2016 -- The 31 Sycamore trees in Ken Genser Square in front of Santa Monica City Hall will be pruned this week to stunt their growth, City officials announced.

Santa Monica City Council Member Pam O’Connor Defends City Employees
February 3, 2016 -- Santa Monica City Council Member Pam O’Connor Monday defended the thousands of City government employees who drive and park downtown despite a City campaign to take alternate transportation, contending many of them work hours when such transit isn’t readily available.

City of Santa Monica and Aviators Back Before FAA in Fight for Control of City Airport
February 3, 2016 -- The City of Santa Monica and opponents from the aviation industry are back before the Federal Aviation Administration in the long fight for control of the City airport and plans to one day close it.

Santa Monica Opens This Year’s “Most Loved” Local Businesses Contest
February 3, 2016 -- It’s that time of year again, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner and Santa Monica’s businesses leaders asking residents a heart-filled question once again: Which local businesses do you consider real sweethearts?

Water Quality Improves at Santa Monica Beaches, “State of the Bay” Report Finds
February 2, 2016 -- Levels of harmful bacteria found in Santa Monica Bay have dropped significantly, and the amount of trash littering its beaches has also declined, according to comprehensive update on environmental conditions at the bay and its watershed.

Clinton Has Large Lead in Santa Monica Fundraising
February 2, 2016 -- Hillary Clinton’s performance in the Iowa Caucus on Monday was a close call, but what isn’t so close is her standing in the presidential campaign fundraising totals from Santa Monica.

Innovative County Water Plan to be Showcased at Santa Monica Pico Library
February 2, 2016 -- Southern California imports 80 percent of its water from outside the region, making it critical for cities to better manage the available water supply, LA County officials have said.

Union Objects to New Santa Monica-Malibu Board Meeting Format
February 1, 2016 --This week’s meeting of the Santa Monica-Malibu school board will be the first under a new format that is supposed to make the sessions shorter. At least one person doesn’t care for the new format--teachers union head Sarah Braff.

Mayor Set to Address Santa Monica League of Women Voters
February 1, 2016 -- Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez will be the featured speaker at the League of Women Voters luncheon this weekend, the organization announced.

Santa Monica High School Senior Aces Placement Exam
February 1, 2016 --More than 2 million U.S. high school students took more than 4 million advanced placement exams, which can earn them valuable college credits before graduation.

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