archiveSanta Monica Lookout
The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- November 2016

Santa Monica Airport Operations Slowly Rise, Report Finds
November 30, 2016 -- Despite the decades-old fight to close Santa Monica Airport (SMO) to aviation, take offs and landings there are continuing a five-year pattern of overall increases, a new report has found.

Part of I-10 Westbound in Santa Monica to be Temporarily Closed
November 30, 2016 -- An already teeth-grindingly busy section of the I-10 freeway in Santa Monica will soon close on a temporary basis for sign replacement, City officials announced this week.

Santa Monica College Music Students to Offer Holiday Sounds and More
November 30, 2016 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) music students will offer seasonal standards as well as musical styles ranging from classical to funk during a series of December concerts, college officials announced.

No Major Changes in Latest Santa Monica Vote Count
November 29, 2016 -- The all-but final tally in Santa Monica's November 8 election caused no major changes, shoring up victories by four incumbent City Council members and keeping the loser of the hottest measure on the ballot firmly in place.

Santa Monica Signs Climate Change Letter to Trump
November 29, 2016 -- Santa Monica has signed a letter to President-elect Donald Trump declaring that local efforts to tackle the "climate crisis" will not be derailed, "even in the absence of federal support."

Santa Monica College Receives Gift to Help Students Falling Through Financial Cracks
November 29, 2016 -- A $250,000 gift to the Santa Monica College Foundation will help students who are in financial need but don't qualify for a full federal grant or other government assistance, school officials announced last week.

Downtown Santa Monica Visitors Grapple with Parking Woes, Survey Finds
November 28, 2016 -- Santa Monica offers more than 10,000 parking spaces downtown, but drivers still say they can’t find anywhere to park.

Cost of Rent Subsidies for Poor Elderly Tenants Delays Santa Monica Program
November 28,2016 -- A small but ground-breaking pilot program to save impoverished Santa Monica tenants, most of them elderly, from eviction by using City rent subsidies has been delayed again as City officials grapple with a rattling new finding:

Santa Monica College Planetarium Features Solar Events
November 28, 2016 -- The sun will be at the center of feature shows at the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium in December.

New Santa Monica-Malibu Superintendent to Be Provided with 'Coach'
November 23, 2016 -- Hoping to help its soon-to-arrive superintendent learn the ropes quickly, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is providing up to $12,000 for a “coach” for Ben Drati during his first year.

Santa Monica Conservancy's 'Shotgun House' Restoration Receives Governor's Award
November 23, 2016 -- The Santa Monica Conservancy has received a prestigious Governor's Historic Preservation Award for turning a dilapidated "shotgun house" into its new Preservation Resource Center.

More than $1 Million in Grants to Pay for Santa Monica Fire Department, Bus System Purchases
November 23, 2016 -- A total of nearly $1.1 million in grants will help the Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) better prepare for a “large-scale” emergency and upgrade the Big Blue Bus system's compressed natural gas (CNG) engines.

New Santa Monica Downtown Development Plan Spurs More Worries
November 22, 2016 -- After eight months of trying to gage public sentiment, Santa Monica City planners face claims of discrimination against Hispanics, worries about long-term tenants losing their rent-controlled units and lingering questions about the biggest downtown projects in the development pipeline.

Commission Approves Santa Monica City Hall Addition, but with Dissenters
November 22, 2016 -- Enough planning commissioners supported the proposed 50,000-square-foot addition to Santa Monica City Hall last Wednesday to approve the project. But there were plenty of critics on the dais.

Community Groups to Offer Thanksgiving Festivities for Santa Monica and Westside Needy
November 22, 2016 -- Community groups in Santa Monica and on the Westside are preparing Thanksgiving meals and festivities expected to serve thousands of needy families and individuals, and are also still looking for volunteers and donations of food and other items.

Frustration with Drug Companies Continues for Santa Monica County Supervisor
November 21, 2016 -- A proposed County ordinance could be back in play that would require pharmaceutical companies to fund a disposal program to stop medications and syringes from polluting Santa Monica’s beaches, among other goals.

Santa Monica City Staff Recommends Lower Water Rate Increase
November 21, 2016 -- Santa Monica residents and businesses will likely see a hike in their water bill next year, but not as high as previously proposed.

Santa Monica PAL Raises More Than $19,000 at Halloween Event
November 21, 2016 -- The Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) raised more than $19,000 during its Spooktacular Halloween event on October 31 at the PAL Youth Center, organization officials announced last week.

Santa Monica Hotel Union Urges Taller Buildings After Victory
November 18, 2016 -- One day after housekeepers at the JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot Hotel voted to form a union with UNITE HERE Local 11, union workers and officials urged city planners to allow taller buildings downtown.

Good News for Santa Monica: Poll Finds Majority of Californians Value Coast
November 18, 2016 -- Visit one of Santa Monica's beaches any day of the week and you'll see a large number of visitors enjoying their time.

Santa Monica College's Broad Stage Presents Old-fashioned Holiday TV Special
November 18, 2016 -- This holiday season, Impro Theatre will seek its inspiration not from the style of classic authors such as Shakespeare and Dickens but from the improvised TV specials of the 1960s, the company's promoters announced this week.

Santa Monica Commercial Property Sells for $400 million
November 17, 2016 --- In one of the most expensive property deals in Los Angeles County this year, two real estate companies have joined forces to purchase the 12-acre Lantana commercial site on the east end of Santa Monica for $400 million.

Santa Monica Shedding "Drunkest City" Label
November 17, 2016 -- One year after Santa Monica received national attention for a website dubbing it the "drunkest city in California," a report released this week by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health says it's not even the easiest place to get alcohol in the area.

Downtown Santa Monica Offers "Full Slate" of Holiday Festivities
November 17, 2016 -- The snow (albeit fake) has fallen and skaters have taken to the ice in downtown Santa Monica, marking the start of a holiday season that promises "a full slate of winter festivities," Downtown officials announced this week.

Santa Monica Municipal Budget Among Highest Per Capita in California
November 15, 2016 --The City of Santa Monica's $1.1 billion biennial budget was among the highest in the state and is driven by “unbelievably excessive employee compensation,” according to a researcher for Transparent California, a statewide watchdog group.

New Study Finds Santa Monica-Malibu District Outspends California Public Schools for Employee Pay
November 16, 2016 --The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) outspent other California public school systems last year by 40 percent, or $10,012 per student, in employee compensation, according to a study released by Transparent California Tuesday.

Santa Monica Investment Portfolio Increases, Report Shows
November 16, 2016 -- The City of Santa Monica's investment portfolio topped $705 million in August boosted by business license renewals, according to the Cash and Investment Report sent to the City Council last week.

Affordable Apartments Along Famed Santa Monica Boardwalk Bid Farewell
November 15, 2016 -- After a final shuffle of paperwork, the City of Santa Monica is bidding farewell to two of the last affordable apartments along its storied boardwalk.

Happy Holiday Tidings Arrive for Santa Monica Spenders
November 15, 2016 -- This holiday season, Santa Monica residents won't be splurging as much as their counterparts in other cities, according to a study released Monday by WalletHub.

Santa Monica College Lecture Series Offers Entertainment Industry Tips
November 15, 2016 -- Those hoping to make it in the entertainment industry can get some insider tips at a lecture series at Santa Monica College (SMC) starting this Tuesday.

Development Combatants in Santa Monica Consider Post-Election Compromise
November 14, 2016 -- Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown is drafting a compromise to allow public votes on proposed projects that exceed buildings limits, although the proposal's future is unclear in the bitter aftermath of the defeat of slow-growth Measure LV. Editors note: This report has been updated to reflect that McKeown will not take his proposal to the council on Tuesday but plans to place it on a future agenda.

Santa Monica “Breeze” Bike Share Celebrates First Birthday
November 14, 2016 -- Santa Monica’s first-of-its-kind bike share program celebrated its first birthday Saturday, with officials saying the $10-million “Breeze” program has been successful enough so far to possibly warrant enlarging it.

Santa Monica College Tops List of Transfers to USC, LMU
November 14, 2016 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) cemented its reputation as the state's top transfer college by adding two more universities to the list, school officials announced last week.

Backers of Defeated Santa Monica Slow-Growth Measure Blame Development Money, Claim Success
November 10, 2016 -- Soundly defeated by more than 12 percent of the vote, backers of slow-growth Measure LV blamed a $1.15 million war chest funded by developers and said the vote sent a "strong message" that Santa Monica residents want to slow down development.

Voter Turnout Down Significantly in Santa Monica
November 10, 2016 -- Far fewer Santa Monica residents voted in this year's presidential election than did so in 2012 and 2008, according to semi-official figures released by the Los Angeles County Registrar.

Santa Monica Overwhelmingly Votes for Clinton
November 10, 2016 -- If only votes from Santa Monica counted, Hillary Clinton would be headed to the White House after a landslide victory.

Santa Monica Hoping Election Cleared Way for Affordable Housing
November 9, 2016 -- After failing to follow its own law for years, Santa Monica City officials are banking on a sales-tax infusion from two successful measures on the November 8 ballot meant to, in part, provide more affordable housing.

Victorious Santa Monica Council Incumbents Troubled by Campaign Discourse
November 9, 2016 -- An unusual City Council campaign in which less than half the field reported any fundraising ended in a very usual way for Santa Monica--with an incumbent sweep.

Santa Monica Council Incumbents Sweep, LV Loses Big
November 9, 2016 -- In an election night that was shocking at the national level, there was no surprise in Santa Monica. All four City Council incumbents easily won re-election and the slow-growth Measure LV that featured a campaign with opponents greatly outspending their rivals was soundly defeated.

Santa Monica Shoe Store’s Landmark Status Heads Back to Commission
November 8, 2016 -- The Santa Monica Landmarks Commission will get a second chance to determine if a former bank building that features a mural by a prominent Southern California artist is a landmark.

Santa Monica Set to Tackle Downtown Community Plan Again
November 8, 2016 -- Eight days after Santa Monica voters go to the polls, a bitter fight over future development in downtown that helped inspire the most controversial issue in the local election -- slow-growth Measure LV -- is back before City planners.

Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus Continues Losing Riders
November 8, 2016 -- Santa Monica’s municipal bus system continued to lose riders during the past fiscal year, defying hopes that an infusion of funding would help reverse six years of decline, according to a year-end report.

Santa Monica Voters Tackle Big Ballot
November 7, 2016 -- Voters in Santa Monica have many important decisions to make on Tuesday when they head to the polls. That is for those who haven't already made their decision via in-person early voting and absentee balloting.

Contentious End to Santa Monica Election Season
November 7, 2016 -- Proponents of Measure LV staged a last-ditch rally to drum up support for the slow growth measure, opponents continued filling mailboxes with flyers and a last-minute write-in City Council candidate rallied voters on the internet.

City Files Lawsuits to Force Santa Monica Airport Tenants to Vacate
November 7, 2016 -- The City on Friday filed unlawful detainer lawsuits against two aviation tenants at Santa Monica Airport that defied their eviction notices last month, officials said.

Santa Monica Rent Board Campaign Includes Unusual Features
November 4, 2016 -- If you want to be elected to the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, make sure you’re an incumbent or win the endorsement from Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR). If you can do both -- even better.

Santa Monica Rent Board Candidates Share Opinions
November 4, 2016 -- The Lookout sent questions to the four candidates running for Santa Monica Rent Control Board. Three responded. Here are the questions and unedited answers.

Drati Appointed Santa Monica-Malibu Schools Superintendent
November 4, 2016 -- As expected, the board of education voted Thursday to appoint Ben Drati from Santa Barbara as the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified District’s (SMMUSD) next superintendent.

SPECIAL REPORT -- Nearly 3.8 Million Square Feet Await Approval in Santa Monica's Jammed Development Pipeline
November 3, 2016 -- It’s called “the list,” a compilation of proposed building projects being tracked by City planners, or all plans in Santa Monica's development pipeline.

Ice Skating Returns to Santa Monica in 10th Anniversary
November 3, 2016 -- Holiday ice skating returns Thursday to Santa Monica, celebrating its 10th birthday in the balmy breezy climes of the beach city with swirling faux snow at what is, normally, a downtown parking lot.

Santa Monica College Planetarium Offers Telescope Buying Tips
November 3, 2016 -- Those shopping for a telescope this holiday season can get useful tips from the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium this month, college officials announced.

Santa Monica's OPCC Merges, Creating New Identity
November 2, 2016 -- After merging with a Los Angeles group helping the homeless, Santa Monica’s primary provider of homeless services has re-surfaced with a new identity that officials hope will promote a regional approach to the issue.

Santa Monica Columnist, Volunteer and Activist Bill Bauer Dies
November 2, 2016 -- Bill Bauer, a longtime opinion writer and activist who was well known for his often scathing assessments of Santa Monica’s political powers, has died.

Santa Monica College Expands Continuing Education Programs
November 2, 2016 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) is expanding its non-credit continuing education programs for underserved adult students thanks to new legislation and $386,508 in funding, school officials announced this week.

City Doubles Down as Santa Monica Airport Battle Intensifies
November 1, 2016 -- Faced with a new federal probe, evicted tenants who refuse to go and more potential litigation in the long battle to close Santa Monica Airport, the City on Monday decided to do this: Advertise for a big new SMO job the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says should not exist.

Santa Monica Hosts 26th Annual American Film Market
November 1, 2016 -- Santa Monica, already home to some big Hollywood names, will be in the entertainment spotlight this week when the 26th Annual American Film Market (AFM) kicks off on Wednesday.

Judge Finds Santa Monica Officer Guilty of Theft Charges
November 1, 2016 -- A Santa Monica police officer has been found guilty of misdemeanor petty theft charges, according to a statement issued by the department this week.
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