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The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- December 2017

Frank Gehry Mixed-Use Hotel for Downtown Santa Monica on Front-Burner AgainDecember 22, 2017 -- A controversial hotel/mixed use project designed by Frank Gehry for downtown Santa Monica will be the first of three major projects to re-surface after a long battle over a development plan for the core of the beach city.

Flights at 'Closed' Santa Monica Airport Prompt City Apology and Explanation
December 21, 2017 -- Airplanes flying in and out of temporarily-shuttered Santa Monica Airport on Wednesday caused uproar from stunned neighbors, sent a key official scurrying out to find the truth and ended with an apology and an explanation pinning the surprise flights on the FAA.

Dinosaur Sculptures on Santa Monica Promenade to Receive $400,000 Rejuvenation
December 21, 2017 -- Santa Monica’s iconic Dinosaur topiary sculptures and fountains, symbolic guardians of the Third Street Promenade for almost three decades, are showing their age. But unlike the fate of their real prehistoric relatives, the concrete-and-ivy dinosaurs are headed for better days.

Smoke From Recent Fires Poses Challenges for Santa Monica Airport Pollution Study, City Official Says
December 20, 2017 -- The smoke-and-ash plume that settled over Santa Monica two weeks ago from outside fires poses challenges for an ongoing air quality study that must take the unusual conditions into account, a City official said Tuesday.

Santa Monica-Based Consumer Watchdog Group Warns of “Snooping” Dangers from “Digital Assistants”

December 20, 2017 -- They look innocent enough, but the small “digital assistants” being pushed for the holiday season by internet giants Amazon and Google could lead to eavesdropping and a “massive surveillance” of the homes of their users, a Santa Monica-based consumer watchdog warns.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Elects New Leaders
December 20, 2017 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board elected a new president and vice president at its meeting last Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Dismisses Brown Act Lawsuit Challenging Closure of Santa Monica Airport
December 19, 2017 -- A U.S. District Court judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit which alleged the surprise consent decree announced almost a year ago to close Santa Monica Airport by 2028 was illegal because the City violated California’s open meetings, or “sunshine,” law, the City announced.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Votes to Oppose Malibu Petition for Easier Split
December 19, 2017 -- The board of education for Santa Monica-Malibu public schools has voted to oppose a potentially quicker route to separation sought by Malibu, saying City officials there failed to adequately address the fiscal future of the schools that would be left behind.

Santa Monica Begins Work on New City Hall Annex
December 19, 2017 -- Visitors may want to wear earplugs when they enter Santa Monica City Hall over the holidays. The City began paving the way for a new City Hall Annex Thursday with a demolition project that will run through January 5, City officials announced last week.

Downtown Santa Monica Offers Holiday Shoppers More than Deep Discounts, Officials Say
December 18, 2017 -- With more and more shoppers opting to click on their holiday purchases, Santa Monica's downtown is banking on offering those things you can't get at home.

Santa Monica College Ranks First in UC Transfers for 27th Straight Year
December 17, 2017 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) led all community colleges in transfers to the University of California (UC) system during the past school year and placed the most black and Latino students in statewide universities, college officials announced last week.

Space Taxis and Brewing Stars Featured at Santa Monica Colleges Drescher Planetarium
December 18, 2017 -- A new Space Station taxi shuttle and a bounty of bright stars in the winter sky are among the featured shows at Santa Monica College's Drescher Planetaium next month. On Friday, January 5, the planetarium presents “NASA Commercial Crew Takes Flight.”

Santa Monica City Council Walks Back Putting Major Parks Bond on November Ballot
December 15, 2017 -- After starting with high hopes, the Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday signaled it isn’t likely to put a bond measure on the November 2018 ballot to fund as much as $200 million in park improvements.

Santa Monica Airport Starts Ten-Day Closure to Aircraft for Runway Shortening
December 15, 2017 -- Around-the-clock work to reduce the length of the runway at Santa Monica’s municipal airport started Wednesday, closing SMO for ten days to all aircraft operations, the City said.

Fire Displaces Residents of Santa Monica Condo Complex
December 15, 2017 -- A fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon in a six-unit condominium building in Santa Monica's Ocean Park Neighborhood has displaced all of the building's residents, Fire Department officials said.

Nearly Century-Old Sycamore Trees in Santa Monica Win Potential Reprieve from Demolition
December 14, 2017 -- Beautiful and unbowed by age, two nearly century-old sycamore trees, entwined over time to look like one as they cast a wide canopy of shade across California Avenue in Santa Monica, received a temporary reprieve from removal on Monday after the City’s Landmarks Commission delayed a recommendation not to grant protection from development.

Santa Monica City Council to Consider Ballot Measure Requiring 'Super-Majority' Vote for Biggest
December 14, 2017 -- Despite dread of touching off more development warring, the Santa Monica City Council Tuesday voted to consider a ballot measure requiring a “super-majority” council vote for development exceeding City limits on size and height.

Santa Monica Nativity Scenes on Display at New Home
December 24, 2017 -- Calvary Baptist Church is hosting Santa Monica's historic life-size nativity scenes that had been a holiday feature at Palisades Park until atheists mounted a campaign that forced their removal in 2011.

LETTERS -- Former Rent Board Member Urges City to Adopt Voting Districts
December 14, 2016 -- I stand with the leader of the African American Caucus and urge to City of Santa Monica to adapt district elections, but I know these men women will never do it outside of a court order.

Santa Monica 'Twilight' Concert Series on Pier Survives Proposal for 2018 Hiatus
December 13, 2017 -- On Tuesday, Santa Monica’s “Twilight Concerts on the Pier” survived a recommended hiatus to help the City deal with overflow crowds and the dangers to those deep on the beach, beyond the reach of police protection.

Leader of State Democratic Party's African American Caucus Urges Santa Monica to Stop Fighting Voting Rights Lawsuit
December 13, 2017 – The head of the African American Caucus of the California Democratic Party is urging the City of Santa Monica to halt its fight against Voting Rights litigation filed on behalf of the Latino population, saying the City Council needs to align itself with “progressive values and the law.”

Miramar Holiday Gathering Raises Funds, Collects Food for Santa Monica's Most Needy
December 13, 2017 -- More than 1,000 Santa Monica residents gathered under the Fairmont Miramar Hotel's iconic Moreton Bay fig tree Sunday to usher in the holidays and help the city's most needy.

Citizen Panel Members Recommend Wage or Hiring Freeze at Santa Monica City Hall
December 12, 2017 -- Members of a first-ever citizen advisory panel helping to examine pay and benefits at Santa Monica City Hall -- among the highest for cities in California -- are recommending a freeze of employee compensation or possibly of new hiring.

Santa Claus Visits Santa Monica Airport with 'Naughty and Nice' List
December 12, 2017 -- Santa and Mrs. Claus landed at Santa Monica Airport Sunday for a cheery quick pre-Christmas visit, bearing small gifts for those on his “nice” list but a warning for the City Council.

Santa Monica College Facility One of Four New Buildings in City to Achieve Top Green Rating
December 12, 2017 -- Santa Monica College's new physical education facility has been awarded the highest level of certification by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), school officials announced Monday.

LETTERS -- Santa Monica Airport Hindered Efforts to Fight Skirball Fire
While the Skirball fire was out of control on Wednesday morning, as stated on the KTLA news, regular air traffic to and from Santa Monica airport needed to be redirected so that it didn't hinder the efforts to fight the fire from the air.

Hiatus Recommended for Popular 'Twilight' Concert Series on Santa Monica Pier
December 11, 2017 -- Santa Monica’s “Twilight Concerts on the Pier” might be put on hiatus next year as City officials scramble to deal with an overwhelming increases in crowds, costs for policing and the clean-up of tons of post-party trash.

Picture of Actor Dustin Hoffman Gains New Context Amid Allegations of Harassment
December 11, 2017 -- A picture of Dustin Hoffman taken in Santa Monica more than a decade ago gained a new context amid recent allegations of sexual harassment leveled against the Academy-award-winning actor. The picture published in The Lookout was taken during a 2005 ceremonial groundbreaking for Santa Monica College's Madison Campus.

Fire Breaks out at Santa Monica's Huntley Hotel
December 11, 2017 -- The Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica was evacuated Saturday evening as firefighters extinguished a blaze that broke out on the top floor of the high-rise building downtown, Fire Department officials said.

Public Schools, Outdoor Facilities in Santa Monica Re-Open but Smoke Advisory Continues
December 8, 2017 -- Santa Monica’s public schools reopened Friday -- although their counterparts in Malibu remained closed -- as authorities and the public waited see if the capricious Santa Ana winds would blast the air with more smoke and ash from outside wildfires.

Santa Monica Airport Tower Plays 'Critical' Role in Fire Fighting Efforts, Aviation Group Says
December 7, 2017 -- The air traffic control tower at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) has been playing a "critical" role in fighting the “Skirball” fire that continued to burn Friday in the Sepulveda Pass area of Los Angeles, according to the Santa Monica Airport Association (SMAA).

Santa Monica Joins Los Angeles Community Choice Energy
December 8, 2017 -- The City Council on Tuesday voted to join Los Angeles Community Choice Energy (LACCE), a move City officials say will shift all Santa Monica electricity customers to competitive electricity and help boost similar efforts in the region.

Schools Cancel Classes, Outdoor Activities Curtailed as Smokey Skies Persist in Santa Monica
December 7, 2017 -- Local public schools canceled classes, and outdoor activities, including downtown's popular holiday ice-skating rink, were out of commission Wednesday as the seaside city's populace struggled a second day under a choking plume of smoke and ash from fires raging throughout Southern California.

Wildfires Could Impact Air Quality Study at Santa Monica Airport
December 7, 2017 -- Amid the poorest air quality in decades as fires rage around Santa Monica, City officials are determining the status of a pollution study that was set to commence at its municipal airport this week.

Health Officials Advise Santa Monica Residents, Workers on Coping with Impact of Fires
December 7, 2017 -- Take special care of yourself, loved ones and neighbors, as air filled with an unhealthy mix of smoke and ash from fires raging near Santa Monica take their toll, authorities warned Wednesday.

Santa Monica Warned to Stay Indoors as Blanket of Smoke from Wind-Whipped Sylmar Fire Arrives
December 6, 2017 – Tuesday was far from another day of fun in the sun in Santa Monica, as an eerie blanket of grey smoke and particulates from a wind-frenzied blaze near Sylmar crept in about dawn, bewildering a populace warned to stay indoors until further notice.

Five-Story Mixed-Use Apartment Building on Lincoln in Santa Monica Poised for Approval
December 6, 2017 -- A five-story mixed-use apartment building, one of a string of new multi-family projects set for construction on Santa Monica’s Lincoln Boulevard Downtown, is poised for approval next week by the City’s Planning Commission.

Santa Monica's Miramar Hotel Hosts Holiday Community Gathering Sunday
December 6, 2017 -- On Sunday, hundreds of Santa Monicans are expected to once again gather under the Miramar Hotel's iconic fig tree to kick off the holiday season and help the beach city's less fortunate.

Controversy Over Childcare Center in Pico Neighborhood Goes to Santa Monica City Council
December 5, 2017 -- Families living a small “oasis of calm” in booming Santa Monica are asking the City Council tonight to stop a 20-student preschool from moving into a home in their single-family neighborhood, saying it sets a precedent of commercial encroachment. (Item delayed to January 23)

Man Arrested for Attempted Murder on Santa Monica Pier
December 5, 2017 -- A driver left a man injured and damaged Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.'s restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier after an early morning altercation Monday, according to police.

'Text-to-911' Service Starts in Santa Monica
December 5, 2017 – Call if you can. But if you can’t dial 911 in an emergency, Los Angeles County -- including Santa Monica -- has launched a service allowing 911 texts instead.

Malibu Agrees to Pause in Battle to Separate from Santa Monica Public Schools
December 4, 2017 – Leaders of Malibu’s sought-after split from its Santa Monica-based school system have agreed to postpone an alternate path through the county Office of Education they hoped would lead to a quicker divorce.

Santa Monica College Opens New Media Campus, KCRW Center
December 4, 2017 -- Some 600 guests gathered Saturday for the grand opening of Santa Monica College's (SMC) new $115-million media campus that houses the school's media and design programs and serves as the new headquarters for KCRW.

Tufts University Selected for Air Quality Study at Santa Monica Airport
December 4, 2017 – Tufts University begins mobilizing to test air quality at Santa Monica Airport today, a response by the City to long-standing complaints from neighboring residents about the health impacts of air traffic, particularly from jets.

Santa Monica City Council Approves Up to $735,000 Contract to Promote Sustainability Campaigns
December 1, 2017 -- GOOD Worldwide Inc., the marketing firm hired last year to help Santa Monica create good public will for the arrival of Expo, has won a City contract totaling as much as $735,000 to promote an array of green goals.

Santa Monica Area Lawmakers Announce PCH Safety Grant
December 1, 2017 -- Santa Monica-area lawmakers announced Wednesday they had secured a grant to enhance safety on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), one the most scenic -– yet increasingly deadly -- thoroughfares in California.

School District Bond Oversight Committee Seeks Applicants
December 1, 2017 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is seeking applicants for its bond oversight committee, District officials announced this week.

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