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

Suspects Charged in Two Brutal Home Invasion Robberies in Santa Monica
May 31, 2017 -- (Updated) The two suspects arrested in a brutal home invasion robbery in an upscale Santa Monica neighborhood last week also were responsible for a robbery and brutal assault in a nearby home less than two weeks earlier, according to police.

Applications Add Up for Residents Panel on Pay and Benefits at Santa Monica City Hall
May 31, 2017 -- A newly approved committee inspired by resident anger over high pay and benefits at Santa Monica City Hall is getting plenty of applicants, including a former City Manager from the 1970s and a former City analyst involved in labor negotiations.

Safety of Santa Monica Streets Could Emerge as New Worry in Plan for Development Downtown
May 31, 2017 -- A string of pedestrian fatalities on Santa Monica’s busy streets has prompted new worries about a City plan to allow 3.2 million square feet of new development in an already built-out downtown.

Recently Renovated Reed Park Kicks Off Concert Series Next Month
May 31, 2017 -- Santa Monica is celebrating the recent renovations to Christine Emerson Reed Park with a series of free open-air concerts starting next month, City officials announced Tuesday.

Newsom Tops Gubernatorial Election Fundraising in Santa Monica
May 30, 2017 -- If donations indicate popularity, then Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is the most popular gubernatorial candidate in Santa Monica.

Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Against Santa Monica Short-Term Rental Ban
May 30, 2017 -- A California Federal Court last week dismissed a claim against the City of Santa Monica that argued that the California Coastal Act overrode the City's ban on short-term vacation rentals listed on such sites as Airbnb.

Two Hospitalized After Second Home Invasion Robbery in Santa Monica's North of Montana Neighborhood
May 27, 2017 -- A victim was stabbed and another beaten Friday evening during the second violent home invasion robbery in two weeks in Santa Monica's North of Montana neighborhood, according to police.

Santa Monica Airport Runway Shortening Approved
May 26, 2017 -- The City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday in favor of a plan to reduce the size of the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) runway by removing both ends for a total of about 1,500 feet.

Santa Monica Nonprofit Puts Fear of Sharks in Perspective
May 26, 2017 -- As people enter the natural water, including Santa Monica Bay, this Memorial Day weekend, they might be doing it with a heightened fear of sharks.

Santa Monica College Foundation to Award $670,000 in Scholarships
May 26, 2017 -- The Santa Monica College Foundation will award scholarships totalling $670,000 to 548 students at a ceremony next month, college officials announced this week.

“The Wolf is Here,” Santa Monica City Manager Warns as Budget Woes Mount
May 25, 2017 -- With shortages in revenue set to double, Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole on Tuesday warned “the wolf is here” as the City Council took its first dive into a record $1.57 billion biennial budget for the 2017-2019 fiscal year.

Santa Monica-Malibu School District Receives Prime Bond Rating
May 25, 2017 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified Schools District (SMMUSD) has received the highest credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service, one of the top two bond credit rating agencies, district officials announced Wednesday.

Santa Monica’s Independence Day Parade Gets a Hand from City Hall
May 25, 2017 -- The July 4 Main Street Parade in Santa Monica -- usually an all-volunteer production that has been growing larger every year -- will get some paid professional help this summer.

Santa Monica City Officials Set to Add, Update Fees
May 24, 2107 -- As the Santa Monica City Council wades into its proposed $1.57 billion biennial budget for 2017-2019, it is considering adding 40 new user fees for everything from vendor carts at special events to seismic retrofits of buildings.

City of Santa Monica Receives Nearly $750,000 in Anti-Terrorism Funds
May 24, 2017 -- The City of Santa Monica is receiving almost $750,000 in Homeland Security anti-terrorism funds used to pay for everything from a bomb-detecting canine and emergency medical training to updating security cameras on the Third Street Promenade.

Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery to Host Memorial Day Observance
May 24, 2017 -- Santa Monica will hold its 79th annual Memorial Day Observance at the city's historic Woodlawn Cemetery on Monday at 11 a.m.

In City of Santa Monica, Big Plans -- and Big Pension Costs -- Lead to Shaky Times
May 23, 2017 -- With pension costs poised to drive it into the red and ambitious capital projects requiring huge chunks of money, the City of Santa Monica is facing a reality seemingly far-fetched for such a popular and prosperous seaside enclave: It is starting to run short of revenue.

Employee Costs Pose Major Fiscal Challenge for Santa Monica Officials
May 23, 2017 -- Like the public sector elsewhere, Santa Monica is facing a daunting bill for unfunded pension-related liabilities -- $387 million in the City’s case, according to the record 2017-2019 biennial budget proposed last week.

Santa Monica State Senator Urges Passage of Statewide Ban on Styrofoam Containers
May 23, 2017 -- Santa Monica State Senator Ben Allen on Monday joined environmentalists and Los Angeles City leaders to urge passage of a bill he co-authored that would ban Styrofoam take-out food containers across California.

Man Charged in Connection with Santa Monica Teen’s Murder
May 22, 2017 -- A 42-year-old man has been charged with the February murder of a teenager who graduated from Santa Monica High School last year.

Santa Monica Airport Runway Reduction Returns to Council
May 22, 2017 -- The proposal to reduce the size of the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) runway heads to the City Council on Tuesday, with staff proposing two options that have spurred disagreements and controversy.

Santa Monica Park Stormwater Project to Be Unveiled Tuesday
May 22, 2017 -- A more than $2 million stormwater project that will further Santa Monica's goal of "moving toward water self-sufficiency" will be unveiled at Los Amigos Park on Tuesday, City officials announced last week.

"Record Santa Monica City Budget Proposed as Future Deficits Loom
May 19, 2017 -- Efficiency, effectiveness and discipline will be critical if Santa Monica’s government operation is to thrive through upcoming difficult financial times, City Manager Rick Cole wrote in a message this week introducing a record biennial budget of nearly $1.6 billion.

"President’s Foreign Trip Has Santa Monica Ties
May 19, 2017 -- When Donald Trump makes his first speech in a foreign country as president on Sunday, he will be reading the words partially written by a Santa Monica High School alumnus.

Santa Monica Pier Concert Series Announces Lineup
May 19, 2017 -- The 33rd Annual Twilight Concert Series kicks off this month with a line-up that includes everything from a seminal classic rock band to a Norwegian indie electronic duo, event organizers announced this week.

City of Santa Monica the “One Hold Out” in Voting Rights Litigation, Lawyer says
May 18, 2017 -- One by one, they fold, either willingly or nudged by a judge. But in the wake of dozens of California Voting Rights Act lawsuits filed against the state’s municipalities, only the City of Santa Monica -- a proud bastion of liberalism -- is still fighting litigation meant to usher in more minority representation on the City Council, says a lawyer prominent in the wave of change.

Expo Line to Santa Monica Marks First Birthday with Big Ridership Boost
May 18, 2017 -- The Expo light rail extension to Santa Monica marks its first anniversary Saturday, and ridership has been soaring, according to statistics from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs the system.

Santa Monica Resident Severely Assaulted in North of Montana Home
May 17, 2017 -- Santa Monica police are searching for two suspects in the severe beating of a man during a possible home invasion robbery Monday in the North of Montana Neighborhood.

Final Battle Over Plan for Downtown Santa Monica Begins
May 17, 2017 -- A sweeping plan to add up to 3.2 million square feet in new development to Santa Monica's downtown heads into the final stage of a bitter longstanding battle tonight.

More Than 3,500 Violations of Santa Monica Leaf Blower Ban Reported in Three Years
May 17, 2017 -- Although Santa Monica imposes a stiff fine, the City continues to struggle to enforce its 1991 ban of the popular but noisy and pollution-prone gardening tools, according to an update issued this month by City code enforcement officials.

Scientology-Affiliated Anti-Drug Group Dropped After Samohi After Parents Complain
May 16, 2017 -- An anti-drug group affiliated with the Church of Scientology has been dropped by Santa Monica High School, although it remains on the school district's list of recommended sources for help in dealing with substance abuse.

Mar Vista Community Groups Urges Strong Effort to Blunt Impact of Santa Monica Airport Changes
May 16, 2017 -- With the consent decree for Santa Monica Airport (SMO) ushering in changes that include a shortened runway, a bordering Westside community is gearing up for the potential impact with a call to head off any additional toxic emissions from idling aircraft.

Tribute for Local Activist, Journalist Wednesday at the Santa Monica Pier
May 16, 2017 -- The different facets of the life of Santa Monica journalist and preservation activist Peggy Clifford will be celebrated during a tribute on the Pier Wednesday.

Council Divided on Preferential Parking in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park
May 15, 2017 -- Residents living in a section of Santa Monica’s Ocean Park Neighborhood will have an easier time finding parking after the City Council on Tuesday approved a preferential parking application. But not everybody on the council thought it was a good idea.

Santa Monica Supervisor Opposes Plan to Expand County Board, Suggests Sexism
May 15, 2017 -- Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes Santa Monica, issued a statement over the weekend slamming a proposal by State lawmakers to expand the number of seats on the County board from five to seven.

Wine Auction Raises More than $250,000 for Santa Monica-Malibu Public Schools
May 15, 2015 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation's (SMMEF) second annual wine auction raised more than $250,000 to support programs at all local public schools, foundation officials announced last week.

Santa Monica Bed Taxes Pumped Nearly $51 Million into City Coffers Last Year, Report Says
M
ay 12, 2017 -- Santa Monica's tourism industry pumped $1.87 billion into the city's economy last year, with nearly $51 million in bed taxes going directly into the City’s general fund, according to figures released by Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) officials Thursday.

Santa Monica-based Heal The Bay Marks Turning Point
May 12, 2017 -- Heal the Bay marked what will likely be a turning point this week when Dr. Shelley Luce took the reins after a nationwide search led to the Santa Monica-based non-profit's own backyard.

Group Seeks More Development for Downtown Santa Monica
May 12, 2017 -- A proposed plan to guide development for Downtown sets too many restrictions for developers and is a "woefully inadequate response" to climate change and the need for affordable housing, according to a local group advocating transit-oriented growth.

Santa Monica City Council Calls for Safe Streets “Czar”
May 11, 2017 -- Rattled by five pedestrian fatalities in as many weeks, the Santa Monica City Council Tuesday ordered faster action on a sweeping re-design of city streets meant to embrace pedestrians and bicyclists and chase vehicles off car-clogged streets.

The Statistics Behind Santa Monica's Pedestrian Deaths
May 11, 2017 -- Pedestrians and bicyclists account for approximately two-thirds of all severe injuries and fatalities sustained in traffic accidents on Santa Monica's busy streets, Police Department statistics show.

Special Committee on City of Santa Monica Employee Pay and Benefits Approved
May 11, 2017 -- Creation of an ad hoc committee of residents to help guide an internal review of rapidly rising salaries and benefits for City of Santa Monica employees was approved Tuesday by the City Council.

Santa Monica's Homeless Population Highest in a Decade
May 10, 2017 -- Santa Monica’s homeless population this year totaled 921 people, the largest number counted in a decade and a 26 percent jump over last year, according to the City's 2017 homeless count released Tuesday.

Pro-Santa Monica Airport Aviation Group Finds Encouraging News in Court of Appeals Rejection
May 10, 2017 -- Last week, a U.S District Court of Appeals rejected a pro-Santa Monica Airport organization’s attempt to immediately halt a consent decree to close SMO by 2028, which would dramatically curb jet traffic in the interim by shortening the runway.

Santa Monica Art Lab Showcases Textile Art
May 10, 2017 -- Those interested in textile art have plenty to opportunities to learn the craft at the Camera Obscura Art Lab through July, City officials announced Tuesday.

Santa Monica Fire Displaces 120 Tenants, Five Businesses
May 9, 2017 -- A fire that broke out Monday evening in a mixed-used project near Downtown Santa Monica temporarily displaced 120 tenants and closed down five ground-floor businesses, Fire Department officials said.

New Lawsuit Seeks to Invalidate Santa Monica Airport Consent Decree
May 9, 2017 -- A student pilot and a certified pilot are asking a court to invalidate a consent decree between the City and federal government to shut down Santa Monica Airport, contending the City violated the state’s open-meetings law, the California Constitution and the City Charter.

Santa Monica Set to Renew Free Bus Rides for SMC Students and Staff
May 9, 2017 -- Hoping to expand flagging ridership for its municipal bus system, the City of Santa Monica is set to continue offering free bus rides to students and staff at Santa Monica City College, although SMC will provide reimbursement.

Santa Monica’s First Female Police Chief Announces Retirement
May 8, 2017
-- Jacqueline Seabrooks, who in 1982 became the first black female patrol officer with the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) and 30 years later became the agency’s first woman chief, announced her retirement on Friday.

Closed Session Meeting Set on Santa Monica Attorney Hiring
May 8, 2017 -- The City Council will hold its second special meeting in two weeks Tuesday afternoon to discuss the hiring of a City attorney.

Santa Monica College Stages 'Carmen' This Month
May 8, 2017 -- The Santa Monica College music department will have a chance to showcase its talents in a fully staged performance of Georges Bizet’s masterpiece “Carmen” this month.

Circuit Court Denies Injunction to Halt Implementation of Santa Monica Airport Closure Deal
May 5, 2017 -- A U.S District Court of Appeals on Thursday paved the way for shortening the runway at Santa Monica Airport when it denied an injunction to halt implementation of a deal between the City and the federal government, City officials announced Friday.

Population of Santa Monica Rises as State Total Nears 40 Million
May 5, 2017
-- The estimated population of Santa Monica increased from 93,282 to 93,834 from January 2016 to January 2017 for a change of .59 percent, according to information released this week by the California Department of Finance.

Santa Monica Legislator’s Affordable Housing Bill Passes Assembly
May 5, 2017 -- A bill co-authored by Santa Monica Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom that would allow local governments to require developments include affordable units was approved by the State Assembly on Thursday.

SPECIAL SERIES: How Rick Cole is Redefining the Role of City Manager
PART I: Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole Is 'Distinctly Different'
PART II: Critics Zero in on Santa Monica City Manager's Spending Priorities
PART III: Cole a Key Player as “New Urbanism” and Fears of Over-Development Clash in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Landlord Harassment Case Highlights Strong Tenant Protections
May 4, 2107 -- The case of Nina Edwards, a tenant who successfully held on to the rent-controlled condominium on Ocean Avenue she has occupied for more than three decades, serves as a cautionary tale for those buying condo units in Santa Monica, according to local rent control experts.

Santa Monica-Malibu School District Parents to Get Glimpse at How Teens Party
May 4, 2017 -- Santa Monica and Malibu parents who might have been partiers back in the day will get a reality check on Saturday as they peak into “mock” prom and graduation parties supposedly infused with dangerous levels of drugs, alcohol and possibly sex.

Santa Monica College's Global Motion to Perform World Dance Styles this Month
May 4, 2017 -- The Santa Monica College Global Motion World Dance Company will showcase dance styles from around the world during spring, school officials announced this week.

Santa Monica’s Newest Affordable Housing Complex Takes Concrete Step
May 3, 2017 -- Compared to the 900,000 square feet in apartment/mixed use projects that might one day be its neighbors, the building in progress at 1626 Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica is tiny.

Santa Monica-Malibu School District to Hire Local, Start Apprenticeship Program
May 3, 2017 -- A new pact with area trade council clears the way to hire residents and military veterans as workers and contractors, and will create an apprenticeship program for students, alumni and community members, officials from the Santa Monica-Malibu public school system said.

Public Policy Symposium at Santa Monica College Next Week
May 3, 2017 -- Films, games, debates, panel discussions and a public art installation will be used to encourage citizen engagement during the Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute's (PPI) 6th Annual Spring Symposium next week.

Santa Monica City Pay and Benefits Climb at Double the Inflation Rate, New Data Shows
May 2, 2017 -- Employee pay and benefits at Santa Monica City Hall grew at more than double the rate of inflation for metropolitan Los Angeles since 2012, according to data released by a statewide watchdog group Monday.

Clash Over Shortening Santa Monica Airport Runway Goes to Commission Tonight
May 2, 2017 -- An idea meant to curb jet traffic at Santa Monica Airport is heading for a potential collision tonight, as two versions of proposals for shortening the runway by almost a third go to the City Airport Commission. Jolt Felt in Santa Monica Monday Night Nothing Unusual, Expert Says
May 2, 2017 -- Rumblings of an earthquake hitting Santa Monica swept through social media and news outlets late Monday night, but the small temblor was nothing unusual, according to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Santa Monica High Ranked Among Top Schools in Nation
May 1, 2017 -- The Santa Monica-Unified School District’s (SMMUSD) flagship institution performed well in US News & World Report’s newly released “Best High Schools” lists both nationally and statewide.

Santa Monica First Quarter Unemployment Reaches New Low
May 1, 2017 -- Santa Monica ended the first quarter of 2017 with an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, according to preliminary statistics released by the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

Bestselling Author Reveals What Fish Know During Santa Monica Lecture Tuesday
May 1, 2017 -- If you've ever wondered if fish can think or can recognize you staring at them through the glass of an aquarium or diving mask head over to Christine Emerson Reed Park Tuesday night for a lecture sponsored by the Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society.

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