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June 12, 2021

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Plan to Put Affordable Housing in Single-Family Neighborhoods Likely Dead
June 11, 2021 -- A plan that would pave the way for affordable housing projects in most Santa Monica single-family neighborhoods lacks the support to win City Council approval.

OPINION -- If You Build It, Nobody Will Come
June 11, 2021 -- With enrollment at SMMUSD expected to drop, the School District plans to build a new classroom building, while tearing down an iconic structure that can be easily saved.

Letter to Council Provides Insight Into Bobadilla's Decision
June 11, 2021 -- In a letter to the City Council Thursday, Montebello City Manger René Bobadilla explained the reasons for his decision to turn down the offer to become Santa Monica's City Manager. (Read letter)

City Council Vacancy

Council Approves Main Street Pilot Program
June 10, 2021 -- Assuring neighboring residents that it is only a test, the City Council on Tuesday greenlighted a plan to close two blocks of Main Street to traffic on select weekends.

Unite HERE Local 11 Opposes Hotel Aid

EXTRA -- Bobadilla Rejects Offer to Become Santa Monica City Manger
June 10, 2021 -- Montebello City Manager René Bobadilla informed the Santa Monica City Council on Thursday that he is rejecting the offer to become the new City Manager.

Council Votes to Craft Code of Conduct, Revisit 1991 Hate Letter
June 9, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to create a code of conduct to help deter confidential information from being leaked and revisit a police investigation into a 30-year-old hate crime.

Man Arrested for North of Montana Burglary, Two Others At Large
Burlary suspects-icon June 9, 2021 -- A 33-year-old man was charged with burglary on Tuesday after he was found in the alley of an exclusive Santa Monica residential street with stolen property. Two other suspects are still at large.

EXTRA -- Council Votes to Hire Bobadilla as City Manager, Jalili as Interim
June 8, 2021 -- The Santa Monica City Council Tuesday night unanimously voted to hire Montebello City Manager René Bobadilla as the new city manager. The Council also unanimously voted to bring back former City Manager John Jalili to serve as interim city manager during the transition.

Santa Monica Marks Lowest Level of COVID Cases as State Poised to Reopen
June 8, 2021 -- As California prepares to reopen in one week, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Santa Monica have reached the lowest levels since a health emergency was declared in March of last year, according to data from County Health.

Council to Try 6th Time to Pick City Manager
June 7, 2021 -- The City Council has two weeks to hire a permanent or interim City Manager or the decision could be taken out of its hands, The Lookout has learned.

Council to Take Up 30-Year-Old Hate Letter
June 7, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday will take up an anti-Mexican hate letter mailed to the homes of Latino Santa Monica High School students 30 years ago, a suspected hate crime that has gone unsolved.

Mayor Pushes for Ethics Code After Name of City Manager Finalist Leaked
June 4, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday will consider whether to adopt a "Code of Conduct and Ethics" after confidential information was leaked during the closed-door search for a new City Manager.

Police Make Arrests in Palisades Park Shooting, Downtown Blaze
June 3, 2021 -- A homeless man was shot in the eye with a BB gun in Palisades Park on Monday, while another homeless man was arrested for trespassing and starting a fire in an empty rear house the following day, according to police.

LETTERS -- Main Street Plan Offers Chance to Move Forward Together
June 3, 2021 -- On Tuesday, the City Council will be voting on not just a pilot program that reserves two blocks of Main Street for pedestrians on weekends, but also a new model of engagement between the City and a neighborhood.

LETTERS -- Main Street Plan Puts Profits Over People
June 3, 2021 -- The proposed Main Street pilot program puts the PROFITS of a few businesses over the many PEOPLE who live in Ocean Park, and it’s all premised on a deliberate misinformation campaign.

Council Takes No Action on City Manager Search
June 2, 2021 -- (UPDATED) After nearly four hours in closed session, the City Council on Wednesday reported no action in the search for a new City Manager, then launched the process to replace Councilmember Kevin McKeown.

Santa Monica Police Make Two More Gun Arrests
June 2, 2021 -- Gun arrests in Santa Monica are becoming more bizarre with the latest two involving a rifle wrapped in a baby blanket and a gun tucked in the waistband of a felon sporting a bullet proof vest.

LETTERS -- An Ill-Conceived and Bizarre Idea
A group of Main Street merchants questions the timing of the experimental weekend closure, its merits and the value of up-ending existing systems for the benefit of a few.

Council Expected to Hire Montebello City Manager
June 1, 2021 -- The City Council is expected to hire Montebello City Manager Rene Bobadilla as Santa Monica's new City Manager, making him the first Latino to run the city of some 93,000, The Lookout has learned.

North of Montana Third Wealthiest Zip Code in Nation
June 1, 2021 -- Santa Monica's North of Montana Neighborhood was the third most expensive zip code in the U.S. last year, tied with Beverly Hills, according to the annual ranking by Property Shark.

LETTERS -- Hare-Brained Scheme" to Close Main Street Will Hurt Residents
Spending tax-payer money to benefit certain private businesses at the expense of others is ill-advised to say the least, but the local press is failing to investigate, two Ocean Park residents contend.

Council to Launch Process Next Week to Fill Vacant Council Seat
May 28, 2021 -- The process to fill the vacancy left when Councilmember Kevin McKeown retires on June 11 will begin at a special Council meeting Wednesday. The Council will first acknowledge McKeown's resignation letter, which was submitted less than 24 hours after he abruptly resigned.

Homelessness, Crime Still Top Resident Concerns, Poll Finds
May 28, 2021 -- A monthly text poll of Santa Monica residents found that crime and homelessness continue to top the list of resident concerns, as it did before the November Council election.

Police Make Sixth Gun Arrest This Month
May 27, 2021 -- Santa Monica police continued confiscating illegal guns from those visiting the city with the sixth firearms arrest this month coming on Wednesday.

Council Faces Two Choices in Filling Pending Vacancy
May 27, 2021 -- When the City Council goes to fill the City Council seat Kevin McKeown will vacate next month, it will likely face two choices.

Speculation Swirls After McKeown's Surprise Departure
May 26, 2021 -- (UPDATED) Councilmember Kevin McKeown's shocking announcement that he will retire next month has sent colleagues and political observers searching for a reason they believe has been left unsaid.

EXTRA -- McKeown Abruptly Retires
May 26, 2021 -- With no prior warning, City Councilmember Kevin McKeown announced at Tuesday's meeting that he would retire effective June 11 then abruptly turned off his zoom camera.

Local Hotel Union Opposes Federal Bill Meant to Save Hotel Jobs
May 25, 2021 -- The local union representing Santa Monica hotel workers sent a strong message Monday opposing a $20 billion bill sponsored by Democrats and backed by its parent union.

Santa Monica Raised $162,000 for Local Relief Efforts During Shutdown
May 24, 2021 -- Approximately $162,000 was collected over six months to assist Santa Monica's relief efforts during the coronavirus shutdown, according to a report to the City Council this month.

OPINION -- Use City Hall Mural to Discuss, Not Erase, History
May 25, 2021 -- If we are to tell the whole stories of our communities, then we must preserve and educate rather than erase or hide our history.

Rent Board Sets Annual Adjustment, Considers Cap
May 24, 2021 -- Tenants renting one of Santa Monica's 27,429 rent control units will see their rents rise by 1.7 percent starting in September under an annual general adjustment approved by the Rent Board this month.

OPINION -- A Man, a Mural, and a Mess
May 24, 2021 -- What is happening right now in the City of Santa Monica is not an insignificant issue nor one that ends at the city’s borders. Before we cover our cultural landmarks, we must study them closely and understand what it is we will lose.

Council to Meet Again Sunday in Search for New City Manager
May 21, 2021 -- The City Council will meet in a special closed session for a second weekend in a row this Sunday as it seeks to fill the powerful City Manager post that will become vacant in a month

Santa Monica Hires Interim Fire Chief
May 21, 2021 -- Wolfgang Knabe, Manhattan Beach's interim fire chief, will take over Santa Monica's Fire Department while the City searches for a permanent chief.

Embattled Santa Monica Hotel Reportedly Sells for Some $75 Million
May 20, 2021 -- A Santa Monica hotel embroiled in longstanding labor disputes with the union has reportedly sold.

Images of burglary suspect Police Seek Help Finding Serial Burglar
May 20, 2021 -- Police are searching for a suspect responsible for burglarizing at least seven Santa Monica businesses during working hours, according to a bulletin issued by the Department Thursday.

Burglary Suspect Arrested, Shooting Suspect Charged
May 20, 2021 -- On Thursday, County prosecutors filed charges against a felon in a firearms assault in Sunset Park, while Santa Monica police arrested a homeless man caught burglarizing a Mid City store.

EXTRA -- Santa Monica Hits Fewest Weekly Cases Since Start of Pandemic, Masks Must Stay On
May 19, 2021 -- The number of weekly COVID-19 cases in Santa Monica dropped to the lowest level since the first week of the pandemic, but those in the city -- including the vaccinated -- must continue wearing face masks for another month.

City Poised to Purchase $8 Million Radio System for Big Blue Bus
May 19, 2021 -- The Big Blue Bus (BBB) is poised to replace its nearly 20-year-old two-way radio system that regularly breaks down with a new $8.1 million state-of-the-art system.

Santa Monica's Police Force Celebrates 125th Anniversary
May 18, 2021 -- On May 18, 1896 -- 17 days before the first Ford automobile was completed in a brick woodshed in Detroit -- the Santa Monica Town Trustees formed the city's Police Department.

Landlords, City Settle Lawsuit Alleging Tenants Were Illegally Relocated
May 18, 2021 -- The landlords of a five-unit rent control apartment building in Santa Monica have settled a lawsuit filed by the City alleging they relocated two tenants against their will to renovate their unit.

Police Make Fifth Firearms Arrest in Less Than 6 Weeks
May 17, 2021 -- A convicted felon was arrested early Monday morning after walking into a convenience store with a gun holstered in his waistband, marking the fifth firearms arrest in Santa Monica in less than six weeks.

Plaintiffs in Voting Rights Case File Final Brief
May 17, 2021 -- Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the voting rights lawsuit against the City submitted the final brief in the landmark case last week, paving the way for a ruling that could either upend Santa Monica's election system or impact voting districts across the state.

Council Votes to Cover Historic Mural in City Hall Lobby
May 14, 2021 -- For the first time in more than 80 years, visitors to Santa Monica City Hall will not be able to clearly view a historic mural depicting Santa Monica's history after the City Council on Tuesday voted to cover it.

Ed Foundation's Wine Auction Raises Nearly $250,000
May 14, 2021 -- The Santa Monica Education Foundation raised nearly $250,000 this month during the second Wine Auction held online due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Man Leaps from Freeway Overpass Marking 3rd Public Suicide This Year
May 13, 2021 -- A man leaped to his death from a freeway overpass Thursday afternoon, marking the third public suicide in Santa Monica this year.

Main Library to Reopen for "Limited In-Person Service" June 1
May 13, 2021 -- More than 14 months after it was shuttered during the coronavirus shutdown, Santa Monica's Main Library will reopen June 1, although patrons must keep their visits brief, City officials announced Thursday.
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