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October -- Dirty Politics, Rampant Development and a Major Blow to the School District

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

December 30, 2022 -- October marks a major turning point, as the City loses control of major developments to the State, the School District is ordered to pay $45 million to two autistic students and the Council race becomes the dirtiest in decades.

Finance statements show that special interest groups are having a major impact on the November 8 City Council race, with one union spending as much to target a single candidate as all eleven candidates have spent combined ("Special Interests Are Major Players in Council Race," October 3, 2022) .

After a 30-day warning period, the City announces it will begin ticketing vehicles on November 1 that are parked outside of a driveway or roadway ("City Poised to Ticket Vehicles Parked on 'Parkways' and 'Driveway Aprons,'" October 3, 2022).

The stepped-up enforcement by the Traffic Services Division comes after an increasing number of motorists are illegally parking their vehicles on sidewalks, curbs or parkways, officials say.

The auto industry is driving Santa Monica's economic recovery, accounting for 16 of the city's 27 top sales tax generators, according to the latest financial data from the City ("Local Sales Tax Revenue Sees 'Robust' Increase," October 6, 2022).

The hotel workers union escalates -- and expands -- what is likely the hardest-hitting campaign to unseat a City Council incumbent in nearly three decades ("Hotel Workers Union Steps Up Attacks," October 10, 2022).

Unite HERE local 11's continued attacks on Councilmember Lana Negrete now include candidate Armen Melkonians as the union attempts to tie the two registered Democrats to extremist Republicans.

It took a two-and-a-half-year-long pandemic, but Santa Monica finally eases zoning restrictions that have long frustrated businesses seeking a change of use ("Council Makes Business Zoning Changes Permanent," October 12, 2022).

The permanent zoning changes focus "on relaxing land use barriers that had been shown to create unnecessarily difficult review processes for simple changes of use," according to staff.

Santa Monica's biggest housing provider rushes plans into the City's development pipeline to build more than 4,000 units that require little public input ("City Officials Caught Off Guard by Flurry of Development Submissions," October 13, 2022).

The Council had paved the way by failing to submit a compliant Housing Element to State officials by last year's October deadline, allowing developers to submit projects that bypass the City's zoning code and general plan.

Sixteen projects totaling more than 4,500 units would be submitted under California housing law's "builder's remedy" before the State finally approves the City's housing plan on October 14.

As COVID cases continue to drop in Santa Monica and across LA County, public health officials recommend new booster shots for children, a policy increasingly opposed by European governments ("LA County Pushes Booster Shots for Children, Bucking International Trend," October 18, 2022).

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awards $45 million to two autistic School District students who the jury unanimously found were abused with corporeal punishment by a behavioral aid ("Jury Awards Autistic Twins $45 Million in Case Against SMMUSD," October 20, 2022 .

The lawsuit also charges that a number of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) employees and administrators were aware of the abuse but failed to report it to authorities and law enforcement agencies.

Knives are again the weapon used in two violent attacks that take place on the same night in Downtown Santa Monica. Police investigate if the incidents are related ("Police Investigate Two Stabbings Downtown," October 25, 2022).

In what is called both "a historic moment" and a "politically suspect move," the School District and City of Malibu unveil a "framework" to move towards separation ("School District, Malibu Agree to Separation 'Framework,'" October 28, 2022).

City transit officials release a report that shows Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus (BBB) has hit a major hump in its efforts to return ridership to levels reached before the coronavirus shutdown ("Big Blue Bus Hits Major Hump, Report Says," October 31, 2022).

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