The LookOut

The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California-- January 2012

Santa Monica Officials Recommend Taking Down Iconic "Chain Reaction" Sculpture
January 31, 2012 -- Santa Monica officials are recommending that the Civic Center's iconic "Chain Reaction" sculpture be removed after structural engineers determined the 26-foot-tall work made of chain link posed a threat to public safety.

Santa Monica Planning Commission Takes Up Esplanade
January 31, 2011 -- The Santa Monica Planning Commission will look at updated plans Wednesday for the Colorado Esplanade, which will go forward despite the loss of Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funds.

Digital Bookmobile Makes Santa Monica Stop
January 31, 2012 -- Avid readers who have yet to jump on the eBook bandwagon can literally do so next month when the OverDrive Digital Bookmobile makes a stop in Santa Monica.

Residents Help Shape Future of Downtown Santa Monica
January 30, 2012 -- Santa Monica residents on Thursday began a discussion to hammer out a new Downtown Specific Plan that will help shape the future of the beach city's "living room."

Santa Monica Conservancy Hands Out 2012 Preservation Awards
January 30, 2012 -- The stately Builders Exchange Building where Popeye may have been created, two Roaring Twenties apartment buildings and a small hardware store that seems to have defied time were among the buildings recognized by the Santa Monica Conservancy Sunday.

Santa Monica Charged Up About EVs
January 30, 2012 -- Some major Santa Monica destinations and numerous residences got new EV charging stations that should rev up the beachside city's reputation for sustainability.

Mayor Celebrates 2011 As Year of Success in Santa Monica
January 27, 2012 -- Mayor Richard Bloom reported Thursday that “the State of our City has never been stronger,” thanks in part to a healthy crop of tech start-ups that have earned the seaside city the moniker "Silicon Beach."

How Cirque du Soleil’s “OVO” Was Hatched
January 27, 2012 -- When Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte asked Deborah Colker to direct and choreograph their latest production, “OVO,” he asked her how many dancers she wanted to hire.

Santa Monica Police Gets Dedicated Social Worker to Tackle Child Abuse
January 27, 2012 -- The Santa Monica Police Department will get its own social worker dedicated to reducing child abuse and neglect by working directly with children and families, police announced Thursday.

Downtown Santa Monica Hotel Gets Solid Backing
January 26, 2012 -- Plans to bring nearly 300 new hotel rooms to the northeastern edge of Downtown Santa Monica will likely move forward after a showing of solid community support during a public hearing at Wednesday's Planning Commission meeting.

Santa Monica Police Department to Patrol SAMOHI Games
January 26, 2012 -- Santa Monica High School will see an increase in security following a fight at a basketball game with a rival school.

Police Arrest Travolta Car Thieves, Bust Ring
January 26, 2012 -- Two suspects arrested in connection with the theft of actor John Travolta's Mercedes in Santa Monica last September were part of a "sophisticated" auto theft ring, Santa Monica police said Wednesday. 

Santa Monica Adopts Sustainability Bill of Rights, Rejects Motion for Constitutional Amendment
January 25, 2012 -- Santa Monica's City Council voted on Tuesday to recognize the rights of natural communities to exist.

Heal the Bay Gets New Team at the Helm
January 25, 2012 -- Heal the Bay announced a new management team Tuesday that will take over the Santa Monica-based regional environmental group when long-time leader Mark Gold departs Friday.

Santa Monica's Priority Projects Move Forward
January 25, 2012 -- Santa Monica will be moving forward with some of its biggest priority projects after the City Council Tuesday addressed in the list of what are essentially house-keeping issues.

Santa Monica Planning Commission to Take Up Hotel Downtown
January 24, 2012 -- A major new hotel expected to revitalize the northeast corner of Santa Monica's Downtown district will get a hard first look Wednesday when the Planning Commission devotes most of its meeting to the proposed 285-room facility.

Chance to Weigh in on the Future of Downtown Santa Monica Thursday
January 24, 2012 -- Downtown Santa Monica has a new name and image, and new programs are making the area cleaner and easier to get around. Now, City and Downtown officials are rolling up their sleeves to craft a specific plan that will guide development for the expanded area.

Santa Monica Takes Up RDA Funds
January 24, 2012 -- The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday will begin dealing with some of the fallout from the recent California Supreme Court decision to end Redevelopment Agencies throughout the state.

Columnist Frank Gruber Announces Bid for Santa Monica City Council
January 23, 2012 -- Frank Gruber, whose weekly column "What I Say" has appeared in The Lookout for more than a decade, has announced that he will run in November for one of four open seats on the Santa Monica City Council.

Santa Monica Goes Buggy with “OVO”
January 23, 2012 -- That behemoth of popular entertainment, Cirque du Soleil, has opened its 32nd production, “OVO,” under “le Grand Chapiteau” at the Santa Monica Pier this week, and, judging from Friday night’s audience reaction, it should be the hottest ticket in town.

What I Say -- Farewell But Not Goodbye
Jan. 23, 2012 -- Department of Personal Announcements: after 578 “What I Say” columns, today’s will be my last. I’m going to run for election to the Santa Monica City Council, and one can’t be a journalist and a politician at the same time (despite what you’d think watching Fox News).

OPINION: So Long, Frank
January 23, 20112 -- When Frank Gruber called us last month to tell us he could not continue to write his column because he would be running for City Council, our first reaction was "What about Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin?"

Santa Monica Luminaries Apply for Pier Board
January 20, 2012 -- Some of Santa Monica's most influential leaders of the past two decades have answered the call to steer the city's historic Pier in a new direction as it embarks on its second century.

Major Santa Monica Apartment Owner Now in Compliance
January 20, 2012 -- A 350-unit apartment complex on Santa Monica’s east end is now in full compliance of its affordable housing requirements after City officials found “widespread violations” more than three years ago.

Mayor Bloom Optimistic Despite Lack of Groups' Endorsements
January 20, 2012 -- In the wake of several Westside Democratic clubs endorsing Torie Osborn in the Democratic primary for State Assembly, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom says he remains positive about his campaign.

Santa Monica's Plans for Bergamot Still Undecided
January 19, 2012 -- The Bergamot Area Plan is still a vision that has yet to come fully into focus. But last year’s public workshops to seek input from residents and stakeholders didn’t satisfy concerns that upcoming changes mean the crowding out of Santa Monica's vibrant arts center.

Santa Monica Police Hunt for Bank Robber
January 19, 2012 -- Police are looking for a suspect who robbed a Santa Monica bank Tuesday afternoon and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Santa Monica Showcased as Success Story
January 19, 2012 -- Santa Monica has been highlighted as one of California's most successful cities by two major state organizations.

Santa Monica's Acting Finance Director Named to Permanent Post
January 18, 2012 -- Gigi Decavalles-Hughes, who has run finances for the City of Santa Monica for the past four months, has been hired to become its permanent Director of Finance, City officials announced Tuesday.

Longtime Santa Monica Business Goes Out in Style
January 18, 2012 -- One of Downtown Santa Monica's longest-running family businesses closed its doors last month. Willie and Gloria’s Beauty Shop, on the street-level of Parking Structure 6 on 2nd Street, unclipped its last roller Christmas Eve, signaling the end of more than just an era of changing hair styles.

Santa Monica City Manager Holds Final Community Meeting Thursday
January 18, 2012 -- Residents will have a final chance to talk directly to City staff about the future of their city, when City Manager Rod Gould holds the last "Can We Talk?" meeting of the current fiscal year Thursday.

Downtown Santa Monica Makes Best-of List
January 18, 2012 -- Forbes Magazine recently named Downtown Santa Monica one of the nation's "most alluring" downtowns, citing its scenic beauty, high concentration of shops and restaurants and "lively mix of people."

Downtown Santa Monica Survey Points to Successes, Challenges
January 17, 2012 -- Visitors continue to give Downtown Santa Monica high marks for shopping, dining and entertainment, but more of them are likely to say traffic and parking is a problem than they did five years ago, a recent study indicates. At the same time, homeless issues are seen as less of a problem, the study adds.

Being Prepared for Downtown Construction
January 17, 2012 -- Downtown Santa Monica is poised to undergo a dramatic facelift, and City officials are making sure residents, visitors and business owners stay informed about the construction to keep things flowing smoothly.

What I Say-- A Democratic Tea Party?
January 17, 2012 -- The political tsunami triggered by the State of California’s seismic abandonment of redevelopment is ripping through local governments.

Applicants Wanted for Santa Monica Bikeway Advisory Committee
January 17, 2012 -- With plans for a train to Santa Monica gathering steam, the City is seeking two qualified applicants to help design the pedestrian and bicycle commuter path along the future Expo Light Rail Line. Applications must be submitted by 4 p.m. Friday.

The Ephemeral Art of Lita Albuquerque
January 13, 2012 --Southern California artist Lita Albuquerque knows that her work might not ever have the chance to be seen by most people on earth. She generally travels to the remotest ends of the planet to create her installations, keenly aware that the ephemeral nature of her art is what defines her vision.

Outlook Good for Santa Monica Tourism
January 13, 2012 -- Coming off a year that beat expectations, Santa Monica's visitor industry expects further improvement in 2012. Increases, however, may not match the gains of 2011, which were driven by an upturn in leisure travel and better corporate business.

Santa Monica Celebrates the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King
January 13, 2012 -- A weekend of events celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Santa Monica will culminate Monday with one of the largest and most diverse celebrations of its kind on the West Coast.

Santa Monica Gets New Planning Commissioner
January 12, 2012 -- For the first time in more than two decades, the Santa Monica Planning Commission is without an architect after the City Council on Tuesday appointed Amy Nancy Anderson, an urban planner, to the powerful board.

Mark Gold Leaves Heal the Bay
January 12, 2012 -- After 23 years, Mark Gold, the face of Heal the Bay and the environmental group's very first employee, will step down as executive director at the end of the month to accept a post at UCLA.

Downtown Santa Monica Police Substation to Shut Down
January 12, 2012 -- The police substation on 2nd Street in Downtown Santa Monica will be shut down Friday

Redevelopment Decision Casts Shadow over Positive Budget Report
January 11, 2012 -- The Santa Monica City Council got a mixed report on the status of the budget over the next two years, with good news about cost cuts tampered by the looming loss of redevelopment funds.

Cirque Comes to Santa Monica
January 11, 2012 -- Cirque du Soleil raised its iconic blue and gold big top tent in the north parking lot of the Santa Monica pier

Crime Drops in Santa Monica During Holiday Season
January 11, 2012 -- During the recent holiday season, serious crime dropped 26 percent in Downtown Santa Monica and 5 percent citywide, compared to the previous year,

Santa Monica Car Wash Part of $1 Million Settlement
January 11, 2011 -- Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, which became the only unionized car wash in the country last October, is part of a $1 million settlement

Expo Phase Two on Track Despite Phase One Setbacks
January 10, 2012 -- Despite recent construction delays on the first phase of the Expo Light Rail line project to Culver City, the second phase to Santa Monica will go ahead as scheduled, bringing the light rail to the beachside city in 2015.

More than 80 Testify for Brownley's Campaign Bill
January 10, 2012 -- More than 80 speakers on Monday testified in favor of a bill by Santa Monica Assembly member Julia Brownley that requires political ads to identify their top three funders.

Santa Monica School Board Has New Leaders
January 10, 2012 -- Ben Allen, who burst into the political scene four years ago by topping the race for School Board, and Laurie Lieberman, who was the top vote getter two years later, will begin the year as president and vice president of the Santa Monica - Malibu School Board.

January 10, 2012 --LETTERS--Frank Gruber hits the nail on the head in his support for the elimination of redevelopment agencies. ("WHAT I SAY: Ironies of Redevelopment," January 9, 2012)

Council to Consider Santa Monica's First Universally Accessible Playground
January 9, 2012 -- The Santa Monica City Council will decide Tuesday whether to move forward with plans to build the city's first universally accessible playground.

Santa Monica College Recognized for its Economic Contributions
January 9, 2012 -- The Santa Monica College is the recipient of the local Chamber of Commerce's 2012 Economic Excellence Award for its large workforce, job training programs and "top-quality" education.

What I Say -- Ironies of Redevelopment
January 9, 2011 -- The most significant news affecting Santa Monica in a long time occurred over the holidays when the California Supreme Court upheld Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature’s actions to terminate redevelopment agencies.

Police Arrest Santa Monica Resident for Sexual Assault of a Minor
January 6, 2012 -- A Santa Monica resident was arrested this week for the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl he met via a mobile texting application, and police believe there could be other victims.

Santa Monica Playhouse Soldiers On
January 6, 2012 -- When Mark Twain was informed, more than a hundred years ago, that his obituary had been published in the New York Journal, his reported waggish response was, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Santa Monica Crime Dropped in First Half of 2011
January 6, 2011 -- Crime in Santa Monica was down by almost ten per cent in the first half of 2011, reflecting a nationwide trend for similar-sized cities that saw crime drop during tough economic times, according to the latest Department of Justice statistics.

Santa Monica's Westside Food Bank Vital in Lean Times
January 5, 2012 -- Since its founding in 1981, thousands of people from the Santa Monica mountains to LAX have relied on the Westside Food Bank to provide local food pantries with much needed groceries.

Santa Monica College's Bruce Smith Finds Drama in the Everyday
January 5, 2012 -- When Santa Monica College students see G. Bruce Smith walking around campus, they might know him as the school’s genial, smooth-pated public information officer, or maybe as the administration’s champion for SMC’s Global Citizenship Initiative.

RAND Study Warns of Israel, Iran Conflict
January 5, 2012 -- The Santa Monica-based RAND Corporation released a study Wednesday that warns that Israel and Iran, once "de facto allies," could be headed for military conflict.

Future of Santa Monica Projects Uncertain in Wake of Supreme Court Decision
January 4, 2012 -- Santa Monica will have to reevaluate many of its capital projects after California's Supreme Court upheld Governor Jerry Brown's move to ax redevelopment agencies throughout the state.

Big Blue Bus Hires COO to Steer Daily Operations
January 4, 2011 -- Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus has hired a New York transportation official to run the day-today operations for the agency, which operates a fleet of more than 200 vehicles.

Santa Monica Celebrates Birthday of Silent Film Star
January 4, 2011 -- She was a silent film actress and the mistress of one of the most powerful men in America, and the love nest they shared was once called "the biggest house on the beach – the beach between San Diego and Vancouver."

Santa Monica Made Headlines in 2011
January 3, 2011 -- In 2011, Santa Monica may have made more national -- and international headlines -- than any city its size in the country.

Santa Monicans Can Help Shape the Play
January 3, 2012 -- Playwright and Annenberg Community Beach House Writer-in-Residence Lucy Wang is starting off her 10-week residency looking for inspiration from Santa Monica residents.

Head of Santa Monica Red Cross Steps Down
January 3, 2012 -- John Pacheco -- who helped turn Santa Monica's troubled Red Cross chapter into one of the strongest and most successful in the system -- retired Monday after eight years as CEO.

What I Say --Let’s Celebrate
January 3, 2012 -- I hope everyone had good holidays. Let’s face it -- the weather was spectacular.
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