archiveSanta Monica Lookout
The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- October 2014

School Board Race Features Six Santa Monicans and One Malibuite
October 31, 2014 -- There is only one guarantee for this year’s Board of Education race — at least one new person will be elected to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s governing panel because only three of the four incumbents are running. Everything else is up in the air for an election that could shake up the makeup of the board.

City Council Candidates Answer Final Questions
October 31, 2014 -- The Lookout News sent several questions to the 14 candidates running for City Council. Their answers have been posted on the website over the course of the past two weeks. The answers to the final questions can be found below.

Santa Monica Moves Forward with Water Plan
October 30, 2014 – The Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved an ambitious plan to conserve water Tuesday night, but stopped short of adopting a 13 percent annual increase in water fees proposed by City staff.

Council Hears Residents Grievances Following Vegan Oktoberfest Brouhaha
October 30, 2014 -- The issue appears to have already been settled, but the Santa Monica City Council listened to testimony anyhow Tuesday night from residents upset about allegedly noisy events, including the Vegan Oktoberfest, taking place in beach parking lots.

Council Candidates Name Their Favorite Cities (Aside from Santa Monica)
October 30, 2014 -- Question: Not including Santa Monica, what is your favorite US City and why?

Ballot Measure Campaigns Top $1.1 Million
October 29, 2014 -- This has been an expensive campaign to get ballot measures approved or rejected in Santa Monica. The latest financial disclosures from the City Clerk’s Office show more than $1.1 million has been raised for the campaigns for and against two related airport measures and two related real estate tax proposals.

Santa Monica Council Approves $1 Million Consent Calendar
October 29, 2014 -- The Santa Monica City Council approved $1.35 million in expenses Tuesday, including funding for upfitting Police Department vehicles and replacing water distribution pipes throughout the city.

Santa Monica City Council Candidates Share Hidden Talents
The Lookout News sent several questions to the 14 candidates running for City Council. October 29, 2014 -- Question: You’re forced into a talent show. What’s your act?

Santa Monica Library Celebrates Día de los Muertos
October 29, 2014 -- The Santa Monica Main Library will host a family-friendly Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration Saturday at 1:30 in the Children’s Activity Room.

Businessman Outspends Both Candidates in Effort to Get Ben Allen Elected to Senate
October 28, 2014 -- As two liberal Democrats battle to represent the 26th District, which includes Santa Monica, in the State Senate, a Republican-turned-independent could be the one determining the winner.

Council Candidates Would Use Absolute Authority in Different Ways
October 28, 2014 -- Question: You’re given absolute authority in Santa Monica for one day to do one thing. What do you do?

Santa Monica Voter Rolls Swell for Big Election
October 27, 2014 – One week before a hotly contested general election, more Santa Monicans will be eligible to vote than in any election in at least ten years.

Malibu Candidate Leads in School Board Race Fundraising
October 27, 2014 -- Craig Foster is on a difficult mission to become the first Malibu resident in ten years to win a seat on the school board. To do this, he will have to get his message out to Santa Monica, where the vast majority of district residents live. And this will take lots of money, which he appears to have.

Council Candidates Crazy About Ken Genser, Most Don’t Endorse Others Running
October 27, 2014 -- Questions: You are allowed to vote for up to three candidates in this City Council election. Who has your vote? Who is this city’s greatest council member in Santa Monica history past or present? What about this person earns the title?

Stalled Santa Monica Apartment Could Come Down after Commission Vote
October 24, 2014 – The Santa Monica Planning Commission unanimously denied a design compatibility permit and parking variance Wednesday for a two-story apartment building project that has been stalled for 17 years.

Gruber Leads Council Race Fundraising, but Himmelrich and McKinnon Have More Money to Spend
October 24, 2014 -- Planning Commissioner Sue Himmelrich’s campaign chest for her quest to land a seat on the City Council topped $100,000 as of the latest disclosure statement submitted Thursday that covers through October 18. The $102,000 total makes Himmelrich $20,000 richer than second-place and fellow Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon.

Starbucks Withdraws Bid to Sell Alcohol in Santa Monica
October 24, 2014 -- The Starbucks party is over before it even started. Two months after being approved for a permit to sell alcohol in the coffee shop on the corner of Olympic and Main as part of its Evenings program, Starbucks this week withdrew its application. The approval had been appealed.

Santa Monica Political Candidates Put More Than $54K Into Independent Groups
October 23, 2014 – Independent expenditure committees for grassroots groups have record amounts of money to spend this year, thanks in large part to contributions from candidates they endorse and their families.

Is Major Development Threatening Santa Monica? Council Candidates Give Their Take
October 23, 2014 -- Question: Recently, organizations have formed in Santa Monica to fight what they consider to be the threat of major development in Santa Monica. Do you agree major development is a threat? If so, how can this threat be curbed? If not, why do you think these organizations are wrong?

Santa Monica Aquarium Celebrates Halloween and Dia de los Muertos
October 23, 2014 – The non-profit environmental group Heal the Bay is getting into the holiday spirit as the Santa Monica Aquarium will host a Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration on Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Santa Monica Education Advocacy Group Raises More Than $50K
October 22, 2014 – Santa Monica’s leading political education advocacy group is quickly becoming a major player in the November 4 election, having raised more money this year than it did in all previous elections combined.

City Council Candidates Take on the Airport Debate
October 22, 2014 -- Should Santa Monica Airport fully or partially close as an aviation facility? Is so, when should this happen and when will it happen?

Edison School Heat Problem Will Be Temporarily Solved in December
October 22, 2014 -- The intense heat at Edison Language Academy will be a distant memory by the time air conditioning units are installed on top of the school, but Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials say they will be there for the next expected heat wave in the spring.

Santa Monica Prepares for Possible Ebola Cases
October 21, 2014 -- With three confirmed cases of Ebola in the U.S., Santa Monica City and health officials are taking necessary precautions to handle possible cases of the deadly virus, officials said.

City Council Candidates Take on the Rising Cost of Living in Santa Monica
October 21, 2014 -- Question: A recent Rent Control Board report shows the median rent for a studio apartment in 2013 was $1,300 and for a three-bedroom it was $3,171. Do you believe Santa Monica has become too expensive of a place for the average person to live? If so, should this be changed? Can it be changed?

Independent Expenditures Pile Up in Santa Monica Elections
October 21, 2014 – Independent expenditures are playing a big part in elections in Santa Monica, with organizations in and out of the bayside city pouring in money.

Santa Monica Election Fundraising Revs Up for Final Stretch
October 20, 2014 –  A Santa Monica City Council member is heading a Super PAC, a council candidate returned money and a pro-airport group has raised nearly $800,000.

Bobby Shriver Makes a Council Meeting Cameo
October 20, 2014 – Taking a break from his heated race for county supervisor, former Mayor Bobby Shriver made a rare return to the City Council Chambers last Tuesday to say an initial farewell to Bob Holbrook, who will step down later this year after 24 years on the dais.

Council Candidates Differ on Putting Major Development Proposals Before Voters
October 20, 2014 -- Should residents be allowed to vote on major development approvals and development agreements?

Santa Monica City Council Votes Unanimously to Move Forward with Major Development
October 17, 2014 – A Santa Monica City Council often divided over development unanimously voted Tuesday to move forward with a major mixed-use project that would bring 262 residential units one block from the future Expo Light Rail station Downtown.

City Council Candidates Address the Good and the Bad of Expo Rail
October 17, 2014 -- Question: Name at least one positive change and one negative change that the Expo Rail will create for Santa Monica. Regarding the negative change, is there something the local government can do to mitigate it?

AIDS Walk LA Ads Could Legally Return to Big Blue Buses
October 17, 2014 -- A reversal could be coming of a 15-year-old ban on non-commercial entities advertising on Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus as a method to keep out offensive messages.

City Council Candidates Comment on Hire-Fire Brouhaha  
October 16, 2014 -- Question: In May, City Manager Rod Gould rescinded the offer made to Santa Monica’s newly hired Chief Communications Officer Elizabeth Riel. The move came after information surfaced that Riel was involved with political activities of slow growth advocates. What’s your take on the Elizabeth Riel affair?

Santa Monica City Council Bans Controversial Parking Business
October 16, 2014 -- With little discussion and no opposition, the City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that effectively prevents the controversial business MonkeyParking from operating in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Library Hosts Chamber Music Trio
October 16, 2014 – The Santa Monica Public Library will host an afternoon of classical music performed by a musical trio at the Chamber Music Concert on October 25 at 3 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium.

Most City Council Candidates Oppose Term Limits
October 15, 2014 -- Question: Bob Holbrook will step down as a council member this year after 24 years on the dais. In many cities it would not be possible for a person to be on a council for so long because they have term limits. Should Santa Monica have term limits? Defend why or why not?

Santa Monica Named Smartest Suburb in America
October 15, 2014 -- Santa Monica is a city full of nerds, know-it-alls and smarty pants, topping a list of the smartest suburbs in the United States compiled by the real estate website

Council Approves $2 Million Consent Calendar
October 15, 2014 -- The Santa Monica City Council approved more than $2 million in expenses Tuesday, including funding for a new Mobile Command Center for police and firefighters and software for City computers.

Notes from the Santa Monica Campaign Trail
October 14, 2014 – With the November General Election entering the homestretch, local campaigns are going into overdrive with unexpected new endorsements, unique policy plans and even what could be viewed as a presidential “nod.”

Is SMRR Still Relevant? Santa Monica Council Candidates Give Their Take
October 14, 2014 -- Question: Because no candidate was able to get enough votes at the Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) convention to earn an endorsement, the decision of whom to back was made by a small committee. Does this devalue the significance of SMRR support? Should SMRR still be considered a powerful organization?

Letter - RE: Powerful Santa Monica Tenants Group Gets Fundraising Boost from its Candidates
October 14, 2014 -- As a longtime affordable housing advocate and disabled resident of Santa Monica, I am disheartened, but not surprised to learn of the apparent corrupt practices and people who run the tenants’ rights organization: Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR).

Santa Monica Hosts Charity Fun Run
October 14, 2014 – On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! Santa Monica is hosting the 2XU Santa Monica RunFEST on Sunday at 8 a.m., with runners of all levels participating in a family-friendly competition.

Powerful Santa Monica Tenants Group Gets Fundraising Boost from its Candidates
October 13, 2014 – This year, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) has received $110,000 in campaign contributions, its highest total in ten years, thanks to donations from candidates it endorsed and members of their families.

Public Notice:
CityTV and the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica Education Fund (LWVSMEF) have launched their first round of election programming online and on television. Click Here to Watch

Santa Monica Council Could Ban Monkey (Parking) Business in Santa Monica
October 13, 2014 -- A new company that helps people auction off on-street parking spaces they plan to vacate could be prohibited from operating in Santa Monica. City staff has proposed a measure that would ban what MonkeyParking and similar companies do.

Santa Monica Library Hosts Literacy and Science Programs
October 13, 2014 –Over the next two weeks, the Santa Monica Main Library will be hosting two educational programs, one for children and one for adults, that are designed to tickle the curiosity and grow the imagination.

Challengers Lead in Fundraising in Santa Monica College, School Board Races
October 10, 2014 – A month before the November 4 elections, challengers in races for the Santa Monica School and College boards are leading in campaign contributions.

Solution Not Coming Soon to Edison Heat Crisis as School Officials Ask for Patience
October 10, 2014 -- Fewer speakers addressed the Santa Monica-Malibu school board last Thursday about the excessive heat at Edison Language Academy than did at the previous meeting, but those who did talk did so in extreme frustration.

Santa Monica Elementary Schools Host Parent Academies
October 10, 2014 –Santa Monica-Malibu School District (SMMUSD) officials on Monday will launch a series of academies to educate and empower parents at each of the District's ten elementary schools.

Santa Monica Mayor Accused of Impropriety by Transparency Group
October 9, 2014 – Mayor Pam O’Connor has been accused by the Santa Monica Transparency Project of accepting campaign contributions from developers in violation of the City’s anti-corruption statute.

Loitering in Emergency Room Waiting Areas Could Become Criminal Act in Santa Monica
October 9, 2014 -- Emergency rooms and their waiting areas at Santa Monica’s two hospitals are frequently crowded because some people refuse to leave after receiving treatment and others come there seeking shelter, according to the City Attorney’s Office.

Beloved Santa Monica Resident Dies After Long Illness
October 9, 2014 – Services will be held today for Santa Monica philanthropist and Pier champion Maynard Ostrow, who died Monday after a long battle with an undisclosed illness. He was 79.

Santa Monica Mayor O’Connor Tops Council Race Fundraising, Himmelrich Has Most Money to Spend
October 8, 2014 -- Competing for a City Council seat without the backing of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) for the first time, Mayor Pam O’Connor needs all the help she can get in this year’s election, especially when one of her main rivals has lent herself $90,000 and has the backing of the powerful tenants group.

Fluke, Allen in Tight Fundraising Battle
October 8, 2014 – With four weeks left until the November general election, activist Sandra Fluke and Santa Monica School Board member Ben Allen have raised about a million dollars each in the closely watched race for State Senate.

Santa Monica Library to Host Happiness Workshop
October 8, 2014 -- Santa Monica -- which is spending $1 million to evaluate its happiness -- will host a “Drawn to Happiness” Workshop on Saturday conducted by a local therapist

Kuehl Supporters Erase Shriver’s Fundraising Advantage
October 7, 2014 – After being handily outspent in the primary for County Supervisor by former Santa Monica mayor Bobby Shriver and his supporters, former state senator Sheila Kuehl has turned the tables with less than a month left in the general election.

Average Santa Monica Rent Board Staff Compensation Was $152K in 2013
October 7, 2014 -- Nearly 20 years after the State’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act forced Santa Monica to adjust its strict voter-approved rent control law, the City’s Rent Control Board says it still has lots of work to do, justifying the existence of a 25-member staff and asking voters to increase its cash flow at the ballot box in November.

Santa Monica College Kicks Off October Concert Series
October 7, 2014 -- Santa Monica College’s (SMC) Music Department will host a series of fall concerts in October that includes a one-act musical performance written by the Emmy Award-winning creator of “High School Musical.”

Sierra Club Backs Slow Growth Santa Monica Candidates
October 6, 2014 – The Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots environmental organization, announced on Friday that it will back two challengers and an incumbent for the Santa Monica City Council race, all three slow-growth advocates.

More Than Half of City Employees Earn in Excess of $100K
October 6, 2014 -- Working for the City of Santa Monica is not a bad gig, at least when it comes to compensation. Of the City’s 2,140 permanent employees in 2013, 1,162 earned total compensation in excess of $100,000 for the year, according to recently released government data.

Santa Monica Review Introduces Fall Issue with Reading
October 6, 2014 – Santa Monica College is throwing a party to celebrate the release of the Fall 2014 issue of the Santa Monica Review, the only nationally distributed literary magazine published by a community college.

Police Chief Earns Less Compensation Than Person Under Her Command
October 3, 2014 -- In her first full year as the head of the Santa Monica Police Department in 2013, Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks earned $417,427 in total compensation, according to information recently released by the City. That made Seabrooks the third-highest earner among City employees.

Santa Monica Planning Commission Favorable to Lincoln Plan
October 3, 2014 – The Santa Monica Planning Commission on Wednesday generally supported a plan that would turn the southern stretch of Lincoln Boulevard into an aesthetically pleasing street that invites walking.

Letter - RE: Rivals Trade Jabs Regarding Economic Impact of Santa Monica Airport 
October 3, 2014 -- The Washington lobbyists financing Measure D want you to think SMO’s economic impact comes strictly from aviation. That is simply not true.

Santa Monica Police Sponsor Prescription Disposal Program
October 3, 2014 – The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) is tackling prescription drug abuse by installing a permanent prescription drugs disposal drop-box in front of the Public Safety Facility at 333 Olympic Drive.

New Santa Monica Group Weighs in on Council Race Electronically
October 2, 2014 – The slow-growth group that gathered more than 13,000 signatures to halt a major Santa Monica development earlier this year will mount a “neighbor to neighbor” campaign for three City Council candidates its members chose electronically.

Waxman Backs Santa Monicans Kuehl, Allen in Key LA Races
October 2, 2014 -- U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman, whose endorsement is highly-coveted in Los Angeles’ liberal Westside, weighed in Monday on two key local races in his district that have attracted widespread attention.

Governor Signs Richard Bloom’s Pair of Paparazzi Bills
October 2, 2014 -- Paparazzi and others who stalk people for business or pleasure will have a harder time doing what they like to do after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills on Tuesday introduced by Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom.

Santa Monica Anti-Airport Group Cries Foul on Election Ads
October 1, 2014 – Opponents of a measure that would require voter approval on changes made to Santa Monica Airport claim that the Measure D campaign is illegally using names from its petition in campaign ads.

Closing a Chapter at the Santa Monica Montana Library
October 1, 2014 -- The library was the Internet, when Terrie Dorio started at the Montana Branch in Santa Monica. All the answers were there, organized neatly in the long slim drawers of the card catalogue.

School Officials Plans to Tackle Hot Topic at Edison Language Academy
October 1, 2014 -- Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials might not have been prepared to talk about the reported sweltering temperatures inside Edison Language Academy at the most recent Board of Education meeting. But it was the top topic of the Sept. 18 meeting anyhow.

Santa Monica Conservancy Hosts Annual Fundraiser
October 1, 2014 – The Santa Monica Conservancy will host its annual fundraising salon to support its educational programs on October 12 at 3 p.m. at the historic Bundy House located at 401 25th Street.

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